1. This case raises the question of the construction of Section 249 of Madras District Municipalities Act V of 1920 taken with Clause (q) of Schedule 5. The accused keeps a rice mill for converting paddy into raw rice, within three miles of the municipal limits of Rajahmundry. A notification was issued under Section 249 of that Act and as the result of that the parties doing anything for one or more of the purposes specified in Schedule 5 were obliged to take out licenses from the Chairman. The accused has been convicted for not taking out a license accordingly for his rice mill with the time allowed.
2. It is argued before me that the conviction is wrong as accused's mill was not used for any of the purposes mentioned in Schedule 5. The points turns on how Clause (q) of Schedule 5. is to be construed, particularly on whether the last words of it 'which is likely to be dangerous to human life or health or property' is to be read as qualifying the last clause 'any industrial process' or is to be read with each of the clauses preceding it beginning with 'storing any explosive or combustible material.' Some clue to the construction of the Clause (q) is given in the proviso to it wherein the words 'for private use' has to be clearly read with each one of the preceding words as otherwise it will be a direct contradiction of Clause (q) above. It seems to me reasonable to read 'likely to be dangerous to human life, health or property' as qualifying each one of the previous clauses in (q) and not merely the last. The object seems to me to bring under municipal control by the method of issuing licenses the keeping or using of things which are dangerous to human life, health or property. To hold otherwise will be to give undue extention to the clauses dealing with the using of fuel or machinery for industrial purposes. The purely grammatical construction of the language of Clause (7) would seem also to suggest that the last clause qualifies all the previous clauses.
3. In the view taken by the lower Courts the question whether the machinery used by the accused was dangerous to human life, health or property has not been considered. Ordinarily any large machinery is dangerous to human life, but we cannot presume it with reference to any particular machinery. The case must therefore go back to the trial Court to be retried in the light of the above observations.
3. It may be stated in conclusion that I do not accept the argument that the conversion of paddy into rice is not an industrial purpose. It is clearly one.
4. The conviction is set aside and the case remanded to the Bench Magistrate for a fresh trial and disposal. The fine if paid will be refunded.