SUPREME COURT HAS HELD THAT GUNS LICENSED FOR SELF PROTECTION CANNOT BE USED FOR CELEBRATORY FIRING
In the case of Bhagwan Singh versus State of Uttarakhand, by Order dated 18.03.2020, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India decided on the issue of #celebratoryfiring that caused the death of two persons unintentionally. It held that the Appellant had committed #culpablehomicide as the Appellant had no intentions to kill the deceased while he shot celebratory fire from his #licensedgun.
Bhagwan Singh was convicted for murder of two people and for injuring three other people from his licensed revolver during celebratory fire, by the Trial Court and by the Hon’ble High Court of #Uttarakhand. Bhagwan Singh was sentenced for life imprisonment by the Hon’ble High Court. Aggrieved by the High Court Order, Bhagwan Singh filed an appeal before the Apex Court.
In the said Criminal Appeal it was observed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that it was a case of celebratory firing which unfortunately caused unintentional death of two persons and injuries to three others.
Partly allowing the appeal the Hon’ble Justices S.A. Bobde, Surya Kant and BR Gavai disagreed with the Trial Court and the High Court findings that the firing from the gun which was pointed towards the roof, was done with malafide intention. The Bench further observed that the Appellant firing of the gun was not as bad as firing into a crowd of persons. It further observed that the Appellant did not know gun shot firing was so imminently dangerous that it would, in all probability, cause death or such bodily injury as was likely to cause death. The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:-
“The evidence on record contrarily shows that the appellant aimed the gun towards the roof and then fired. It was an unfortunate case of misfiring. The appellant of course cannot absolve himself of the conclusion that he carried a loaded gun at a crowded place where his own guests had gathered to attend the marriage ceremony. He did not take any reasonable safety measure like to fire the shot in the air or towards the sky, rather he invited full risk and aimed the gun towards the roof and fired the shot. He was expected to know that pellets could cause multiple gunshot injuries to the nearby persons even if a single shot was fired. The appellant is, thus, guilty of an act, the likely consequences of which including causing fatal injuries to the persons being in a close circuit, are attributable to him. The offence committed by the appellant, thus, would amount to ‘culpable homicide’ within the meaning of Section 299, though punishable under Section 304 Part 2 of the IPC.”
The three Judges Bench therefore, convicted him under Section 304 Part 2 of Indian Penal Code 1860 and sentenced him to ten years rigorous imprisonment.
Hon’ble Chief Justice S.A. Bobde who headed the Bench observed that “Incidents of celebratory firing are regretfully rising, for they are seen as a status symbol. A gun licensed for self protection or safety and security of crops and cattle cannot be fired in celebratory events, it being a potential cause of fatal accidents. Such like misuse of fire arms convert a happy event to a pall of gloom.”
THE INDIAN LAWYER
Edited by SUSHILA RAM VARMA
THE INDIAN LAWYER
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