John Beaumont, Kt., C.J.
1. This revision application raises a short point under the Bombay Motor Vehicles Tax Act, 1935, and the rules made thereunder.
2. The applicant is the manager of the Regional Motors, Ltd., who are the managing agents of the Nasik Motor Service Union, Ltd., and that company owns a particular car. The accused was prosecuted for not having displayed on that car the requisite disc or token, and the question is whether in law the applicant as a mere manager of the) managing agents is liable for the non-display of the token.
3. Under Section 3(2) of the Motor Vehicles Tax Act the tax has to be paid by the registered owner or any person having possession or control of a motor vehicle, and under Sub-section (3) when the tax is paid, the registering authority has to issue to the person paying the tax a token in the prescribed form showing that such tax has been paid. Under Section 6 the registered owner or person having possession or control of a motor vehicle has to fill in a declaration. Under Rule 23 of the Rules made under the Act, when the registering authority on receipt of the requisite declaration is satisfied that the vehicle in respect of which the declaration is made is exempt from tax, or that the amount of tax due in respect of such vehicle has been paid, it shall furnish the person making the declaration with a token. Then under Rule 25 it is provided that a token issued under the rules shall be attached to and carried on the vehicle at all times when the vehicle is in use in any public place.
4. Admittedly Rule 25 was not complied with, and, in my opinion, there can be no doubt that the company, which is the registered owner of the vehicle, is liable for breach of the rule. Whether the actual driver, who had control of the vehicle on the road, would be liable is a question which does not arise in this case, because the only person prosecuted was the manager or the managing agents of the registered owner, and I can see nothing in the Act or the Rules which makes such manager liable. He has not in law possession or control of the vehicle. He may, of course, be in practice the agent, who on behalf of the registered owner actually gives the necessary directions as to the user of the vehicle, but he is not in law the person in possession or control. As the Act has not specified the persons on whom liability for breach of Rule 25 is to fall, I am of opinion that it is impossible to say that a mere manager of a company which owns a motor car is liable for breach of the rule which requires the token to be carried on the car.
5. We, therefore, think that the application must be allowed, the conviction set aside, and the fine repaid.
6. I agree.