1. This is a writ petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution praying for the issue of a Writ of Certiorari quashing the order passed by the Mysore State Transport Appellate Tribunal in Appeal No. 554 of 1966.
2. The case of the petitioner Is that ho was plying a Stage Carriage Service from Koppal to Kawloor via Halligere, Wadegenhal, Handral, Mianalli and Alwandi. He had filed an application on September 80, 1965, before the Regional Transport Authority, Raichur, for variation of the existingroute and timings. The change in the route was that instead of going from Wadegenhal to Mainalli via Handral, it should be via Hiresindogi. The application was duly notified on October 28, 1965 inviting objections before November 30, 1965. The date of hearing was December 15, 1965. No objections were received in time. The 1st Respondent filed his objections on January 10, 1966; but the same were rejected on the ground that they were not submitted within the notified date. The Regional Transport Authority, thereafter considered the merits of the petitioner's prayer and granted the variations in the route as well as in the timings.
The 1st Respondent preferred an appeal, No. 554 of 1966 before the 2nd Respondent The petitioner contended that the appeal was not tenable. The Tribunal however rejected this contention, allowed the appeal and passed an order setting aside the Resolution passed by the Regional Transport Authority on 1-6-1966. The petitioner challenges tie order of the 2nd Respondent on the ground that there is a patent error in holding that the appeal was tenable under Section 64(b) of the Motor Vehicles Act and that the 1st Respondent cannot be considered to be an aggrieved party within the meaning of Section 64 of the Act.
3. In his counter-affidavit, the 1st Respondent admits the factual averments made in the petition. He also admits that he did not prefer a representation to the proposed deviation of the route. He however objects to the change in the schedule of timings for which no specific prayer had been made by the petitioner in his application. According to him, he had a right of appeal under Section 64 (b) of the Act and that the grant of variation in the timings by the Regional Transport Authority had adversely affected him in plying his own Stage Carriage. He has further averred that the deviation of the route does not necessitate any change of timings.
4. The sole question that arises for ourdetermination in this Writ Petition is whether an operator, who has failed to file his written objection within the notified time in response to the notice of application for variation of route published under Section 57 (3) of the Act, can file an appeal to the State Transport Appellate Tribunal under Section 64 (b) against the order varying the condition as regards the route and that as regards the timings.
5. The learned Advocates appearing for the parties have put forward two diametrically opposite contentions. According to the petitioner, the first respondent has no right of appeal under any of the Clauses of Section 64 of the Act and that he could have had a right of appeal under Clause (f) of Section 64 of the Act, had he filed his objections as required by Section 57 (3) ofthe Act; he had filed no objections within the time notified and he was therefore debarred from filing an appeal either under Clause (f) or any of the other Clauses of Section 64. Mr. Rangaswami, learned counsel appealing for the Respondent submitted that the 1st Respondent had a right of appeal under Clause (b) of that Section and his right to file an appeal is not dependent on his filing of objections in response to the notification. Both the learned counsel have cited authorities in support of their respective contentions.
6. Since there is no direct decision of this Court bearing on the point at issue, we think it advisable to refer to the relevant provisions of the Act before adverting to a discussion of the authorities cited at the Bar. The Petitioner's application for variation of the route was published in the Mysore Government Gazette on October 28, 1965 in the form of a Notification under Section 57 (3) of the Act, calling upon those who had any representation to mate in connection with the application, to file their objections in writing so as to reach the Secretary of the Regional Transport Authority on or before November 30, 1965. The Notification further informed that the application would be taken up for consideration on 15th December 1965. In considering the legal significance of this Notification, we have to refer to Sub-section (8) of Section 57 of the Act. That sub-section reads:
'(8) An application to vary the conditions of any permit, other than a temporary permit, by the inclusion of a new route or routes or a new area or, in the case of a stage carriage permit, by increasing the number of services above the specified maximum or in the case of a contract carriage permit or a public carrier's permit, by increasing the number of vehicles covered by the permit, shall be treated as an application for the grant of a new permit;
It is unnecessary to refer to the proviso to this sub-section which lays down that if shall not be necessary so to treat an application made by the holder of a stage carriage permit who provides the only service on any route, etc. The obvious implication of Sub-section (8) is, to confine ourselves to the matter at issue, to treat an application to vary the condition relating to the route or areas an application for the grant of new permit. In other words such an application has to be dealt with and disposed of in the same manner as an application for the grant of a new permit.
7. In this context, it is significant to note that an application to vary the condition relating to the route or area is alone required to be treated as an application for the grant of a new permit. Section 48 (3) refers to a number of conditions which the Regional Transport Authority, while granting a Stage Carriage Permit, may attachto the permit granted thereunder; Clause (xx) of Section 48 (3) enjoins that the conditions of the permit will not be departed from save with the approval of the Regional Transport Authority. Clause (xxi) has an important bearing on the matter in issue and therefore we read the same here:
'(xxi) that the Regional Transport Authority may, after giving notice of not less than one month-
(a) vary the conditions of the permit;
(b) attach to the permit further conditions,'
This Clause empowers the Regional Transport Authority to vary the conditions of the permit or attach additional conditions of permit after giving notice of not less than one month. This Clause does not prescribe in what manner the notice is to be issued or how it should be disposed of,
8. From the aforesaid provisions of the Act, it would be clear that an application for variation of the condition of the permit relating to the route or area is treated differently from an application for variation of any other condition or conditions of the permit. In prescribing the procedure for dealing with an application for variation of the condition of permit as regards the route, Sub-section (8) of Section 57 of the Act elevates such application to the status of an application for the grant of a new permit and requires it to be dealt with as an application for the grant of a new permit On account of this mandatory provision, such an application has to be made available for inspection at the office of the Regional Transport Authority as required by Section 57 (3) and has also to be published in the prescribed manner together with notice of the date before which such representations in connection therewith might be submitted,
The conclusion, therefore, is irresistible that the scheme of the Act makes a distinction between an application for variation of condition of a permit relating to the route or area and an application for variation of other condition or conditions. Further, the fact that an application for variation of the route has to be notified under Sub-section (3) of Section 57 and that an obligation under subsection (4) of Section 57 is imposed on the Regional Transport Authority to the effect that no representation received in connection with the application shall be considered unless the same is made in writing before the appointed date and the copy thereof has been simultaneously furnished to the applicant by the person making such a representation indicate that all the incidents of an application for a new permit are attached to such an application.
9. We now proceed to consider the relevant section, Section 64 which provides for appeals, bearing in mind the legal position of applications for variation of conditionsof a permit. Since the learned Advocates for the parties have relied upon Clauses (b) and (f) of Section 64 of the Act, we reproduce those provisions below:
'64. Any person-
(b) aggrieved by the revocation or suspension of the permit or by any variation of the conditions thereof, or
(f) being a local authority or police authority or an association which, or a person providing transport facilities who, having opposed the grant of a permit, is aggrieved by the grant thereof, or by any condition attached thereto, or
xx xxx xxmay, within the prescribed time and in theprescribed manner, appeal to the prescribedauthority who should give such person andthe original authority an opportunity of being heard.'
It is manifest from these two clauses that both of them refer to the word 'condition'. While the right conferred by Clause (b) is not subject to any condition, the right conferred by Clause (f) is available to a person (1) providing transport facilities, (2) who has opposed to grant of a permit and is aggrieved either by the grant thereof or by any condition attached thereto. It would not be consistent therefor to treat the attachment or the variation of any and every condition on the same footing since, as already indicated, the law treats the conditions relating to variation of the route on the same footing as an application for the grant of a permit. Reading the provisions relevant to the issue together, it can be safely concluded that any person who is aggrieved either by the grant of the permit or by the variation of the condition relating to the route can file an appeal only if he had filed his objections and opposed the grant of variation of route in the manner prescribed by law. The words 'conditions attached' occurring in Clause (f) should be interpreted as including a condition relating to variation in the route or area, in view of the fact that Section 57 (8) places an application for variation of a route or area on the same footing as an application for grant of a new permit.
10. Mr. Rangaswamy's contention that Clause (b) confers unrestricted right of appeal on a person aggrieved by variation of any condition of a permit cannot be accepted for two reasons. Firstly, the contention ignores the distinct position which Section 57 (8) of the Act accords to an application for variation of the route as compared to applications for variation of other conditions. Secondly, it renders Clause (f) otiose and superfluous. It is a cardinal principle of construction that clauses contained in a Section must be so interpreted as not to render any Clause otiose and to construe them harmoniously with other relevant provisionscontained in the Act. For all these reasons, we are of the opinion that the 1st Respondent who did not file any objections as required by Sub-section (3) or Section 57 would not have a right of appeal under Clause (f) of Section 64 to challenge the condition of the permit relating to the variation of the route. He can, however, prefer an appeal as regards the variation of the condition relating to timings inasmuch as an application for the variation of the, timings is not conditioned by provisions to those in Sub-section (8) of Section 57.
11. Now we proceed to consider the authorities cited by the learned counsel for the parties. The effort of Mr. N.S. Narayana Rao, learned counsel appearing for the Petitioner was to pursuade us to the view that the first Respondent could not have preferred an appeal unless the facts of the case fully attracted the provisions contained in Clause (f) of Section 64 of the Act. The first decision cited is of the former High Court of Mysore in Mohmed Peer v. State of Mysore, AIR 1957 Mys 19 decided on 26-7-1956, in which the sole question that arose for decision was whether the State Government had jurisdiction to entertain an appeal against the order of the State Transport Authority declining to grant variation in the timings. In holding that the State Government had no jurisdiction, the Court held that Section 64 (f) of the Motor Vehicles Act which was the only provision that could apply to the case enabled a person providing transport facilities to prefer an appeal against the grant of permit or attach any condition thereto only if he had opposed the grant of permit and was aggrieved either by the grant thereof or any condition thereto. There is no discussion of the scope of Clause (f) or of other Clauses of the section. While deciding that point, the Court observed:
'....Even assuming that the timings assigned for running of a Stage Carriage Service are to be regarded as a condition attached to the permit, it will be of no avail if a person who wishes to prefer an appeal in regard to such condition has not opposed the grant of a permit itself.'
This decision cannot however, be an authority in a case where a dispute relates to the competency of an appeal by a person aggrieved by the variation of a route and the timings made in a proceeding to consider an application for the variation of both.
The decisions in N.R. Revanna v. T.V. Mallappa, 1964:2 Mys LJ 394 = (AIR 1965 Mys 258) and in G. Abdul Azeez v. Mysore State Transport Authority, 1965-1 Mys LJ 206 = (AIR 1965 Mys 286) relate to the competency of an appeal against the order granting an ordinary permit. It was laid down in Revanna's case, (1964) 2 Mys LJ 394 = (AIR 1965 Mys 258) that only per-sons who have made representations strictlyin accordance with Sub-section (4) of Section 57 are entitled to a hearing before the Regional Transport Authority and that any other person not complying with those mandatory provisions cannot be considered as one who has opposed the grant of permit and that he is therefore not entitled to file an appeal under Section 64 (f) of the Act. It was explained that the words 'person having opposed the grant' occurring in Section 64 (f) should be given a restricted meaning in view of the scheme of the Act and should be confined to those who have made written representations in accordance with Section 57 (4) of the Act.
In Abdul Azeez's case, (1965) 1 Mys LJ 206 = (AIR 1965 Mys 286) it was laid down consistently with the earlier decision that a Stage Carriage operator who has filed his representation after the notified time is not entitled to file an appeal under Section 64 (f) of the Act. These decisions, therefore, have no direct bearing on any of the points raised for decision in this case.
12. The other decisions cited for the Petitioner relate to appeals against the orders relating to the change of timings. In Thimmaiah v. Mysore State Revenue Appellate Tribunal, AIR 1962 Mys 215 the question raised was whether another operator who is adversely affected by the change of timings granted to another permit holder on the same route can prefer an appeal under Section 64 of the Act. It was held that if as a result of revision of timings, assigned to a permit holder, another permit holder who is deprived of the priority of timings would clearly to be a person aggrieved by the variation of the condition of the permit and would therefore be entitled to prefer an appeal under Section 64 (f) of the Act.
The same view finds expression in Siddalingappa v. Revenue Appellate Tribunal, AIR 1962 Mys 161. Therein it has been laid down that the timings assigned to a Stage Carriage permit holder by the Regional Transport Authority at the time of the grant of permit constitute a condition of his permit and that if the Regional Transport Authority subsequently varies those timings, such variation amounts to variation of condition of the permit within the meaning of Section 64 (b) of the Act and that an appeal lies against such variation under aforesaid provision. An unreported decision of another Bench in Rangappa Reddy v. Choodappa, W. P. 440 of 1963, D/- 25-3-1963 (Mys) affirms the view taken in Thimmaiah's case, AIR 1952 Mys 215.
13. The last decision cited for the petitioner is of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Jasram v. State Transport Authority, : AIR1961MP81 . In that case the Writ Petitioner had filed an application for variation of a route and the Regional Transport Authority had granted the application varying the route as prayed for. In the Revision Petition filed before the State Transport Authority by the aggrieved party who had filed his representation beyond time, that authority set aside the order on the ground that the route was wholly outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Regional Transport Authority, Gwalior.
It was contended in the Writ Petition that the Revision Petitioner was incompetent to challenge the order of the Regional Transport Authority as he had preferred his objections beyond time. It was contended for the respondent that any person providing transport facilities aggrieved by the variation of the conditions of a permit by inclusion of a new route is entitled to file an appeal under Clause (b). Rejecting the latter argument, their Lordships held that the right of appeal by persons providing transport facilities and aggrieved by the variation of the route, had been specifically provided for in the Clause (f) of Section 64 and that in the case before their Lordships, Respondent 3 who did not make the representation within the prescribed time and could not be regarded as having opposed the variation was disentitled to appeal under Clause (f) of Section 64 which was the only clause applicable to such a case. This decision supports the petitioner and for the reasons already stated, we are in respectful agreement with this view.
14. The other decision cited for the Petitioner has bearing on different aspects of the legal position involved in the question for decision. In the case of Sri Rama Reddy v. Mysore Revenue Appellate Tribunal, Writ Petns. Nos. 229 and 230 of 1958 (Mys), this Court discussed the implications of Section 57 (8) of the Act and stated:
'... .Section 57 (8) requires the Regional Transport Authority to treat the application for the variation of the conditions of a permit, such as those referred to in that sub-section, as an application for 'the grant of a new permit. What that sub-section, in our opinion, provides is that although the application is for the variation of such conditions of a permit, it has to be statutorily regarded as an application for the grant of a new permit. In other words, although the prayer made in the application is only for the variation of a condition of the permit, that prayer is statutorily made equivalent to a prayer for the grant of a new permit, with the result that that application acquires the status of an application for the grant of a new permit....
It is for these reasons that their Lordships came to the conclusion that the dismissal of an application for the variation of a route can be challenged by the person aggrieved by the order of dismissal in Appeal under Section 64 (a) of the Act. Their Lordships observed that whatever might have been the position before the amendment of the Act, by Central Act 100 of 1956, theposition after the amendment was that the refusal of an application for the variation of the conditions of a permit would be clearly appealable under Section 64 (1) (a) of the Act. As the question of appeal related to the competency of the petitioner, there is naturally no discussion of Clause (f) of Section 64 (1).
The decision of the Calcutta High Court in Sudhir Kumar v. Regional Transport Authority, : AIR1964Cal442 does not deal with the question of appeal but lays down that an application for extension of the permit by inclusion of a new route has to be treated as an application for a new permit requiring compliance with Sub-sections (2) and (3) of Section 57 in view of what is contained in Sub-section (8) of Section 57. It is unnecessary to refer to the facts of this case as the point decided therein is what is explicitly laid down in Sub-section (8) of Section 57.
The learned Advocate for the petitioner referred to the decision of this Court in M.S. Krishnaswamy v. Mysore Revenue Appellate Tribunal, 1966-2 Mys LT 176 in which the judgment was delivered by one of us (Tukol, J.) holding that where the original permit has expired by efflux of time according to law, it is not open to any of the authorities to vary the terms of such permit. The only question relevant to the point at issue is as regards the effect of Section 57 (8) which we have already discussed above.
Another decision in K.N. Lakshminarasimaiah v. Secretary, Mysore State Revenue Appellate Tribunal, 1966-2 Mys LJ 199 which has also been relied upon by the petitioner explains the meaning of the expression 'person aggrieved' in Section 64 (1) (f) of the Act. It lays down that that expression means the person who is injured or affected in a legal sense. There is no need to refer to the facts of this case as in the case before us, it is not contended by the petitioner that the first Respondent is not the person aggrieved within the meaning of that expression used in that Clause.
15. The last decision read to us on behalf of the Petitioner is an unreported decision in A. Misquith v. Regional Transport Authority, Writ Petn. No. 1399 of 1961 (Mys) which needs no detailed discussion as the only point in issue there was about the legality of the proceedings for the change of route and timings. That was a case where the Regional Transport Authority had committed irregularities under Section 57 of the Act.
16. Now we proceed to discuss the decisions cited by Mr. Rangaswami, appearing for the 1st Respondent. He drew our pointed attention to paragraph 5 of the decision in M.S. Krishnaswamy's case, (1966) 2 Mys LJ 176 already cited. That paragraph discusses the meaning of the word 'treated' Occurring in Sub-section (8) of Section 67.After full discussion of that sub-section, it was concluded that all that the law meant was that an application for the variation of permit should be dealt with and disposed of in the same manner as an application for the grant of a permit is dealt with and disposed of under the Act. The court also affirmed that the grant of a permit with the changed route 'would not result in the grant of new permit'. According to Mr. Rangaswamy, if what the Court does in granting the variation of the route by altering the condition relating thereto in the concerned permit, does not amount to grant of a new permit, then it would not be logical to hold that the aggrieved party could appeal only under Section 64 (f).
We have already discussed the implication of Clause (f) and have indicated that that clause not only covers the case of a person aggrieved by the grant of a new permit but also the case of a person who is aggrieved by the attachment of the condition relating to the variation of the route. We are not prepared to narrow down the scope of Clause (f) by saying that it is applicable only to the grant of a new permit and to the conditions attached to it at the time of its initial grant as advocated by Mr. Rangaswamy.
In support of the argument that Clause (f) Section 64 if extended so as to include an appeal by a person aggrieved by the condition relating to the variation of the route so as to render Clause (b) of Section 64 otiose and such an interpretation should not be accepted, he cited the decision of the Supreme Court in Ram Gopal v. Anant Prasad, : AIR1959SC851 where their Lordships had to consider the situation arising from the grant of renewal of a permit by one of the applicants without passing any express order on the application for a fresh permit. Their Lordships held that the grant of renewal amounts in fact to a refusal to grant a permit and the person making the first application for a new permit would be a person aggrieved under Clause (a) of Section 64 of the Act prior to the amendment. In dealing with the Clause of that Section their Lordships observed:
'. . .. The different clauses in the sectiondeal with different situations. Each is independent of the others. Clause (f) deals with a case where an objection had been filed against the fresh grant or the renewal of a permit but the permit has nonetheless been granted or renewed ......It does not say that a permit granted or renewed cannot be questioned except at the instance of the persons mentioned in Clause (f); it does not affect the right of appeal under the other clauses.'
The interpretation that the learned Advocate for the 1st Respondent is asking us to adopt would in fact go counter to this decision of the Supreme Court, As we have alreadypointed out, if a person aggrieved by the grant of an application for variation of the route mentioned in the permit is to be allowed to appeal against such grant under Clause (b) not only such a view would nullify the effect of Section 57 (8) but would also narrow down Clause (f) of that Section. Such a construction is not permitted by law and we have no hesitation in declining to accept it. .
17. We were referred to the decision of this Court in AIR 1962 Mys 215. We have already discussed the ratio of this decision and pointed out that it was not referred to the point at issue. Our attention was drawn to the decision of this Court in (1966) 2 Mys LJ 176 to which we have already referred to. The learned Advocate read the concluding sentence of paragraph 5 of the judgment in which the Court came to the conclusion that to treat an order granting a variation in any of the conditions of any permit as a grant of a new permit would be wholly misconceived and untenable'. To the same effect are the unreported decisions of this court in H.C. Channaiah v. Regional Transport Authority, W. P. No. 280 of 1964 and W. P. No. 487 of 1965 (Mys). In fact the latter decision has affirmed the view taken in M.S. Krishnaswamy's case, (1966) 2 Mys LJ 176. We are in respectful agreement with the view that the variation of the route in an existing permit does not amount to a grant of new permit.
18. An attempt was made to support the plea by referring to the decision of the Kerala High Court in Devaraja Iyer v. Regional Transport Authority, : AIR1961Ker53 in which it has been held that after the amendment of the Act in 1956 any variation in respect of routes made in a permit by the Regional Transport Authority amounts to a variation in its conditions within the meaning of Section 64 (b) and is therefore open to appeal to the Appellate Tribunal. We have already pointed out that Clause (f) of Section 64 covers the case of an appeal against the order granting variation of a condition in respect of the route and we are therefore, with respect, unable to agree with the view that an appeal against an order varying the route can be filed under Clause (b) of the said Section.
19. Considerable emphasis was laid on the decision of the Rajasthan High Court in Heeralal v. State of Rajasthan, which has been relied upon by the Appellate Tribunal and which supports the view pressed upon us by Mr. Rangaswamy. The view taken therein is to be found in paragraph 6 of the judgment which reads as follows:
'In this view of the matter, we are of opinion that in cases involving the variation of a permit such as by the inclusion of a new route or area, the correct position even under the Act as it stands after the amendments of 1956 is that a person adversely affected and aggrieved by such variation has a right of appeal under Clause (b) of Section 64 though for some reason or another for which he has not been able to raise an objection before the Regional Transport Authority, and such a right will be available to him under Clause (b) of Section 64; and where he has raised the objection, he will have a right of appeal also under Clause (f) of the said Section.'
This view virtually places all cases of variations of conditions of permit on the same footing and in fact ignores the special provision contained in Section 57 (8) of the Act which requires an application for variation of route or area in a permit to be treated as an application for a new permit.
If due regard is paid to the provision of Section 57 (8) of the Act, it has to be held that an appeal under Clause (f) can be filed only by a person who has filed objections in time in response to the notification issued under Section 57 (3) of the Act. To hold that a person who has failed to file his objections within time can prefer an appeal under Clause (b) of Section 64 would result in eroding the effect of Section 57 (8) and of Clause (f) of Section 64 of the Act. Such a view would bring about another anomaly. A person who fails to file his written objections in time cannot be heard by the Regional Transport Authority on the proposal for grant of variation of the route or area. In that event, it would be illogical to allow such a person to prefer an appeal before the State Transport Appellate Authority and urge all grounds which the law debars him from urging before the original authority. We do not think that the legislature contemplated to permit such an anomalous position, we are not prepared to agree that such a person can prefer an appeal under Clause (b) of Section 64. He has such right of appeal only under Clause (f) of that Section.
20. After a careful consideration of the provisions of the Act and the decisions cited before us by the Advocates for the parties, we are of the opinion that a person who has not filed his objections in time to an application for the variation of a route and has thus failed to oppose the grant of variation of the condition in a permit in respect of the route will not be entitled to prefer any appeal under Clause (b) of Section 64; only a person who has opposed such a grant according to provisions of Section 57 of the Act can prefer an appeal under Clause (f) of Section 64 Clause (b) of that Section applies to cases relating to variations of conditions other than the condition relating to the route for which special provisions are made in the Act.
21. In the view we take, we allow this writ petition and set aside the order passed by the State Appellate Tribunal. We confirm the order varying the route but remand the application to the Regional Transport Authority to decide upon the timings aftertearing the persons who have opposed or are affected by the variation in the timings. Till such variation in timings is made, the Petitioner shall be entitled to continue to run his vehicle as per the existing timings. In the circumstances of the case, we make no order as to costs.
22. Petition allowed.