Note of Dissent by MP & member of the Joint Committee set up to review the Arms Bill 1958 which later on went on to become the Arms Act 1959
Gazette of India (Extraordinary), Part II, Section 2, New Delhi, Monday, August 10, 1959/ Sravana 19, 1881 (vide pages 787 to 790)
"The present Bill seeks to repeal the Indian Arms Act enacted by the British rulers eighty years ago with a view to disarm the whole nation. Apart from the consideration of safeguarding the Empire, this policy of depriving the whole people of arms was motivated in the main by a sense of deep distrust and an attitude of contempt towards the Indian people. I am sorry to note that even after twelve years of independence, the present Government have not been able to shake off completely the legacy of their predecessors. The present Bill as by the Joint Committee is an improvement on the original Bill no doubt, but traces of this distrust linger still, and restrain the Bill from going as far as it should. Hence this note of dissent."
"The right to bear and carry arms is an inviolable and sacred right of every free citizen and though this has not been included in the list of fundamental rights enumerated in the Indian Constitution, the right of self defence accepted and guaranteed by the Indian Penal Code implicitly acknowledges the right to possess arms. Since India is not in a position to run into a race of armaments with big powers, or their satellites, surrounding our boundaries and having hostile and expansionist designs against us, the only course open for us is to arm our people and make military training compulsory for all adults and able-bodied citizens...."
"....The present Bill seeks to liberalise the licensing provisions, but the liberalisation is very halting, the procedure of securing a license still remains irksome and dilatory and the license-seeker left to the whims and caprice of the bureaucracy...."
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
New Delhi, the 8th of August,1959.
He was a young Member of Parliament at the time and his note (above) was the sole voice of dissent on the Arms Act 1959. It is a pity and a reflection on the lack of lobbying effort that during his 6 year tenure as Prime Minister, this issue was never raised and no attempt towards positive change was made at the time.
Food for thought.