Thomas Singho S. I. Police, Gampaha
1954Present: Pulle J.W. A. DON THOMAS SINGHO, Appellant, and S. I. POLICE,GAMPAHA, RespondentS. C. 494—M. C. Gampaha, 8,129
Motor Traffic Act, No. 14 of 1951—Regulations 15and45—Section 216 (2) (6)—Meaningand effect of expression “ in contravention of
Driving an omnibus not fitted, with an accurate speedometer or with seatsnot fitted with cushions does not amount to a use of the vehicle incontravention of regulations 15 and 45 of the regulations made under-sections 19 and 239 of the Motor Traffic Act so as to render the driver guiltyof an offence under section 226 read with section 216 (2) (6).
PTILXE J.—Thomas Singho v. S. I. Police, Oampaha
j/^PPEAL from a judgment of the Magistrate’s Court, Gampaha.JJ. W. Jayewardene, for the accused appellant.
<C. N. Goonewardena, Crown Counsel, for the Attorney-General.
Cur. adv. wilt.
March 1, 1954. Ptjule J.—
The appellant was convicted on three charges under the Motor TrafficAct, No. 14 of 1951. The conviction on the first charge that he, being the-driver of omnibus No. Z-9944, failed to keep the vehicle to the left or nearside of the road when being overtaken by other traffic is clearly right. Theconvictions on the remaining charges raise the broad question whether thedriver of a motor vehicle is guilty of an offence under section 226, readwith section 216 (2) (6), where the vehicle does not conform to the Regu-lations made under sections 19 and 239 and published in GazetteNo. 10,360 of February 27, 1952.
Regulation 15 provides as follows :—
“ A speedometer shall be fitted in such a position in every motorcoach or lorry to indicate readily at all times to the driver the speed atwhich he is driving the motor coach or lorry. Such instrument shallbe sufficiently accurate to within 10 per centum of the correct speed atwhich the vehicle is travelling. ”
Regulaton 45 provides :—
“ Every seat of a motor coach shall be fitted with cushions. ”
On the second and third charges the evidence was that the speedometerof the omnibus was not in working condition and the seats were not fittedwith cushions.
It was argued on behalf of the appellant that, in the absence of a prohi-bition against the user of a motor vehicle which does not conform to theregulations quoted above, it could not be said that the user in the presentcase was in contravention of these regulations within the meaning of section216 (2). In the forefront of the argument reliance is placed on the absenceof a provision in the Motor Traffic Act corresponding to section -5 of theMotorCar Ordinance, No. 45 of 1938, which expressly prohibited the useron any highway of a motor vehicle not complying with any regulation inthe first schedule to that Ordinance as to construction, weight, dimensionsor equipment. Section 5 has its counterpart in section 3 of the Road
Traffic Act, 1930 (20 & 21 Geo. 5, Cap. 43) sub-section 3 of which provides,•
“ If a motor vehicle or trailer is used on a road in contravention ofthis section, any person who so uses the vehicle or causes or permits thevehicle to be so used shall be guilty of an offence. ”
Da id Apjmhamy v. Sub^amaniam
It will thus be seen that both in the repealed Ordinance of 1938 and inthe English Act provision is first made prohibiting user and, thereafter, auser contrary to the prohibition is made an offence. Undoubtedly, theperson on whom the obligation lay to have the omnibus fitted with an accu-rate speedometer or the seats therein fitted with cushions was in breach ofthe regulations but, in my opinion, it cannot be said that the driver usedthe omnibus in contravention of those regulations.
I have i ot found it profitable to speculate on the reasons for the Legis-lature omitting to include in the Act a provision similar to section 5 of therepealed Ordinance. It is possible, as was argued for the appellant, thatthe regulations made under section 19 of the Act were' intended primarilyto lay down the conditions for registration under Part 1. A failure, afterthe registration, to comply with the conditions would attract the provisionsof section 196 which enables the Registrar to prohibit the user of a motorvehicle, which, by reason of lack of equipment, is not in a serviceable con-dition. Whatever might have been the reason for omitting to reproducesection 5 of the repealed Ordinance I feel I would be straining unduly thelanguage of section 216 (2) were I to hold that the act of the appellant indriving an omnibus with a defective speedometer or with seats not fittedwith cushions amounted to the using of a motor vehicle in contravention ofthe regulations as that expression is used in the opening sentence of section216 (2).
I affirm the conviction and sentence on the first charge and quash theconvictions and sentences on the second and third charges.
Appeal partly allowed.
W. A. DON THOMAS SINGHO, Appellant, and S.I. POLICE, GAMPAHA, Respondent
Thomas Singho S. I. Police, Gampaha