1. One Kishanlal Maganlal was convicted under Section 22(1) of the Bombay Public Conveyance Act. 1920, for keeping for hire a public conveyance, namely a two-wheeled cycle rickshaw without a licence granted by the Commissioner of Police After the conviction, the learned Chief City Magistrate, Ahmedabad, passed an order of confiscation, under Sub-section (2) of Section 22 of the said Act. After the order was passed, the present petitioner Sehjatkhan Jummakhan approached the learned Chief City| Magistrate. Ahmedahad, and challenged the order of confiscation on the ground that he was the owner and he was entitled !o be heard. The learned City Magistrate slated that he had already passed the order of confiscation and he could not do anything else. Hence this present revision application.
2. If we look at the scheme of Section 22 of the Public Conveyance Act and bear fn mind the wording of that section, there is no provision in the Act or in the section requiring any person to be heard. There is no provision requiring the Magistrate to make an Inquiry as to who the owner is and to hear any person who may come forward professing to be the owner, whether he is in reality the owner or not. In order to prevent the rickshaw from being confiscated it is always likely that the person, who is convicted under Section 22(1) of the Public Conveyance Act, may set up a plea that he is not the owner. In some cases, it may be that really he is not the owner. But whatever it may he, there is no provision in Section 22(2) of the said Act requiring the Magistrate to make the inquiry as to who the owner is or to hear a person professing to be the owner. This was the view already taken by me in Criminal Revn. Appln. No. 721 of 1961, dated 19-8 1902.
3. Another reason in support of this conclusion is that the conveyance in question must be a public conveyance and the gravamen of the conviction is that there is no licence for the public conveyance. The conviction is not for keeping Ihe conveyance for hire or letting it out for hire, but for doing so without a licence, from the Commissioner of Police. The section applies only to a public conveyance, which is delined in the Act as a conveyance meant to be hired out. The gravamen of the conviction is therefore, that the owner did not lake a licence from the Commissioner of Police. Before there is a conviction it must be proved that the conveyance is a public conveyance and that there is no licence from the Police Commissioner. The owner must be aware that his public conveyance has no licence from the Police Commissioner. The mere fact that the conveyance in question which is a public conveyance has no licence brings out the culpability of the owner, and there is no reason to hear the owner. That is why Sub-section (2) of Section '22 of the Public Conveyance Act has not made any provision to hear the owner or to make an inquiry about the owner. Before confiscation, Hirer elements must be proved. There must he a conviction of a person under Section 22(1)(a) of the Public Conveyance Act i.e. of keeping a public conveyance for hire or letting it for hire without a licence granted by the Police Commissioner. Once these ingredients are proved, the conveyance in respect of which the offence has been made can be confiscated. The expression used is 'in respect of which the Court is satisfied that Ihe offence has been committed'. The expression is not 'the conveyance of which he is the owner'. In other words, if an offence has been committed under Section 22(1) (a) of the Public Conveyance Act, the conveyance in respect of which Ihe offence has been committed may be confiscated, whoever may be the owner. As already observed, the facts that the conveyance in question is a public conveyance kept for hire and that licence has not been taken make the owner culpable, because theowner cannot be Ignorant of the fact that it is a public conveyance kept for hire and that it has no licence. In these circumstances, even if the owner is laid to be some person other than the convicted person, there is no reason to hear him on the question of the order of confiscation. Even in the High Court the conviction under Section 22(1) of the Public Conveyance Act is not challenged. So the facts that the conveyance is a public conveyance that is kept for hire and that it has no licence are not challenged. In these circumstances there was no necessity for the Magistrate to hear on the question of confiscation, some person who says he Is the owner.
4. I, therefore, refuse to interfere in thisrevision application. The revision application isdismissed.