1. The Appeal by the State is directed against the judgment dated September 17, 1979, passed by the Sessions Judge. Kolar in Criminal Appeal No. 15/79 quashing the conviction of accused No. 1 Respondent No. 1 for the offence under Section 12 read with Section 3 of the Motor Vehicles Taxation Act and convicting him of the offence under Rule 36 read with Rule 37 of Motor Vehicles Taxation Rules.
2. Respondent No. 1 Krishna Gowda is the owner of a Tractor MYK 5038 along with a Trailer attached to it. Respondent No. 2 H. K. Nanjunde Gowda was the Driver of the said Tractor and on the date of offence 7 basket full of cocoons were being transported to Kolar from Karadagurki. The village of the accused, in contravention of the exemption granted under section 16 of the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, 1957. It is also alleged that Nanjunde Gowda had no valid driving motor licence etc. Accordingly, both the accused were prosecuted for the various offences.
3. The trial Court, on appreciation of the evidence convicted Accused No. 1 for the offence under section 12 r/w section 3 of the Motor Vehicles Taxation Act and A-2 for the various offences.
4. Both the owner and the Driver being aggrieved by the said order of conviction preferred an appeal in Criminal Appeal 15/79 on the file of the Sessions Judge, Kolar. So far as the appeal of the Driver was concerned, it was not pressed and hence, conviction and sentence imposed upon the Driver have become final.
5. The learned Sessions Judge thought that the offence so far as the owner was concerned did not fall within the ambit of Section 12 r/w Section 3 of the Act and the offence fell only u/R. 36 r/w R. 37 of the Motor Vehicles Taxation Rules.
6. The State being aggrieved has come up with this Appeal. The exemption granted under-section 16(3) related to the agricultural operations and the transportation of agricultural produce. The word 'Agricultural Produce' has not been defined either in the Motor Vehicles Act or in the Motor Vehicles Taxation Act. The words 'Agricultural Produce' is normally confined to growing crop standing on the land on which it is grown and cut crop lying on the threshing floor or fodder stack. It may also include the grain separated from the chaff. Therefore, in our opinion, agricultural produce would mean the things grown on the land and would not include an animal, insect or worm fed on the crops raised on the land. Cocoons are reared on the Mulberry leaves grown on the land. Merely because the mulberry leaves are raised on the land, it does not mean that the Cocoons would be agricultural produce. Therefore, in our opinion. Cocoons are not at all an agricultural produce.
7. Rule 36 of the Motor Vehicles Taxation Rules. 1957 reads as under :
'For purposes of sub-sec (3) of Section 16, Agricultural operations shall mean, tilling, sowing, weeding, harvesting, crushing of agricultural produce, reclamation and levelling of the land for agriculture, transportation of persons, materials and Manure to the agricultural farm, solely for the purpose of agriculture and transportation of agricultural produce from the agricultural farm to the house of the owner, provided that for taking the vehicles for repairs, or for a driving test, the owner shall obtain a written permission from the R.T.O.'
It is not the case of the accused that the transportation of cocoons would fall within the meaning of agricultural operations as defined by R. 36 of the Rules. It is also not the case of the accused that at the material time when his vehicle was caught it was being used for agricultural operations. Therefore, we are unable to understand how R. 36 comes into play. It is the violation of R. 36 that is made punishable u/R. 37. Therefore, in our opinion, the learned Sessions Judge erred in holding that the offence falls u/R. 36.
8. It becomes clear from the evidence of P.Ws. 1 and 2 that 7 basket full of cocoons were being transported from Karadagurki to Kolar for marketing. Therefore, he was using it for a purpose other than - one in respect of which the exemption was given to him. Therefore, it amounts to misuse of the vehicle though it might be for one day.
9. A similar situation arose in the case of Patel Giriyappa v. Deputy Transport Commr, reported in (1978) 1 Kant LJ 86 : (1978 Tax LR 1770). The material facts in that case were :
'Where a tractor-trailer designed and used for agricultural operations and exempted from payment of tax under-section 16(3) is used for non-agricultural purpose, the owner is liable to be prosecuted.'
The facts in that case are that the tractor trailer was carrying stones for road works which was not for agricultural purpose i.e., in violation of the exemption granted under-section 16(3) of the Act. It appears from the facts of the said case that the owner of the tractor trailer was held liable to pay tax. However, the said ruling laid down that the Act did not prevent the owner from claiming exemption again if the vehicle is used solely for agricultural operations.
10. Though the tractor trailer in question might have been misused even for one day only, in violation of the exemption, still in our opinion it attracts Section 3 of the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Taxation Act. The violation of Section 3 is made punishable under-section 12 Therefore, the trial Court in our opinion, was perfectly justified in convicting the accused for the offence under-section 12 r/w section 3 of the Act. The sentence imposed upon the owner-Krishna Gowda for the offence under-section 12 r/w Section 3 of the Act by the trial Court is absolutely reasonable and correct. Therefore, we set aside the judgment and the order of conviction u/R 36 r/w R/37 of the Motor Vehicles Taxation Rules imposed by the Sessions Judge and in its place, we affirm the conviction and the sentence of the owner Krishna Gowda for the offence under-section 12 r/w Section 3 of the Motor Vehicles Taxation Act as ordered by the trial Court. The appeal is accordingly allowed.
11. Appeal Allowed.