J&K Govt revokes restrictions imposed on DMs issuing fresh individual arms licences

District Magistrates to obtain CID report besides police verification about applicant
Restrictions were imposed in 2018, months after the surfacing of a fake arms licence scam allegedly involving some DMs in J&K. The scam came to the fore during investigation by ATS in Rajasthan in 2017. [Representational Image]
Restrictions were imposed in 2018, months after the surfacing of a fake arms licence scam allegedly involving some DMs in J&K. The scam came to the fore during investigation by ATS in Rajasthan in 2017. [Representational Image] Freeimg [Creative Commons]

Jammu: J&K government Thursday revoked restrictions imposed on the District Magistrates (DMs) four years ago in the Union Territory (UT) for issuing fresh individual arms licenses with immediate effect yet with additional riders.

Under additional conditions, the DMs will have to procure a report from CID wing of J&K Police, regarding the character and antecedents of the applicant, in addition to the Police verification prescribed under Arms Rules, 2016.

They (DMs) will not be authorised to delegate powers for issuance, renewal or any other allied services under Arms Rules to any subordinate authority. A special panel chaired by Special DG CID, J&K will examine each case for grant of individual arms Licence, taking into consideration the prevailing security environment.

Restrictions were imposed in 2018, months after the surfacing of a fake arms licence scam allegedly involving some DMs in J&K. The scam came to the fore during investigation by ATS in Rajasthan in 2017. 

The case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2018.

As per the case registered by the premier central investigative agency, during 2012 and 2016, bulk of fake arms licences were issued by DCs (DMs) in various districts of J&K illegally and against monetary considerations.

In this connection, CBI and Enforcement Directorate have conducted a series of raids across the country, including J&K.

Restrictions have been revoked in supersession of Government Order No. 922 - Home of 2018 dated July 12, 2018.

“It is further ordered that all the concerned including District Magistrates (Licensing Authorities), besides following the provisions of the Arms Act, 1959 and Arms Rules, 2016, shall also adhere to additional conditions,” read an order issued by the Financial Commissioner (Additional Chief Secretary) J&K Home Department Raj Kumar Goyal.

Additional riders have specified that the District Magistrates, while considering an application for grant of individual Arms License, will necessarily obtain Aadhaar Card as a proof of identity.

The District Magistrates will ensure that they entertain only such applications for grant of license or for accessing any other service from an applicant, who is a resident of that particular district and in no case they will either grant a license or renew a license of an applicant not residing within the jurisdiction of their district.

“For ascertaining the area of residence of an applicant, a specific report from the Police, certifying the same, shall be obtained by the District Magistrates before processing any application. In no case, the District Magistrates shall deviate from the Rules 17 & Rule 24 of Arms Rules, 2016, concerning addresses of the licensee,” Goyal ordered.

As per additional rider, the District Magistrates will obtain a report from CID Wing of J&K Police, regarding the character and antecedents of the applicant, in addition to the Police verification prescribed under Arms Rules, 2016, in order to ensure that the Licensing Authority is in a position to ascertain the suitability of granting license in each individual case based on the assessment made by CID particularly with regard to the conduct of the applicant in social and public life, as also the internal security considerations.

“For the purpose of verification, the Special DG CID, J&K shall constitute a committee under his Chairmanship to examine each case for grant of individual Arms Licence, keeping in view the prevailing security environment and a report in this behalf shall be forwarded by the CID to the District Magistrate concerned (under intimation to the Home Department), for appropriate consideration, subject to fulfillment of the relevant conditions laid down in Arms Rules, 2016,” ACS Home ordered.

The District Magistrates will personally ensure that every service to be provided under the Arms Rules, including grant of license, renewal of license, extension of area validity, entry of arms, ammunition, registration in case of change of residence of the licensee etc. are mandatorily done through NDAL/ALIS portal and physical record (duly authenticated) of all such entries which are made on the said portal are maintained concurrently in their offices. Accordingly, all the applications for issuance, renewal or any other Arms related services shall be received by the District Magistrates only through Online mode viz. licensing portal NDAL-ALIS.

Onus has been put on the District Magistrates to personally ensure that data or detail of any prospective licensee or of a licensee who is accessing any service under Arms Rules, uploaded on NDAL-ALIS portal, is correct and error free.

They (DMs), in coordination with the District Superintendents of Police, will keep a track of all the licensees within their jurisdiction to ensure that the area validity of the license is adhered to by the licensees.

“No delegation of powers with regard to issuance/renewal or any other allied services under Arms Rules, shall be made by the District Magistrate to any authority subordinate to the licensing authority in violation of Arms Act 1959 and Arms Rules, 2016,” Goyal ordered.

Though the officials did not confirm or reject it yet the revocation move is being linked to spurt in target killings, including the recent Rajouri carnage. 

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