A. Narayana Pai, C.J.
1. Because the learned counsel in the course of the arguments on an interlocutory application to vacate the interim order agreed that the main matter itself may be heard and disposed of. we have heard. full arguments on the merits of the case.
2. The petitioner, who is operating a stage carriage service from Mysore to Calicut impugns the contract carriage permit granted by the first respondent State Transport Authority in Mysore to the. second respondent in respect of a route from Bangalore to Calicut via Mysore and back along the same route.
3. The contentions raised on behalf of the petitioner by his learned counsel Mr. Rangaswamy are three in number:
(1) That the application itself was not in accordance with Section 49 of the Act and that therefore no order could have been passed on it.
(2) that the permit does not contain any condition to make it clear that the contract carriage shall not be utilised as a stage carriage, and
(3) that the Transport Authority has taken into account irrelevant material.
4. Section 49 of the Act enumerates the particulars which should be set out in an application for grant of a contract carriage permit. One of them is the area for which the permit is required. In the application made by the second respondent however what is specified is not an area but a route from Bangalore to Calicut via . Mysore. The prescribed form of application No. 51 however describes the particulars required to be specified in paragraph 4 as Route(s) or area(s) for which the permit is desired.
5. The argument in our opinion is exiremely technical. One thing that is perfectly clear to us is that route may also answer the description of an area. What is also clear is that the reason for using the word area is that a contract carriage permit may be granted for operation of a vehicle as a contract carriage within a specified area without limiting the same to any route, as for example, a taxi cab. Hence by using the word area it cannot be contended that the idea of a route is totally excluded. That it cannot be so excluded is clear from the provision of Section 51 that the authority while granting the permit may restrict it to any specified route or routes.
6. Even otherwise, the alleged' defect, if any. in the application is not, in our opinion, sufficient to totally oust the jurisdiction of the Transport authority in the matter of granting or refusing to grant the permit asked for. The ruling of this Court reported in 1959 Mys LJ 759 = (AIR 1960 Mvs 72) (The Central Karnataka Motor Service Ltd.) depended upon by Mr. Rangaswamy does not support the contention that any defect in an application is sufficient ground for holding that the Transport authority has no jurisdiction whatever to reject or receive the same. Indeed the ruling relied upon by him is one in which the rejection of a defective application by the Transport Authority was upheld by this court. It means that the Transport Authority had the jurisdiction to make an order rejecting the application. What is more, the fundamental principle which should be borne in mind is that any defect in the pleading or any disability placed by law on a litigant is not an element which takes away the jurisdiction of the court. Jurisdiction is conferred by law. The fact that there is a procedure prescribed for invoking the said jurisdiction, does not mean that there is any such link between the jurisdiction and the procedure as to result in any defect in the procedure operating to destroy the jurisdiction itself.
7. The third contention is based upon the resolution of the Transport Authority that it had considered the representations of several institutions and individuals with regard to the grant of contract carriage permit on the route in question. The argument is that consideration of these representations was beyond the scope of Section 50 which reads as follows:--
'A Regional Transport Authority shall, in considering an application for a contract carriage permit, have regard to the extent to which additional contract carriages may be necessary or desirable in the public interest; and shall also take into consideration any representations which may then be made or which may previously have been made by persons already holding contract carriage permits in the region or by any local authority or police authority in the region to the effect that the number of contract carriages for which permits have already been granted is sufficient for or in excess of the needs of the region or any area within the region.'
It is clear from this section that the main matter which the Transport Authority is to have regard for is extent to which additional contract carriage may be necessary or desirable in the public interest; but it is also called upon to consider any representations of the descriptions set out in the section. The fact that the section obliges the Transport Authority to consider certain specific representations cannot, in our opinion, be depended upon to contend that the authority should not take into account anv other representation. What the law requires it to exclude is an irrelevant consideration or consideration of any irrelevant matter. What matters are relevant can be gathered from Section 50 of the Act, viz., whether the number of contract carriages already on the route are sufficient or insufficient from the point view of public interest. For deciding that matter, we do not think that the authority can be denied the benefit of representations on facts made by persons who may be expected to know those facts. Further limitation is that those facts must have relevant bearing upon the decision of the main matter regarded as a relevant consideration for deciding whether or not to grant the permit.
8. The second contention proceeds upon the definition of a contract carriage and the alleged inadequacy of the form of permit in the matter of bringing to the notice of the grantee of the permit and the enforcing authority, the exact conditions. and limits of operating a contract carriage. According to the definition, contract carriage is a motor vehicle which carries a Passenger or passengers for hire or reward under a contract expressed or implied for the use of the vehicle as a whole. The argument of Mr. Rangaswamy is that because this aspect of the matter is not clearly brought out in the nature of the conditions set out in the permit there is every possibility of the grantee of the permit using the carriage as stage carriage by picking up passengers or taking fares separately from each individual passenger and not as remuneration stipulated in a contract for the use of the whole of the carriage. He also states that by reason of the same omission, even the enforcing authorities are pleading helplessness.
9. Although there may be the possibility of operators trying to circumvent the law. we fail to see how the enforcement authorities can plead helplessness. Authorities appointed to enforce the provision of the law are expected to know the details thereof and it is too much to expect that the police or the Transport Authorities on whom lies the task of enforcing the provisions of the law could plead ignorance thereof or plead helplessness. The permit is issued in Form No. 60 prescribed under the Rules. It is expressly described as a permit in respect of a particular contract carriage. Condition 11 thereof expressly states that this permit does not entitle the holder to use the vehicle therein described as a stage carriage or as a goods vehicle for hire. The grantee of a permit therefore cannot plead that the permit permits him to convert a contract carriage into a state carriage.
10. If, as Mr. Rangaswamy apprehends, the enforcing authorities may feel some difficulty it is up to the Head of the Department dealing with the matters to issue express instructions to the subordinates in the matter of enforcing them.
11. As the permit stands, for the reasons stated, it is sufficient to indicate that it is a contract carriage permit for operating a contract carriage and the description itself imports all the restrictions and conditions specified in regard thereto in the statute iteslf; we do not think that it is necessary to add any further explanatory condition to bring the matter to the notice of the persons concerned.
12. The writ petition fails and is hereby dismissed.