EC directs civilians to deposit their licensed firearms to legal authorities

The Election Commission (EC) has asked District Magistrates to avoid pre-poll and post-poll violence across the country by issuing orders to licensed firearms and ammunition holders to deposit them with the authorities.

“The Commission has asked the District Magistrates and Divisional Commissioners across the country to issue necessary order to deposit licensed firearms and ammunition by those civilians having such arms and ammunition,” an EC official has said.

The firearms and ammunition have to be “deposited in the nearest police station ten days to two weeks before the day of polling” in the respective states, the notification said.

“If any licensed firearms and ammunition holders fail to obey the orders of the District Magistrates and Divisional Commissioners, they would be liable to be prosecuted under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code,” the official said.

Under Section 188 of the IPC, the defaulter would be punished with simple imprisonment for a term extendable up to one month or with fine extendable up to Rs. 200, or with both.

The EC order would not be applicable to state and central forces and bank guards.

However, private security personnel in possession of such licensed firearms and ammunition will have to take written permission from the concerned authorities, the official added.

The District Magistrates also promulgated Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure along the international borders and prohibited movement of civilians along the frontiers from evening to morning.

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