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Sree Gajanana Motor Transport Co. Ltd. Vs. the Mysore Revenue Appellate Tribunal, Bangalore and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 148 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1959Kant62; AIR1959Mys62; ILR1958KAR500; (1958)36MysLJ794
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 53(3), 57(2), 57(3), 57(5), 57(7) and 64(2); Mysore Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Rules, 1945 - Rule 130
AppellantSree Gajanana Motor Transport Co. Ltd.
RespondentThe Mysore Revenue Appellate Tribunal, Bangalore and anr.
Appellant AdvocateV. Krishnamurthy, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateG.S. Ullal, Adv.
Excerpt:
.....reason and showing bona fide. delay not condoned. - 11. the tribunal was of the view that the regional transport authority, in omitting to correctly publish the substance of the applications which had actually been made to the regional transport authority and in publishing in the notification, a route different from that referred to in the applications which it had received, failed to perform its statutory duty under sub-section (3) of section 57 of the act. in any event, the question as to whether it was a mere irregularity, which, not resulting in any failure of justice did not entail the reversal of the order granting the permit, or not, was a matter entirely for the revenue appellate tribunal to decide and if the revenue appellate tribunal in the exercise of its appellate..........was a route between sagar and bhatkal. it was stated in that notification that the chairman, regional transport authority, would receive these applications in connection with the proposal mentioned in that notification; and that proposal was to run bus services on the routes mentioned in that notification under reciprocal arrangements between the states of mysore and bombay. in response to that notification, the petitioner, respondent 2 and another who is not a party to this writ petition, presented their applications which, it is not now disputed, were applications for the grant of a permit to run a bus service between sagar and bhatkal. after the receipt of those applications, the regional transport authority purported to publish the substance of those applications under the.....
Judgment:

A.R. Somnath Iyer J.

1. On 21-6-1956, the Regional Transport Authority, Shimoga, called for applications under the provisions of Section 57 (2) of the Motor Vehicles Act for the grant of a stage carriage permit to run bus services on four routes, and fixed a date for the receipt of those applications. One of those routes was a route between Sagar and Bhatkal. It was stated in that notification that the Chairman, Regional Transport Authority, would receive these applications in connection with the proposal mentioned in that notification; and that proposal was to run bus services on the routes mentioned in that notification under reciprocal arrangements between the States of Mysore and Bombay. In response to that notification, the petitioner, respondent 2 and another who is not a party to this writ petition, presented their applications which, it is not now disputed, were applications for the grant of a permit to run a bus service between Sagar and Bhatkal. After the receipt of those applications, the Regional Transport Authority purported to publish the substance of those applications under the provisions of Sub-section (3) of Section 57 of the Act and fixed the date within which the representations in that connection might be submitted.

2. The petitioner and the other two applicants made their representations which they could submit under that notification. The Regional Transport Authority fixed 15-10-1956 as the date on which it would dispose of these applications. It, however, took up those applications for disposal on 17-11-1956 along with the applications for some other routes and resolved to grant to the petitioner the permit for the route between Sagar and Bhatkal frontier via Jog and back, although the applications them selves in that regard had been made for the grant of a permit for the route between Sagar and Bhatkal.

3. It has to be mentioned here that the route between Sagar and Bhatkal frontier was a route within the former State of Mysore, as it was, before the Reorganization of the States which took place on 1-11-1956. But the route between Sagar and Bhatkal in respect of which the applications had been received by the Regional Transport Authority, was partly a route within that former State of Mysore and partly outside that State and within the State of Bombay, as it then existed.

4. The second respondent, whose application for a permit was refused by the Regional Transport Authority, presented an appeal to the State Transport Authority. The State Transport Authority dismissed that appeal. From that order respondent 2, preferred an appeal to the Revenue Appellate Tribunal in the State of Mysore, under the provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 64 of the Motor Vehicles Act, which had been brought on the statute book by an amendment made to the principal act by the State Legislature. The Revenue Appellate Tribunal allowed that appeal and set aside the order granting the permit to the petitioner.

5. The petitioner has presented this writ petition to this Court and asks that the order of the Revenue Appellate Tribunal should be quashed.

6. The Revenue Appellate Tribunal allowed the appeal presented by Respondent 2, on various grounds. One of those grounds was that since the route for which the permit was granted was a route situate partly in one State and partly in another, on the date on which those applications for the permit were presented, the Regional Transport Authority could not deal with them as it could not exercise any of its powers under the provisions of Chap. IV of the Motor Vehicles Act or grant the permit prayed for.

In coming to that conclusion, the Revenue Appellate Tribunal relied on Rule 130 of the Mysore Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Rules 1945, framed under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939. The second reason for which the Revenue Appellate Tribunal set aside the order of the Regional Transport Authority was that the Regional Transport Authority had violated the provisions of Sub-section (7) of Section 57 of the Motor Vehicles Act in not having given reasons for refusing to grant the permit to respondent 2.

The third reason for which the Revenue Appellate Tribunal allowed the appeal was that whereas in their applications made in pursuance of the first notification published under Sub-section (2) of Section 57 of the Act, the applicants applied for a permit for the route between Sagar and Bhatkal which was partly in one State and partly in another, in the second notification publishing the substance of those applications under Sub-section (3) of that section and while referring to the route to which the applications related, the Regional Transport Authority referred to a route different from that mentioned in those applications. The route so referred to by the Regional Transport Authority was the route between Sagar and the Bhatkal frontier which entirely lay within the former State of Mysore.

7. The Revenue Appellate Tribunal was of the view that the Regional Transport Authority could not publish the substance of the applications presented by the applicants in that way and to mention in the notification published under Sub-section (3) of that Section, a route other than the route for which the applicants had applied.

The Revenue Appellate Tribunal appears to have thought that this amounted to a contravention of the provisions of Sub-section (3) of Section 57 of the Act. The last ground on which the Tribunal allowed the appeal was that the Regional Transport Authority had made its approach to the decision of the question as to who should be selected as a permit holder with a predilection in its mind that the petitioner should be so selected.

8. Mr. Krishna Murthy, learned Advocate for the petitioner has urged that the findings of the Revenue Appellate Tribunal being manifestly unsustainable, its order is liable to be quashed.

9. Having regard to the view that I take on the effect of the omission by the Regional Transport Authority to make the publication required by Sub-section (3) of Section 57 of the Motor Vehicles Act, it would, in my opinion, be unnecessary for us to decide whether the views taken by the Revenue Appellate Tribunal on the other questions are or are not sustainable.

10. The Revenue Appellate Tribunal, as I have mentioned, recorded a finding that the Regional Transport Authority did not publish, as required by Sub-section (3) of Section 57 of the Act, the substance of the applications made by the applicants, but on the contrary in the notification issued under that section made it appear that the applications had been received for an entirely different route. The finding of the Tribunal was -- and that finding has not been and could not be disputed in this Court -- that the applications originally made were for the grant of permits for the route between Sagar and Bhatkal. Nor is it disputed that that route is a longer route than the route between Sagar and Bhatkal frontier.

The Tribunal's view was that when the Regional Transport Authority published the substance of the applications which it had received under Sub-section (3) of Section 57 of the Act, it should have mentioned in that notification that it had received applications for the grant of a permit on the Sagar Bhatkal route.

Instead of doing that, the Regional Transport Authority mentioned in that publication that it had received applications for the route between Sagar

and Bhatkal frontier via Jog and back. It is not stated that any of the applicants had made any application for the grant of a permit for the route between Sagar and Bhatkal frontier.

11. The Tribunal was of the view that the Regional Transport Authority, in omitting to correctly publish the substance of the applications which had actually been made to the Regional Transport Authority and in publishing in the notification, a route different from that referred to in the applications which it had received, failed to perform its statutory duty under Sub-section (3) of Section 57 of the Act. This omission on its part amounted according to the Tribunal, to a transgression of the mandatory provisions of that sub-section, rendering the grant of the permit to the petitioner invalid and liable to be set aside.

12. In order to understand the reasoning of the Tribunal, it is necessary to refer to the provisions of Section 57 of the Motor Vehicles Act. Subsection (2) of Section 57 provides for the making of an application for the grant of a stage carriage permit. Sub-section (3) of Section 57 of the Act provides as follows:

'On receipt of an application for a stage carriage permit or a public carrier's permit, the Regional Transport Authority shall make the application available for inspection at the office of the Authority and shall publish the application or the substance thereof in the prescribed manner together with a notice of the date before which representations in connection therewith may be submitted and the date, not being less than thirty days from such publication, on which, and the time and place at which, the application and any representations received will be considered,'

Sub-section (5) provides that:

'When any representation such as is referred to in Sub-section (3) is made, the Regional Transport Authority shall dispose of the application at a public hearing at which the applicant and the person making the representation shall have an opportunity of being heard either in person or by a duly authorised representative.'

13. It is therefore clear from the provisions of Sub-section (3) that what the Regional Transport Authority has to do, on receipt of an application, is to make the application available for inspection and to publish that application or the substance thereof in the prescribed manner. It is also clear from the provisions of Sub-section (5) that after considering the representations made and after hearing the parties, the Regional Transport Authority shall dispose of the application which was made, to it.

14. It is urged by Mr. Ullal the learned Advocate for respondent 2 that if the Regional Transport Authority does not publish the real substance of the applications made to it and the substance published is different from the substance of the application actually made, it would amount to a contravention of the provisions of Sub-section (3). In my opinion, this contention of Mr. Ullal has to be upheld.

15. It is clear from Sub-section (3) that the publication to be made by the Regional Transport Authority is the substance of the applications made to it and in this case the substance that was published -- the applications themselves not having been published in this case -- was not the substance of the applications received by it.

If the applicants applied for a permit for the route between Sagar and Bhatkal and the Regional Transport Authority stated in the publication made under Sub-section (3) that applications had been made for the grant of a permit between Sagar and Bhatkal frontier via Jog and back, it is plain that what was published was not the substance of the applications made to it but was something entirely different, the route for which the permits had been applied for in the applications, being different from the route mentioned in the publication made under Sub-section (3).

16. That it is incumbent on the Regional Transport Authority to publish a correct substance of those applications is also indicated by the provisions of Sub-section (5) of the Act which provides that after the hearing which the Regional Transport Authority has to give under the provisions of the Act what the Regional Transport Authority has to do is to dispose of the applications received by it.

17. It is not contended before us that there were any applications before the Regional Transport Authority for the grant of a permit for the route between Sagar and Bhatkal frontier. The only applications which were before it were the applications for the grant of a permit for the route between Sagar and Bhatkal, The Regional Transport Authority could under Sub-section (5) deal with only those applications. It cannot be said that that is what it did.

18. But it is urged by Mr. Krishna Murthy that the provisions of Sub-section (3) of Section 57 of the Act are merely directory and not mandatory and that the mistake committed by the Regional Transport Authority in this case in mentioning in its notification a route different from the route in regard to which the applications had been made, was a mere irregularity which did not affect the jurisdiction of the Regional Transport Authority to grant a permit for the route within its jurisdiction, His contention is that since the route between Sagar and Bhatkal frontier lay entirely within the Shimoga District, it was competent for the Regional Transport Authority to grant a permit in regard to that route and since the Regional Transport Authority granted a permit only in respect of that route, the Revenue Appellate Tribunal was in error in setting aside the grant of that permit merely on the ground that there was an irregularity on the part of the Regional Transport Authority in correctly publishing the substance of the applications.

19. I do not think we can accept Mr. Krishna Murthy's argument that the omission to comply with the provisions of Sub-section (3) of Section 57 of the Act was a mere irregularity. In any event, the question as to whether it was a mere irregularity, which, not resulting in any failure of justice did not entail the reversal of the order granting the permit, or not, was a matter entirely for the Revenue Appellate Tribunal to decide and if the Revenue Appellate Tribunal in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction took the view that on account of the error committed by the Regional Transport Authority, the grant of the permit should in this case be set aside, it is impossible for the petitioner to contend that the Tribunal was not competent to do so or that this Court should substitute its judgment for that of the Tribunal in that matter.

20. Further it is difficult to accept the contention of Mr. Krishna Murthy that the provisions of Sub-section (3) of Section 57 are merely directory provisions and not mandatory. In my opinion, those provisions are mandatory provisions and the publication of the application or its substance as required by Sub-section (3) of Section 57 is, ordinarily, a condition precedent to the exercise of its jurisdiction by the Regional Transport Authority under Sub-section (5) of that Section.

21. In United Motor Transport Co., Ltd. v. Sreelakshmi Motor Transport Co., Ltd. : AIR1945Cal260 , their Lordships of the Calcutta High Court, in discussing the effect

of non-compliance with the provisions of Section 57 of the Act. said thus:

'It is quite clear that the procedure laid down in Section 57 must he followed by the Transport Authority when dealing with applications for permits. If that Authority either grants a permit or refuses permit without following the procedure laid down in Section 57 it would be a case of material irregularity and the order for granting or refusing permit, as the case may he, will be liable to he set aside by the appellate authority on an appeal being preferred tinder Section 64 of the Act by a person aggrieved by the refusal, when the permit had been refused, or on an appeal preferred by a local authority, or by the police or by a person providing transport facilities who had opposed the grant of the permit where the permit has been granted.' With this view I respectfully agree and in my opinion, we should accept the principle enunciated by their Lordships. The omission to publish correctly the substance of the applications received by the Regional Transport Authority amounts to an omission to follow the procedure prescribed by Sub-section (3) of Section 57 of the Act. If the procedure prescribed by Sub-section (3) is not followed by the Regional Transport Authority, it gets no jurisdiction to hear the application referred to in Subsection (5) or to dispose of it under the provisions of that sub-section.

22. In this view of the matter, it appears to me that the Revenue Appellate Tribunal was right in coming to the conclusion that the permit granted to the petitioner by the Regional Transport Authority without observing the procedure prescribed by the Act was liable to be set aside. It cannot, therefore, be said that the order of the Revenue Appellate Tribunal is either manifestly wrong or is liable to be quashed for any other reason.

23. Since the order of the Regional Transport Authority granting the permit to the petitioner was quashed, and in my opinion, rightly quashed for the reason that the Regional Transport Authority did not comply with the requirements of sub-section (3) of Section 57 of the Act, the other grounds on which the Revenue Appellate Tribunal reached the same conclusion, do not arise for consideration and in my opinion, we should express no opinion in regard to those matters. This Writ Petition must, therefore, fail and is dismissed with costs of respondent 2. (Advocate's fee Rs. 100/-).

24. The result of the order made by the Revenue Appellate Tribunal is that it is for the appropriate Transport Authority to now grant a permit for the route in question in appropriate proceedings, and during the pendency of those proceedings, it would be for that Authority to consider whether or not the petitioner who has been running his bus service on this route during all these years should not, in the interest of the general public, be allowed to continue to ply its bus service along that route until the selection of the permit holder is finally made.

25. S.R. Das Gupta, C.J.

I agree.

26. Petition dismissed.


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