The state government has finally framed guidelines for issuing firearms licences.
Additional government pleader Nitin Deshpande informed the Bombay High Court that the state has framed the guidelines that require the police to personally verify the applicant’s residential address.
Deshpande said as per the guidelines, the police will have to first verify the threat perception to the person who has made application for acquiring the firearm. Also, the police will have to verify the capacity of the applicant to handle firearm, he added.
The guidelines were framed following a high court directive while hearing a public interest litigation against revenue minister of Bihar, Jamshed Ashraf.
In 2009, MNS activist Atul Bhagat had filed the PIL alleging that Ashraf had obtained his arms licence from the Nhava Sheva police station in neighbouring Uran taluka of Raigad using a forged ration card.
Uday Warunjikar, Bhagat’s advocate, argued that one of the documents as proof of residence for the arms licence is ration card. “The Union government and the Reserve Bank of India have removed ration cards as proof of residence as there have been various instances of forgery,” argued Warunjikar.
However, Deshpande countered saying that ration card was only one of the documents. “The applicant will also have to show an election card or another proof,” said Deshpande.
On January 15, 2009, when the PIL was filed, Ashraf had sent a press note to the media saying he had already surrendered his licence.