Arms license scam: HC declines to quash eviction notice against dealer

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In the infamous arms license scam involving many senior bureaucrats and arms dealers, the J&K High Court today dismissed a petition of one of the “arms dealers” who had challenged the eviction notice against him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The petitioner arms dealer, Syed Akeel Shah, had challenged the eviction notice after his property was attached by the ED a few months ago.

It may be remembered that an array of very powerful bureaucrats that have served in Jammu and Kashmir and business dealers are facing investigations for illegally issuing 2.78 lakh arms licenses in exchange of money.

The accused involve Baseer Ahmad Khan (IAS), a former Advisor to J-K Lieutenant Governor, Rajeev Ranjan (former DC, Kupwara), KAS officers Itrat Hussain (former DC, Kupwara) and Ravinder Kumar Bhatt (former ADC, Kupwara) and many others.

The investigating agencies have searched the residential compounds of the accused bureaucrat besides many arms dealers including Amarnath Bhargava (Varun Armoury), his brother Mukesh Bhargava (Bhargava Gun House), Surjeet Singh (Deshmesh Armoury), Mohinder Kotwal (Mohinder Kotwal Arms and Ammunition), Manohar Singh (Swaran Arms and Ammunition) and Devi Dayal Khajuria (Khajuria Arms).

The ED has attached the properties of many accused including the arms dealer Akeel Shah.

Shah had challenged the ED notice on the ground that the order of attachment of the property confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority under different sections of law was not in consonance with the principles of justice and law.

“The eviction notice provides only ten days time to the petitioner to vacate the subject property, and in case the eviction notice is given effect before the petitioner is in a position to avail the remedy of appeal, the appeal under Section 26 of the Act of 2002, even if preferred within limitation, would be rendered otiose,” Shah submitted through his counsel.

However, T.M.Shamsi, Deputy Solicitor General of India, appearing for the ED argued that Section 8(4) of the Act of 2002 clearly provides that owner or occupier of the attached property can be evicted forthwith after the order of attachment is confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority under Section 8(3) of the Act of 2002.

Shamsi argued that interpreting the provisions in the manner suggested by the counsel for Shah would be tantamount to “rewriting the provisions of Section 8 of the Act and the Rules of 2013.”

After hearing the parties, Justice Sanjeev Kumar dismissed the petition, underscoring that the court is not required to resort to the principles of statutory interpretation to “construe and understand the otherwise plain, clear and unambiguous provisions of Section 8 of the Act of 2002 and the Rule 5(2) of the Rules of 2013.”

He said “it is trite that the principle of statutory interpretation that legislature is presumed to be careful in choice of language is well founded. First and primary rule of construction, which is also known as literal rule of interpretation, is that the intention of the legislature must be found in the words used by the legislature itself”.

Justice Kumar said that the courts having their delineated functions under the Constitution cannot add words to a Statute or read words which are not there in it.

“Even if there is a defect or omission in the Statute, the court cannot correct the defect or supply the omission,” he said.

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