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Public Prosecutor Vs. G.T. Krishnaswami Naidu and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal App. No. 250 of 1953
Judge
Reported inAIR1954Mad1021
ActsMadras Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, 1931 - Sections 7, 11A and 16; Madras Motor Vehicles Rules, 1940 - Rule 3; Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 2(33), 38, 38(1), 42 and 42(1)
AppellantPublic Prosecutor
RespondentG.T. Krishnaswami Naidu and anr.
Appellant AdvocatePublic Prosecutor
Respondent AdvocateK. Ramachandra Rao, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredEllis v. Hulse
Excerpt:
(i) motor vehicles - agricultural purpose - sections 7, 11a and 16 of madras motor vehicles taxation act, 1931 - whether vehicle was used for agricultural purpose when it carried manure so as to fall within scope of section 11a - section 11a apply to all vehicles used solely for agricultural purpose - held, carrying manure in tractor being for agricultural purpose section 11a will apply. (ii) fitness certificate - whether vehicle in question was transport vehicle so as to require permit under section 42 (1) and fitness certificate - in order that vehicle should fall within provisions of section 42 (1) it must be transport vehicle - tractor will fall under section 42 (1) if it is used for purpose other than solely for agricultural purpose - held, vehicle cannot be taxed. - .....vehicle was being driven on the public road in udumalpet on 20-8-1952. when it was checked by the motor vehicle taxation sub-inspector, it was found to carry manure. the vehicle had no permit as required by section 42(1), motor vehicles act. nor did it possess a fitness certificate as required by section 38(1) of the act. it was also found that the provincial tax for the quarter ending 30-9-1952 was not paid. these facts were and are not disputed. on the above facts the respondents were prosecuted for offences under sections. 38(1) and 42(1) read with section 123, motor vehicles act, and the first respondent was further prosecuted for an offence under section 7, motor vehicles taxation act, as he allowed the vehicle to run without paying the tax.3. for the offence under section 7, motor.....
Judgment:

Somasundaram, J.

1. This is an appeal by the state against the acquittal of the two respondents by the Sub-Magistrate of Udumalpet in C. C. Nos. 841, 842, 844, 846 and 960 of 1952 on his file.

2. The first respondent in the above appeal is the owner of a tractor and trailer, M. D. C. No. 5727 and the second respondent is the driver. The vehicle was being driven on the public road in Udumalpet on 20-8-1952. When it was checked by the Motor Vehicle Taxation Sub-Inspector, it was found to carry manure. The vehicle had no permit as required by Section 42(1), Motor Vehicles Act. Nor did it possess a fitness certificate as required by Section 38(1) of the Act. It was also found that the provincial tax for the quarter ending 30-9-1952 was not paid. These facts were and are not disputed. On the above facts the respondents were prosecuted for offences under Sections. 38(1) and 42(1) read with Section 123, Motor Vehicles Act, and the first respondent was further prosecuted for an offence under Section 7, Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, as he allowed the vehicle to run without paying the tax.

3. For the offence under Section 7, Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, that is, for not paying the quarterly tax, the lower Court found that it was carrying only manure which was for agricultural purposes and therefore under Section 11A, the first respondent need not pay the tax and acquitted him of the offence. For offences under Sections 38(1) and 42(1), Motor Vehicles Act, the lower Court found that the vehicle in question is not a transport vehicle and therefore no permit or fitness certificate was necessary, and therefore, acquitted the respondents of the offences under the Motor Vehicles Act as well. It is against the acquittal that the State has preferred this appeal.

4. Two questions arise in this appeal: (1) whether the vehicle in question is a transport vehicle so as to require a permit under Section 42(1) of the Act and a fitness certificate under Section 38(1) of the Act; (2) whether the vehicle was used for agricultural purposes when it carried manure so as to fall within the scope of Section 11-A, Motor Vehicles Taxation Act.

5. Taking the second question first, it is contended by the learned Public Prosecutor that carrying manure is not using the vehicle for agricultural purposes and Section 11-A will not, therefore, apply to this vehicle. The learned Public Prosecutor in support of his contention relied on the decision in -- 'King Emoeror v. Alexander Alien', 25 Mad 627 (A).

In the above case the question that came up for consideration was whether the lands on which potatoes, grains, vegetables, etc, are grown as well as pasture lands can be said to be 'solely for agricultural purposes' within the meaning of sub-Section (3) of Section 53 of the District Municipalities Act, 1884, as amended by the Madras District Municipalities Act, 1887, by which lands used solely for agricultural purposes are exempted from the enhanced rates of taxation that may be imposed in certain cases under that sub-section. The learned dges after pointing out that the expression 'agriculture' is not defined in the Act referred to the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary edited by Dr. A. H. Murray, wherein 'agriculture' is defined as follows:

'The science and art of cultivating the soil, including the allied pursuits of gathering in the crops and rearing livestock, tillage, husbandry, farming (in the widest sense)'

and they held that the lands on which potatoes, grain, vegetables, etc., are grown are lands used solely for agricultural purposes.

They further observed:

'Turning again to the definition of the word 'agricultural' which we Have accepted we find that agricultural lands include lands set apart as 'pasture ground only' and also lands used for 'rearing live-stock'. If, therefore, it could be shown that these so-called waste lands were in reality pasture grounds or lands used for rearing live-stock we should certainly decide that they were lands used solely for agricultural purposes.'

On further evidence being taken it was found that the lands were used as pasture lands, and they held that the land is used solely for agricultural purposes and is therefore exempt from taxation. If pasture lands could be said to be lands used solely for agricultural purposes, I do not see how the manure which is certainly needed to raise the crops cannot be said to be for agricultural purposes.

This decision no doubt does not deal with manure; but it deals with what are agricultural purposes, from which it would be clear that manure falls within the scope of agricultural purposes. Mr. Ramachandra Rao who appears for the respondents relies on a direct decision of the Queen's Bench Division in England, which deals with manure. The decision is reported in --'Ellis v. Hulse', (1889) 23 QBD 24 (B). There the question was whether a locomotive which is sometimes let out by its owner to farmers for the purpose of carrying straw and manure for use in the farming operations and which is sometimes used by the owner himself for the purpose of carrying for hire, straw and manure and put to use exclusively on farms and is not used for any other purpose comes within the exemption in Section. 32 of the Highways and Locomotives (Amendment) Act 1878, and was used solely for agricultural purposes and whether it may be so used without a license from the county authority. The learned Judges held that the locomotive was used only for agricultural purposes.

Field J. observed:

'All the operations for which it was used were agricultural purposes; but it is said that the purposes ceased to be agricultural, because superadded to the final end for which it was used, that of carrying manure five miles to the farm, was the fact that it was done by the owner for purposes of grain. But that is not the reason why the engine was used; it is the reason why the appellants bought it, the very sufficient reason that they might make an income out of it. It therefore falls within the ordinary meaning of the exemption, and cannot be taken out of it by reason of the motives of the appellants; the language of the section will not support such a contention. It must not be forgotten that this exemption of engines used for agricultural purposes only was intended as a boon to agriculture, and has been long enjoyed, and was intended to be continued by this Act of Parliament.'

Cave J. who concurred with the judgment of Field J. stated as follows:

'The very object of this exemption is the well known one of favouring agriculture, an old object of English legislation in favour of a very important industry. If the respondent's view of this section is correct the exemption from license duty would only arise where the farmer was sufficiently wealthy to keep an engine for himself, while encouragement is far more necessary in the case of the small farmer than of the wealthy one; and the effect of the section would be to tax the poor man and exempt the wealthy, a result which it is absurd to suppose that the Legislature could have contemplated.'

The above decision clearly shows that carrying manure is for agricultural purposes even if it be for the purpose of delivering it to somebody for gain.

In this case the only evidence is that the vehicle in question was carrying manure. There is no evidence whether it is for the first respondent himself or for somebody else for hire. Even assuming it was for hire, it would still fall within the scope of the observations made in the above decision in -- '(1889) 23 QBD 24 (B). Section 11-A, Motor Vehicles Taxation Act. which is as follows:

'Nothing in this Act shall apply to a motor vehicle used solely for the purpose of agriculture.'

is enacted for the benefit of the agriculturists. It will therefore apply to all vehicles used solely for agricultural purposes and carrying manure being for an agricultural purpose, the section will apply. The only other question is whether the vehicle is used for other purposes. There is no evidence to the contrary. Section 11-A will, therefore, apply and the first respondent is exempted from paying tax. The acquittal for this offence is therefore justified.

6. The next question is whether a permit should have been obtained as required by Sections 38(1) and 42(1), Motor Vehicles Act. In order that the vehicle should fall within the provisions of Section 42 (1) it must be a transport vehicle. A transport vehicle has been defined in Section 2 (33), Motor Vehicles Act, which runs as follows:

' 'Transport vehicle' means a public service vehicle, a goods vehicle, a locomotive or a tractor other than a locomotive or tractor used solely for agricultural purposes.'

'Goods vehicle' has been defined in Sub-clause (8) of the same section which is as follows: ' 'Goods vehicle' means any motor vehicle constructed or adapted for use for the carriage of goods, or any motor vehicle not so constructed or adapted when used for the carriage of goods solely or in addition to passengers.'

It is clear from the definition contained in CIause (33) that this tractor will fall under Section 42 (1), Motor Vehicles Act, only if it is one used for purposes other than solely for agricultural purposes.

In dealing with the offence under Section 7, Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, I have pointed out how carrying manure is solely for agricultural purposes and no evidence has been let in to show that this tractor was used other than for agricultural purposes. In fact, the only evidence is that the Sub-Inspector found the tractor carrying manure when he checked it; and there is no evidence that it was carrying anything else. The tractor in the present case, therefore, does not fall within the meaning of 'transport vehicle' in Clause (33). A 'transport vehicle' defined in Section 42(1), Motor Vehicles Act, is one which is governed by the conditions in Clause (33). When the tractor in the present case does not fall within the ambit of that clause, the question of taking a permit does not arise. The learned Public Prosecutor contended that it was a goods vehicle. Even so, for permit and fitness certificate purposes, it must be a transport vehicle and only a transport vehicle used for purposes other than solely for agricultural purposes can be taxed. There must therefore be proof that this vehicle is used for purposes other than agricultural purposes which, as already stated, is lacking.

7. One other contention which the learned Public Prosecutor raised was that a trailer was attached to this tractor and therefore it becomes-what is called an articulated vehicle and, therefore, it is liable to be taxed. An articulated vehicle is. denned in Sub-clause (b) of Rule 3 of the Motor Vehicles Rules as follows:

'Articulated vehicle means a tractor to which a trailer is attached in such a manner that part of the trailer is superimposed on, and part of the weight of the trailer is borne by the tractor.'

In this case the trailer is not superimposed on the tractor and the vehicle in question cannot, therefore, fall within the definition of 'articulated' vehicle under the Madras Motor Vehicles rules.

For purposes of the Motor Vehicles Taxation Act also, a G. O. has been passed in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 16, Motor Vehicles Taxation Act. In that the Government state:

'If a motor vehicle is so constructed that a trailer may by partial superimposition be attached to the vehicle in such a manner as to cause a substantial part of the weight of the trailer to be borne by the vehicles, and if the vehicle is not used except in conjunction with the trailer, the vehicle and the trailer shall be deemed to be a goods vehicle and be known as an articulated vehicle.'

Here also the essential requisite is that the vehiclemust be so constructed that the trailer is by partialsuperimposition attached to the vehicle in sucha manner as to cause a substantial part of theweight of the trailer to be borne by the vehicle.The vehicle in question does not fall within thatdefinition. In any view the definition of 'articulated vehicle' cannot apply to the vehicle inthe present case and therefore even if the articulated vehicle is to be taxed under these rules,this vehicle cannot be taxed. In either view, theacquittal was justified. The appeal is dismissed.


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