1. This is an appeal by the Government of Bombay against the acquittal of one Haridas Lakhmidas who was accused of having committed an offence punishable under Section 13 of the Coasting Vessels Act XIX of 1838, in that, being the owner of a harbour-craft, he plied the craft for hire without getting the certificate of registry required by Sections 4 and 7 of the Act.
2. It appears that Haridas Lakhmidas, the accused, and his brother and father were members of a joint Hindu family, and the craft was registered in the name of the father Lakhmidas Kurji, who died in June 1912. Under Section 4 of the Act a second registration is required whenever any change takes place in the name of the owner of any harbour-craft. The learned Magistrate, however, who tried the accused, acquitted him on the ground that in this case the necessity for a second registration was avoided inasmuch as the business now conducted by the son, the accused, retained the name of the father Lakhmidas Kurji. Mr. Kelkar, who has endeavoured to support the learned Magistrate's judgment has put it upon the ground that the real owners of this craft, when it was registered in the name of the father were the father and the two brothers, and that the father's death does not constitute a change in the ownership of the craft. It appears to us, however, that the words of the Act are too clear to admit of any such construction as this. Sections 4 and 7 of the Act and the Schedule appended to it seem to us to show that the Act requires the certification of a certain individual or individuals as being the owner or owners of the harbour-craft. In this case, admittedly, the craft was registered in the name of the father Lakhmidas. According to the Schedule, therefore, it was certified that Lakhmidas was the sole owner of this craft. When Lakhmidas died in June 1912, he was no longer the sole owner of the craft, and it follows that there was a change in the ownership of the craft which, previously owned by was now owned by the present accused. That being so, it was, in our opinion, incumbent upon the accused under Section 4 of the Act to take out another registration. Since he did not do so, he is liable to the penalty prescribed by Section 13 as the punishment for an owner of a harbour-craft who is guilty of this omission. The result is that under that section the accused, who must be convicted of the offence imputed to him, is subject to a fine of Rs. 10, and following the decision in Empress v. Mhasnya Rama (1883) I.L.R. 7 Bom. 280 we direct that he pay this fine of Rs. 10.