1. The petitioner was convicted by the Second Class Bench of Magistrates of Coimbatore for an offence under Section 250 read with Section 338 of the Madras District Municipalities Act. The conviction and sentence were confirmed by the District Magistrate on appeal.
2. The petitioner is running a druggist and chemist shop at door No. 26/273, Rajah Street, Coimbatore. In his shop he has kept a frigidaire with 1/8th horse power. He did not obtain any licence or permission from the Municipality to keep this frigidaire. It is for not obtaining this permission that he was prosecuted as having offended the provisions of Section 250(1)(b) read with Section 338 of the District Municipalities Act.
3. The facts are not in dispute; that is to say that the petitioner, as the Proprietor of the druggist and chemist shop at the premises above mentioned, is keeping a frigidaire, and the power of the motor is 1/8th horse power. The petitioner has obtained the necessary licence and permission for running his business as a druggist and chemist. Schedule II of the Madras Chemists and Druggists Act enumerates, the products that should be preserved in a frigidaire. If it is not so kept, it will amount to a violation of the rules. It is therefore clear that if the petitioner is to run his shop for the purpose of selling those products also which are mentioned in Schedule II of the Madras Chemists and Druggists Act, he must of necessity, keep a frigidaire. The Municipality issued a notice calling upon him to apply for permission under Section 250(1)(b) of the Act. That section reads as follows:
Every person intending...to instal in any premises any machinery or manufacturing plant driven by steam, water or other power as aforesaid, not being machinery or manufacturing plant exempted by rules shall, before beginning such construction, establishment or installation,make an application in writing to the municipal council for permission to undertake the intended work.
4. This section falls in Chapter XII of the Madras District Municipalities Act, under the general heading ' Licences and Fees ' but under the subsidiary heading ' Industries and Factories'. The question is whether keeping a frigidaire in the shop for the purpose of keeping certain medicines in it will amount to ' installing in any premises any machinery or manufacturing plant driven by steam or other power '. No doubt, a plain reading of this section may suggest that this frigidaire may fall within Clause (b) of Section 250(1). If that were so, any person, even a private citizen who keeps a frigidaire, will have to take permission to keep it in his house. It is true that in G.O. No. 1938, Health, dated 29th May, 1950, it is laid down that the following shall be exempted from the provisions of Section 250 of Act V of 1920 : (1) Electricial appliances intended to be used for purely domestic or personal purposes or comfort and elecirical machinery intended to be used for such purposes or comfort. This G.O. may probably by invoked in aid of the construction that a frigidaire falls within the definition of ' electrical appliances ' and when used for private purposes it is one of the machineries exempted by the rules. But then Sections 249 and 250 of the Act as stated already are found under the subsidiary heading 'Industries and Factories'. Section 250 must therefore be interpreted so as to refer to the installation in the premises of any machinery or manufacturing plant, for an industry or factory.
5. In Venkatachala Udayan v. Executive Officer, Rasipuram Panchayat Board (1949) 2 M.L.J. 263 , Pan-chapakesa Ayyar, J., dealing with Section 194(1)(b) of the Madras Local Boards Act, the words of which are practically similar to the words of Section 250(1)(b) of the Madras District Municipalities Act, observes that the section will apply only to installations in premises for the purposes of industries and factories, the minor head under which this section comes, and will have no possible application to a pump installed in a field-well for irrigation purposes and as such a conviction for such installation without a licence cannot be upheld and has to be quashed. I entirely agree with the observations made by Panchapakesa Ayyar, J., in the above decision. Section 250(1)(b) has therefore to be interpreted as only meaning to apply to installations in premises for the purpose of industries and factories. It is not, and cannot be, contended that running a druggist and chemist shop in a premises would fall within the definition of ' premises for the purpose of industries and factories '. If it is not there for the purpose of industries and factories then Section 250(1)(b) of the Act will not apply. There is therefore no need for the petitioner to take out a licence or permission under Section 250(1)(b) of the Act for keeping a frigidaire in the premises. The conviction and sentence are set aside and the accused is acquitted. The fine amount, if it had been paid, will be refunded.