The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre and other authorities to frame a policy within three months to curb the practice of celebratory firing. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar told authorities that the plea for stringent norms to curb the practice is certainly not adversarial and is in public interest. “This is an important issue. The authorities shall treat the petition as a representation and notify effective policy on it. The same be done in three months,” the bench said and disposed of the PILs.
The plea, moved by the father of a girl who died in April 2016 as a result of celebratory firing that took place during a marriage procession, had contended that the act at weddings and other functions, is an “obnoxious practice” which “causes terror in the general public”. The petitioners, Shyam Sunder Kausal and NGO Fight for Human Rights had sought directions to the Ministry of Home Affairs to “frame stringent policy/ rules/ guidelines to curb obnoxious practice of celebratory firing”. Kausal’s counsel Akash Vajpai had said that the practice is not under check and consequently the numbers of deaths are increasing.
It had said “carrying of a gun in a marriage procession is illegal under Arms Act, 1959 and Indian Penal Code, 1860 and terms of the licence also forbade the taking of the gun to public assemblage.” The petition had further sought direction for the home ministry to devolve a robust mechanism to ensure that these licences are not misused and cancel the licence of anyone who does. It had also sought direction to the ministry to “impose heavy fine on the person who misused his licensed arms and pay compensation to the every injured person or person who dies because of the celebratory firing”.