Municipal Council Raipur & ANR V.
State Of Madhya Pradesh  INSC 186 (18 August 1969)
18/08/1969 SIKRI, S.M.
REDDY, P. JAGANMOHAN
CITATION: 1970 AIR 1923 1970 SCR (1) 915 1969
SCC (2) 582
Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961 (27 of
1961), ss. 2(g) and 38--Motor Transport Undertaking', if includes municipality
owning transport vehicles used for carriage of goods--'Public order' in s.
38--if includes 'public health'.
Code of Criminal Procedure (Act 5 of 1898),
ss. 243, 244 and 245-Summons case--Complaint dismissed without stating
particulars of offence to accused--Order, if amounts to discharge or acquittal.
The appellant (Municipal Council) owned
transport vehicles and used those vehicles for the maintenance of public health
in the Municipality by transporting the night soil and refuse of the town, and
by distributing water.
It employed 50 transport workers. As it had
not been registered as 'required under s. 3(1) of the Motor Transport Workers
Act, 1961, a complaint was filed against it. On receiving the summons, the
Chief Municipal Officer appeared, and even before the particulars of the
offence were stated to him, filed preliminary objections that the Municipal
Council was not a 'motor transport undertaking' and that the transport vehicles
owned by the Council were exempt under s. 38 of the Act. The trial court dismissed
the complaint and a revision to the Sessions Court was also dismissed. A
further revision to the High Court under s.
439 Criminal Procedure Code, was allowed.
In appeal to this Court, it was contended
that: (1) the case being a summons case the dismissal of the complaint was an
order of acquittal and not one of discharge and hence, only an appeal lay under
s. 417, Cr. P.C., and not a revision under s. 439; (2) the appellant did not
fail within the definition of the expression 'motor transport undertaking' in
s. 2(g) of the Act; and (3) the transport vehicles owned by the appellant were
exempt under s. 38 of the Act, because, the transport vehicles were used for a
purpose connected with the maintenance of 'public order'.
HELD: (i) Since the complaint was dismissed
before anything was done it amounted to. an order of discharge and not an
acquittal, and so the revision was competent. [917 C] (2) The expression 'motor
transport undertaking' in s. 2(g) includes a 'private carrier' as defined in
the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939. The: appellant fell within the definition of
'private carrier' inasmuch as the appellant owned transport vehicles and used
them solely for the carriage of goods. It cannot be said that only an
undertaking of a commercial nature was intended to be included within the
definition of motor transport undertaking, because, (a) the Motor Transport
Workers Act is a beneficial Act and the Legislature intended to enlarge the
meaning of the expression 'motor transport undertaking' and so, the enactment
should not be construed strictly; (b) the words of the definition are plain and
are not susceptible of any limitation: and (e) s. 38, which exempts certain
transport vehicles proceeds on the basis that a private carrier carrying on
activities which are not of a commercial character would also be included in
the expression 'motor transport undertaking'. [918 C-F] 916 (3) The words
'public order' in s. 38 mean 'public peace and tranquility' and do. not include
Therefore, the exemption under s. 38 is not
attracted. [920 A-B] Ramesh Thappar v. State of Madras,  S..C.R. 594,
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Criminal
163 of 1967.
Appeal by special leave from the judgment and
order dated March 6, 1967 of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Criminal Revision
No. 159 of 1966.
G.L. Sanghi and P.C. Bhartari, for the
I. N. Shroff, for the respondent.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
Sikri, J. This appeal by special leave arises out of the following facts.
Inspector Ahuja inspected the Municipal Council, Raipur, under the Motor
Transport Workers Act, 1961---hereinafter referred to as the Act--and found
that 50 transport workers, including drivers, conductors, mechanics, etc., had
been employed by the Council but the Council had not been registered as
required under s. 3(1) of the Act. He filed a complaint before the Special
Magistrate and Presiding Officer, Labour Court, who issued summons to the
accused, namely, the Municipal Council and the Chief Municipal Officer,
Municipal Council, Raipur. The accused appeared by counsel and filed
preliminary objections. Before the Magistrate two. points were taken: (1) that
the Municipal Council was not a 'motor transport undertaking' within s. 2(g) of
the Act, and (2) that the Council was exempt under s. 38 of the Act insofar as
it uses the vehicles for transporting sick or injured persons. and for
maintenance of public order, i.e., for transporting night soil and refuse of
the town free of charges. The Magistrate accepted these contentions and
dismissed the complaint and discharged the accused persons.
The State of Madhya Pradesh filed a revision
before the Sessions Judge, Raipur, who agreeing with the findings of the
Magistrate, dismissed the revision. The State then filed a revision under s.
439, Cr. P.C. Three points were debated before the High Court: (1) whether a
revision lay under s. 439, Cr. P.C. The contention was that the accused had
been acquitted and not discharged and, therefore, only a.n appeal under s. 417.
Cr. P.C., lay; (2) that the Municipal Council does not fall within the
definition of the expression "motor transport undertaking" in s.
2(g); and (3) that the transport vehicles owned by the Municipal Council are
exempt under s. 38(1) of the Act.
917 The High Court overruled the preliminary
objection and held that a revision lay under s. 439, Cr. P.C., because the
order passed by the Magistrate was an order of discharge and not of acquittal.
On the second point the High Court held that the Municipal-Council fell within
the definition of the expression "motor transport undertaking". On
tire third point the High Court held that the vehicles of the Municipal Council
did not come within the exemption under s. 38 of the Act.
The same points have been debated before us
by the learned counsel. Coming to the first point, we agree with the High Court
that the order of the Magistrate was an order of discharge and not of
acquittal. It is true that it is a summons case and no formal charge is
necessary to be framed under s. 242, Cr. P.C., but even so. here when the
accused appeared, before anything was done the accused filed a preliminary
objection and no particulars of the offence of which the accused was charged
were even stated to him.
Coming to the second point, it seems to us
that the High Court was right in holding that the. Municipal Council is a motor
transport undertaking as defined in the Act. It is necessary to set out the
relevant definition in s. 2 of the Act.
"2(g) 'motor transport undertaking'
means a motor transport undertaking engaged in carrying passengers or goods or
both by. road for hire or reward, and includes a private carrier;
(n) all other words and expressions used but
not defined in this Act and defined in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, shall have
the meanings respectively assigned to them in that Act." The expression
"private carrier" is defined in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, to mean
"an owner of a transport vehicle other than a public carrier who uses that
vehicle solely for the carriage of goods which are his property or the carriage
of which is necessary for the purposes of his business not being a business of
providing transport, of who. uses the vehicle for any of the purposes specified
in sub-section (2) of section 42." A "transport vehicle" is
defined in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, to mean "a public service vehicle
or a goods vehicle," and a ":goods vehicle" is defined to mean
"any motor vehicle constructed or adapted for use for the carriage of
goods, or any motor vehicle not so. constructed or adapted when used for the
carriage of goods solely or in addition to passengers." "Goods"
is defined as follows:
"Goods" includes live-stock, and
anything (other than equipment ordinarily used with the vehicle) car- 918 ried
by a vehicle except living persons, but does not include luggage or personal
effects carried in a motor car or in a trailer attached to a motor car or the
personal luggage of passengers travelling in the vehicle." It seems to us
that the accused fell within the definition of a "private cartier"
inasmuch as the Council owned transport vehicles and used these vehicles solely
for the carriage of goods which are its property. In this case we are not
concerned with the second limb of the definition, and the authority cited by
the learned counsel for the 'accused (Mohamed Zarful Islam v. Birendra Lall(1)
which dealt with the second limb, is of no assistance to.
The main argument which the learned counsel
urges is that the word "includes" in the definition of the expression
"motor transport undertaking" helps him because this shows that it is
only an undertaking of a commercial nature which was intended to be included
within the definition of "motor transport undertaking". He says that
a Municipal Council is not carrying on any business but is carrying on
statutory obligations imposed upon it and, therefore, a Municipal Council
cannot be called an undertaking.
We are unable to accept this contention.
First, the Act provides for the welfare of motor transport workers and
regulates the conditions of their work. Such beneficial acts are not, as a
rule, construed strictly. Secondly, the words of the definition are plain and
not susceptible of any reasonable limitation. It seems to us that by using the
word "includes" the. Legislature undoubtedly intended to enlarge the
meaning of the expression "motor transport undertaking". The words
"private carrier" have been given a specific meaning in the Motor
Vehicles Act, 1939, and it is difficult to limit this specific meaning on any
reasonable basis. Further, s. 38 of the Act, which exempts certain transport
vehicles, also proceeds on the basis that a private carrier who is carrying on
activities which are not commercial would be included within the expression
"motor transport undertaking".
Relying on the decision of the House of Lords
in Dilworth v. The Commissioner of Stamps(2) and the decision of the Madhya
Pradesh High Court in State of Madhya Pradesh v. Mother Superior Convent School(3),
the learned counsel contends that sometimes the legislature uses the word
"includes" to mean "means and includes". This is
undoubtedly so but we are unable to appreciate how this would help the
(1) A.I.R. 1965 Bom. 120. (2)  A.C. 99.
(3) A.I.R. 1958 M.P, 362.
919 The learned counsel also suggests that we
should limit the meaning of the words "private carrier" in the same
manner as the Madhya Pradesh High Court limited the meaning of the word
"church" occurring in s. 2(4) of the Madhya Pradesh Public Trust Act.
We are unable to see any analogy between the two definitions. The definition
there is quite different and the High Court was of the view that the scheme of
the Act itself shows that what was intended was to regulate, not religious
institutions but religious institutions impressed with the character of a
public trust." Coming to the last point, we agree with the High Court that
the words "public order" in S. 38(1)(ii) do not include the
maintenance of public health. Section 38 reads:
"38. Exemptions.--(1) Nothing contained
in this Act shall apply to or in relation to any transport vehicle-- (i) used
for the transport of sick or injured persons;
(ii) used for any purpose connected with the
security of India, or the. security of a State, or the maintenance of public
order ...... ".
The learned counsel relies on the decision of
this Court Ramesh Thappar v. The State of Madras (1). In Ratnesh Thappar's case
the question before this Court was. "whether the impugned Act (Madras
Maintenance of Public Order Act, 1949) in so far as it purports by section
9(1-a) to authorise the Provincial Government 'for the: purpose of securing the
public safety or the maintenance of public order, to prohibit or regulate tie
entry into or the circulation, sale or distribution in the Province of Madras
or any part thereof of any document or class of documents' is a law relating to
any matter which undermines the security of or tends to overthrow the
State." Patanjali Sastri, J., as he then was, observed:
"Now 'Public Order' is an expression of
wide connotation and signifies that state of tranquillity which prevails among
the members of a political society as a result of internal regulations enforced
by the government which they have established." Later he observed:
"'Public safety' ordinarily means
security of the public or their freedom from danger. In that sense, anything
which tends to prevent danger to public health may also be regarded as securing
public safety." (1)  S.C.R. 594.
920 The learned counsel urges that
"public order" includes "public safety" and the latter
comprises "public health".
We see no force in this contention and Ramesh
Thappar's case(1) does not say so. In our view "Public Order" in this
context means public peace and tranquillity. We agree with the High Court that
the functions of the Municipal Council in carrying night soil and in
distributing water do not fail within "maintenance of public order."
In the result the appeal fails and is dismissed.
V.P.S. Appeal dismissed.
(1)  S.C.R. 594.