Decided on March 21,1968

Chua Ram Miri (Saikia) Appellant
Commissioner Of Plains Division, Assam, Gauhati And Others Respondents


P.K. Goswami, J. - (1.)THIS application under Art. 226 of the Constitution is directed against the order of the Deputy Commissioner, Sibsagar, revoking a gun licence, which was confirmed in appeal by the Commissioner of Plains Division, Assam.
(2.)THE petitioner was the holder of a gun licence and the same was in force in 1966 though on 3 -7 -64, the following order was passed by the Deputy Commissioner, Sibsagar:
Seen Police report conveyed in Memo No. IV/12621, D/ -3 -6 -64. In the interest of public licenses of these 8 (eight) persons are cancelled. Ask S.D.O., Golaghat to collect the guns with licences and to keep in the Court (Gol) Malkhana until further order. Send copy to S.P., also for information.

The petitioner appealed to the Commissioner of Plains Division under Section 18 of the Arms Act, 1959, hereinafter referred to as the Act and the relevant portion of the order of the Commissioner while rejecting the same may be set out:

From the report of the Deputy Commissioner, Sibsagar it is seen that the D. C., passed the orders appealed against on being satisfied on the report of the Police that the weapons of these persons were suspected of being used in poaching in the nearby Kaziranga Game Sanctuary. It is also reported that after canceling the Gun Licenses the number of poaching cases in the sanctuary have reduced considerably. The Deputy Commissioner therefore was justified in acting on suspicion. If any greater proof were forthcoming the Deputy Commissioner would have prosecuted the suspects in a Court of law. The Act or the Rules thereunder do not also provide that the Deputy Commissioner should give a hearing to the Licensees before revoking the licenses. No one can therefore demand a hearing.

Mr. Pathak, the learned Counsel for the respondents, at the outset draws our attention to an unreported decision of a Bench of this Court, in Civil Rule No. 283 of 1966, disposed of on 16 -6 -67 to which one of us was a party, and submits that the present case is fully covered by the same. It will however, be seen that in that case the only ground urged was that no reasons were given in the order of the Deputy Commissioner or even in the appellate order. The petitioner in that case admitted that no demand was made for the reasons for the order. Therefore, the case proceeded on the assumption that there might have been reasons and if asked for and demanded, as required under the law, would have been either given or refused in the public interest It was not pleaded that the order was defective for non -compliance with the terms of Section 13(3) of the Act nor was the Court called upon to decide the question in that light.

(3.)IN the present Rule, Mr. Goswami, the learned Counsel for the petitioner, strenuously urges for our consideration the following points:
(1) that the order of the Deputy Commissioner, which is based on a Police report stations the reasons disclosed therein, cannot be held to be valid in view of the provisions of Section 17(3)(b) of the Act; and

(2) that no order of cancellation of the licence could be passed without hearing the petitioner.

These submissions will have to be dealt with in this case and we do not think that the decision, on which Mr. Pathak relies, has considered these questions.


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