1. This is a rule against an order of conviction under Section 112, Motor Vehicles Act, read with Rule 180 (d), Motor Vehicles Rules, 1940, and sentence to pay a fine of Rs. 20, in default, seven days rigorous imprisonment. The appropriate rule is in fact not 180 (d) but 174 (d).
2. The facts are that the taxi B. L. T. 669 was produced before the Motor Vehicles Department for renewal of the certificate of fitness as required by Section 38, Motor Vehicles Act. On test, the taxi meter was found to be defective, registering one anna per mile in excess. The police thereupon prosecuted the owner and the driver. The driver was acquitted and the owner has been convicted and has moved this Court.
3. The driver was acquitted on the ground that it was not proved who had produced the car, an omission which surely the Magistrate himself ought to have noted and should have been remedied. However the owner now objects that he ought not to be convicted, on the evidence, for a breach of the rule which runs as follows: 'No taxi-meter which is in any way defective shall be used upon a motor cab.'
4. It seems to me that it cannot be said that mere production of a cab with a meter attached for renewal of a certificate of fitness amounts to an user within the meaning of the rule. Any owner of an old cab who may be doubtful as to whether it will really pass the test of fitness is surely entitled to take his cab to the authorities for the certificate and it is for them to pass it or not after teat. Mere taking is not user of the cab or a meter as such within the meaning of the rule in my opinion.
5. It might have been possible to found a conviction in this case on the grounds that from the nature of the circumstances, the nature of the taxi, meter, the nature of the defect, the defect could not have occurred suddenly as the car drove through the gates of the Motor Vehicles Department and that the defect must have been present for sometime previous, and if evidence had been given that the car had been used as a taxi cab, shall we say, within an hour or two prior to its being brought to the department. On these facts a conviction might have been founded, but I do not think that in the circumstances in this case, the evidence merely being that the defective meter was produced on the cab at the time the cab was brought for renewal of the certificate, conviction for user of a defective meter can be sustained.
6. The rule is accordingly made absolute. The conviction and the sentence are set aside. The fine, if paid, shall be refunded.