R.N. Misra, J.
1. This is a reference made by the learned Addl. District Magistrate (Judicial), Ganjam, recommending the quashing of a conviction under the Motor Vehicles Act (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act').
2. The three petitioners happen to be the owner, driver and conductor of a stage carriage bearing registration number ORG 2561. During mobile Court checking it transpired that the vehicle did not have a direction indicator. Accordingly they were proceeded against for contravention of Rule 124 of the Orissa Motor Vehicles Rules, contravention whereof is punishable under Section 112 of the Act. The driver and the conductor having admitted their guilt were convicted and fined Rs. 20/- each. The proceeding. however, continued against the owner as he was not present at the time of detection and he was proceeded in Court.
3. Against the continuance of the proceeding, the owner applied to the learned Additional District Magistrate (Judicial) to make a reference to the Court on the ground that the prosecution was groundless. The learned Additional District Magistrate on an analysis of Sections 79 and 80 of the Act has come to the conclusion that the petitioner's contention is justified.
4. Sections 79 (1) and 80 of the Act may now be extracted:--
'79 (1) The driver of a motor vehicle with a right-hand steering control shall onthe occasions specified in the lileventh Schedule make the signals specified therein;
Provided that the signal of an intention to turn to the right or left or to stop may be given by a mechanical or an electrical device of a prescribed nature affixed to the vehicle.
XX XX XX 80. No person shall drive or cause or allow to be driven in any public place any motor vehicle with left-hand steering control unless it is equipped with a mechanical or electrical signalling device of a prescribed nature and in working order: x xx xx'
The Eleventh Schedule makes provision for signals and indicates the circumstances and the manner in which signals are to be given. It would appear that a signal with the hand held in a particular manner as indicated in that Schedule is sufficient compliance. The mandatory prescription of mechanical or electrical signalling device in the case of a vehicle with left-hand steering control and the absence of such a provision in the case of a vehicle with a right-hand steering control has been rightly brought out in the order of reference. The driver with a left-hand steering (which is mostly an exception in India) does not have the advantage of showing his hand to the right of the vehicle. Therefore, other persons plying vehicles who are normally used to the signal on the right of the driving seat would not be in a position to be guided by such signals. Accordingly a mechanical or electrically operated signalling device has been made mandatory under Section 80 of the Act in respect of a vehicle with right hand steering control as dealt with under Section 79 (1) of the Act is sufficiently done when signal is indicated in the manner provided under the Eleventh Schedule, Reference, therefore, has not rightly been made to the Eleventh Schedule in Section 80 of the Act.
5. In that view of the matter, it would follow that in respect of the stage carriage in question which admittedly had a right-hand steering control, provision for a signalling device as was expected by the prosecutor was not warranted. The proceeding itself seems to have been misconceived.
6. It is true, before the mobile court Magistrate the driver and the conductor had pleaded guilty, but that is no bar to this Court quashing the conviction in view of the finding now reached that the prosecution was without any basis. Not knowing the legal position, the admission had been made.
7. I would, accordingly accept the reference, quash the conviction of the driver and the conductor (petitioners 2 and 3 respectively) and direct that fines which are said to have been paid be refunded. The case as against the owner in U. C. No. 1239 of 1972 said to be pending in the Court of a Judicial Magistrate 1st Class at Berhampur is quashed as not maintainable.