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Delhi HC to Centre: Tell Embassies to inform their Citizens to be mindful of Indian Laws

June,4,2017:

This direction comes as there is a rise in cases registered against Foreign Nationals who are found with bullets in their bags at the Airport.

Ammunition in Baggage
Ammunition in Baggage

Delhi High Court has asked the Centre to inform the embassies & the high commissions at New Delhi that their citizens should always keep in their mind the local laws while coming to India.

Justice R. K. Gauba told this to the Ministry of External Affairs while quashing the FIRs lodged under the Arms Act, 1959 against 2 foreigners, 1 from UK & other from Kenya, in whose luggage bullets were found when they were leaving India.

The court said in its order that having regard to frequency of registration of these type of cases as at hand, it’ll be in the fitness of things that the Ministry of External Affairs sends a communication to all the Embassies, High Commissions or Consulates in India advising the foreign nationals travelling to India as to the desirability to bear in mind the local laws, particularly laws such as Arms Act, 1959 so that the subject matter of these cases don’t recur.

A woman, UK national, had come to India in January for some charity work & was returning back to London on 18th April when the bullet was found in her baggage while it was being checked at the x-ray machine. She had claimed she had absolutely no knowledge about presence of the bullet in her baggage & said it might’ve been left in her bag when it was being used by some of her friends when she was in Australia.

The Kenyan national, as per his plea for quashing the FIR had come to India for the treatment of his wife & the bullet was found when he was returning to his country on 10th March 2017.

He claimed that he had a valid arms licence for bullet in his country & the bullet might’ve been left in his baggage by mistake, he wasn’t aware about its presence.

The Delhi High Court noted that all the averments made in the FIRs in both cases “don’t indicate anything even remotely suggesting conscious possession.”

The Court also said that while the possession of live ammunition by itself may be an offence but it’d be of no use to the petitioners without any fire arm.

It also noted the govt. lawyer’s submission that the investigation in both the cases hasn’t thrown up any evidence suggesting the petitioners were aware of bullet’s presence in their baggage.

The High Court said that “Thus, in this view carrying of the ammunition in baggage can’t be described as conscious possession so as to constitute the offence under the Arms Act, 1959. ”

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