1. The applicant Gajraj Singh has been convicted by the stipendiary Magistrate of Banda under Section 16, Motor Vehicles Act, and sentenced to a fine of Rs. 50 and his licence has been suspended for three months. The charge against the accused was that on 30th September 1935, he was carrying in his lorry 35 passengers which was more than the number sanctioned for his lorry by the Motor Vehicles authorities under the Motor Vehicles Act. It appears that a summons was issued against the applicant in which he was charged merely with an offence under Section 16, Motor Vehicles Act. The offence was not defined and in the summons the applicant was given no notice of the nature of the charge which was to be preferred against him. In other words, he was hauled before the Court, tried and convicted without the ordinary notice, to which every accused is entitled before being put upon trial. It appears that there is a practice in this Province to issue summons under the Motor Vehicles Act without defining the exact offence with which the accused is being charged. This is a most reprehensible practice. It has been condemned by this Court in the past. It appears that no notice has been taken of the observations of the Judges of the High Court who have in the past expressed their opinions upon the practice above referred to.
2. I consider it necessary in this case to state emphatically and clearly that it is the duty of the clerk who issues the summons under the Motor Vehicles Act to define therein the exact nature of the charge which is being preferred against the person against whom the summons is being issued. The time, the place and the exact nature of the offence charged must be clearly set forth. If this is not done then clearly the clerk issuing the summons is guilty of gross breach of duty. A conviction which follows upon a summons in which the accused is not given notice of the charge which is brought against him is an illegal conviction. In the present case Gajraj Singh was hauled before the Court, tried, convicted and sentenced in one day. He was given no opportunity of meeting the case against him. Had he been afforded an opportunity of producing evidence in his defence after the evidence for the prosecution had been led, then, even although there had been a material irregularity in the proceedings in that no notice of the charge was contained in the summons, this Court would not normally interfere in revision if it were satisfied that upon the merits the accused was guilty of the offence charged and that justice had been done. It is impossible, however, in the present case to be certain that justice has been done, for the simple reason that not only was no notice given to the accused of the charge preferred against him in the summons but he was not given an opportunity of meeting the prosecution case after the close of the prosecution evidence. In these circumstances the conviction of the applicant Gajraj Singh cannot stand. In the result the application is allowed, the conviction and sentence of the applicant under Section 16, Motor Vehicles Act, are set aside and the applicant is acquitted. The fine if paid will be refunded.