The Indian Arms Act 1959 is Amended by Indian Government in 2010 to Give It More Teeth
The Arms act 1959 is a facsimile of the Arms act 1877 enacted by the British with some amendments. The arms act of 1877 was a revolutionary law as for the first time the arms their usage and ownership was legalized. It was the first time a law was framed which specified that a resident of India needed to have a license to keep a gun. Keeping a gun outside the purview of the arms act was an offence punishable with a jail term. It was the first piece of legislation concerning arms. The act as enforced by the English greatly restricted the issue of arms to common Indians and licences were generally issued only to the Britishers, affluent Indian like maharajah's and Anglo Indians.
The arms act of 1959 enacted by the Indian parliament was an improvement in the sense that an arms licence could be issued to any citizen of India. The act required that an application under the arms act needed to be verified by the police as to the character and antecedents of the applicant. This was specified in section 13 of the act. No time period was specified and in case of inordinate delay the magistrate could use his discretion and approve an arms license.
With the proliferation of arms and the increase in terrorist activity, the law ministry recommended that section 13 of the act be amended. The purpose was to make the police accountable for their duty. Section 30 of the act specifies that the police are to submit a report on the applicant as per section 13. By an act of parliament passed in 2010, section 30 of the arms act was amended with the addition of section 30A. This is a sub section of the act, but its significance cannot be downgraded.
Section 30A of the act now says that a police officer charged with submitting a police report under section 13 fails to send a report and the reasons advanced by the police officer for his failure to send a report are not sufficient and convincing than he shall be punished for dereliction of duty and shall be proceeded against and punished under the service rules applicable to him. The act also specifies a period of 60 days as the outside limit for a police report to be filed.
The purpose of this section is to make the police accountable so that they submit reports expeditiously after verifying the antecedents of the applicant so that any undesirable applicant is not issued a license. This has been incorporated in the Arms Act 1959 as amended in 2010.