1. The petitioner in the above petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is a person providing transport facilities in the District of Chitradurga. He applied to the Regional Transport Authority, Chitradurga, for grant of a stage carriage permit to operate two stage carriages each day in opposite directions on an inter-State route between Chitradurga in the State of Mysore and Srisaila in the State of Andhra Pradesh and back, via Challakere, Hanagal, Rampura, Bellary, Guntakal, Gutti, Dhone, Kurnool and Atmakur. He also made another application to ply two stage carriage vehicles between Chitradurga and Srisaila on a route which was slightly different from the one referred to above, although the route from Chitradurga to Hagari was common to both the applications. The first of the above two applications was considered by the Regional Transport Authority in subject No. 33 of 18-1-1964 and a permit was granted as prayed for. We are informed that the second application which was dealt with under subject No. 34 was rejected. Against the grant of permit made on the first application, three appeals were filed before the Mysore State Transport Appellate Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as the M.S.T.A.T.) by three appellants including the Mysore State Road Transport Corporation (hereinafter referred to as the Corporation) respondent 4 herein. The M.S.T.A.T. by its order dated 2-11-1964 dismissed all the three appeals. The Corporation thereafter filed an appeal against the order of the M.S.T.A.T. before the Mysore Revenue Appellate Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as the M.R.A.T.) in Appeal No. 726/66 (M.V.). The appellants in the other two appeals also filed two appeals before the M.R.A.T., which were however later withdrawn and dismissed. Ultimately, the M.R.A.T. dealt with only the appeal of the Corporation on merits and by its order dated 30-7-1970 allowed the appeal partly rendering the permit invalid on a portion of the said route, namely, between Bellary and Chintagunte Border which was part of a notified route in a scheme approved under Section 68-D of the Motor Vehicles Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act), which completely excluded operation of stage carriage vehicles by any other person or persons on that section.
The resulting position was that the petitioner could operate his service only from Chitradurga to Bellary beyond which he could not operate the service on account of the scheme having come into force. It is admitted that the said scheme was published in the Mysore Gazette dated 7-5-1964 and it provided as follows:--
'The State Transport Undertaking will operate services on all the routes to the complete exclusion of other persons except in regard to the portions of the infer-district routes lying outside the Bellary District. The existing permit holders on inter-State routes, may continue to operate such inter-State routes subject to the condition that their permits shall be rendered ineffective by the competent authority for the overlapping portion in the District of Bellary.'
The portion of the route in question, namely, from Bellary to State border, is one of the routes covered by the scheme and the petitioner is not one of those who is excluded from the operation of the scheme in any manner whatsoever even though the permit that was granted by the Regional Transport Authority was in respect of an inter-State route. The said permit had not been countersigned by the concerned authority in the State of Andhra Pradesh till 23-6-1965 by which date the scheme had come into operation. Since the permit had not been countersigned by the authority in Andhra Pradesh, the petitioner could not be considered as an existing permit holder of an inter-State route on the date on which the scheme came into operation. This position was rightly not disputed by Sri B. Thilak Hegde, the learned counsel for the petitioner, in view of the decisions of this Court and of the Supreme Court on similar matters.
But Sri Hegde attacked the order of the M.R.A.T. on other grounds. He contended that the impugned order of the M.R.A.T. suffers from certain irregularities. His first submission was that the M.R.A.T. had committed a mistake in thinking that the permit which had been granted to the petitioner was one on a route which was the subject-matter of his application and which was disposed of by the Regional Transport Authority in subject No. 34, wherein the permit was not granted to him.
He based this submission on the operative portion of the order of the M.R.A.T. In the course of the order the M.R.A.T. observed that the petitioner could not operate between Chitradurga and Chintagunte border even though the route in question does not touch Chintagunte border at all. This submission of Sri Hegde appears to be well-founded. The route which is the subject-matter of these proceedings, does not pass through Chintagunte border.
That however does not solve the problem of tbe petitioner. The petitioner has produced a sketch along with the writ petition and respondent 4 has also furnished some materials in the course of its counter-affidavit, meeting the above contention made on behalf of the petitioner. It is to be seen that from Bellary to Hagari the route which is the subject-matter of these proceedings and the route which was the subject-matter of subject No. 34 before the Regional Transport Authority are overlapping. It is further to be seen that from Hagari, the route in question proceeds towards the east upto Challakurki and that the route which was the subject-matter of subject No. 34 proceeds from Hagari in the north eastern direction upto Chintagunte border.
It is not disputed that tbe section of the route in question, namely, Bellary-Hagari-Challakurki is a part of a notified route and the section of the route Bellary-Hagari-Chintagunte border is also a notified route. It is no doubt true that the M.R.A.T. has erred in the course of its order by holding that the petitioner could not operate on the section Bellary-Chintagunte border, but it should have been Bellary-Hagari-Challakurki border. Either way the petitioner could not ply his stage carriages beyond Bellary in view of the fact that the common portion of the route upto Hagari was a notified route. It is also admitted by Sri Hegde that on the route in question the overlapping portion on the notified route is little more than ten miles although in the course of the petitioner's affidavit it is stated that such overlapping portion is a couple of miles. We, therefore, feel that the mistake said to have been committed by the M.R.A.T. is not of much consequence at all.
Since the petitioner himself admits that after Bellary, the route in respect of which the permit was granted to him arid the notified route were overlapping to the extent of nearly ten miles, and there was complete exclusion of operation by other persons on the said section, the petitioner could not operate on the said section. A scheme approved and published under Section 68-D of the Act has tbe force of law and it is the duty of every authority to have regard to the contents of such a scheme while dealing with a matter concerning it. Since even according to the admitted facts the petitioner could not ply his stage carriages beyond Bellary on the route in question at least to an extent of ten miles, the petitioner cannot ask for the issue of a writ to quash the order passed by the M.S.T.A.T. on the ground that there was a mistake on the part of the M.R.A.T. while making the order. A person who approaches the High Court with a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India should show that there is a right which is either violated or is about to be violated. When admittedly the petitioner has no right at all to ply his stage carriage in this case beyond Bellary, he cannot be granted any relief under Article 226 of the Constitution.
2. Sri Hegde next relied upon an unreported decision of the Supreme Court in Ram Sanehi Singh v. Bihar State Transport Corpn., Civil Appeal No. 2426 of 1968, D/- 20-8-1970 (SC) and contended that there was no complete exclusion of other operators under the scheme in question. The passage in that decision on which reliance was placed by him reads as follows:
'....It is true that the extended route partly overlaps the notified route; but there is nothing in the notified scheme which 'completely excludes' the other holders of permits issued to them from plying their stage carriages in pursuance of permit issued to them from termini not on points on the notified route. The scheme merely grants to the State Road Transport Corporation a right to ply their stage carriages from Patna to Nawadah and all services including the service on portions enroute are to be run by them. It does not however follow that where under a permit a stage-carriage service is to be run over a route a section which overlaps the notified route but without any right to pick up or drop passengers along that notified route, the permit will be deemed to the extent of that section of the notified route to be ineffective, The preamble of the scheme undoubtedly refers to the claim made by the State Road Transport Corporation that there should be complete exclusion of other persons from plying buses over the route -- Patna-Nawadah; but the operative part of the scheme merely provides that in pursuance of Section 68-C of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, the scheme prepared by the 'Rajya Transport' is published for general information and that the scheme is for plying buses in the route Patna-Nawadah or portions thereof, the Road Transport Corporation being invested with the right to ply its stage carriages on the route and portions thereof. There is however no 'complete exclusion' of other operators under that scheme provided the private operators do not pick up or drop passengers on the section of the route which overlaps the notified route.'
On a reading of the above passage, we are of the opinion that the Supreme Court decided the said case on the facts of that case, namely, the language used in the scheme, which came up for consideration before the Supreme Court. On a true construction of the said Scheme, the Supreme Court was of the opinion that there was no complete exclusion of other operators under the scheme provided the private operators did not pick up or drop passengers on the overlapping section of the notified route. The facts of the present case are entirely different. On the section of the route, namely, from Bellary to Challakurki border, there is complete exclusion of private operators. It is clear from the language of the scheme the only persons whose permits were rendered ineffective are those who were existing permit holders on inter-State routes but the petitioner as already stated, is not one such. In these circumstances, the decision of the Supreme Court on which reliance has been placed is of no avail to the petitioner.
3. Sri Hegde contended that respondent 4 had not taken any action against the temple authorities of Srisaila who had also been given two permits to ply two carriages between Chitradurga and Srisaila on the same route, and, therefore, respondent 4 could not have been considered as an aggrieved party before the M.R.A.T. It is not the case of the petitioner that either Article 14 of the Constitution had been violated or that there has been any mala fides on the part of respondent 4 in that regard. He contended that if respondent 4 was not aggrieved by the operation of stage carriage vehicles by Srisaila temple authorities, it could not feel aggrieved if the petitioner was also permitted to operate on the notified route. This limited submission of Sri Hegde is met by respondent 4 by stating that under the scheme the overlapping section of the route is a portion on which respondent 4 had been given a monopoly and so the petitioner could not operate and by the operation on that section by the petitioner, respondent 4 would be prejudiced.
4. Secondly, it may be observed that under Section 89-F (2) of the Act, it is the duty of the concerned Regional Transport Authority to cancel an existing permit or modify the terms of an existing permit so as to bring it in conformity with the scheme. No material has been placed before us as to which authority granted the permit to Srisaila temple and what action has been taken by that authority to implement the scheme. It is not disputed that respondent 4 has on its part implemented the scheme in full and it has been operating its services on all the routes as per the scheme. We, therefore, do not find any substance in the above submission of Sri Hegde.
5. The next submission of Sri Hegde was that the appeal which was filed before the M.R.A.T. was barred by time since it had been filed by respondent 4 on the 30th day after the order was pronounced by the M.S.T.A.T. The facts bearing on this contention are: The order of the M.S.T.A.T. was signed on 9-11-1964 and the appeal was filed on 9-12-1964. It is not disputed that the appeal was filed on the 30th day after respondent 4 was communicated about the order of the M.S.T. A.T. The contention of Sri Hegde is based on the language of Rule 178 (1) (b) of the Mysore Motor Vehicles Rules, which prescribes that an appeal should be filed within thirty days from the date of receipt of the order. Placing emphasis on the word 'within' it was contended for the petitioner that the appeal should have been filed before the commencement of the 30th day. To put it in other words, the contention was, that the appeal should have been filed before the close of the 29th day after the receipt of the order against which the appeal was filed. The word 'within' according to Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary means 'in the limits of', 'not going beyond' or 'on the inner side of'. If an appeal has to be filed within thirty days, then it would be out of time if it is filed beyond thirty days. In this case the appeal is filed admittedly on the 30th day. Sri Hegde however drew our attention to Stroud's Judicial Dictionary where the expression 'within' has been explained in para. (1) as follows:--
'The word 'within' in relation to a period of time docs not usually mean 'during' or 'throughout the whole of; it is more frequently used to delimit a period 'inside which' certain events may happen.
(Per O'Bryan, L., in Reynolds v. Reynolds, (1941) VLR 249).'
Sri Hegde however relied upon para (10) in which we find the following passage:--
'Where something is to be done 'within' a stated time 'before' a stated date, that means that it is to be done at some time during the course of the stated time immediately preceding the stated date (Thomas v. Lambert, (1835) 4 LJKB 153).'
The above passage may not be applicable to the case on band since the time for filing an appeal is neither before any 'staled time nor before 'any stated date'. The appeal has to be filed within thirty days and not before thirtieth day. In another part of the same book we find a reference to an English decision in Radcliffe v. Bartholomew, (1892) 1 QB 161. In that case the question for decision was whether a complaint under Section 14 of the Act for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (12 and 13 Vict. C. 92) which could be made within one calendar month after the cause of such complaint arose was in time when the information was laid on the 30th of June when the act complained of had been committed on the 30th of May. The Court held that the complaint had been filed in time relying upon an earlier decision in Williams v. Burgess, (1840) 12 A & E 635 in which it had been held that in civil proceedings the rule had been to exclude the day on which the act is done from the computation of the time within which the action, complaint, appeal or otherwise ought to be taken, the reason being that in such proceedings the time 'within' which an act had to be done should be construed as meaning the time beneficial to the person concerned.
A similar view regarding computation of time has been taken by Lord Goddard, C. J., in Stewart v. Chapman, (1951) 2 KB 792. In that case a motorist was served with a notice of an intended prosecution on January 25, 1951, in respect of an alleged careless driving on January 11, 1951. It was held that the notice had been served within fourteen days of the commission of the offence as required by Section 21 (1) of the Road Traffic Act, 1930. In this case, therefore, the appeal filed by the Corporation on 30th day after receipt of the communication regarding the pronouncement of the order against which the appeal had been fifed, has to be held as one filed in time because the appeal has not been filed beyond thirty days. Even if there is any doubt about the matter, the Court should lean in favour of the person who is given the right of appeal since he would be the party whose right to appeal would be affected if the other view is taken. We, therefore, feel that the contention of Sri Hegde on the above question is untenable.
6. Sri Hegde brought to our notice that there has been some misdescription in the address of the petitioner furnished before the M.R.A.T. Since nothing turns on that it is unnecessary to deal with it in detail.
7. We, however, make it clear that the portion of the route in question from which the petitioner has to be excluded from operation in accordance with the scheme is the section of the route Bellary-Hagari-Challakurki border and not the section Bellary-Hagari-Chintagunte border.
8. With the above observation, we dismiss this writ petition with costs of respondent No. 4. Advocate's fee Rs. 100/-.