H. X. G-. FER-XAJSTDO, J.—Jayaratna v. Singalaxana
1958Present:H. N. G-. Fernando, J.S. R. JAYARATNA, Appellant, and J. M. SINGALAXANA(Public Health Inspector), Respondent
S. C. 393—M. C. Regatta, 21,770
Housing and Town Improvement Ordinance-—Section 6 (2) (e)—“ Structure ”.
In a prosecution, for erecting a “ structure *% without the consent of theproper authority, in contravention of section 6 of the Housing and TownImprovement Ordinance—
Held, (i) that the Court should be furnished with a description of the structure.
(ii) that in the expression “the addition of any building, room, outhouse,or other structure” in section 6 (2) (e), the word “ structure ” has to be con-strued ejusdem generis with the Vinds of structure previously specified.
PPEAL from a judgment of the Magistrate’s Court, Hegalia.
A. de Silva, for the accused-appellant.
E. A. V. de Silva, for the complainant-respondent:
Our. adv. milt.
December 19, 1958. H. N. G. Ferx^stdo, J.—
The complaint made against the appellant in this case -was that hehad made alterations in a certain building, without the consent of the pro-per authority, in contravention of Section 6 of the Housing and Town'Improvement Ordinance. The Magistrate charged him -from thesummons (which specified the same offence) on 2nd April 1958, and fixed
JZasheeda v. Us oof Dheen
the case for trial. The journal entry of 21st May 1958 shows that anamended charge was then framed and that the accused was charged afresh.No amended charge is available in the record, but it is clear, from theevidence and the Reasons, that the appellant was tfiedTand convicted on aeharge of making a specific “alteration”, namely, the addition ofa structure, which is an alteration specified in paragraph (e) of Section 6(2) of the Ordinance.
The only evidence for the prosecution was that of the Publie HealthInspector, The witness, in chief, merely stated “ I saw a structure beingput up in front of the building by the accused and another person ” andadded that no permit had been issued for the structure. This evidencewas quite insufficient to establish the charge : it did not enable theMagistrate to decide Whether what had been put up by the appellantconstituted a “ structure ” within the meaning of paragraph (e) or evenan <c alteration ” of the nature mentioned in any other provision ofSection 6 : the Court- had no power to act on the inspector’s opinion thata “ structure ” bad been erected, and should have been furnished with adescription of the work or erection sufficient to enable the Court to holdthat something contemplated by the Section had in fact been done. TheMagistrate should therefore have acquitted the accused forthwith afterthe examination-in-chief of the Inspector, because no other witness hadbeen named in the complaint.
Nevertheless the witness was cross-examined, and in answer to ques-tions he did furnish some description of what had in fact been done.It is clear however that there was no alteration of the nature contem-plated in paragraph (e). In the expression “ the addition of any building,room, outhouse, or other structure ”, the word “ structure ” has to heconstrued ejusdem generis with the kinds of structure previously specified.There is such an addition, only if some ground space, which is or has beenrendered vacant, is utilized for the erection thereon of some new structure.Moreover, the structure must be something resembling a room or outhouse,that is to say, something which wholly or partially encloses the spaceutilized. “Alterations ” of other kinds are dealt with in other paragraphsof Section 6 (2).
The appeal is allowed, and the conviction and sentence are set aside.