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In Re: Rayala Rama Rao - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal;Motor Vehicles
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revn. Case Nos. 674 and 675 of 1958 and Criminal Revn. Petn. Nos. 567 and 568 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1961AP66; 1961CriLJ216
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 2(8), 2(33) and 38; Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 1956; Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, 1931 - Sections 11A
AppellantIn Re: Rayala Rama Rao
Appellant AdvocateA. Ramarao, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateK. Kolanda Reddy for Public Prosecutor
Excerpt:
.....2 (8), 2 (33) and 38 of motor vehicles act (as amended by act of 1956), 1939 and section 11-a of motor vehicles taxation act, 1931 - motor vehicles inspector checked tractor cum trailer combination and found it without fitness certificate and unpaid quarterly - vehicle is not transport vehicle within meaning of section 38 (1) - no fitness certificate required - tractor is not a transport vehicle within meaning of section 2 (33) - tractor used for agriculture purpose for full year and used for commercial purpose for four days cannot make it a commercial vehicle - held, conviction cannot be imposed. - - the burden of proving the same is clearly on the prosecution. 6. even on the evidence, i am satisfied that the prosecution had not established that the vehicle in question was being..........consideration. 2. in c.c. no. 904 of 1958, the prosecution was laid under section 38(1) of the motor vehicles act (act iv of 1939), the ground of complaint being that the vehicle did not have fitness certificate as retired by the section. the relevant section 38(1) of the motor vehicles act reacts as follows: 'subject to the provisions of section 38, a transport vehicle shall not be deemed to be validly registered for the purposes of section 22, unless it carries a certificate of fitness in form h as set forth in the first schedule issued by the prescribed authority, to the effect that the vehicle complies for the time being with all the requirements of ch. v and the rules made thereunder. where the prescribed authority refuses to issue such certificate, it shall supply the owner of.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Sanjeeva Row Nayudu, J.

1. The petitioner in both the oases is one Rayala Ramarao, who was prosecuted under the provisions to be noticed below of the Motor Vehicles Act. There were originally three prosecutions against him and the cases are numbered as C.C. Nos. 903, 004 and 905 of 1958 on the file of the 1st Addl. Judicial IInd Class Magistrate, Elluru. C.C. No. 903 of 1958 ended in an acquittal and it does not require consideration.

2. In C.C. No. 904 of 1958, the prosecution was laid under Section 38(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act (Act IV of 1939), the ground of complaint being that the vehicle did not have fitness certificate as retired by the section. The relevant Section 38(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act reacTs as follows:

'Subject to the provisions of Section 38, a transport vehicle shall not be deemed to be validly registered for the purposes of Section 22, unless it carries a certificate of fitness in Form H as set forth in the First Schedule issued by the prescribed authority, to the effect that the vehicle complies for the time being with all the requirements of Ch. V and the rules made thereunder. Where the prescribed authority refuses to issue such certificate, it Shall supply the owner of the vehicle with its reasons in writing for such refusal.'

It may be seen from this that the section applies only to a transport vehicle. 'Transport Vehicle' is defined in Clause (33) of Section 2 as follows:

'transport vehicle' means a public service vehicle or a goods vehicle.'

'A public service vehicle' is defined in Clause (25) of the same section as moaning:

'Any motor vehicle used or adapted to be used for the carriage of passengers for hire or reward, and includes a motor-cab, contract carriage, and stage carriage.'

A 'goods vehicle' is defined in Clause (8) of the same section as meaning:

'Any motor vehicle constructed or adapted for use for the carriage of goods, or any motor vehicle; not so constructed or adapted when used for the carriage of goods solely or in addition to passengers.'

The question for determination is whether a tractor with a trailer attached to it could be regarded as a 'transport vehicle' within the meaning of Section 38(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act. That it is not a public service vehicle within the definition of Clause (33) of Section 2 of the Act is not seriously disputed. The only question, therefore, is whether it can be regarded as a 'goods vehicle'.

3. The facts of the case are that on the evening of 27-3-1958, at Elluru, P.W. 1 Motor Vehicles Inspector, who was checking the vehicles passing along the road stopped the accused's vehicle which was a tractor cum trailer combination and checked it. He found that it had no fitness certificate as contemplated under Section 38 of the Motor Vehicles Act and also that the quarterly tax had not been paid.

4. Mr. Adavi Rama Rao, learned counsel for the petitioner, draws my attention to Clause (33) of Section 2 of the Motor Vehicles Act as it stood prior to the present sub-section which has been amended in 1956 and that reads as follows:

'Transport vehicle' means a public service vehicle, a goods vehicle, a locomotive or a tractor other than a locomotive or tractor used solely for agricultural purposes.'

From this, it is contended, and in my opinion, quite rightly, that the legislature by introducing the amendment in 1956, advisedly omitted the tractor or the tractor used solely for agricultural purposes. Obviously, the legislature intended that this vehicle should not in its view come within the meaning of 'transport vehicle'. On a plain reading of the provisions of Clause (33) of Section 2 of the Act, I have no difficulty whatsoever in coming to the conclusion that a 'tractor' is not a 'transport vehicle' with-in the meaning of Clause (33) of Section 2 of the Act as itnow stands and as it stood on the date of the alleged offence on 27-3-1958.

It is contended that the trailer does not come within the definition of a 'goods vehicle' because of the obvious reason that the trailer does not move by itself. Hence Section 38 of the Motor Vehicles Act has no application either to a tractor or a tractor cum trailer combination vehicle and as such the petitioner is not liable to produce fitness certificate as required by the section.' I have therefore no hesitation in holding that the conviction of the petitioner under Section 38 of the Motor Vehicles Act is completely illegal and must he set aside.

5. C.C. No. 905 of 1958 relates to the non-payment of quarterly tax, a liability contemplated by Section 7 of the Motor Vehicles Taxation Act (Act III of 1931). The said section reads as follows:

'If the tax due in respect of any motor vehicle has not been paid, the registered owner or the person having possession or control thereof shall be punishable with fine which may extend to fifty rupees; and the amount of the tax due by him in respect of such vehicle (for the quarter Or quarter concerned) shall also be recovered as if it were a fine.'

This section which is general in character has got to be read with Section 11-A of the Act under which exemption is claimed by the petitioner for taxation. Section 11-A readg as follows:

'Nothing in this Act shall apply to a motor vehicle used solely for the purposes of agriculture. Explanation:-- A motor vehicle used for transporting agricultural produce shall not for the imipose of this section be deemed to be used solely, for the purposes of agriculture.' The question therefore that arises for consideration in this revision is whether the vehicle in question viz., tractor cum trailer combination is exempt from taxation within the meaning of Section 11-A of the Act. 'In order that Section 11-A should apply, the following conditions should be fulfilled:

(i) the vehicle should be a motor vehicle; (ii) it should be used solely for the purposes of agriculture;

(iii) the use for the purposes of agriculture should not consist merely of transporting agricultural produce.

In other words, if the motor vehicle in question is used for transporting agricultural produce in addition to various other agricultural purposes such as those for which tractors are normally empkyed, then obviously that vehicle would be exempt from taxation under Section 11-A of the Motor Vehicles Taxation Act. Apparently, the Legislature intended to exempt from taxation all motor vehicles which are used, solely for the purposes of agriculture. Then apparently it must have struck them that it may be contended lafer that any vehicle which is used merely for the purposes of carrying agricultural produce from the fields to the market would also claim exemption which obviously was net the intention of the Legislature.

Hence, the Legislature took care to introduce the explanation by which it excluded from the operation of Section 11-A any vehicle used only for transport, which use as such would be characte rised as 'commercial', and not purely for agriculture. Where agricultural needs are met, the mere fact that because commercial needs are also catered for, there is no justification for stating that exemption from taxation ceases. Hence, the explanation has been introduced into the section. It certainly cannot apply to a case where in 365 days of the year a tractor is used for agricultural purposes and in four days of the year it happened to be used for non-agricultural purposes namely transporting agricultural produce from the field to the house or even to the market.

To extend the scope of the explanation to cover such cases would obviously amount to defeating the whole purpose of the section. Apart from the legal interpretation on which undoubtedly the accused is entitled to an acquittal, Mr. Adavi Ramarao, learned counsel for the petitioner, draws my attention to the evidence in the case-which discloses that the trailer which wag being drawn by the tractor at the time of checking was transporting tobacco stems. The learned Sessions Judge makes much of the fact that it was suggested in the examination ot the witnesses that what were being transported were tobacco bales containing tobacco leaf but not tobacco stems.

The burden of proving the same is clearly on the prosecution. It would be too much to expect the accused to help the prosecution or to have the motive disproved. It is certainly not the purpose of the defence in the case. On the other hand, there is clear evidence on the point in the case. D.W. 1 states that the bags contained tobacco stems. It is common knowledge that useless tobacco stems, stalks, refuse and dust not fit for conversion into cigarettes or cigars or for manufacture of snuff would usually be used for purposes of manure, and the accused points out that this was the object with which he was taking the tobacco stems from his field in Rayannapalem to his fields in Vallum where his land is saline in character, for the purpose of manuring the soil there.

6. Even on the evidence, I am satisfied that the prosecution had not established that the vehicle in question was being used merely for transporting agricultural produce. What was being transported was agricultural refuse fit for being employed as manure. In either view of the matter, the prosecution must fail. The convictions and the sentences are set aside. The fines, if paid, in either of these cases shall be refunded.


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