Chandra Reddi, J.
1. This is an appeal by the State against the order of the Additional Second Class Magistrate of Anantapur acquitting the accused. The charge against the accused 'was that he failed to take out a licence daring 1948-49 for keeping soiled clothes for washing and washed clothes without obtaining a licence under the Madras District Municipalities Act and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 249 read with Section 313 (a) of the Act. Section 249 (1) reads as follows:
'The Council may publish a notification in the district gazette and by beat of drum that no place within municipal limits or at a distance within three miles of such limits shall be used for one or more of the purposes specified in Sch. V without the licence of the executive authority and except in accordance with the conditions specified therein.' The relevant provision of law under which the offence is sought to be brought is Clause (a) of Schedule V which is in the following words:
'Washing soiled clothes and keeping soiled clothes for the purpose of washing them, and washed clothes.'
The question to be considered in this case is whether a licence is required even for keeping soiled clothes for washing when admittedly washing the soiled clothes took place outside the municipal limits. The trial Court put the construction upon this Clause (a) that the licence is needed only for washing as well as keeping soiled clothes within the municipal limits and that no licence is needed merely for the purpose of keeping soiled clothes the washing of which is done outside the municipal limits.
2. The State has preferred an appeal against this order on the ground that the construction placed upon Schedule V (a) by the trial Court is not correct. I do not think the order of the Stationary Sub-Magistrate is wrong. A plain reading of the clause shows that to bring it under Clause (a) of Sch. V it is necessary that washing also should take place within the municipal limits. The gist of the offence consists in washing soiled clothes and keeping them for the purpose of washing them without obtaining the requisite licence. It is not an offence merely to keep soiled clothes for the purpose of washing. If this construction is to be accepted every one that keeps soiled clothes for the purpose of washing them can be said to have committed an offence under Section 249.
3. I think the reasonable construction is that it is only a person who washes the soiled clothes and keeps soiled clothes for the purpose of washing within the municipal limits without taking out a licence that can be said to have committed offence. In these circumstances I hold that the construction placed by the Magistrate is correct and is not liable to be revised. I do not therefore accept the appeal and the order of the lower Court is confirmed.