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‘Can’t be punished for acts of her father’: Delhi HC quashes complaint against woman shooter

The Delhi High Court has quashed a criminal complaint filed under the customs law against a woman national-level shooter, whose father was found using her licence in the alleged import of firearms.

The court observed that there was no prima facie case against  26-year-old Disha Langan, stating that the allegations against her did not disclose the essential elements of the offense she was charged with.

The court said that no presumption could be drawn regarding her knowledge of her father’s alleged offences.

Justice Saurabh Banerjee said that considering her young age, her promising future, and her achievements in both academics and sports, she should not be held responsible for her father’s actions, especially when her license was used by him.

The court recognised the common practice in Indian families where parents often support students studying in other states or countries, particularly in activities their parents are involved in.

The court noted that Langan’s father, being a shooter himself, likely handled arrangements for procuring arms and ammunition for her shooting practices and competitions.

The court found it inappropriate for the chief metropolitan magistrate to have issued summons to Langan, as the evidence didn’t support her involvement in the alleged offences.

The case originated from a complaint filed by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), alleging that Langan’s father, along with two others, was involved in smuggling arms and ammunition from Slovenia to India.

The DRI claimed that Langan’s father used her licence and certificates to import weapons using bogus invoices and suppressing their true value.

The syndicate members were accused of selling the smuggled weapons for significant profits and using them for hunting wildlife animals. Langan’s counsel said that she was not aware of her father’s actions and was focused on her studies and shooting practices.

The court agreed, concluding that there was no vicarious liability under criminal law and she could not be held accountable for her father’s alleged offenses.

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