1. The petitioners in this case have been convicted by the Stationary Sub-Magistrate of Octacamund, under Section 42(1) read with Section 123, Motor Vehicles Act. Petitioner 1 (accused 1) was sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 100 and petitioner 2 (accused 2) to a fine of Rs. 5. Both the conviction and sentence were confirmed in appeal by the District Magistrate, Coimbatore.
2. Petitioner 1 is the Manager of a bus service called the Rajalakshmi Motor Service at Ootacamund. On 14-3-1955, A. 2, the driver was found driving bus No. M.D.N. 2284 towards Gudalur with 28 passengers on a special trip. The evidence discloses that this bus went on the trip with the consent of petitioner 1 herein. The charge against him for this is that he had done this without a special permit under Section 42, Motor Vehicles Act. That it is a stage carriage is not disputed. Section 42, Motor Vehicles Act runs as follows:
No owner of a transport vehicle shall use or permit the use of the vehicle in a public place save in accordance with the conditions of a permit granted or counter-signed by a Regional or Provincial Transport Authority authorising the use of the vehicle in that place in the manner in which the vehicle is being used.
Provided that, a stage carriage permit 'shall' (underlining (herein is mine), subject to any conditions that may be specified in the permit, authorise the use of the vehicle as a contract carriage.
That this stage carriage was used as a contract carriage on the date in question is also not disputed. The only question is whether any special permit is required under Section 42. The proviso clearly shows that a stage carriage permit shall, subject to any conditions that may be specified in the permit, authorise the use of the vehicle as a contract carriage. Clause 8 of Part B of the permit is as follows:
The stage carriage may be used as a contract carriage within the areas specified below provided that no interruption is caused to the stage carriage service subject to the following conditions.
The conditions are given separately and condition No. 28 is as follows):
The vehicle covered by this permit may also be used as a contract carriage subject to the condition that a written intimation is sent to the Regional Transport officer so as to reach him not less than three days in advance of the date on which the vehicle will be used as such, giving the following informations:
(i) the number of the trips the stage carriage covered by the permit will run as a contract carriage:
(ii) the purpose of the journey;
(iii) the distance and place to be covered by each trip;
(iv) the time within which the trip or trips will be completed.
What is, therefore, required for a stage carriage to be used as a contract carriage is only the giving of information to the authorities concerned, giving the particulars mentioned above.
There is no evidence in this case that no such intimation was given and it is not the case for the prosecution that this stage carriage was running as a contract carriage without such intimation being given. The prosecution has proceeded on the footing that a special permit is necessary to run it as a contract carriage. Apparently the prosecution was thinking of Section 62, Motor Vehicles Act. But under Section 62, special permit is necessary if the Transport vehicle is used for one of the purposes mentioned in the section. But the purpose for which the transport vehicle was used does not fall under any of the Clauses (a), (b) or (c) of Section 62 of the Act.
Further, Section 42 (proviso) clearly permits and authorises the use of a stage carriage into a contract carriage; only it must be subject to the condition mentioned therein, viz., that intimation is to be given of the particulars mentioned in the conditions. No special permit is necessary for the purpose of taking it as a contract carriage. The District Magistrate does not appear to have understood the difference between the proviso to Section 42 and Section 62 of the Act. Beyond merely quoting the sections, he has not discussed how and under what sections a special permit is necessary. The judgment of the District Magistrate is unsatisfactory. The prosecution has not established its case that a special permit is necessary in this case.
3. The petitioners are not guilty of the offence. The conviction and sentence are set aside and the fines, if paid, will be refunded.