HC dismisses PIL asking to replace INSAS rifles

New Delhi, Nov 3 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL asking to replace “substandard” INSAS (Indian small arms system) rifles used by Indian armed and para-military forces with modern firearms.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath dismissed the plea saying it lacks any material or substantial details to show any shortcomings in INSAS rifle.

The court also said that central government had said that it is in process of procuring a new assault rifle – not because INSAS technology is outdated but to ensure availability of latest weapons.

“The petition clearly lacks any material or substantial details to show any shortcomings in INSAS rifle as to warrant any interference or directions by this court in the public interest litigation (PIL),” the bench said dismissing it.

The PIL was filed by Lt. Col. Deepak Malhotra (retd), who alleged that the government delayed the replacement of “these unreliable assault rifles” despite knowing for several years that they were of a “defective design and metallurgy”.

Questioning the effectiveness of the INSAS assault rifles, the PIL sought directions to the government to equip the soldiers of paramilitary forces – involved in counter- insurgency operations – with better rifles in a time-bound manner.

The central government had earlier told the court that INSAS rifles cannot be compared with other categories of weapons such as AK-47 assault rifles as both weapons had different features and were effective in different roles. It had also said that the 5.56 mm INSAS rifles were inducted into service in 1992-93 after extensive user trials and had undergone three cycles of upgradation.

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