Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court has sought the Uttar Pradesh government`s response on a petition alleging that firearm licences of only a particular community have been cancelled in Muzaffarnagar in the wake of the recent communal violence in that district.
Passing the order on the petition of Rajendra Singh and another on October 9, Justice Dilip Gupta fixed October 23 as the next date of hearing in the matter.
The petitioners` advocate Anil Sharma told the court that so far, the district administration has cancelled arms licences of a total of 1,744 people, all of them belonging to the Hindu community.
Sharma claimed that the action was "unconstitutional and illegal" as cancellation of licences of people of only one community was tantamount to violation of Article 14 of the Constitution providing right to equality before law.
He contended that as per the Arms Act, the state government had no power to suspend or cancel arms licences and that such an action could be taken only by the Centre in a "disturbed area".
Without naming any Samajwadi Party leader, the counsel said the action was taken "at the instance of a powerful minister in the state cabinet".
It may be recalled that SP leader and UP Cabinet Minister Azam Khan has recently been issued notices by the High Court for his alleged partisan role in transfers and suspensions of police personnel in the wake of Muzaffarnagar riots.
It was also contended on behalf of the petitioner that "a large number of cartridges of AK 47 rifle" were recently seized by police from the house of an SP leader in Muzaffarnagar.