Government Agent, Kandy v. Karunaratne.
194#Present: Wijeyewardene J.
GOVERNMENT AGENT, KANDY v. KARUNARATNE410—M. C. Gampola, 19,076.
Motor Car-—Charge of possessing a car without a licence—Use of car onhighway not essential to constitue offence—Registered owner is deemedto possess car—Motor Car Ordinance, No. 45 of 1938, s. 29 (1) and (2).Any person possessing a motor car for which a licence is not in forcecontravenes the provisions of section 29 (1) of the Motor Car Ordinance,No. 45 of 1938, even if the car has not been used on a highway during thematerial period.
Under section 29 (2) of the Ordinance the registered owner of a motorcar shall be deemed, unless the contrary is proved, to possess the carwithin the meaning of section 29 (1).
[Section 29 (1) of the Ordinance enacts “no person shall possess or usea motor car for which a licence is not in force.”]
A PPEAL from an acquittal by the Magistrate of Gampola.
Nihal Gunasekera, C.C., for complainant, appellant.
No appearance for the accused, respondent.
Cur. adv. vult.
' 1 C. A. C. 1-51.
414WIJEYEWARDENE J.—Government Agent, Kandy v. Karunaratne.
July 23, 1940. Wijeyewardene J.
This is an appeal with the sanction of the Attorney-General against theacquittal of the accused by the Magistrate of Gampola.
The proceedings in the Magistrate’s Court were instituted on a writtenreport by the Government Agent, Central Province. The charge as setout in the report was that the accused possessed on July 1, 1939, a motorcar bearing registered number A 3056 for which a licence was not in forceon that date, in contravention of section 29 (1) of the Motor Car Ordinance,No. 45 of 1938. The report contained further a certificate under section160 (1) of the Ordinance to the effect that a sum of Rs. 20 was due fromthe accused as licence duty, for the second half of the year 1939, on themotor car in question.
A licensing clerk employed at the Kandy Kachcheri was the onlywitness for the prosecution. He stated that the accused was the registeredowner of the vehicle and produced the relative certificate of registration.He stated further that a letter from the accused giving notice of non-userwas received by the Licensing Authority on July 6, 1939.
The accused gave evidence to the effect—
that he has paid the licence duty up to June 30, 1939,
that he wrote a letter on June 30, 1939, to the Licensing Authority
giving notice of non-user,
that he did not use the car after June 30, 1939.
Relying on The Colombo Municipal Council v. J. A. Perera’ theMagistrate acquitted the accused as the prosecution failed to prove thatthe accused used the car on a highway at some time during the materialperiod.
The authority cited by the Magistrate is a decision of this Court withregard to the interpretation of section 31 (1) of the Motor Car Ordinance,No. 20 of 1927. It was there held that the words “ Motor Car ” in section31 (1) of the Ordinance meant a motor car used on a highway in view ofsection 2 of the Ordinance which read—
“ Unless otherwise provided this Ordinance applies to a motor car
only when on a highway. ”
The accused in this case is prosecuted: under the Motor Car Ordinance,No. 45 of 1938, which came into operation on July 1, 1939. This Ordi-nance contains no provision similar to section 2 of Ordinance No. 20 of1927. Now section 29 (1) of Ordinance No. 45 of 1938, which is thesection governing the present case enacts that “ no person shall possess oruse a motor car for which a licence is not in force ”. There is nothing inthe Ordinance compelling me to construe the words “ motor car ” in thesection mentioned by me as meaning a motor car used on a highway. Ihold therefore that any person possessing a motor car, for which a licenceis not in force, contravenes the provisions of section 29 (1) of the present;Ordinance even if the car has not been used on a highway during thematerial period.
1 11939) 40 N. L. R. 4H.
Wijesinghe Hamine v. Ekanayake.
The next question to be decided is whether the accused can be said tohave possessed the car. This is a question which gives rise to a number ofsomewhat conflicting decisions under Ordinance No. 20 of 1927. Butsection 29 (2) of the present Ordinance has simplified the position byproviding inter alia that the registered owner of a motor car shall bedeemed, unless the contrary is proved, to possess the car within themeaning of section 29 (1).
I wish to add that if the accused’s notice of non-user reached theLicensing Authority on or before June 30, 1939, the accused could haveclaimed the benefit of section 31 (2) of Ordinance No. 20 of 1927, inview of section 6(3) of the Interpretation Ordinance (Legislative
Enactments, Volume I, Chapter 2). The notice of non-user howeverreached the Licensing Authority after the new Ordinance came intooperation.
The charge against the accused has therefore been proved.
I set aside the order of acquittal and send back the case to theMagistrate’s Court with the direction to the Magistrate to record a verdictof guilty against the accused, pass an appropriate sentence against himand further order under section 160 (1) of the Ordinance a sum of Rs. 20to be recovered from the accused as though it were a fine imposed by thecourt.
GOVERNMENT AGENT, KANDY v. KARUNARATNE