1. This is an application in revision from an order convicting the accused under Section 16, Motor Vehicles Act (Act 8 of 1914). The accused got his motor-car registered and the police authorities assigned to him the number 'U.P. 561 B.S.' Instead of reproducing these exact letters and figures the accused had, on his number plate, the latters 'U.P. with the figure '561' and the letters! 'B.S.' written in Hindi script. When: prosecuted, his defence was that he had complied with the rules framed under the Motor Vehicles Act inasmuch as he had in substance reproduced the number assigned to his car. There is no question that the Local Government has, under the authority conferred upon it by the Motor Vehicles Act, framed rules called the U.P. Motor Vehicles Rules 1928, which was in force.
2. Rule 22 provides that the number assigned to a motor vehicle shall be shown in white figures and letters of uniform size on a black ground in the case of a private motor vehicle. Then Rule 12 provides that the registering authority shall assign to every motor vehicle at the time of registration a distinguishing number and shall record the name and address of the owner. At the end of the rules there is a form, Schedule B, prescribed for the registration certificate which is in English and in the very first line the number of the vehicle is to be entered. It is not disputed that in the registration certificate issued to the accused the number entered was as mentioned above. Now Rule 3(M) defines what is meant by 'number' in these Rules, and says that 'number' in reference to the number assigned to a motor vehicle includes 'letters, figures and marks.' Thus, the word 'number' in these Rules is not used in only the arithmetical sense but is wide enough to cover letters, figures and marks, which may be assigned by the registering authority, to a motor vehicle.
3. The question for consideration in this revision is whether the accused reproduced the exact 'number' assigned to his car. It is not disputed that it was his duty to reproduce the exact number. The contention on his behalf is that inasmuch as the arithmetical number and letters were reproduced in Hindi there was sufficient compliance with the provisions of these Rules. It seems to me that this contention is not correct. When the registering authority assigned certain letters and numbers, which taken together constituted a symbol or mark, it was the duty of the accused to reproduce the same on the number-plate. For instance, he would not comply with the provisions if instead of reproducing the letters themselves he reproduced the sound of those letters written out in words; or the figure 561 written out in words instead of in 'figures. Nor would it be sufficient compliance to have instead of the letters 'B and S' on the number-plate some words reproducing similar sounds by means of words or letters in some other script. No doubt the Rules do not in express terms lay down that the letters or numbers should be in latin character. This is not at all necessary. If the registering officer chooses to assign the number in Hindi character it would be the duty of the owner of the motor vehicle to reproduce the letters and the figures in that script. But it is quite clear that unless the number, including letters, figures and marks as assigned, has been exactly reproduced the Rules would not be complied with.
4. If the contention of the accused were accepted it would be open to owners of motor vehicles to have the numbers and letters in any foreign language they like. This would not obviously carry out the intention of the legislature. It is therefore quite clear that the number on the number-plate as displayed by the accused was not the number actually assigned to the car as defined in these Rules. I would therefore dismiss this application.
5. I entirely agree. In my opinion, it follows from the definition of the word 'number,' to be found in Rule 3(m) of the Rules framed by the Local Government, and from the language of Rule 22 that the letters and. the figures and the marks, (if any), as they stand in the registration certificate, should be copied exactly on the number-plate. When it is said that certain letters are to be shown in the number-plate, you cannot say that you have shown those letters by putting down other letters which may have a sound of a similar kind as the sound of the letter assigned. The two sounds may be the same but certainly the letters arc not the same. In my opinion, the rule has been infringed and therefore this revision has no force.