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Advocates Requiring a Firearm License for Safety Are Engaging in a Dangerous Practice That Is Not in the Best Interests of the Noble Profession: Allahabad HC [READ ORDER]

While dismissing the plea, the High Court observed that if there is a threat in the Advocate’s mind, the entire basis of the nobleness of the profession will fall

By Rashi Jian, SOA National Institute of Law

Recently, it has been observed that the general trend of an Advocate obtaining a handgun license without justification is deplorable and is not in the best interests of the noble profession of the Advocate.

The Bench of Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery stated that requiring an Advocate to obtain a handgun license for personal and professional safety would be extremely risky.

Briefly, the Court was considering the appeal of an Advocate, Ram Milan, against the judgment of the Weapon Licence Authorities as his application for a firearm license was refused by both the Licensing Authority and the Appellate Authority because he lacked the necessary grounds for issuance.

Essentially, the Advocate applied for a firearm license for a revolver under Section 13 of the Arms Act, 1959 r/w the Arms Rules, 2016 for his personal and professional safety because an attempt was made on his life and that some residents attempted to molest his female family members by breaking into his home.

He cited two FIRs and contended that a handgun license was required since he was compelled to travel for his job and for his personal and professional safety.

On the other hand, the state’s Standing Counsel contended that there was no evidence on file showing that the petitioner was a victim of a crime or that he had a legitimate need for a handgun license.

Additionally, he maintained that it is well established that in the absence of any justifiable ground, the subjective satisfaction of the Licensing Authority cannot be interfered with by the writ jurisdiction.

The Court noted that there was no documentary proof on record establishing that the petitioner was, in fact, an Advocate. Additionally, the Court was unaware of the current state of criminal cases.

Further, the Court noted that the subjective satisfaction of the Licensing Authority could not be interfered with by the Court under the writ jurisdiction if there is no foundation for such satisfaction or if the reason for satisfaction is based on suppositions and conjectures.

The Court stated that the Licensing Authority considered the reasons above based on available evidence in this case. It was determined that the petitioner’s case did not fall within the categories mentioned above and thereafter, denied the petitioner’s application for a handgun license.

Notably, while emphasizing that the profession of an advocate is a respectable one, the Court observed that the prevailing trend toward possessing a firearms license by an Advocate without a compelling explanation is inexcusable. Additionally, emphasizing that if such applications are permitted without any solid, a day will come when every Advocate will be required to carry an arm inside the Courthouse. 

The Court observed “In case there is a threat in the mind of Advocate, the entire basis of the nobleness of the profession would fall. Every Advocate has a weapon of his legal arguments with bullets of judgments passed by High Courts and Supreme Court in support of his submission, which is enough to provide safety to his professional and client and is sufficient to demand justice from the Courts. Normally they do not need a firearm for their professional safety.”

Before dismissing the plea, the Court clarified that the Advocate is not barred from applying for a firearm license and that their application is evaluated under the requirements of the Arms Act, 1959, read with the Arms Rules, 2016.

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