Mere Ownership of Vehicle doesn’t Establish Offence of Possessing Prohibited Arms- Supreme Court

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September 18, 2018

In this case, the Supreme Court held for establishing offence under Section 25 (1) (a) of the Arms Act, 1959 it is necessary to prove that the accused was in conscious possession at some point in time before the discovery and retained control of the objects at the time of the recovery.

Case name: Mohmed Rafiq Abdul Rahim Shaikh v. The State of Gujarat

In the case, the High Court upheld conviction of A-2 in whose car prohibited ammunition were discovered, however, A-2 was nowhere near the car. Thus, only on the basis of ownership of the impugned vehicle, the Lower Court convicted A-2 under the relevant provisions of the Arms Act, 1959.

Here it would be relevant to mention that Section 25 of the Arms Act, 1959 provides for the punishment of a person who has in his possession prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition.

In view of the material available on record, the Supreme Court ruled out conviction of A-2 in the case on the basis of the following observations:

That this accused cannot be said to have been in possession of the six live cartridges allegedly recovered from the car. A-2 cannot have said to be in possession- actual or constructive.

That it is necessary to prove that the accused was in conscious possession at some point in time before the discovery and retained control of the objects at the time of the recovery.

Reference was also made by the Apex Court to the case of Gunwantlal vs. The State of Madhya Pradesh, wherein the Supreme Court had held that a person cannot be charged with the offences unless it can be shown that he had the knowledge that any sort of prohibited item was present in his house.

The entire case can be accessed here.