Telangana HC: Explosive Substances Act Section 4 Doesn’t Apply Unless ‘Malicious Intent to Endanger Life’ Shown

Telanagana High Court Restriction Welfare Fund Advocates

LI Network

Published on: January 23, 2024 at 14:45 IST

The Telangana High Court has partially granted a discharge petition filed by an individual engaged in the rock-blasting business, charged under Section 4 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.

Justice K. Surender emphasized that the prosecution must prove “malicious” intent to unlawfully cause an explosion and possess substances with the intent to “endanger life” or cause serious injury for Section 4 to be applicable.

The Court noted that, according to the charge sheet, the accused procured a substantial amount of explosive substances and stored them without taking proper precautions, posing a danger to human life.

However, the investigation revealed that the explosives were acquired to blast excessive rocks and offset losses incurred by the accused.

The judge concluded that, despite exceeding the prescribed limit, there was no malicious intent to endanger human life.

The Court highlighted that Section 3 of the Act (causing an explosion likely to endanger life or property) would not apply since there was no explosion, and Section 4 punishes any attempt to unlawfully and maliciously cause an explosion while possessing explosive substances to endanger life or cause serious injury to property.

The Court stated, “It is not the case of the police that the explosives are kept for making an attempt to cause an explosion or keeping explosives with an intention to endanger life or property. Accordingly, Section 3 of the Act of 1908 is not attracted since there is no explosion which was caused even according to the charge sheet. Section 4 punishes any attempt to cause unlawfully and maliciously, further possessing any explosive substance to endanger life or to cause serious injury to property is made punishable. There is no such allegation in the charge sheet.”

The judge acknowledged that the mere storage of excessive explosive substances would not constitute negligence under Section 286 of the IPC.

However, the court deemed the owner’s lack of a valid license, coupled with the acquisition of substances from the past owner’s license, and the large quantities of substances, as suspicious circumstances under Section 5 of the Explosive Substances Act.

The Court allowed the petition in part, directing the trial court to try the accused only under Section 5 of the Act.

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