Paul Perera v. Purasinghe
1957Present; T. S. Fernando, J.B. PAUL PERERA, Appellant, and A. D. PURASINGHE (S. I. Police),Respondent8. C. 640—M. M. C. Colombo, 38,661
Motor Traffic (Use of Vehicles) Regulations, 1951— Regulations 2 and 3—Applicabilityto spare tyres—Motor Traffic Act, No. 14 of 1951, SB. 216, 226.
Carrying in a lorry a spare tyre which is worn down to such an extent as toexpose a part of its outermost canvas constitutes a breach of Regulations 2 (2)and 3 of the Motor Traffic (Use of Vehicles) Regulations, 1951.
1 (1946) 47 N. L. R. 499.
* (1940) 47 N. L. R. 136.
T. S. FERNANDO, J.—Paul Per era v. Puraeinghe
.ZaPPEAL from a judgment of the Municipal Magistrate’s Court,Colombo.
J.A.L. Cooray, with F. X. J. Bammyagam, for the accused appellants.A. C. de Zoysa, Crown Counsel, for the Attorney-General.
Cur. adv. vult.
November 4, 1957. T. S. Fernando, J.—
This appeal raises the question of the interpretation of Regulations2 and 3 of the Motor Traffic (Use of Vehicles) Regulations, 1951, madeunder sections 192 and 239 of the Motor Traffic Act, No. 14 of 1951,published in Gazette Extraordinary No. 10,360 dated February 27, 1952.
Regulation 2 (1) of these regulations requires that all tyres fitted to amotor vehicle shall at all times, while the vehicle is used on the highway,be maintained in such condition as to be free from any defect which islikely . . . to be dangerous to persons travelling in such vehicleor to persons using the highway.
Regulation 2 (2) requires that all the tyres of a lorry …. fittedwith pneumatic tyres shall at all times, while such lorry …. isused on a highway, be in such condition that no portion of any tyre isworn down to such an extent as to expose any part of the outermostcanvas.
Regulation 3 requires that every lorry …. fitted with pneu-matic tyres shall, while the lorry …. is used on a highway,carry at least one spare inflated tyre affixed to a rim, spare wheel or otherdevice so that it is capable of being fitted quickly to a wheel or axle, asthe case may be.
A Police Sergeant on traffic duty stopped the appellant while he wasdriving on the highway a lorry of which he is the registered owner. Thespare tyre of the lorry was found to be worn down to its outermostcanvas. The appellant was charged before the Magistrate’s Court withcommitting a breach of Regulations 2 (2) and 3 reproduced above, an offencepunishable under section 216 read with section 226 of the Motor TrafficAct. He was convicted in the Magistrate’s Court, but he has appealedto this Court and it has been urged on his behalf that he is not guilty ofthe breach of the regulations complained of inasmuch as the regulationsdo not require that the spare tyre carried in a vehicle of the descriptionspecified in regulation 3 should be in such condition that no portionofit is worn down to the extentindicatedin regulation 2 (2). The argument,shortly put, is that while the tyres fitted to the vehicle must be free fromdefect, that requirement is not expected of the spare tyre that must becarried in the vehicle. While I agree that the spare tyre referred to inregulation 3 and which is required to be carried in the vehicle cannot
T. S. FERNANDO, J.—PotiZ Pertra v. Purasinghc
be said to be fitted to tbe vehicle, it seems to me that if the argumentindicated above prevails regulation 3 will be deprived of any sensiblemeaning.
It is conceded that a spare inflated tyre must be carried in the vehicle,It is also conceded that this spare inflated tyre must be affixed to a rim.spare wheel or other device so that it is capable of being fitted quickly to(a wheel or axle of) the vehicle. It is nevertheless contended that thisspare inflated tyre which is required by law to be carried in the vehicleso that it is capable of being fitted quickly thereto need not be free fromdefects, or that, at any rate, it does not matter if it is so worn down as toexpose a part of its outermost canvas. Regulation 2 (2) presupposes atthe least that a vehicle cannot be lawfully used on a highway if a tyrefitted to it is worn down to the extent indicated therein. If this sup*position be correct, the vehicle cannot lawfully be used on a highway ifoccasion has arisen to requisition the spare tyre and the spare tyre isworn down to its outermot canvas. If a vehicle cannot lawfully be usedon a highway because the spare tyre which has been fitted thereto is notin the condition specified in regulation 2 (2), then the purpose of carryingsuch a spare tyre in the vehicle becomes quite meaningless, if not absurd.
Learned Crown Counsel has contended that the expression “ all thetyres ” in regulation 2 (2) means all the tyres fitted to the vehicle and thespare tyre carried therein, while learned counsel for the appellant seeksto exclude from its embrace the spare tyre. It is an accepted rule ofinterpretation of statutes that if the language employed admits of twoconstructions and according to one of them the enactment would beabsurd and according to the other it would be reasonable, the Courtsshould assume that the legislature intended the latter construction.
As I have indicated already, the requirement relating to the carryingof a spare inflated tyre beoomes meaningless and absurd if that tyre canbe in such condition that driving the vehicle after that tyre is fitted to itrenders the driver guilty of an offence under the Act. In this view of thematter, I am of opinion that “ all the tyres ” in regulation 2 (2) includesthe spare tyre referred to in regulation 3. It follows, therefore, that thelearned Magistrate has rightly convicted the appellant, and I woulddismiss this appeal.
I may add that counsel for the appellant also referred to the decisionof this Court in the case of Thomas Singho v. S. I. Police, Qampaha and claimed that here too there was no user of a motor vehicle in contra-vention of the regulations. In view of the later decision in the caseof Fernando v. Amarasekere2,1 do not think it is necessary to enterupon a consideration of this claim.
*tmi) 55 N. L. B. 395.
1 [1956) 57 N. L. B. 503.
B. PAUL PERERA, Appellant, and A. D. PURASINGHE (S. I. Police), Respondent