The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Police Commissioner’s office to submit details of the number of arms licences issued by them since 2005 within a week.
A division bench of Justices Bilal Nazki and Anoop Mohta passed the direction while hearing a petition filed by advocate Khan Abdul Wahab Usman, who was denied an arms licence last year.
Khan is representing several accused in blast cases including the twin blasts of Gateway and Zaveri Bazar blasts and the Mulund blasts.
In December 2005, Khan had sought a licence from the police under Section 3 of the Arms Act, stating that since he is handling several sensitive cases, he faces a threat to life.
On December 24, 2005, the Kurla police had recorded his statement. However, the application was rejected by the Police Commissioner’s office and also by the appellate authorities.
Aggrieved, Khan moved the high court in December 2008.
“Between 1988 and 2005, two advocates, Kishor Sutraley and Liyakat Shaikh, have been killed in Mumbai and lawyer Majeed Memon was provided police protection after he faced threats,” his application said.
“I had applied for an arms licence under similar circumstances, which was rejected on routine grounds.”
Justifying the rejection of a licence, an affidavit was filed by Inspector Vandana Narkar, Arms and Ammunition branch of the Police Commissioner’s office. “The petitioner never made any complaint of receiving threats. Also, no substantive reason was provided to grant a licence to him.”
Additional Public Prosecutor Pradeep Hingorani pointed out that under the Act, a licence can be refused only under three circumstances when the person has a criminal background, is of unsound mind and is likely to threaten public safety.