1. These two appeals are from the common order of Jagannatha Shetty, J., in Writ Petitions Nos. 2496 and 2497 of 1972 = (Reported in : AIR1975Kant171 ). The appellants were the petitioners therein.
2. K. Muniswamy and Syed Ibrahim, respondents 4 and 5 respectively, had made an application before the Regional Transport Authority, Bangalore, (hereinafter referred to as the R.T.A.) for grant of a permit to operate a stage carriage between Kelamangala and Bangalore. Kelamangala being in Tamil Nadu. the route between these two places is an inter-State route. When the R.T.A. notified that application, Y. K. Rudrappa, father of the appellant in Writ Appeal No. 870 of 1974, who was one of the operators, over a section of that route, and Choodappa, the appellant in Writ Appeal No. 871 of 1974. who was one of the operators over a section of that route, filed their objections before the R.T.A. against grant of such permit. After considering the objections, the R.T.A. by its resolution, rejected the application for grant of such permit.
Against that resolution, respondents 4 and 5 herein preferred an appeal to the Karnataka State Transport Appellate Tribunal (hereinafter referred, to as the S.T.A.T.), which dismissed that appeal. Against the order of the S.T.A.T., respondents 4 and 5 herein preferred to the Karnataka Revenue Appellate Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as the K.R.A.T.), a further appeal in which notices were issued to the objectors before the R.T.A. including Y. K. Rudrappa and Choodappa. A counsel undertook to appear for Y. K. Rudrappa in that appeal. In the meanwhile Y. K. Rudrappa died on 6-4-1969. His eldest son, Y. R. Raju, the appellant in Writ Appeal No. 870 of 1974, made an application to the R.TA. for transfer of the permit held by his father. On 3-5-1969, the R.T.A. ordered transfer of that permit to him and such transfer was effected on 24-5-1969. On 6-9-1972, the power of attorney holder for respondents 4 and 5 herein. filed before the K.R.A.T. an application accompanied by an affidavit praying that the name of Y. K. Rudrappa, respondent 11 in that appeal, might be deleted. The material portion of the affidavit reads:
'I submit that the respondent No. 11 in the above appeal Mr, Y. K, Rudrappa died in the year 1969. I hereby gave up that respondent and withdraw my appeal against the said respondent for the reason that he is not interested in the matter because at the time of his making representations opposing my application, he was holding a stage carriage permit between Bangalore and Anekal. That permit was nationalised by the Mysore Government Road Transport Department. Therefore, neither he nor his heirs are any way interested or has any cause of action in the matter.
Therefore, I submit that I hereby withdraw my appeal against that respondent at my own risk.'
The K.R.A.T. does not appear to have made any separate order on that application. However in the judgment of the K.R.A.T., there is a note at the foot of the cause title, which reads:
'The Appellants withdraw the appeals against respondent No. 11 (Y. K. Rudrappa).'
The K.R.A.T. by its judgment dated 14 -9-1972 allowed the appeal, reversed the order of the S.T.A.T. and the resolution of the R.T.A. and ordered that the appellants therein should be granted a permit to operate a stage carriage on the proposed route between Kelamangala and Bangalore.
3. In the writ petitions, the judgment of the K.R.A.T. was assailed on several grounds, the first of which was that it was vitiated on account of the legal representative of deceased Y. K. Rudrappa not having been brought on record in that appeal. It was contended on behalf of Choodappa that the route map appended to the application for the permit, did not correctly set out the actual positions of intermediate places on the route and that hence that application was not a valid one.
4. The learned single Judge took the view that the right to object to an application for grant of a permit, is a right personal to the objector and that his successors cannot claim, as of right, to be heard and that hence they are not necessary parties to an appeal from the decision of the R.T.A. granting or refusing such permit. The learned single judge held that the error in the application in setting out the intermediate places on the route, had been corrected by the K.R.A.T. and that such error was not fatal to the application for the permit.
5. In these appeals. Mr. H. B. Datar, learned counsel for the appellants, contended that the above views taken by the learned single Judge are clearly unsustainable. Mr. Datar maintained that a person who files objections to an application for grant of a permit, has a right to be heard not only before the Transport Authority, but also in every successive appeal from its decision and that after the death of such objector. his legal representatives are also entitled to be heard before the Transport Authority and also in such appeal especially when they (the legal representatives) are in possession of the vehicle in respect of which such objector held a permit. It was also contended by Mr. Datar that as the appellants before the K.R.A.T., had not chosen to bring on record the legal representatives of deceased Y. K. Rudrappa and had deleted his name, the appeal was liable to be dismissed on the ground that the necessary parties had not been impleaded.
6. On the other hand. Mr. M. Rangaswamy learned counsel for legal representative of deceased respondent 4, and Mr. M. R. Venkatemarasimhachar, learned counsel for respondent 5, sought to support the judgment of the K.R.A.T.
7. Neither in sub-section (1) of Section 64 of the Motor Vehicles Act. 1939, which provides for an appeal from the decision of the Transport Authority, nor in sub-section (2) of that section (added by a local amendment namely, Karnataka Act No. 16 of 1955) which provided for a second appeal, do we find any express provision that an objector to a grant of permit before the Transport Authority, should be issued a notice of the appeal and should be heard in such appeal.
8. In the New Prakash Transport Co. Ltd. v. The New Suwarna Transport Co. Ltd. : 1SCR98 . the Supreme Court observed that the substantive Section i.e., Section 64 of the Motor Vehicles Act, creating the right of appeal, does not in terms, create any right in a respondent to be heard, and that the rules framed providing for the procedure before the appellate authority contemplate that sufficient notice shall be given to 'any other person interested in the appeal' which expression must include persons other than the appellant. who may be interested in being heard against the points raised in support of the appeal.
9. In Lakshminarasimhaiah v. Secretary, M.R.A.T. (1966) 2 Mys LJ 199, a Division Bench of this Court observed that in all matters in which the Motor Vehicles Act does not contain an express provision, a tribunal like the R.T.A., has the power to invent or mould an appropriate procedure which would be necessary for the continuance of a proceeding which does not abate on the death of a party to it.
10. Clause (ii) of sub-rule (4) of Rule 178 of the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Rules. 1963, (hereinafter referred to as the Rules). provides, inter alia, that an appeal shall be accompanied by six copies of the memorandum of appeal with prescribed process fee. Sub-rule (6) of that Rule provides that in an appeal, the S.T.A.T. or the K.R.A.T, may, after hearing the parties concerned, direct that the execution of the order appealed against be stayed pending disposal of the appeal. The necessary implication of these provisions of Rule 178 is in our opinion, that persons who were objectors before the R.T.A. should be heard in the appeal before the S.T.A.T. or the K.R.A.T. arising out of the decision of the Transport Authority on an application for grant of a permit.
11. In view of the aforesaid observations of the Supreme Court and this Court and the provisions of Rule 178 of the Rules, it is clear that even in the absence of an express provision in Sec 64 of the Motor Vehicles Act a person who had filed his objections before the Transport Authority for grant of a permit is entitled to be heard by the appellate authority in an appeal from the decision of the Transport Authority. The more material question is whether on the death of such objector during the pendency of such appeal, his legal representatives are entitled to be heard in such appeal.
12. Sub-section (2) of Section 61 of the Motor Vehicles Act provides that the Transport Authority may, on application made to it within three months of the death of the holder of a permit, transfer the permit to the person succeeding to the possession of the vehicles covered by the permit. When after the death of the holder of a permit, it is transferred to the person succeeding to the possession of the vehicle covered by that permit, such person stands in the shoes of the original holder of the permit. If the original holder of a permit had filed his objections to an application, of another person for grant of a permit and had therefore a right to be heard in an appeal arising from the decision of the Transport Authority on such application, it follows. in our opinion, that on his death his successor to whom such permit is transferred, has a similar right to be heard in such appeal.
13. As the permit held by Rudrappa was transferred after his death to his eldest son, Raju, (the appellant in Writ Appeal No. 870 of 1974). the latter was entitled to be heard in the appeal before the K.R.A.T, and hence there was, in our opinion an obligation on the appellants before the K.R.A.T. to bring on record Raju in place of deceased Rudrappa and such obligation could, not be evaded by merely deleting the name of deceased Rudrappa in the cause title of the memorandum of appeal.
14. However, Mr. Rangaswamy and Mr. Venkatanarasimhachar contended, that in view of the decisions of the Supreme Court in Dhani Devi V. S. B. Sharma : 2SCR507 and R. L. Jain v. Maya Kaur : 3SCR931 , on the death of an objector to an application for grant of a permit, the transferee of the permit held by him cannot be regarded as being entitled to be heard either before the Transport Authority or in an appeal from its decision.
15. In Dhani Devi's case, : 2SCR507 the applicant for grant of a permit died before the final disposal of his application by the R.T.A. The question that arose for decision by the Supreme Court, was whether the R.T.A. had power to allow the person succeeding to the possession of his vehicle. to prosecute that application. After pointing out that Section 57 of the Motor Vehicles Act does not deal with the situation arising on the death of an applicant for grant of a permit, nor prescribes any time for making of an application for substitution of the successor, their Lordships observed that in the absence of any statute or statutory rule, the Transport Authority may devise any reasonable procedure for dealing with the situation and has complete discretion in the matter of allowing or refusing substitution, but that the Transport Authority is not bound to allow substitution if the same would delay the proceedings unreasonably or would otherwise be detrimental to the interests of the public generally. In R. L. Jain's case : 3SCR931 the Supreme Court reiterated its earlier view in Dhani Devi's case, : 2SCR507 and added that the discretion of the Transport Authority to allow or refuse such substitution, has to be exercised in a judicial manner in the facts and circumstances of each case.
16. In each of the aforesaid two cases, the death was of the applicant for permit and not of the objector to such application and such death was during the pendency of the proceedings before the Transport Authority and not during the pendency of an appeal from its decision. Hence the observations of the Supreme Court in these two decisions, have no application to the questions whether the successor of an objector who dies during the pendency of the appeal from the decision of the Transport Authority, has a right to be heard in such appeal and whether the appellant should bring on record such successor.
17. We axe unable to agree with the view taken by the learned single Judge, that Raju the eldest son of Rudrappa, to whom the permit held by Rudrappa had been transferred was not entitled to be heard in the appeal and that there was no need to bring him on, record in place of deceased Rudrappa
18-21. x x xx xx
22. In the result, we allow these two appeals, reverse the common order of the learned single Judge, set aside the judgment of the K.R.A.T. dated 14-9-1972 in Appeal No, 189 of 1974 (MV) and remand that appeal to the K.R.A.T., with a direction to dispose of it afresh after bringing on record Y. R. Raju in place of Rudrappa.
23. In the circumstances of the case, we direct the parties to beer their own costs in these appeals.
24. Appeals allowed.