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ARMS ACT

Ministry of Law and Justice

Act nº 54 of 1959


  • Chapter I
  • Chapter II
  • Chapter III
  • Chapter IV
  • Chapter V
  • Chapter VI
  • Act nº 54 of 1959

Preamble

THE ARMS Act, 1959

(Act, No.54 of 1959)

[23rd December, 1959]

PREAMBLE

An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to arms and ammunition.

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Tenth Year of the Republic of India as follows:--

Chapter I

Section 1. Short title, extent and commencement

(1) This Act may be called the Arms Act, 1959.

(2) It extends to the whole of India.

(3) It shall come into force on such date1as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

1. Vide Notification No. G.S.R. 992, dated 13-7-1962,the date fixed is 1st October, 1962, see Gazette of India, Pt.II, Sec.3(i) p. 1092.


Section 2. Definitions and interpretation

(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,--

(a) "acquisition", with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, includes hiring, borrowing, or accepting as a gift;

(b) "ammunition" means ammunition for any firearm, and includes--

(i) rockets, bombs, grenades, shells1[and other like missiles,]

(ii) articles designed for torpedo service and submarine mining,

(iii) other articles containing, or designed or adapted to contain, explosive, fulminating or fissionable material or noxious liquid, gas or other such thing, whether capable of use with firearms or not,

(iv) charges for firearms and accessories for such charges,

(v) fuses and friction tubes,

(vi) parts of, and machinery for manufacturing, ammunition, and

(vii) such ingredients of ammunition as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf;

(c) "arms" means articles of any description designed or adapted as weapons for offence or defence, and includes firearms, sharp-edged and other deadly weapons, and parts of, and machinery for manufacturing, arms, but does not include articles designed solely for domestic or agricultural uses such as a lathi or an ordinary walking stick and weapons incapable of being used otherwise than as toys or of being converted into serviceable weapons;

2[(d) "district magistrate", in relation to any area for which a Commissioner of Police has been appointed, means the Commissioner of Police thereof and includes and such Deputy Commissioner of Police, exercising jurisdiction over the whole or any part of such area, as may be specified by the State Government in this behalf in relation to such area or part;]

(e) "firearms" means arms of any description designed or adapted to discharge a projectile or projectiles of any kind by the action of any explosive or other forms of energy, and includes--

(i) artillery, hand-grenades, riot-pistols or weapons of any kind designed or adapted for the discharge of any noxious liquid, gas or other such thing,

(ii) accessories for any such firearm designed or adapted to diminish the noise or flash caused by the firing thereof,

(iii) parts of, and machinery for manufacturing, fire-arms, and

(iv) carriages, platforms and appliances for mounting, transporting and serving artillery;

(f) "licensing authority" means an officer or authority empowered to grant or renew licences under rules made under this Act, and includes the Government;

3[(ff) "magistrate" means an Executive Magistrate under the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 (2 of 1974);]

(g) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;

(h) "prohibited ammunition" means any ammunition containing, or designed or adapted to contain, any noxious liquid, gas or other such thing, and includes rockets, bombs, grenades, shells,4[missile] articles designed for torpedo service and submarine mining and such other articles as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify to be prohibited ammunition;

(i) "prohibited arms" means--

(i) firearms so designed or adapted that, if pressure is applied to the trigger, missiles continue to be discharged until pressure is removed from the trigger or the magazine containing the missiles is empty, or

(ii) weapons of any description designed or adapted for the discharge of any noxious liquid, gas or other such thing,

and includes artillery, anti-aircraft and anti-tank firearms and such other arms as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify to be prohibited arms;

(j) "public servant" has the same meaning as in section 21 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860.);

(k) "transfer", with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, includes letting on hire, lending, giving and parting with possession.

(2) For the purposes of this Act, the length of the barrel of a firearm shall be measured from the muzzle to the point at which the charge is exploded on firing.

(3) Any reference in this Act to any law which is not in force in any area shall, in relation to that area, be construed as a reference to the corresponding law, if any, in force in that area.

(4) Any reference in this Act to any officer or authority shall, in relation to any area in which there is no officer or authority with the same designation, be construed as a reference to such officer or authority as may be specified by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette.

1. Substituted by Act 42 of 1988, Section 2 w.e.f. 27-5-1988.

2. Substituted by Act 55 of 1971, Section 2, for the former clause.

3. Inserted by Act 25 of 1983, Section. w.e.f. 22-6-1983.

4. Inserted by Act 42 of 1988, Section w.e.f. 27-5-1988.


Chapter II

Section 3. Licence for acquisition and possession of firearms and ammunition

1 [(1)] No person shall acquire, have in his possession, or carry any firearm or ammunition unless he holds in this behalf a licence issued in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder:

Provided that a person may, without himself holding a licence, carry any firearms or ammunition in the presence, or under the written authority, of the holder of the licence for repair or for renewal of the licence or for use by such holder.

2 [(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), no person, other than a person referred to in sub-section (3), shall acquire, have in his possession or carry at any time, more than three firearms:

Provided that a person who has in his possession more firearms than three at the commencement of the Arms (Amendment) Act, 1983, may retain with him any three of such firearms and shall deposit, within ninety days from such commencement, the remaining firearms with the officer in charge of the nearest police station, or subject to the conditions prescribed for the purposes of sub-section (1) of section 21, with a licensed dealer or, where such person is a member of the armed forces of the Union, in a unit armoury referred to in that sub-section.

(3) Nothing contained in sub-section (2) shall apply to any dealer in firearms or to any member of a rifle club or rifle association licensed or recognised by the Central Government using a point 22 bore rifle or an air rifle for target practice.

(4) The Provisions of sub-section (2) to (6) (both inclusive) of section 21 shall apply in relation any deposit of firearms under the proviso to sub-section (2) as they apply in relation to the deposit of any arms or ammunition under sub-section (1) of that section.]

1. Section 3 re-numbered as sub-section (1) thereof by Act 25 of 1983, Section 3 w.e.f. 22-6-1983.

2. Inserted by Section 3 of Act 25 of 1983, w.e.f. 22-6-1983.


Section 4. Licence for acquisition and possession of arms of specified description in certain cases

If the Central Government is of opinion that having regard to the circumstances prevailing in any area it is necessary or expedient in the public interest that the acquisition, possession or carrying of arms other than firearms should also be regulated, it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, direct that this section shall apply to the area specified in the notification, and thereupon no person shall acquire, have in his possession or carry in that area arms of such class or description as may be specified in that notification unless he holds in this behalf a licence issued in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder.

Section 5. Licence for manufacture, sale, etc., of arms and ammunition

1 [(1)] No person shall--

(a)2 [use, manufacture,] sell, transfer, convert, repair, test or prove, or

(b) expose or offer for sale or transfer or have in his possession for sale, transfer, conversion, repair, test or proof,

any firearm or any other arms of such class or description as may be prescribed or any ammunition, unless he holds in this behalf a licence issued in accordance with the provisions of this behalf a licence issued in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder:

1 [*****]

3 [(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), a per-son may, without holding a licence in this behalf, sell or transfer any arms or ammunition which he lawfully possesses for his own private use to another person who is entitled by virtue of this Act, or any other law for the time being in force to have, or is not prohibited by this Act or such other law from having in his possession such arms or ammunition:

Provided that no firearm or ammunition in respect of which a licence is required under section 3 and no arms in respect of which a licence is required under section 4 shall be sold or transferred by any person unless--

(a) he has informed in writing the district magistrate having jurisdiction or the officer in charge of the nearest police station, of his intention to sell or transfer such firearms, ammunition or other arms and the name and address of the person to whom he intends to sell or transfer such firearms, ammunition or the other arms, and

(b) a period of not less than forty-five days has expired after the giving of such information.]

1. Section 5 re-numbered as sub-section (1) thereof and in sub-section (1) as so renumbered the proviso omitted by Act 25 of 1983, Section 4 w.e.f. 22-6-1983.

2. Substituted by Act 42 of 1988, Section 3 w.e.f. 27-5-1988.

3. Substituted by Act 25 of 1983, Section 4 w.e.f. 22-6-1983.


Section 6. Licence for the shortening of guns or conversion of imitation firearms into firearms

No person shall shorten the barrel of a firearm or convert an imitation firearm into a firearm unless he holds in this behalf a licence issued in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder.

Explanation.--In this section, the expression "imitation firearm" means anything which has the appearance of being a firearm, whether it is capable of discharging any shot, bullet or other missile or not.

Section 7. Prohibition of acquisition or possession, or of manufacture or sale of prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition

No person shall--

(a) acquire, have in his possession or carry; or

(b)1[use, manufacture,] sell, transfer, convert, repair, test or prove; or

(c) expose or offer for sale or transfer or have in his possession for sale, transfer, conversion, repair, test or proof;

any prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition unless he has been specially authorised by the Central Government in this behalf.

1. Substituted by Act 42 of 1988, Section 4 w.e.f. 27.5.1988.


Section 8. Prohibition of sale of transfer of firearms not bearing identification marks

(1) No person shall obliterate, remove, alter or forge any name, number or other identification mark stamped or otherwise shown on a firearm.

(2) No person shall sell or transfer any firearm which does not bear the name of the maker, manufacturer's number or other identification mark stamped or otherwise shown thereon in a manner approved by the Central Government.

(3) Whenever any person has in his possession any firearm, without such name, number or other identification mark or on which such name, number or other identification mark has been obliterated, removed, altered or forged, it shall be presumed unless the contrary is proved, that he has obliterated, removed, altered or forged that name, number or other identification mark:

Provided that in relation to a person who has in his possession at the commencement of this Act any firearm without such name, number or other identification mark stamped or otherwise shown thereon, the provisions of this sub-section shall not take effect until after the expiration of one year from such commencement.

Section 9. Prohibition of acquisition or possession by, or of sale or transfer to, young persons and certain other persons of firearms, etc

(1) Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this Act,--

(a) no person,--

(i) who has not completed the age of1[twenty-one years], or

(ii) who has been sentenced on conviction of any offence involving violence or moral turpitude to imprisonment for2[any terms]at any time during a period of five years after the expiration of the sentences, or

(iii) who has been ordered to execute under Chapter VIII of the3[Code of Criminal Procedure, (2 of 1974)] a bond for keeping the peace or for good behaviour, at any time during the term of the bond,

shall acquire, have in his possession or carry any firearm or ammunition;

(b) no person shall sell or transfer any firearm or ammunition to, or convert, repair, test or prove any firearm or ammunition for, any other person whom he knows, or has reason to believe--

(i) to be prohibited under clause (a) from acquiring, having in his possession or carrying any firearm or ammunition, or

(ii) to be of unsound mind at the time of such sale or transfer, or such conversion, repair, test or proof.

(2) Notwithstanding anything in sub-clause (i) of clause (a) of sub-section (1), a person who has attained the prescribed age-limit may use under prescribed conditions such firearms as may be prescribed in the course of his training in the use of such firearms:

Provided that different age-limits may be prescribed in relation to different types of firearms.

1. Substituted. by Act 25 of 1983, s.5 w.e.f. 22-6-1983.

2. Substituted. by Act 25 of 1983, s.5 w.e.f. 22-6-1983.

3. Substituted. by Act 25 of 1983, s.5 w.e.f. 22-6-1983.


Section 10. Licence for import and export of arms, etc

(1) No person shall bring into, or take out of, India by sea, land or air any arms or ammunition unless he holds in this behalf a licence issued in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the rules made there under:

Provided that--

(a) a person who is entitled by virtue of this Act or any other lay for the time being in force to have, or is not prohibited by this Act or such other law from having, in his possession any arms or ammunition, may without a licence in this behalf bring into, or take out of, India such arms or ammunition in reasonable quantities for his own private use;

(b) a person being a bona fide tourist belonging to any such country as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify, who is not prohibited by the laws of that country from having in his possession any arms or ammunition, may, without a licence under this section but in accordance with such conditions as may be prescribed, bring with him into India arms and ammunition in reasonable quantities for use by him for purposes only of sport and for no other purpose;

Explanation.-For purposes of clause (b) of this proviso, the word "tourist" means a person who not being a citizen of India visit India for a period not exceeding six months with no other object than recreation, sight-seeing, or participation in a representative capacity in meetings convened by the Central Government or in international conferences, associates or other bodies.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in the proviso to sub-section (1), where the1[Commissioner of Customs] or any other officer empowered by the Central Government in this behalf has any doubt as to the applicability of clause (a) or clause (b) of that proviso to any person whom claims that such clause is applicable to him, or as to the reasonableness of the quantities of arms or ammunition in the possession of any person referred to in such clause, or as to the use to which such arms or ammunition may be put by such person, may detain the arms or ammunition in the possession of such person until he receives the orders of the Central Government in relation thereto.

(3) Arms and ammunition taken from one part of India to another by sea or air or across any intervening territory not forming part of India, are taken out of, and brought into, India within the meaning of this section.

1. Substituted by Act 22 of 1995, Section 89 w.e.f. 1-4-1995


Section 11. Power to prohibit import or export of arms, etc

The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, prohibit the bringing into, or the taking out of, India, arms or ammunition of such classes and descriptions as may be specified in the notification.

Section 12. Power to restrict or prohibit transport of arms

(1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette,--

(a) direct that no person shall transport over India or any part thereof arms or ammunition of such classes and descriptions as may be specified in the notification unless he holds in this behalf a licence issued in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder; or

(b) prohibit such transport altogether.

(2) Arms or ammunition trans-shipped at a seaport or an airport in India are transported within the meaning of this section.