P.T. Raman Nayar, J.
1. In our opinion this appeal by the State against the acquittal of the accused in this case of an offence under Section 8 of the Travaneore-Co. Vehicles Taxation Act (Act XIV of 1950) has to be allowed. That the motor lorry, bearing the number T. C. C. 1064, of which the accused was the registered owner was driven along a public road in the State of Travancore-Cochin on 20-1-1954, and again on 28-1-1954 and that no tax had been paid in respect of it for the quarter in question, were proved and were, in fact, not disputed.
That being so, the view taken by the learned Magistrate that no tax was payable because, on both occasions, the lorry was only being tested after repair, and was carrying no goods, seems to us clearly wrong. Under Section 3 of the Act, Government may by notification in the gazette direct that a tax be levied on every vehicle using any public road in the State, and, when it does so, shall, subject to certain maximal specify the rates at which the tax shall be levied.
By such a notification dated 20-7-1950, and duly published in the gazette on 25-7-1950, Government have directed that from the quarter commencing on the first day of April 1950, a tax shall be levied on every vehicle using any public road in the Travancore-Cochin State at the rates specified in the schedule annexed thereto, and under item 3 (h) of the schedule the quarterly tax payable by a goods vehicle exceeding 110 cwt. but not exceeding 150 cwt. In weight laden is Rs. 360.
Under Section 2 (1) (b) of the Act, the term 'goods vehicle' has the meaning assigned to it in the law relating to motor vehicles for the time being in force, and that law was, and still is, the Motor Vehicles Act 1939 (Central Act IV of 1939), Section 2 (8) of which defines the term 'goods vehicle' as meaning, 'any motor vehicle constructed or adapted for use for the carriage of goods'. The accused's vehicle being a motor lorry, In other words, a motor vehicle constructed or adapted for use for the carriage of goods, it follows that it is at all times a goods vehicle whether or not it is actually carrying goods.
That its laden weight is between 110 and 150 cwt. is not disputed. (The term 'laden weight' is a technical term having reference only to the capacity of the vehicle and not to the weight of the goods it is actually carrying at any given time. It is specified for each vehicle in the permit issued to it under the Motor Vehicles Act --see the definition of 'laden weight' in Section 2 (2) of the Vehicles Taxation Act). A vehicle driven along a public road uses that road whether it is empty or loaded, and a goods vehicle uses the road whether or not it is carrying goods.
Therefore under Section 3 of the Vehicles Taxation Act, read with the notification issued thereunder, the tax specified in the notification was due in respect of the accused's vehicle for the quarter ending 31-3-1954 for having used the public road on 20-1-1954 and 28-1-1954; and this irrespective of whether it was loaded or empty. Admittedly the tax was not paid, and the accused being the registered owner of the vehicle, it is clear that he is guilty of an offence punishable under Section 6 of the Act.
2. It is argued on behalf of the accused that he is exempt from the payment of the tax by reason of the following notification issued by Government on 15-4-1952.
'In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 11 of the Travancore-Cochin Vehicles Taxation Act 1950 (Act XIV of 1950), Government are hereby pleased to exempt motor vehicles which during any taxation period are used only for the purpose of inspection and obtaining a certificate of fitness under Section 38 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, (Central Act IV of 1939) from tax payable under the first mentioned Act in respect of such period.
But it was never the accused's case that his vehicle was being used on the public road on the dates in question for the purpose of inspection and obtaining a certificate of fitness, and even assuming as is now argued, that it was being tested with a view to its being made ready for such an inspection, that does not come within the exemption in the notification.
3. We allow the appeal and convict the accused under Section 8 of the Travancore-Cochin Vehicles Taxation Act. We sentence him to pay a, fine of Rs. 50, in default, to undergo simpleimprisonment for two weeks; and under the termsof the section the tax due from him, namely, Rs.360 shall be recovered as if it were a fine.