Police verification report is a must
Tightening up the process for grant of arms licence, the central government on Thursday decided to make mandatory a police verification report on the applicant before the document is issued to him.
The Union Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, decided to amend relevant sections of the Arms Act of 1959 that empower the licensing authority to grant an arms license in absence of the police verification report.
"The Cabinet also approved the introduction of the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2010 in Parliament," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters in New Delhi.
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Licensing authority's wings clipped?
The proposed amendments will obviate chances of issuing arms licences to persons whose antecedents are not bonafide, and ensure receipt of police verification report within a period of 60 days, she said.
Once the amendments are approved by Parliament, the licensing authority will be obliged to take into consideration the report of the police authorities before grant of an arms licence in each case, Soni said.
The Arms (Amendment) Bill 2010 would be introduced in Parliament specifying a period of 60 days for the purpose of police report and deletion of the discretionary powers of the licensing authority.
In the current law, the quantum of prescribed time has not been specifically defined which could lead to licensing authority invoking discretionary powers to grant an arms licence to a person whose antecedents may not be clear.
For curbing illegal weapons?
"Considering the importance of the police verification report in the grant of arms licences to any person, it has been decided to delete the proviso to Section 13(2A) of the Arms Act 1959 and prescribe a period of 60 days for the police authorities to send their report," Soni said.
When the matter came up for discussion at the Cabinet meeting, Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah cited the prevalence of unlicensed arms in Jammu and Kashmir.
Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee pointed out how arms were being brought into the country by infiltrators.