Karnataka HC upheld Constitutionality of the Exemption Granted to Kodavas.


Alka Verma-

Published On: September 22, 2021 at 15:47 IST

The Karnataka High Court upheld the Constitutional Validity of the exemption granted to Kodavas.

The exemption was given to every person Coorg by race, and Jumma Tenure Landholders to obtain a License to carry and possess Fire Arms under the Arms Act, 1959.

A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice SS Magadum stated, “The Kodava community which is a marshal community is enjoying the benefit of exemption since pre-independence and Jumma tenure holders are enjoying the exemption since Pre-Independence Period.”

Further adding to it, the Bench stated, “They have rightly been granted exemption for a period of ten years, it is not the case they have been granted exemption indefinitely. Exemption granted is subject to certain terms and conditions. Therefore, the Constitutional validity of the notification is upheld in the Petition.

Adding in it, the Court also stated that the exemption is valid under Article 14 of Indian Constitution.

“Exemption provided to the persons of Coorg race and Jumma tenure holder under section 41 of the Arms Act, satisfies the test of reasonable classification under Article 14, of the Constitution of India and the question of questioning the notification dated October 29, 2019, does not arise,” said the Court.

The Court also stated, “In the instant case, the documents on record reflect that Kodavas race have been considered to be a marshal race from as early as 1890, and they are enjoying exemption since then.”

The Court made all these observations while it was hearing a Plea which questioning a Central Government decision.

The Petition was filed by Captain Chethan YK, an ex-army officer who questioned the Central Government decision to grant exemption to Kodavas and Jamma landholders in Kodagu district from the requirement to obtain a license to carry and possess firearms under the provisions of the Arms Act, 1959.

The Petition stated that the Centre had decided to continue the British-era rule which is Unconstitutional as it is differentiating a certain group on the basis of race, caste and ancestral land tenure.

On the other hand, Additional Solicitor General MB Nargund, who was appearing for the Central Government argued that neither the fundamental rights of the petitioner are violated nor the Petitioner is questioning Section 41 of the Indian Arms Act (Power to exempt), the Petition does not deserve to be entertained.

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