John Beaumont, Kt., C.J.
1. This is a reference by the Sessions Judge of Thana in which he recommends that the conviction of the accused by the First Class Magistrate of Panvel should be set aside. The accused was convicted of having driven a lorry loaded with cart-wheels from Bhiwandi to Panvel on December 25, 1931, without obtaining the counter-signature of the District Superintendent of Police of Kolaba either on the owner's permit or on the driver's permit, and thereby having committed an offence punishable under Section 16 of the Motor Vehicles Act read with Rule 7(5) of the rules made under that Act. The facts found by the learned Magistrate were that the lorry which was driven by the accused was let for hire within the Thana district, and was then driven outside the Thana district into the Kolaba district. In revision we must accept these findings. The learned Sessions Judge took the view that inasmuch as the letting for hire was within the Thana district alone and there was no letting or plying for hire within the Kolaba district, the signature of the District Superintendent of Police of Thana upon the driver's permit was sufficient, and that the accused had committed no offence under the Motor Vehicles Act. The question turns on the construction of Rule 7 of the rules made under the Motor Vehicles Act. Rule 1 of those rules defines 'motor vehicle' as meaning a motor vehicle let or plying for hire. Then Rule 3 deals with an owner's permit, and provides that no motor vehicle shall be let or plied for hire in public places without an owner's permit granted by the District Superintendent of Police. Then Rule 7, Sub-rule (1), provides that a motor vehicle, which by the definition means a motor vehicle let or plying for hire, shall not, in any circumstances, be driven by any person other than a driver, who shall carry with him and produce, whenever required by a police-officer, a public driver's 'B' permit, signed by the District Superintendent of Police containing the statements therein mentioned. Now, taking that sub-rule by itself in the first instance, it seems to me to cover merely the driver's permit. It authorises a person to drive a particular form of vehicle, i.e., a vehicle let or plying for hire, if he has got a permit signed by the District Superintendent of Police, and I should say that the District Superintendent of Police must clearly mean the Superintendent of the district where the vehicle is being driven, and that if that sub-rule stood alone, the car could not be driven outside the particular district of the Superintendent signing the permit. Then comes Sub-rule (5), which says that an owner's permit or a public driver's permit granted by the District Superintendent of Police of one district shall be valid within the limits of another district provided that it bears the counter-signature of the District Superintendent of Police of the latter district. That sub-rule clearly impliedly provides that the owner's or public driver's permit is not to be valid outside the district of the Superintendent who signed the permit, unless it is countersigned by the Superintendent of the district in which it is being driven. The view of the learned Sessions Judge appears to be that, provided the driver's licence is signed by the Superintendent of Police of the district in which the vehicle is either let or is plying for hire, it will authorise the driving of the vehicle in that district or any other district. If that view is right, it is difficult to see what object there was in extending Sub-rule (5) of Rule 7 to a driver's permit; it would have been sufficient to confine the rule to an owner's permit. But, in my opinion, the view of the learned Sessions Judge as to the meaning of Rule 7, Sub-rule (1) and Sub-rule (5), is not correct. I think the meaning is that which was taken by the learned Magistrate, namely, that the driver's permit is only valid within the district of the Superintendent of Police who signs it unless it is countersigned by the Superintendent of Police of the district into which the car is driven. That view is rather confirmed by the terms of the permit itself which is given in the schedule to the rules, because that permit grants permission to act as driver of the motor vehicle to be let or plied for hire within the limits of the particular district. I think the rules draw a distinction between the owner's permit, which authorises the letting and plying for hire, and the driver's permit, which deals with driving a vehicle which is let or plying for hire.
2. That being so, in my opinion the conviction was right, and this reference must be rejected.
3. I agree.