Decided on February 24,1927



- (1.) This petition is against the acquittal of the counter-petitioner by the Taluq Magistrate of Tiruppattur. The petition is presented on behalf of the President, District Board, Ramnad. The counter-petitioner holds from the District Board a license, Ex. I, dated 15th April, 1926, for plying motor vehi cles for hire. The license limits the plying to certain roads and explicitly prohibits the plying of vehicles for hire on roads Nos. 17 and 18. It was admitted by the counter-petitioner be fore the Lower Court that a conductor employed by him plied his car for hire on road No. 17. Obviously then there was a breach of the license. The defence of the counter-petitioner in the Lower Court was that the conductor plied the car on that road through ignorance and that he himself was not aware of the act No evidence was taken and, on this plea alone, without any evidence as to whether it was true or not, the Lower Court accepted the defence and holding that the licensee is not responsible for the acts of his conductor, has acquitted him. The District Board contends that the Lower Court s view of the law is fundamentally wrong and I must agree. The license does not cover plying on road No. 17. Therefore the plying on that road was without a license. This was an offence under Section 166(1) of the Local Boards Act punishable under Section 207. The plying was under cover of a license given to the counter-petitioner and was by his employee. Without that license the counter-petitioner would not be plying his car at all. Prima facie he is responsible in law for whatever plying his car does under cover of his license. It is the counter-petitioner who has the license to ply and it is therefore he who plies. It is not open to him to interpose as many persons as he likes between himself and the person who takes the fares or drives the bus and then argue that it is they and not he who plied the car. It is to my mind prima facie obvious that it was the counter-petitioner who plied the car without a license on road No. 17. The ratio decidendi in the case In re Krishnaswami Aiyar (1919) 10 LW 399. relied on by the counter-petitioner does not apply here. The question here is not whether counter-petitioner caused or permitted his car to ply without a license because it is really he himself who plied it. The principle to be applied is that which is applied the case of other license-holders, for example, holders of Abkari licenses (see 1 Weir 647); holders of license under the City Police Act see Velayuda Mudaly v. King-Emperor (1919) ILR 43 M 438 : 39 MLJ 85.; see also Queen-Empress v. Tyab Alt (1900) ILR 24 B 423.; Emperor v. Babu Lal (1912) ILR 34A 319 and Emperor v. Jwala Prasad (1923) ILR 45A 642. The licensees are in law responsible for all that their servants do. The principle is that the act of the servant of a licensee is the act of his master, and that it is the licensee who does everything that is done under cover of the license. It is he who undertakes to conform to the terms of it and to be responsible that no breach of it takes place. I therefore set aside the acquittal order of the Lower Court and direct that the counter-petitioner be retried in the light of the above remarks.;

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