Government Agent, Central Province v. Beeman.
1932Present:. Drieberg J.
GOVERNMENT AGENT, CENTRAL PROVINCE' v BEEMAN..978—P. C. PanwUar 17,309.
Motor car—Possession by registered owner—Defence that car is unserviceable—-Exemption from liability to obtain licence—Duty of owner to cancelregistration—Ordinance No. 20 of 1927, s. 24.
The registered owner of a motor car, who claims to be exempt fromliability to obtain a licence for it on the ground that it is unserviceable,must procure a cancellation of the registration under section 24 of the*Motor Car Ordinance.
HE accused-appellant was charged under section 20 (1) of _the Motor-Car Ordinance, No. 20 of 3927, with possessing or using a motor car
without a licence for the year 1931. The Police Magistrate convictedthe accused and condemned him under section 30 (3) of the Ordinance to»pay the amount of the licence.
Wendt, C.C., for the respondent.—The judgment of the Police Magis-trate is right.
Section 18 (1) of Ordinance No. 20 of 1927 indicates that the person who i»required to be registered as the owner of a car is the person who at thetime is entitled to possession of the car. When a person applies to beregistered as the owner of a car he submits to the licensing authority anapplication in Form No. 2 in the third schedule to the Ordinance and
3i4DEIEBEEG 3.—Government Agent, Central Province v. Becman.
declares that he is entitled to the possession of the particular car.Though the application in Form No. 2 has ndt been produced in this caseit can be inferred from the accused’s letters P, P 1, P 2, which he does notdeny writing, that he was duly registered as owner
Section 22 of the Ordinance requires a change of possession to benotified to the licensing authority by the registered owner.
Section 24 provides for the cancellation of the registration of a car on•the car being destroyed, &c.
Section 30 (2) provides that the registered owner may give writtennotice of his intention not to use the car for a stated period, and thatpossession of the car during such stated period shall not be an offence.The accused has given no such notice for 1931 or any part of 1931.
In the absence of any steps .taken by the accused under section 22,section 24 or section 30 (2) the presumption arises that he is still inpossession of the car.
The case of Government Agent, Western Province v. BUinda 1 can bedistinguished. In that case a point is made in the judgment of Garvin J.that the charge was that accused " did fail to obtain the necessarylicence . . . .for the car, ” whereas section 30 (1), under which the accusedwas charged, does not make the failure to licence an offence. Further, thefacts in that case were that the accused never actually took possession ofthe car at any time. The respondent was not represented and no argumenton his behalf was placed before the Court.
April 21, 1932. Drieberg J.—
The appellant was charged on October 1, 1931, under section 20 (1) ofthe Motor Car Ordinance, No. 20 of 1927, with possessing or using a motorcar, bearing registered number D 1579, on January 1, 1931. 'without alicence for the year 1931. The complainant-respondent, the' licensingauthority, prayed that the appellant be condemned to pay the sum ofRs. 170, the amount of tax on the car. The Police Magistrate convictedthe appellant,' fined him Rs. 5 or in default one week's simple imprison-ment, and condemned him under section 30 (3) of the Ordinance to paythe amount of the licence, Rs. 170.
The appellant is the registered owner of this motor car. There is nospecific evidence of this by the production of the certificate of registrationbut the clerk of the Registrar of Motor Cars has stated that the appellantwas the owner since June 10, 1928, when I take it he was registered assuch. On December 16, 1929. the appellant wrote to the Registrar, ofMotor Cars that the vehicle, which he describes as “ Bus No. 1579 ", wasunder repair. He wrote " I do not anticipate to put it on the road for1930, and no tax shall be paid for 1930 ”. The appellant here adoptedthe course provided by section 30 (2) of the Ordinance, and the effect ofthat was that his possession alone did not render him liable to take out alicence for 1930.
The appellant followed this up by a letter on December 28, 1929, to theGovernment Agent that the bus was to be converted into a lorry andagain Stated that it would not be used in 1930 and that he would not takeout a licence for that year.
1 3 Cr. Ap. Rep. 38.
DRIEBERG J.—Government Agent, Central Province v. Becman.
The appellant gave no notice that the bus would not be used in 1931and, some time before October 22, 1931, the Government Agent wroteto him apparently calling attention to his failure to take out a licence for
The letter has not been produced, but it was acknowledged by theappellant by his letter of October 22, 1931, in which he said that the bus" is unserviceable and the remaining parts are lying in TawalantenneVeerasamv’s garage at Madulkele this letter was written after theprosecution was started on October 1.
At the trial, the appellant said that the bus became unserviceable in-1929, that he had not used it since, and that it was in pieces at a garage..Jt was contended that it was for the prosecution to prove both possessionand use of .the bus by the appellant and that -proof of this had failed.The word 4 4 possess ” in section 30 (1) must be considered with reference-to the scheme of the Ordinance. Section 18 (1) provides thut no personshall use or possess a motor oar unless the person for the time beingentitled to the possession of it is duly registered as owner. In Form 2 ofthe third schedule to the Ordinance, the following declaration has to bemade by the applicant for* registration “ I hereby declare that I amentitled to the possession of the motor car described below and apply tobe registered as the owner thereof Section 18 (3) makes provision for*a case where the person entitled to the possession of a motor car is not the*absolute owner of it.
A change of possession otherwise than by death can only be effected,by the registration as owner of the new owner, and a similar provision ismade for devolution of ownership on the death of the registered owner*(section 22); in both cases the new owner has to apply for registration.
Section 24 provides for the cancellation of a registration i*f the registraris satisfied that the car has been destroyed or rendered permanentlyunserviceable or permanently remoyed from Ceylon. It follows from*this that, once a person has been registered as owner of a car 011 hisdeclaration that he is entitled to the possession of it, he must be regardedas the person in possession of it unless there has been a transfer of posses-sion in the manner provided by the Ordinance or unless by the cancellationof the registration it ceases to be a car which can be the subject of posses-sion for the purposes of the Ordinance.
But the appellant does not say in reality that he is not in possessionof the bus. If, as would appear, the bus was left for repairs or storageat Veerasamy’s garage it was still for .the purposes of this section in thepossession of the appellant and not that of the owner of the garage.What the appellant in effect says is that he is not in possession of a carwhich is cnpabl,e of being used, but if this is so he should have satisfiedthe registrar that the car is permanently unserviceable and had theregistration of it cancelled.
This case is distinguishable from that of the Government Agent, WesternProvince v. Bilinda 1 where the appellant bought a car at a garage and,though he was registered as the owner of it, never took possession of it.
If. as has been proved,.the appellant was in possession of the bus he wasliable to take out a licence for it and it does not matter whether he usedit or not unless he did so within the period for which he stated he would-
1 3 Cr. Ap. Rep. 38.
GABVIN S.P.J.—Fernando v. Senerat.
not use it, section 30 (2). Tn his evidence the appellant stated that the■bus became unserviceable in 1929; if he means to suggest by this that itwas then ascertained to be permanently unserviceable he cannot be right,for on December 28, 1929, he informed the registrar that he was.converting■the bus into a lorry and that it would not be used during 1930. As I havepointed out, the appellant here acted rightly and he would not have beenliable to take out a licence for 1930 unless he did in fact use the car in thatyear. When he found, if such was the case, that the car was beyondrepair and was permanently unserviceable, he should have satisfied theregistrar of this and had the registration cancelled.
He did not do so, nor did he declare his intention of hot using the carin 1980 and he became by reason of his possession alone liable to take outa licence for that year whether he used it or not.
GOVERNMENT AGENT, CENTRAL PROVINCE v. BEEMAN