1. The petitioners in all these cases were convicted for driving their buses at a speed exceeding that fixed by the Regional Transport Authority for application to the Madura Municipal limits. The speed fixed was a maximum of 15 miles an hour, and the petitioners were found to have been driving at speeds exceeding that by about three or four miles an hour.
2. It was admitted by the Police in the lower appellate Court that the fixing of the speed limit by the Municipality was not published by notification until the 24th November, 1941, whereas the offences which were the subject of these petitions were committed on the 9th August, 1941. The question is whether a notification is necessary before an offence can be committed or whether notification is merely a method of publishing the speeds fixed, so that those using the roads may know what speeds have been fixed. The Police have said--and the Magistrates have believed them--that the petitioners and others were informed long before these offences were committed that the speed of 15 miles an hour had been fixed for municipal limits in Madura. I must accept these concurrent findings. The lower appellate Court thought that although the fixing of the speeds was not notified, the offence was committed, because the petitioners knew that the speeds had been fixed at 15 miles an hour.
3. Section 71 (2) of the Motor Vehicles Act, which permits the restricting of speed within certain areas, says that,
The Provincial Government or any authority authorised in this behalf by the Provincial Government may...by notification in the Official Gazette fix such maximum speed limits as it thinks fit.
It is seen from the wording of this sub-section that the notification is the fixing, from which it follows that until the restriction has been notified, the speed limit is not fixed. The decision arrived at by the Regional Transport Board or other body authorised to fix speeds remains only a decision until it has been notified in the Gazette. Then and only then, can it be said that speed has been fixed. That that is what the Legislature intended is further shown by Section 133 of the same Act, where it is said that,
Every power to make rules given by this Act is subject to the condition of the rules being made after previous publication.
The second clause of the same section is even clearer, for it says,
All rules made under this Act shall be published in the official Gazette and shall, unless some later date is appointed, come into force on the date of such publication.
So that no decision with regard to the speed limit to be imposed in any area can come into operation before the date of publication. In the present case, whatever may have been the date on which the Regional Transport Authority came to its decision to restrict speeds within the Madura Municipality to 15 miles an hour, that decision did not operate as law until it was published by notification on the 24th November, 1941. It follows that there was no legal restriction of speeds in the Madura Municipality below the speed of 30 miles an hour, given in the Schedule VIII before the 24th November, 1941. So that when the petitioners drove their buses at 18 miles an hour, they were keeping well within the limits allowed.
4. The convictions and sentences are therefore set aside and the fines, if paid, are ordered to be refunded.