1. The applicant, Pandit Madan Mohan Nath Raina, has been convicted under Sections 8 and 16 of Act No. VIII of 1914, an Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to motor vehicles in British India. He has been fined Re. 1. The facts are not in dispute. The contention is that, on the actual facts, no offence has been committed under Sections 8 and 16 of the Act. The facts are briefly as follows: Mr. Raina was travelling along the road on a motor cycle when he was stopped by a police sergeant and asked to show his driving licence. It was not in his possession at that time. He asked the sergeant to wait for five minutes so that ho might go home and bring it, but the sergeant declined. Upon this the sergeant took down his name and address and reported the matter to the Magistrate. The answer to the question depends upon the meaning of Section 8 of the Act which runs as follows: 'The driver of a motor vehicle shall produce his licence upon demand by any police officer,' The corresponding section in the English Act, 3 Edward VII, Chapter 36, Section 3, Clause 4, runs as follows: 'A licence must be produced by any person driving a motor car when demanded by a police constable. If any person fails so to produce his licence he shall be liable on summary conviction' etc. So far as the English Act is concerned, there is no doubt whatsoever that it is compulsory upon a driver of a motor vehicle to carry his licence with him, that he is bound to produce it at once directly a police constable calls upon him to do so, and that failure to produce immediately upon such demand is punishable under the Act. To my mind the language of these two sections of the English Act and of the Indian Act has exactly the same meaning. A driver of the motor vehicle is the person who is actually at the time driving. He is bound under section to produce his licence upon demand. 'Upon demand' must mean immediately upon 'demand.' The reason is obvious. If a person driving a car has not his licence and cannot produce it immediately and if he be allowed to go away it will be open to anybody to evade the Act and at once depart and never be seen any more by the police officer concerned. The number on the car will only inform the police as to the ownership of the car, but it would not inform them who was the driver.
2. A comparison of this section with the section of the former Local Act, namely, Act II of 1911 of the United Provinces, shows that a clear alteration has been made in the law and it must have been deliberate. The former section ran as follows: 'The driver of a motor vehicle shall upon demand by any police officer produce his licence at once or at any police station within twenty-four hours.' That section dearly gave him the option of either producing a licence on the spot or of producing it at the local police station within twenty-four hours. The wording of the present section seems to me to make it clear that the option has been removed and that a driver must produce his licence immediately. The words 'upon demand' are clear and can have only one meaning, namely, at once, directly the demand is made.
3. It is urged that it would be very hard lines upon many parsons who accidently leave their licences behind and are only a short distance from home. It cannot be called hard lines on any body. The law is known and it is easily carried out. The object of the words 'upon demand.' is also to enable the police officers to prevent unlicensed persons from driving cars and that can only be done by giving the police officers power to demand immediate production of the document when they call for it. When this Act was passed, presumably the Legislature had before it the English Act and the reasons which caused the English Legislature to make it compulsory upon a driver to produce his licence immediately a constable demands it. Those reasons operate equally well in India as in England, The words in the English Act 'when demanded' have exactly the same meaning as the words in the Indian Act 'upon demand.' In my opinion the interpretation of the law which the lower court has adopted is correct and technically the applicant was guilty of the offence of failure to produce. The application is therefore dismissed.