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Are knives legal in India?

This is the first thing that pops into the mind of anyone who is considering buying a knife for general purposes, adventure, or self-defense in India. India has one of the strictest arms laws in the world. So it is normal to be concerned about the legality of buying, owning, and carrying a knife whether you are an Indian citizen or someone considering traveling to India. In this post, we’ll be discussing all the laws, their theoretical nuances, and their practical implications.

There is always a general query among knife enthusiasts in India that what types of knives are legal in India and what are illegal. Most of them are generally confused before opting to buy knives online in India. So are knives legal in India, you ask?

Any knife with a blade length of more than 9 inches and width of more than 2 inches is illegal even in the case of Kripan (A sub-sect of Sikhs carry them) or a Khukuri, a curved weapon carried by Gurkhas. But under prohibitory orders, even this is not allowed to be carried.

What does the law state?

[ Source: Here ]

Arms Act, 1956 states that any person should not by any way acquire, possess, sell, and use any arm or firearm whereby such arm is sharp-edged and deadly by its very nature such as swords (including sword sticks), Dagger, Bayonets, spears (including lances and javelins), battle-axes, Knives (including Kirpan and khakhras) or any other arms whereby such arm has a blade length which is 9 inches long and has width up to 2 inches for any purpose other than the purpose of domestic, agricultural, scientific, Industrial purposes, steel baton and all other weapons which are termed as “Life Preservers machinery used for making arms category other than 3 and any other weapon notified by the Central Government under section 4.

To understand it completely I have researched a lot about the legality of knives in India. These are some of the points that I could understand. Points in layman’s terms:

  • Any blade longer than 9 inches and wider than 2 inches is illegal, even Sikh Kirpan and Gorkha Khukri.
  • Longer and wider blade lengths are only allowed for agricultural, and domestic purposes, etc.
  • Legality depends on intention, carrying in public, public display
  • It is illegal to carry spring-actuated and button-actuated knives.
  • The legality of owning and carrying in public is different.
  • And legality is not absolute i.e. even smaller knives, etc can be confiscated without any explanation and it depends a lot whether public peace has been disturbed by the knives, etc
  • So it is always better to carry legal arms concealed so that nobody feels threatened by them. Brandishing is always illegal.

In the case of Self- The defense

From what I could understand with by non-legal brain is that even in the case of self-defense, if the use of any arms by the victim results in the death or severe injury of the aggressor. Even then there is no full immunity from the course/force of law. It is totally at the discretion of the court to penalize or pardon him or her for the act that was done in his/her defense.

But I think, nobody would think twice before using a knife or something like that, when faced with grave situations. As they say “Necessity knows no law”.

Sikh Kirpan & Gurkha Khukuri

A Gurkha and a Sikh can carry a khukuri or kirpan but the blade length should be below 9 inches in length and 2 inches wide same as with anyone else.

In practice, even blades or knives below this length can be confiscated

Anything wider than such blades are allowed only for domestic, agricultural, scientific, Industrial purposes, steel baton, and all other weapons which are termed as “Life Preservers machinery used for making arms category other than 3 and any other weapon notified by the Central Government under section 4.


After discussing the theory, now let’s discuss what happens in practice on a day-to-day basis. There are many retailers like Amazon and Flipkart that sells even blunt swords online. So it is okay to own a sword or knife till you don’t create a scene with it. Nobody cares till it does not break public tranquility and peace.

You should always pay attention to the direction given at various types of properties. Certain places like theatres, airports, metro stations, restaurants, hotels, etc do not allow you to carry such knives. You should be mindful of that.

This post will be even more helpful if you can add your bits and pieces of information in the comment section below.

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