S.N. Srivastava, J.
1. By way of this writ petition, the petitioner has challenged the order passed by the Additional District Magistrate (Administration), Moradabad, cancelling Licence No. 3568 of DBBL Gun No. 1006/1048 D/7. The order was confirmed by order dated 28.5.1992 in Appeal No. 215 of 1991-92 under Section 18 of the Arms Act.
2. Sri Ashok Nath Tripathi, learned counsel for the petitioner urged that for revocation of licence in exercise of power under Section 17(3) of the Arms Act, any of five conditions mentioned must be satisfied. He further urged that no finding has been recorded by licensing authority or appellate authority on any of the grounds contained under Section 17(3) of the Act and sole basis for proceeding under Section 17(3) of the Act is the registration of criminal case against the petitioner under Sections 147, 148, 149. 307, I.P.C. and pendency of proceedings under Sections 107/117, Cr. P.C. but none of the cases are pending. He further states that no show cause notice was served to the petitioner.
3. Sri V.N. Agarwal, learned standing counsel, in reply states that the orders passed by the licensing authority as well as appellate authority are correct and were rightly passed.
4. After having heard learned counsel for the parties and considering their arguments, I am of the opinion that the writ petition deserves to be allowed. Both the orders are liable to be quashed on the simple ground that Section 17(3) of the Arms Act contains various grounds for revocation of licence and no finding has been recorded by any of the authorities whether any condition under Section 17(3) of the Arms Act is made out.
5. Section 17(3) of the Arms Act runs as follows :
The licensing authority may, by order in writing, suspend a licence for such period, as it thinks fit or revoke a licence :
(a) if the licensing authority is satisfied that the holder of the licence is prohibited by this Act or by any other law for the time being in force, from acquiring, having in his possession or carrying any arms or ammunition, or is of unsound mind, or is for any reason unfit for a licence under this Act ; or
(b) if the licensing authority deems it necessary for the security of public peace or for public safety to suspend or revoke the licence ; or
(c) if the licence was obtained by the suppression of material information or on the basis of wrong information provided by the holder of the licence, or any other person on his behalf at the time of applying for ; or
(d) if any of the conditions of the licence has been contravened ; or
(e) if the holder of the licence has failed to comply with a notice under subsection (1) requiring him to deliver up the licence.
6. I perused the orders passed by licensing authority as well as appellate authority. I am of the view that neither the licensing authority nor appellate authority applied their minds to the materials on record. Both the orders simply say that as no reply to the show cause notice is given by the petitioner, his licence is cancelled. The licensing authority has to apply mind on the basis of material on record and record a finding or satisfaction in the final order whether any ground as contemplated under Section 17(3) of the Arms Act is made out. In case, a satisfaction finding that any of the conditions under Section 17(3) of the Arms Act is made out, only then the licence could be cancelled.
7. The misuse of the arms by the licensee may be relevant factor for cancellation of licence but unless finding/satisfaction is recorded by the licensing authority in the final order of cancellation of licence whether any of ground mentioned under Section 17(3) of the Arms Act is made out, licence cannot be cancelled.
8. It was specifically pleaded that no show-cause notice was actually served to the petitioner. The record of licensing authority was summoned by High Court. Abdul Aziz appears to be an illiterate person. It further appears that some blurred thumb impression is there on the back of the notice but it could not be ascertained whether this is thumb impression of Abdul Aziz or not. Once the petitioner has challenged service of notice, it was also incumbent upon appellate authority to decide this question. In paragraph 4 of the grounds of appeal this specific ground was taken before the appellate court. It was also specifically mentioned in the ground that no criminal case is pending against the petitioner but the appellate court did not apply its mind to any of the fact, it simply said that appellant did not file reply to the show-cause notice, it will be presumed that he is not interested in keeping licence.
9. Licences are given under the Arms Act to protect life and property of a citizen which is very vital and cancellation could be made only on cogent reasons in case the grounds contemplated under Section 17(3) of the Arms Act are made out.
10. In view of the fact stated above, both the orders are liable to be quashed.
11. The writ petition succeeds and is allowed. The impugned orders dated 28.5.1992, passed by respondent No. 2 Commissioner. Moradabad Division, Moradabad and order dated 20.3.1992, passed by respondent No. 3 Additional District Magistrate (Administration), Moradabad are quashed. The licensing authority is directed to consider the matter after giving opportunity to the petitioner of hearing as well as documents requires to be filed including judgments of the criminal cases and decide in the light of observations made in this order within a period of three months from the date of production of a certified copy of this order.
12. No order as to costs.
Registry is directed to return the record summoned by this Court forthwith.