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The Hanuman Transport Co. Ltd. Vs. the State of Madras and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. (M) No. 1 of 1956
Judge
Reported inAIR1959Kant72; AIR1959Mys72; ILR1958KAR472; (1958)36MysLJ628
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 47, 47(1), 55, 57, 57(2), 57(3) and 57(7)
AppellantThe Hanuman Transport Co. Ltd.
RespondentThe State of Madras and ors.
Appellant AdvocateN.T. Raghunathan and ;M. Gopalakrishna Shetty, AdvS.
Respondent AdvocateD.M. Chandrasekhar, High Court Government Pleader, ;Chengalvarayan and ;Ullal, Advs.
Excerpt:
.....the labour court to set aside the punishment. further, the gravity of the charge cannot be ignored, unless the workman establishes that the delay has vitally prejudiced his case. just because there is delay, the punishment cannot be altered when the charge of fraud is proved. award was set aside. - justice subba rao who decided that case in the course of his judgment observed that the pro-vision of the act indicate beyond any reasonable doubt that a regional transport authority should give reasons to the issue of a permit clearly in such a manner that an appellate court may be in a position to canvass the correctness of the reasons given by it, as otherwise the right of appeal conferred by the act would he of no use. i would, however, mention that even in his present petition the..........authority on 14-8-1953 granting permit in respect of bus route from udipi to dharamstala.2. the regional transport authority had on 7-4-1951 issued a notification under section 57 (2) of the motor vehicles act calling for application for permit in respect of this route. as a result of that notification there were 7 applications for the said permit, the application of the petitioner before us being on of them. on 30-4-1951, the regional transport authority issued a notification under section 57 (3) ' of the motor vehicles act. the matter was posted for hearing on 30-6-1951. on that date the regional transport authority made the following order ;'as a part of the route namely ujre to dharamstala lies through a private the question of granting a permit for any stage carrier can be.....
Judgment:

S.R. Das Gupta, C.J.

1. The Petitioner before us complains against the order passed by the Regional Transport Authority on 14-8-1953 granting permit in respect of bus route from Udipi to Dharamstala.

2. The Regional Transport Authority had on 7-4-1951 issued a notification under Section 57 (2) of the Motor Vehicles Act calling for application for permit in respect of this route. As a result of that notification there were 7 applications for the said permit, the application of the Petitioner before us being on of them. On 30-4-1951, the Regional Transport Authority issued a notification under Section 57 (3) ' of the Motor Vehicles Act. The matter was posted for hearing on 30-6-1951. On that date the Regional Transport Authority made the following order ;

'As a part of the route namely Ujre to Dharamstala lies through a private the question of granting a permit for any stage carrier can be granted only after this part of the route becomes a public road.'

The said authority, however, on 31-12-1951 issued a notification in which it was inter alia, stated as follows :

'(Notification under Section 47 (1) of the Motor Vehicles Act).

It is proposed to introduce a bus service on Udipi -- Dharamstala (via) Karkal, Moodabidri Ujre route with effect from l-4-192 when the private road from Ujre. to Dharmastala is taken, over by the District Board.

2. Those who have any representations to make in this connection should do so in writing so as to reach this office on or before 20-1-1952.' Thereafter the said private road was taken over by the District Board. On 5-8-1953 the Regional Transport Authority issued a notice to all the saidapplicants informing them that a meeting of the Regional Transport Authority, South Kanara, will be held on 14-8-1953, the, subject for consideration being 'Motor Vehicles -- Stage Carriages -- Grant of permit for one bus on route Udipi to Dhannastala via Karkal, Moodabidri, Venoor, Guruvainkere and Ujre.'

In that notice the name of the persons who had applied pursuant to the first notification are mentioned as applicants. The said applicants were also asked to furnish the particulars set out in the said notification by return of post.

Thereafter the matter was heard before the Regional Transport Authority and the case of the Petitioner was also pressed before the said authority. The Regional Transport Authority, however, by its order dated 14-8-53 granted the permit to the 4th Respondent. It will be necessary for the purpose of the present application to set out the said order of the Regional Transport Authority which reads ss follows :

'Decision of R.T.A. 'No. 1 : He is already opera ting one bus on the route (Moolky to Charmady covering this route from Ujre to Moodabidri. He has got only two buses now. With a view to make him also a fleet owner, the permit is granted to him. Time for production of vehicle 4 months.

No. 2 New entrants.

No. 3 Absent also.

No. 4 These are not

(SIC)

No. 5 more suitable than Hence rejected.

No. 6 Member 1.

No. 7 Absent.'

It is this order of the Regional Transport Authority which is challenged by the Petitioner before us.

3. The learned Advocate, for the Petitioner urged several grounds in support of this application. In the first place, he contended that the said order of the Regional Transport Authority was not in accordance with the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, because of the following reasons : (a) that the order does not give any reason while Section 57 (7) of the Motor Vehicles Act lays down that when a Regional Transport Authority refuses an application for a permit of any kind, it shall give to the applicant in writing its reasons for the refusal.

(b) That even if we hold that some reasons have been given for the said order, the said reasons are based on irrelevant considerations. In other words, it was contended that the said reasons are not covered by any of the provisions of Section 47 of the Act. Section 47 of the Act states that in deciding whether to grant or refuge a stage carriage permit, the Regional Transport Authority shall have regard to the matters enumerated in the said Section.

The learned Advocate contended that in arriving at the said decision the Regional Transport Authority took into consideration matters which were beyond the scope of the said Section, and the order, therefore, should be quashed, (c) That the said reason was based on a factual mistake; the factual mistake being that Respondent 4 before us was the; owner of two buses whereas the Respondent No. 4 was in fact the owner of three buses. The learned Advocate contended that the said order which was based on a factual mistake should be set aside. I shall take up these grounds urged by the learned Advocate for the Petitioner one by one.

4. The first ground, as already mentioned by me, urged by the learned Advocate for the Petitioner in support of this part of his contention was that the order of the Regional Transport Authority does not give any reason at all. In my opinion this contention cannot be accepted. The Regional Transport Authority undoubtedly has given its reasons for its said order.

Whether or not the reasons given by the Regional Transport Authority for the said order are covered by the provisions of Section 47 of the Act, or whether the said reasons are vague and unintelligible are different matters. There cannot be any doubt that the reasons in support of the order have been given by the Regional Transport Authority. I am equally of the opinion that the reasons so given by the Regional Transport Authority are intelligible.

5. The learned Advocate for the Petitioner relied on a decision of the Madras High Court reported in Mannarghat Union Motor Services Ltd. v. Regional Transport Authority, Malabar, : AIR1953Mad59 in support of his contention that the reasons for decision of the Regional 'Transport Authority should not be Vague and should be such as would be intelligible to the Court of appeal so that the, Court of appeal may test the correctness of these reasons.

Mr. Justice Subba Rao who decided that case in the course of his judgment observed that the pro-vision of the Act indicate beyond any reasonable doubt that a Regional Transport Authority should give reasons to the issue of a permit clearly in such a manner that an Appellate Court may be in a position to canvass the correctness of the reasons given by it, as otherwise the right of appeal conferred by the Act would he of no use.

In my opinion, there cannot be any dispute about the soundness of this proposition laid down by Mr. Justice Subba Rao. What is, however, to be seen is whether in this case the reasons given by the Regional Transport Authority in support of its order were such that the Appellate Court would not be in a position to understand it and, therefore, in a position to test the correctness of such reasons.

6. I am unable to hold that the reasons given by the Regional Transport Authority are so vague ihat it would prevent the Appellate Court from understanding the said reasons and from testing the correctness thereof. It is clear from the order to which I have referred that the reasons given by the Regional Transport Authority were (a) that Respondent 4 was already operating one bus on a part of the route for which the permit was to be granted; and (b) that he has got only two buses now.

In order to make him also a fleet owner (to make him the owner of three buses), the permit is granted to him. These are the two reasons on which the said order is based as K clear from the order itself. The Petitioner himself as, it appears from the grounds of appeal filed before the Appellate Court, had no difficulty in understanding the reasons on which the said order was based.

He mentioned those two very reasons as being the reasons for which the said order was made; his contention bring that the said reasons are invalid and would not justify the order in question. From the decision of the Appellant Court it also appears that the Appellate Court fully understood the reasons on which the said order was bused and supported the same. That being so, I am of the opinion that on the facts of this ease this contention of the learned. Advocate for the Petitioner cannot be upheld.

7. In support of his next contention, viz., that the order in question was passed on irrelevant considerations, the learned Advocate for the Petitioner relied on a decision of the Calcutta High Court reported in Onkarmal v. Regional Transport Authority Darjeeling, : AIR1956Cal490 . In that case Mr. Justice Sinha who decided it, took theview that the Regional Transport Authority which made the order in question took into consideration matters which were utterly irrelevant and beyond the scope of Section 55 of the Act.

It should, however, be mentioned that Section 55 is in the same words as Section 47 of the Act; Section 55 relates to public carriers permit whereas Section 47 relates to stage carriages permit. The learned Judge also held that if the Regional Transport Authority took into consideration mailers which were utterly irrelevant and beyond the scope of Section 55, then such an order should be set aside.

The learned Advocate for the Petitioner urged that this Court was entitled to go into the question whether or not the reasons given by the Regional Transport Authority in support of its order was based on irrelevant considerations which were beyond the scope of Section 55 although this Court in exercising writ jurisdiction would not be in a position to go into the question of sufficiency of those reasons.

Again, I must say that I feel no difficulty in accepting this proposition so far as it is a pure proposition of law. Tim question, however, is do they apply to the present casa? In other words, can it be said that on the facts of the present case that the considerations, which the Regional Transport Authority took into account, were matters utterly irrelevant and beyond the scope of Section 47?

8. As I have already mentioned there are two considerations continued in the said order which form the reasons thereof. One of them is the consideration of sector qualification and the other is the consideration of making a bus owner a 'fleet owner.'

Can it be said that these two considerations do not come within the purview of Section 47 of the Act? Section 47 of the Act provides that in deciding the grant or to refuse stage carriage permit regard is to be had to the interest of the public generally, the advantages to the public, the adequacy of the road passenger benefit to any particular locality, the operation by the applicant of other transport services and the condition of the roads.

In. my opinion both these considerations on which the order was based come within the purview of Section 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act. The sector qualification as also the consideration that a bus owner should be made a fleet owner arc considerations as to the interest of the public generally.

As for the question of making a particular bus owner a fleet owner, a Division Bench of the Andhra High Court consisting of the Chief Justice Subba Rao (as he then was) and Mr. Justice Satyanarayana Raju held, in M. Ramayya v. State of Andhra, AIR 1956 Andhra 217, that it cannot be said that the reason given for grant of a permit, viz., that the grant of the permit to the operator would help him in building up of an economic fleet,, is conceived in the interests of the operator and not in the public interests. I have no hesitation in agreeing with the said view expressed by their Lordships in the said case.

That being so, I am of the opinion that the contention of the learned Advocate For the Petitioner, viz., that the order in question was passed on utterly irrelevant considerations which were beyond the scope of Section 47 cannot be accepted as sound.

9. As for the contention of the learned Advocate for the Petitioner, viz., that the Tribunal made a factual mistake in stating that the 4th Respondent was the owner of two buses whereas in fact the said Respondent was the owner of three buses, it is urged that although in his present petition the

Petitioner has this statement there is no denial of the same in the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the 4th Respondent,

It appears that this plea was not taken by the Petitioner before the Regional Transport Authority nor before the C.R.T.B. which heard his appeal against the said order of the Regional Transport Authority. It was for the first time in his petition to the Government that the Petitioner raised the plea that the 4th Respondent was the owner of three buses and not of two buses as stated by the Regional Transport Authority.

The learned Advocate for the 4th Respondent stated before us that his client was the owner at the material time of two buses and not of three buses. Thus the facts on which the aforesaid contention is based being in dispute it is not possible to give effect to the same. I would, however, mention that even in his present petition the Petitioner has not clearly stated his present case.

It has not been clearly mentioned that at the time in question thy 4th Respondent was the owner of three buses and not of two buses. There is, therefore, sonic justification for the 4th Respondent for not making a categorical denial of the fact that he was the owner of three buses and not of two buses. In the circumstances I do not think that the contention of the learned Advocate, for the Petitioner on this point should be given effect to.

10. The next contention urged before us by the learned Advocate for the Petitioner in support of this petition was that the; Regional Transport Authority, as the facts of this case show, had already dropped the matter when it made its order on 30-6-1951. It was therefore argued that the Regional Transport Authority ought to have issued a fresh notification and called for fresh application under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act and the Regional Transport Authority not having done so has acted beyond its jurisdiction in entertaining the old applications and giving its decision thereon.

11. In order to decide this contention the main question to be gone into is whether or not the Regional Transport Authority had in fact dropped the proceedings by its order dated 30-6-1951. In my opinion, in the facts and circumstances of this case it is not possible to take the view that the Regional Transport Authority had dropped the said proceedings. I have already referred to the order dated 30-6-1951 and I have already set out the contents thereof.

After the said order was made, and on 31-12-1951, the Regional Transport Authority issued a notification under Section 47 (1) of the Motor Vehicles Act in which it was stated that it was proposed to introduce a bus service on Udipi -- Dharmastala via Karkal, Moodabidri and Ujre and those who have any rep rescn rations to make in this connection should do so in writing so as to reach the office of the Regional Transport Authority on or before the date mentioned therein.

This notification, to my mind, which was made within about six months from the date of the previous order shows that the Regional Transport Authority had not dropped the matter but was proceeding to complete it and in the process of doing so asked for representations from the public in order to ascertain their views on the matter.

The road in question was since acquired and thereafter the Regional Transport Authority issued notice on 5-8-1953 to the very applicants who had made their applications pursuant to the first notification informing them that a meeting of the Regional Transport Authority will take place on the date mentioned therein. This again shows that the Regional Transport Authority did not intend to drop the proceedings when it made its order dated 30-6-1951.

The said meeting did take place on 14-8-1953. It should be mentioned that the Petitioner appeared before the Regional Transport Authority and con, tested the claim of the 4th Respondent and supported his own claim. It does not appear that the Petitioner urged this plea, which is now being urged before us, before the Regional Transport Authority,

Nor does it appear that it was urged before the appellate Court. That being so, I ain of the opinion that in the facts and circumstances of this case it is not possible lo say that the Regional Transport Authority dropped the proceedings when it made its order on 30-6-1951.

12. The last contention of the learned Advocate for the Petitioner was that the Regional Transport Authority had no jurisdiction to issue notification which it did on 7-4-1951 calling for applications under Section 57 (2) of the Motor Vehicles Act, inasmuch as at that date the road in question had not been acquired and made a public road.

His argument, shortly put, was that the Regional Transport Authority has only the power to grant permit to ply a bus in respect of public road and it has no power to grant a permit to ply a bus in respect of a private road. He further contended that if the Regional Transport' Authority had no power to grant such a permit, it has no power also to call for applications for such permit. In other words, it was contended that so long as there was no public road Section 57 (2) would not apply.

13. In my opinion, it would not be correct to say that the Regional Transport Authority had no power to call for applications for the grant of permit although it may not have the power to grant a permit at the time when it calls for such applications due to the fact that the road in question had not yet become public road. I agree with the contention of the learned Advocate for the Petitioner to this extent, viz., that so long as it is not made a public road the Regional Transport Authority has no power to grant a permit.

But I do not agree that the Regional Transport Authority has no power even to call for applications. There is nothing in the Act which, to my mind, prevents the Regional Transport Authority from calling for applications in anticipation of a road being made a public road and open for buses to ply. This contention, in my opinion, cannot be accepted as sound.

14. In the result therefore, all the contentions of the learned Advocate for the Petitioner fail. The petition is dismissed with costs in favour of the 4th Respondent (Advocate's fee Rs. 100/-)

15. A.R. Somnath Iyer, J.

I agree.

16. Petition dismissed.


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