1. The appellant was convicted under Section 7(2) of the 'War Risks (Goods) Insurance Ordinance, IX of 1940, of failing to insure his goods.
2. The appellant is Messrs. Krishanlal Roopehand and Company; and the principal argument in appeal is that Ordinance IX of 1940 does not make it incumbent on firms to insure their goods but only on private individuals trading as such. The Ordinance lays down the liability of sellers of goods to insure their goods, and Section 7 says that after a date fixed by the Central Government, no person shall carry on any business as a seller of goods unless those goods are insured. Section 7 (2) makes any contravention of that provision punishable. The ordinary meaning of ''person'' under the General Clauses Act includes any company or association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not. So any firm, registered or not, would be a person within the meaning of the General Clauses Act, Section 3 (39); but it is argued that the wording of Section 6 of the Ordinance indicates that the word 'person' is not intended to be used in that wide sense in the Ordinance; for a distinction is there drawn between a person and a firm. On the general principle that a word should receive the same construction if possible throughout an Act, it is urged that a 'person' cannot include a firm. The person referred to in Section 6 of the Ordinance is not however of the same class as the person referred to in the other sections of the Act. Section 6 enables the Central Government to delegate their authority for the purpose of the Ordinance to a person or firm, whereas the, word 'person' in Section 7 and elsewhere is a 'seller of goods', defined in Section 2 (f). It seems as if the purpose of Section 6 was to confine the agency to a person in the ordinary sense of the word or to a firm. However that may be, it cannot mean that the Government intended that only private individuals carrying on business in their individual capacity should insure their goods. If that were so, the very small section of the merchant community would be affected by the Ordinance. I hold therefore that the appellant was rightly convicted.
3. The learned Magistrate has imposed a penalty roughly equal to the amount of insurance due. That seems very reasonable, but it is said that the appellant acted throughout in good faith and was ignorant of the provisions of the Ordinance. That seems most improbable, in view of the extent of the appellant's business and the fact that wide publicity was given to this Ordinance and its terms debated by the commercial community and by Chambers of Commerce. I do not think that interference with the sentence is called for.
4. The appeal is dismissed.