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M.S. Sadananda and ors. Vs. State of Mysore by Its Chief Secretary, Vidhan Soudha, Bangalore and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petns. Nos. 1390, 1391, 1412 to 1416, 1517, 1518, 1523, to 1531, 1593, 1598, 1599, 1600, 1763 t
Judge
Reported inAIR1969Kant319; AIR1969Mys319; (1969)1MysLJ359
ActsRoad Transport Corporation Act, 1950; Motor Vehicles Act - Sections 68-B, 68-C, 68-D, 68-F, 68-G and 68-H; Companies Act - Sections 237; Constitution of India - Articles 13 19(6) and 302
AppellantM.S. Sadananda and ors.
RespondentState of Mysore by Its Chief Secretary, Vidhan Soudha, Bangalore and ors.
Excerpt:
motor vehicles - route - section 68 of motor vehicles act - petition challenging validity of schemes related to routes in districts of kolar and bangalore - as required by section 68-c proposed scheme stated nature of services proposed to be rendered by corporation and routes proposed to be covered - as such non disclosure of grounds supporting opinion under section 68-c either during enquiry or at antecedent stage had no impact on draft scheme which was properly prepared - further approval of scheme cannot be assailed on ground that chief minister did not direct disclosure of grounds or production of materials which impelled opinion - incorporation of information in scheme that fares which corporation would be charging were those fixed by transport authorities under section 43 (1).....somnath iyer, j.1. on december 18, 1963 the mysore state road transport corporation established under the road transport corporation act, 1950, which will be referred to in the course of this judgment as the corporation, published a scheme which it had prepared under section 68-c of the motor vehicles act. this scheme appeared in the gazette bearing the date january 2, 1964, but on account of a technical defect it was withdrawn and on october 8, 1964 another scheme was published. both schemes related to certain routes in the districts of kolar and bangalore objections were produced to the approval of the scheme. but by an order made by the chief minister under section 68-d on january 10, 1968 has accorded his approval to the scheme with minor modifications.2. in these 56 writ petitions.....
Judgment:

somnath iyer, J.

1. On December 18, 1963 the Mysore State Road Transport Corporation established under the Road Transport Corporation Act, 1950, which will be referred to in the course of this judgment as the Corporation, published a scheme which it had prepared under Section 68-C of the Motor Vehicles Act. This scheme appeared in the gazette bearing the date January 2, 1964, but on account of a technical defect it was withdrawn and on October 8, 1964 another scheme was published. Both schemes related to certain routes in the districts of Kolar and Bangalore Objections were produced to the approval of the scheme. But by an order made by the Chief Minister under Section 68-D on January 10, 1968 has accorded his approval to the scheme with minor modifications.

2. In these 56 writ petitions the principal question with which we are concerned is what concerns the validity of the scheme, which will be referred to the course of this judgment as the approved scheme.

3. The main argument on behalf of the petitioners was presented by Mr. B. R. L. Iyengar, and, although there is more than one prayer in these writ petitions, the argument was restricted to the validity of the approved scheme and the constitutionality of Sections 68-B and 68-D of the Motor Vehicles Act, which will be referred to as the Act. The other prayer in these writ petitions that we should declare sections 68-C, 68-F, 68-G and 68H of the Act as unconstitutional was not pressed before us. Similarly, the prayer that we should declare the State Transport Undertaking Rules (Mysore) 1963 as unconstitutional was not also pressed except in respect of Rule 6.

4. So, the only two questions to which we should address ourselves in these writ petitions are, firstly whether the approved scheme is invalid as contended by the petitioners, and secondly, whether the provisions of Secs. 68-B and 68-D of the Act and Rule 6 of the Rules are unconstitutional.

5. At one stage during the argument, it was submitted to us that clause 3(b) of the approved scheme by which an exemption was created in favour of existing inter-State permit-holders was the subject-matter of misinterpretation by the Regional Transport Authorities of Kolar, Tumkur and Bangalore and that a notification was published by the Regional Transport Authorities of Kolar, Tumkur and Bangalore calling upon those inter-State permit-holders who had not yet secured counter-signatures from the neighboring State Governments in which part of their inter-State routes lay, to show cause why there should not be a cancellation or curtailment of their permits. But the advocates appearing for the petitioners before us intimated us that since so such cancellation or curtailment had yet been made and since the question as to the interpretation of the relevant part of the approved scheme could be raised in a case where the question directly arises, that question need not be decided in these cases, and so we refrain from embarking upon a discussion of that aspect of the matter.

6. The main challenge of the approved scheme rested on the ground that the Chief Minister had no materials before him which could justify the conclusion reached by him under Section 68-D of the Act that four conditions of which Section 68 speaks, on the existence of which alone approval could be accorded to a scheme published under Section 68-C, did exist. It was urged that the Corporation had no material on the basis of which it could form the opinion that for the purpose of providing an efficient, adequate, economical and properly co ordinated road transport service, it was necessary in the public interest to either completely or partially exclude private operators. It was said that, although the Corporation did state in the scheme it prepared that it had formed the opinion that for the purpose of providing an efficient, adequate, economical and properly co ordinated road transport service, it was necessary in the public interest that there should be an exclusion of private operators to the extent indicated in the scheme, there was really no material on which that opinion should be founded and that no other or further material was made available to the Chief Minister in reinforcement of the assertion that opinion had either been honestly formed or could be maintained.

7. The complaint made on behalf of the petitioners was that, according to the enunciation made by the Supreme Court from time to time, it was the duty and function of the Chief Minister to investigate the correctness of the opinion formed by the Corporation, and that the Chief Minister had made no such investigation. It was urged that under Section 68-D under which the Chief Minister made his order, it was his duty to consider the objections to the proposed scheme in the context of the materials which were made available by the Corporation to the Chief Minister or those which the Chief Minister could have called upon the Corporation to produce.

8. Our attention was asked to an affidavit produced in that regard by a certain D. T. Sundar who is the power of attorney holder of some of the petitioners before us, in which there is an allegation that during the hearing the Chief Minister gave the petitioners, among the arguments that were placed before him, one was that the Corporation should place all its evidence before Government as to how it had formed the opinion that it could disturb the existing operators. The complaint made to us was that the Chief Minister did not however insist upon the production by the Corporation of the materials upon which it purported to have depended, and that the existing material which comprised no more than the particulars set our in the approved scheme and which was quite exiguous and obscure, was all that the Chief Minister depended upon to reach the conclusion that the scheme merited his approval.

9. It was pressed on us that quite a few relevant factors which should have been considered by the Chief Minister were ignored, and that dependence was placed upon extraneous and irrelevant considerations. A considerable part of the argument advanced was expended over the inordinate delay in according approval and in the omission to take notice of the changed circumstances which came into being by reason of subsequent events during the period when there was a phenomenal increase in the volume of traffic in respect of which transport services were made available to the traveling public by private operators.

10. The proposed scheme stated, as required by Section 68-C, particulars regarding the nature of the services proposed to be rendered by the Corporation and the routes proposed to be covered. The annexures to the proposed scheme also contained particulars prescribed by the State Transport Undertaking Rules (Mysore), 1963 made under Section 68-I of the Act. All those particulars referred to in clauses (a) to (t), Rule 3 of those rules were set out in the proposed scheme and against column (s) which refers to other information that the State Transport Undertaking may desire to submit, no other information was specified.

11. It is common ground that during the hearing before the Chief Minister after the petitioners produce their objections, no fresh materials were produced by any one. Indeed, the complaint of the petitioners is that, even at that stage the Corporation which should have disclosed to the petitioners information on the basis of which it formed its opinion, did not reveal such information, notwithstanding the request made by the petitioners to the Chief Minister that the Corporation should be directed to make available that material. It is also undisputed that neither the Corporation nor the petitioners offered to tender any evidence in support of the proposed scheme or the objections produced by the petitioners, as the case may be.

12. But the stress of the argument was that, since it was the duty of the Corporation to establish that the scheme prepared would produce an efficient, adequate, economical and properly co ordinated road transport service for the operation of which the exclusion of private operators either partially or completely was demanded by public interest, and since the scheme made on behalf of the Corporation had been impeached by private operators who objected to the approval of the scheme, it became the duty of the Corporation to produce evidence in support of its assertion that public interest demanded such partial or complete exclusion and that the scheme sponsored by the Corporation would result in the operation of a better transport service in the context of the standards prescribed by section 68-C than those operated by the private operators.

13. The Chief Minister's order sets out that during the argument before him as many as eight contentions were urged Para. 4 of his order sets out those contentions, and clause (a) of that paragraph refers to the contention that the publication of the scheme was not in accordance with rule 4 of the State Transport Undertaking Rules, 1963. That contention which was negatived by the Chief Minister was not pressed before us. The second contention to which the Chief Minister referred was that Chapter VIA of the Motor Vehicles Act is ultra vires the Constitution, and, he was of the opinion that it was not, and, the limited investigation which we should make in these writ petitions is whether Sections 68-B and 68-D are unconstitutional.

14. Clause (c) of Paragraph 4 of the Chief Minister's order states that it was argued before him that the proposed scheme prepared by the Corporation was not in accordance with Section 68-C, since the opinion formed by the General Manager of the Corporation and not by the Corporation. But that argument was not pressed before us.

15. Clause (d) of that paragraph alluded to the argument that the proposed scheme does not incorporate the particulars which demonstrate that the scheme can properly fall within Section 68-C. And, that is by far the most serious argument maintained before us. Clause (e) of that paragraph referred to the non-maintenance of the reserves to which the approved schemes already implemented referred, and clause (f) refereed to the contention that the proposed road transport services were inadequate.

16. The next contention which was set out in paragraph 4 in clause (g) was that the schemes which had been previously approved had not been implemented by reasons of inadequate resources of the Corporation. The next argument noticed by the Chief Minister which was set out in clause (h) was what concerned the infirmities, in the publication of the scheme. But, with that we are not concerned in these writ petitions since no argument was addressed in respect of those matters.

17. With respect to the contentions which were set out in clauses (d), (e), (f), and (g) of paragraph 4 of the Chief Minister of the question whether in his opinion the transport services which the corporation intended to operate would be adequate, economical, efficient and properly co ordinated within the meaning of Section 68-C of the Act, and the conclusion which he expressed in paragraph 14 of the order reads:

'Having given full consideration to all the contentions, submissions and evidence placed both by the State Transport Undertaking and the objector, the Government hereby approve the Scheme notified by the State Transport Undertaking in the Notification No. MST. Co. PLN. KLR. 322/64-65 dated 23rd September 1964 appearing in the Mysore Gazette dated 8th October 1964, with the modification that the operators whose permits (routes) overlap the road portion between Bagepalli-Chellur any Pathapalya Cross (M. S. 6/34 to 32) only may continue to operate subject to the condition that their permits be rendered ineffective for the overlapping portion only.'

18. It will at this stage be convenient to notice an argument advanced before us by Mr. Iyengar, that in this part of the Chief Minister's order there was no finding recorded by him that the element of public interest to which section 68-C refers and which is indispensable, exists. But, in paragraph 10 of his order, the Chief Minister did address himself to the question whether the proposed transport service which the Corporation intended to operate would promote public interest, and, he recorded a clear finding that it would. That paragraph reads:--

'The State Transport Undertaking after extensive and intensive survey, have come to the conclusion that 87 routes proposed would fulfill the fourfold objects detailed in Section 68-C and will serve the public interests. There is no mandatory provision that the routes proposed by the Undertaking should be identical to those of private operators. On the contrary, as the Supreme Court has held in Kondala Rao's case, (vide : [1961]1SCR642 ) that section 68-C empowers the State Transport Undertaking to propose a scheme to include new routes. The scheme proposed subserve the fourfold objects enunciated in the Section 68-C in the interest of public. As urged by the Mysore State Road Transport Corporation, the scheme proposed is an integrated one and would provide a seat mileage of 4.9 lakhs as against 3.3, provided by the private operators. The contentions of the objectors are not tenable in view of the Supreme Court's judgment in Kondala Rao's case, : [1961]1SCR642 . In case any private services are curtailed at important points, connecting services of the State Transport Undertaking can always be had. The argument is also untenable in view of the Supreme Court judgment in C.P.C. Motor Service, Mysore v. State of Mysore, : AIR1966SC1661 .

19. And, if the reached the conclusion in paragraph 14 that in his opinion the scheme should receive his approval, it does not appear to us that it would be useful to the petitioners to maintain an argument that he did not again say as in paragraph 14.

20. We now proceed to discuss the two criticisms advanced against the proposed scheme and its approval. With respect to the scheme proposed by the Corporation, the condemnation was that the Corporation which had to form an opinion under Section 68-C on the question whether, for the purpose of the transport services which should be efficient, adequate economical and properly co ordinated, it would be necessary in the public to exclude private operators either partially or completely, formed no such opinion and never bestowed any thought over the question whether the transport service which it proposed to operate would conform to the requirements of Section 68-C, or whether even if it did, it was necessary in the public interest that there should be an exclusion of private operators. It was urged that if the Corporation did have in its possession any material on which that opinion was founded, that evidence would have been made available to the Chief Minister during the enquiry, and that, it was necessary for the Corporation to make that material also available to the petitioners, especially when they made a representation to the Chief Minister that the Corporation should be called upon to produce it.

21. The question, therefore, is whether, if the Corporation did not make available the information on the basis of which it formed its opinion during the enquiry, it could be said that the scheme could not have been approved by the Chief Minister or that it did not validly originate.

22. In support of the submission that there should have been a disclosure of that material, our attention was asked to the cases decided by the Supreme Court in which it was explained that the State Government which embarks upon a hearing under Section 68-D, is under a duty to allow the parties to produce evidence, and that, it is not enough for the State Government to merely hear arguments. It was also pointed out that if the State Government which hears the matter calls upon anyone of the parties to produce such evidence or documents and that evidence or material is not produced, the State Government could draw the usual adverse inferences.

23. It is well settled that a proceeding under Section 68-C has close resemblance to a judicial proceeding, and that, if any of the parties to that proceeding wishes to produce evidence in support of his or its case, that opportunity could not be refused. In C. M. P. Co-operative Societies. Bhopal v. State of Madhya Pradesh, : [1967]3SCR329 , in which the scope of an enquiry under that Section was explained, there was a discussion of the manner in which a proceeding under S. 68-C can validly originate, and, elucidation made in that part of the judgment is that if the scheme prepared by the State Transport Undertaking furnishes the information to which section 68-C refers, there is a proceeding which validly originates under that Section. It was explained that since section 68-C requires that the nature of the services proposed to be rendered and the area or the routes proposed to be covered by the State Transport Undertaking should be specified, and that the scheme should also enumerate the other particulars which are prescribed by the rules made under Section 68-I the scheme prepared by the State Transport Undertaking would be above criticism if those particulars are set out in the proposals made.

24. In that context, the Supreme Court said this:--

'Now the section itself requires two things, namely, (i) the nature of the services proposed to be rendered, and (ii) the area or route proposed to be covered. Further the section provides that such other particulars respecting the scheme should be given as the rules prescribe, and that has been done. But the argument seems to be that even though the section and the rules have been complied with, certain other things should have been mentioned in order to enable the private operators to show that the schemes did not provide an efficient, adequate, economical and properly co ordinated that his argument service. We are of opinion that his argument must be rejected.

** ** ** ** **

We are of opinion that so long as a scheme gives the two things which the section itself prescribes and such other particulars which the rules prescribe, that is enough for the purpose of validly originating the proceeding., resulting in eventful nationalisation of the routes and services concerned.'

It was further explained that when the scheme so prepared is opposed, its approval, modification or rejection would be a matter for decision by the State Government under Section 68-D.

25. The criticism that the Corporation did not reveal the basis of the opinion formed by it under Section 68-C does not appear to us a good criticism. The Corporation stated that it had formed that opinion and specified the nature of the services proposed to be rendered by it and the area or routes it proposed to cover and set out the particulars prescribed by the relevant rules. And, Section 68-C does not direct the disclosure of the material which assisted the formation of the opinion to which it refers. So, according to the enunciation of the Supreme Court, there was nothing more to be done by the corporation to properly initiate a scheme.

26. In an affidavit produced for the Corporation, of which the deponent is its Deputy General Manager, it is asserted that the opinion was formed by the Corporation on the basis of relevant considerations and after collection of necessary materials, and there is no reason for us to disturb that statement.

27. Section 68-D does not insist on the disclosure during the enquiry under its provisions, of the material on which the opinion under Section 68-C was found. The correctness of that opinion which in Gullapali Nageswara Rao v. A.P.S.R.T. Corporation, : AIR1959SC308 ; was referred to as subjective opinion, is however open to discussion in the enquiry under Section 68-D, and as explained by the Supreme Court in Malik Ram v. State of Rajasthan, : [1962]1SCR978 , those who object to the scheme are at liberty to demonstrate that it does not conform to the requirement of Section 68-C, and, the State Government as a quasi-judicial authority has the power of requiring the production of materials which could assist the conclusion that the transport service intended to be provided by the State Transport Undertaking is of the nature to which that section refers. The observations in that context read:

'The objections are all made to show that the scheme does not provide for an efficient, adequate, economical and properly co ordinated road transport service. In order therefore to arrive at the conclusion that the draft scheme provides for a transport service of this nature, the State Government as a quasi-judicial authority may require materials to come to that conclusion.' (p. 1578)

28. But the further elucidation that it was for the State Government to decide whether such evidence is necessary, reads:

'It will therefore be for the State Government, or as in this case the officer concerned, to decide in case any party desires to lead evidence whether firstly the evidence is necessary and relevant to the inquiry before it. If it considers the evidence is necessary, it will give a reasonable opportunity to the party desiring. to produce evidence to give evidence relevant to the enquiry and within reason and it would have all the powers of controlling the giving and the recording of evidence that any court has.' (Page 1578).

The decision in Barium Chemicals ltd. v. Company Law Board, : [1967]1SCR898 on which Mr. Iyengar depended in support of the submission that the Corporation was under a duty to disclose the information on which it founded its opinion, rested on the interpretation of Section 237(b) of the Companies Act, the language of which is not similar to the language of Section 68-C. There are no words in Section 68-C or in Section 68-D which correspond to the words' occurring in Section 237(b) of the Companies Act.

29. In the enquiry before the Chief Minister, no one undertook to produce any evidence either in support of the draft scheme or in condemnation. The Chief Minister who had to decide whether the scheme was acceptable, was concerned therefore with the correctness of the opinion formed under Section 68-C and not with the process by which it way reached. He had before him all the particulars enumerated in Section 68-C, and it was for him to consider, as explained in Malik Ram's case, : [1962]1SCR978 , whether the Corporation should be called upon to produce any further material or information, and, the fact that be made no such direction indicates that he found it possible to render a decision on the materials before him.

30. So, the non-disclosure of the grounds supporting the opinion under Section 68-C either during the enquiry or at any antecedent stage can have no impact on the draft scheme which was properly prepared. Nor could the approval of the scheme be assailed on the ground that the Chief Minister did not direct their disclosure or the production of the materials which impelled the opinion.

31. Now, we proceed to discuss the other criticisms to which the approval was subjected

32. The first was that the Chief Minister gave a mechanical approval to the scheme without the application of the mind to the relevant questions. The second was that it was overlooked that the burden of supporting the scheme was on the Corporation. The third was that the Chief Minister did not examine the question whether the proposed scheme would result in an efficient, adequate, economical and properly co ordinated service, or whether, even if it did, it was necessary in the public interests to exclude any private operators, partially or completely. And the fourth was that, when the Chief Minister accorded his approval as late as in the year 1968 there was such substantial alteration in the situation, especially in relation to the volume of traffic, that the proposed scheme which was prepared as early as in the year 1964 could have no validity. It was lastly contended that the scheme prepared by the Corporation had indeed been inspired by the State Government, and that the Chief Minister did not therefore find it possible to approach the matter with an unbiased mind.

33. To decide the question whether there was really no application of the Chief Minister's mind to the relevant factors which should have been considered by him, it would be necessary for us to refer to the objections produced by the objecting operators, and, we are informed by Mr. Iyengar that the statement of objections of all these objecting operators was of the same pattern.

34. In paragraph 2 of the memorandum of objections, it was stated that the opinion formed by the corporation under Section 68-C was an opinion formed without any guiding principles, materials, data and the like, and that opinion was unwarranted, arbitrary and detrimental to public interest.

35. That paragraph contained an assertion that the existing operators were providing a transport system which was quite sufficient, adequate, economical and well co ordinated and that there was no complaint against any on of them. It was also alleged that the corporation was not in a position to provide a more efficient, more adequate, more economical and more properly co ordinated transport service.

36. In para 4, there was an allusion to the performance of the Corporation with respect to the other schemes which had been previously approved and it was stated that performance was by no means satisfactory and was utterly inferior.

37. In paragraph 6, there was a reiteration of the allegation that it was not possible for the Corporation that it was not possible for the Corporation to adhere to the four cardinal principles which Section 68-C incorporates. In paragraph 8, it was asserted that the Scheme would not promote public interest.

38. In paragraph 13, there was a criticism of the length of the routes, the maximum number of vehicles which the Corporation proposed to operate and the services and the co-relation between them.

39. In paragraph 21, the operators stated that they would produce further affidavits at the hearing and there was a request that the corporation should be directed to give certain particulars.

40. We do not refer to the other parts of the statement of objections on which no argument was constructed before us.

41. The complaint that the Chief Minister gave no thought to the questions he had to decide appears to us groundless. His order demonstrates that he bestowed thought to the really relevant matters, while the objections incorporated contentions which were not.

42. It will be recalled that the principal impeachment of the scheme was that the Corporation with its slender financial and other resources did not have the ability to introduce a transport service which cold have the four attributes which Section 68-C refers.

43. In : [1967]3SCR329 , the Supreme Court explaining the weakness of that endeavour said this:

'It will thus be clear that nationalised road transport under Chapter IV-A would be urn either by the Central Government, or a State Government or any of the other three authorities mentioned there which are all under the control of the State Government or the Central Government. In these circumstances, with the resources of the Government behind those authorities it would in our opinion be futile for any objector to say that the Central Government, the State Government or the authorities backed by it could not have equipment and finances to carry out the schemes. It seems to us that the very fact that a scheme is proposed suggests that the Central Government or a State Government or the authorities would carry it out, So, there is no question of asking for production of documents relating to the equipment and financial position of a State Transport Undertaking as defined in Section 68-A(b).'

44. In the context of an argument that the authority which has to make a decision under Section 68-D should institute a comparison between the Corporation's past record, and the record of the private operators, the Supreme Court observed in the above case.

'....... As to documentary evidence, it was asked for to show, firstly, that the Corporation did not have equipment and finances to carry out the schemes, and, secondly that the Corporation's past record of running its services was worse than that of the private operators. We think that both these questions really do not arise in the context of a scheme of nationalisation envisaged in Chapter IV-A of the Act. It may be mentioned that this Chapter was introduced in the Act in 1956 after Art. 19(6) of the Constitution had been amended by the Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1961. By that amendment the State was given power relating to the carrying on by it or by a Corporation owned or controlled by it, of any trade, business, industry or service, whether to the exclusion, complete or partial, of citizens or otherwise, Chapter IV-A envisages what we have called nationalisation of transport service, and this has to be undertaken by a State Transport Undertaking which under Section 68-A(b) may be............'

45. The two principles which clearly emerge from this decision of the Supreme Court are, firstly, that the question whether the Corporation did not have the equipment or finance to carry on the scheme had no relevance in the adjudication under Section 68-D, and secondly that a comparison between the Corporation's past record and that of the private operators, had no relevance either.

46. So, the requisition made by the private operators for the production of material to demonstrate that the Corporation did not have the resource which would enable it to operate a transport service conforming to the description contained in Section 68-C or that its operations under the other schemes which bad been previously approved did not measure up to the required standard as compared with that of the private operators, was not a permissible requisition since these matters did not really arise for consideration.

47. But, it was said that the scheme as prepared by the corporation even as early as in the year 1961 suffered from the infirmity that it ex facie demonstrated that the transport service which it proposed to operate was both inadequate and improperly co ordinated.

48. On the question of adequacy, our attention was asked to the relevant statistics which were made available to us during the arguments. It was pointed out to us that in the year 1964, the private operators operated as may as 199 vehicles which made 290 trips, whereas, under the scheme prepared by the corporation, not more than 188 vehicles with a minimum of 91, was proposed. It was also pointed out that in the year 1968, when the Chief Minister accorded his approval to the scheme, the vehicles operated by the private operators had increased to 322 and the number of trips had correspondingly become 440, including 123 new trips which were to be made by these operators under permits newly granted, whereas, the number of vehicles and trips mentioned in the scheme remains unaltered. It was further submitted that the Chief Minister depended upon inaccurate material in the consideration of the question whether the element of adequacy existed.

49. To the question whether the transport service which the corporation proposed to operate would be adequate or properly co ordinated, the Chief Minister did bestow his thought. One of the questions to which he addressed himself was whether the fourfold objects of Section 68-C would be fulfilled by the draft scheme and that was the question he formulated in paragraph 4(d) of his order. With respect to that matter, he embarked upon a discussion in paragraph 10, which reads:

'The State Transport Undertaking after extensive and intensive survey, have come to the conclusion that 87 routes proposed would fulfill the fourfold objects detailed in Section 68-C and will serve the public interests. There is no mandatory provision that the routes proposed by the undertaking should be identical to those of private operators. On the contrary as the Supreme Court has held in Kondala Rao's case (vide : [1961]1SCR642 ) that Section 68-C empowers the State Transport Undertaking to propose a scheme to include new routes. The schemes proposed subserve the fourfold objects enunciated in the Section 68-C in the interest of public. As urged by the Mysore State Road Transport Corporation, the scheme proposed is an integrated one and would provide a seat mileage of 4.9 lakhs as against 3.3 provided by the private operators. The contentions of the objectors are not tenable in view of the Supreme Court judgment in Kondala Rao's case, : [1961]1SCR642 . In case any private services are curtailed at important points, connecting services of the State Transport Undertaking, can always be had. The argument is also untenable in view of the Supreme Court judgment in : AIR1966SC1661 .'

50. The denunciation made of this part of the Chief Minister's order by Mr. Iyengar was that there was no adequate or sufficient discussion of the many questions and contentions which were urged before the Chief Minister, an enumeration of which is to be found in the affidavit produced before this court by the power of attorney holder of some of the petitioners before us.

51. Paragraph 5 of that affidavit sets out the arguments advanced before the Chief Minister and in the context of the present discussion the argument advanced according to that affidavit related to representations by members of the public, and local authorities, expressing opposition to the scheme, on the ground that the scheme was no in the public interest, and that there was no proper co-ordination, that the past performance of the Corporation left everything to be desired and that the corporation lacked adequate resources to implement the scheme. According to that affidavit, it was also urged that the scheme prepared in the year 1964 could not hold the field in the year 1968.

52. The Chief Minister, as can be seen from Para 10 of his order, was clearly of the view that the scheme fulfilled the requirements of Section 68-C and was in the interest of the public. With respect of adequacy, he depended upon the provision in the scheme for a seat mileage of 4.9 lakhs as against 3.3 lakhs provided by the private operators.

53. It was contended by Mr. Iyengar that the Chief Minister's arithmetic stood vitiated by the wrong assumption that the stage carriages operated by the Corporation had a seating capacity of 58, whereas the scheme provided only for 53 seats, and, in support of that submission he depended upon the affidavit of the deputy General Manager of the Corporation in one part of which he stated that the stage carriages operating on a particular route had a seating capacity of 58. It was, therefore, urged that if the seat mileage on which the Chief Minister depended was founded on the wrong seats capacity to which the deputy general manager referred in his affidavit, the conclusion reached by the Chief Minister must necessarily fall to the ground based as it was upon inaccurate data.

54. But it will be seen that Mr. Special Government Pleader is right in pointing out that the seat mileage to which the Chief Minister refers has no relation to the seating capacity mentioned by the Deputy General Manager in his affidavit. It is quite obvious that seat mileage was computed on the basis of the information imparted in clause (m) of the draft scheme in which it was specified that the scheme in which it was specified that the seating capacity of the Corporation stage carriages would be 53.

55. That being so, it is not possible for the petitioners to depend upon a statement contained in the Deputy General Manager's affidavit which was produced before this Court which refers only to stage carriages operating on one particular route between Bangalore and Masti, where five services with a seating capacity of 58 are operating. If as urged by Mr. Iyengar, the operation by the Corporation in that way along that route is in transgression of the scheme, whatever may be the consequence ensuing therefrom, the scheme does not stand vitiated so long as the basis of the Chief Minister's conclusion depended upon accurate information which was available in clause (m) of the draft scheme.

56. In H. C. Narayanappa v. State of Mysore, : [1960]3SCR742 . It was explained by the Supreme Court that the legislature did not contemplate an appeal from an order made by the State Government approving or modifying a scheme under Section 68-D and that if the authority which had to decide the objections gave an opportunity to the objectors to be heard in the matter and dealt with the objections in the lights of the object intended to be secured by the scheme, the ultimate order passed by that authority was not open to challenge either on the ground that another view may possibly have been taken on the objections or that detailed reasons have not been given for upholding or rejecting the contentions raised by the objectors. The relevant part of this decision reads:

'Provided the authority invested with the power to consider the objections gives an opportunity to the objectors to be hard in the matter and deals with the objections in the light of the object intended to be secured by the scheme, the ultimate order passed by that authority is not open to challenge either on the ground that another view may possibly have been taken on the objections or that detailed reasons have not been given for upholding or rejecting the contentions raised by the objectors.'

57. In writ petitions like those before us it is not within our province to examine whether on the materials which were available before the Chief Minister it was possible for him to reach a conclusion different from the one which he reached and as pointed out by the Supreme Court even if the Chief Minister did not embark upon a sufficiently detailed discussion of the questions which he had to decide or of the arguments which were advanced before him, it would not be possible for us to disturb the decision reached by him.

58. In the proceedings before the Chief Minister the proposed scheme which contained all the relevant information which Section 68-C directs the corporation to furnish was before the Chief Minister, and the objections of the objection operators were also before him. The affidavit produced by Sundar states that representations of the local authorities and members of the public, in opposition to the acceptance of the scheme were produced before the Chief Minister, Since no one was called to give evidence before the Chief Minister, the Chief Minister had to decide the matter on the materials available before him and in the course of his order he stated that he had considered all the contentions, submissions and evidence placed both by the State Transport Undertaking and the objectors, when he reached the conclusion that it was a fit case for according his approval with the modifications made by him.

59. Unless it is possible for the petitioners to point out some infirmity in the proceeding before the Chief Minister which vitiated that finding, they could not ask us to quash the scheme on the ground that there was no discussion of all the arguments advanced before the Chief Minister in sufficient detail. The limited question with which we are concerned is, whether the objections were considered and dealt with in the light of the object intended to be secured by the scheme and the order made by the Chief Minister demonstrates that there was such consideration of those objections. For the mere reason that the ultimate order does not incorporate detailed reasons which supported the conclusion, would not be ground, as explained by the Supreme Court in Narayanappa's case, : [1960]3SCR742 for the demolition of the order made by the Chief Minister.

60. In C. M. P. Co-op. Societies' case, : [1967]3SCR329 the enunciation made by the Supreme Court seems to indicate that the burden of establishing that the scheme which was approved by the Chief Minister did not satisfy the requirements of Section 68-C was on the objectors. This is what the Supreme Court said:

'But unless the scheme is shown not to be efficient, adequate, economical and properly co ordinated, it will in our opinion generally follow that it is in the public interest. We do not think therefore that the comparative merits of the Corporation as against individual operators require to be judged under Chapter IV-A in the public interest.'

This exposition is the answer to the argument advanced on behalf of the petitioners by Mr. Iyengar at one stage that when the private operators objected to the scheme, it became the duty of the Corporation to demonstrate that the scheme has the four attributes to which Section 68-C refers.

61. From a perusal of the order made by the Chief Minister we are able to gather that there was on his part a sufficient application of his mind to the relevant questions which he had to consider under Section 68-D and that being so the criticism to the contrary must fail.

62. What we have said so far is equally applicable to the argument that the scheme approved by the Chief Minister does not have the element of proper co-ordination and that it should have been obvious to the Chief Minister that it was not economical either.

63. The merits of the scheme and its imperfections have to be judged by state Government functioning as the tribunal constituted by the Act and the Chief Minister's conclusion was that it measured up to the prescription of Section 68-C, and, we should not embark upon a discussion of the question whether it was not possible for him to take a different view. We are not satisfied that this conclusion was influenced by irrelevant or extraneous considerations or that any matter which properly fell within the range of the inquiry was neglected or ignored. The Chief Minister's order in which there is a clear formulation of the arguments presented and a discussion of their sustainability in the context of the available material excluded the contention to the contrary.

64. We do not find it possible to say that the Chief Minister missed the obvious fact that the scheme was uneconomical for the reason that the fares which the Corporation proposed to charge its passengers were higher than those which the private operators were charging or that clause (q) of the draft scheme which did not specify the actual fares which the Corporation proposed to charge but only mentioned that the fares would be those fixed by the concerned transport authorities under Section 43(1)(i) was defective.

65. It does not appear from Sundar's affidavit upon which dependence was placed that any such contention was raised before the Chief Minister. Moreover, on the question whether the excessive fare charged by the State Transport Corporation divests the scheme of the character of its being economical was considered by this Court in Writ Petition No. 1652 of 1968 (Mys), and, in that case it was said:

'The question whether the transport service is economical from the point of view of the passengers who travel in it can be looked at from two points of view and the fare charged by the operator is not a decisive factor. A transport service which charges a higher fare but offers better service and enables the passenger to reach its destination safely without delay in certain circumstances be more economical from the point of view of the passenger traveling in it than a transport service which charges a lower rate but is undependable or is not sufficiently comfortable.'

We are also of the opinion that the incorporation of the information in the scheme that the fares which the Corporation would be charging are those to be fixed by the transport authorities under Section 43 (1)(i) of the Act, is sufficient compliance with Section 68-C whose purpose is that the information should be such as would enable the concerned authority to examine the utility of the scheme from all relevant points of view.

66. It was, however, urged that whereas the transport services which were operated by the private operators were properly co ordinated services, those which are now to be operated by the Corporation are not. In support of this argument, our attention was asked to instance in which quite a few points which were touched by the private operators are outside the routes now operated b the Corporation, and, it was submitted that a passenger who has to perform a journey to those points will not have the advantage of a transport service for that journey.

67. It is however clear that feature of the scheme does not afford any basis for the argument that the transport service to which it refers is not a properly co ordinated scheme. Such truncation of existing routes when there is the nationalisation of transport services is inevitable when the notified routes displace the existing routes. Such is the necessary consequence when there is a reorganisation of the routes which claims the virtue of proper co-ordination. the postulate if the nationalised service does not operate on every part of every existing route overlooks the efficacy of superior co-ordination which is foundational to a good scheme which substitutes new routes for the old and so the nationalised service which does not provide for journeys on some old sectors compels the performance of those journeys in some other manner such as transhipment and the like.

68. In : AIR1966SC1661 , the Supreme Court explained that a scheme which is otherwise good does not invite criticism for that reason and said this:

'The transhipment, by itself, would not connote a lack of co-ordination. Under Section 68-C, the State Transport Undertaking may take over whole routes or whole areas or part of the routes or part of the areas, and if the scheme operates partially, some transhipment would obviously be necessary, but co-ordination would still exist, because where the State omnibuses come to a halt, the private omnibuses would take the passengers set down. In our opinion, these grounds have no validity, in view of the partial nationalisation of the routes involved in the State.'

69. The discussion so far made takes us on to the question whether the delay in according approval to the scheme has any impact on its validity. It will be seen that although the scheme was sponsored by the Corporation in the year 1964, the hearing took place before the Chief Minister only in October 1967 and the approval was accorded on January 10, 1968. It was submitted to us that in the meanwhile at least 123 new permits which consisted of inter-State and inter-State permits had been granted and that those new operators had no opportunity to object to the approval of the scheme.

70. It was next submitted that the number of vehicles operated by the private operators as already observed had increased by 123 and the journeys performed by them consisted of 440 trips as against 322 trips performed by 199 vehicles operated by the old operators. It was therefore, urged that there was such great increase in the volume of traffic that a scheme which was prepared in the year 1964 providing for 188 maximum number of vehicles and 91 minimum number of vehicles to be operated by the Corporation, had become so antiquated that it should not have been approved by the Chief Minister.

71. But, we do not think that we can go into these aspects of the matter in the cases before us. These statistics upon which the petitioners depend should have been produced by the objecting operators before the Chief Minister when he gave them a hearing, and, it is not disputed that that was not done. Sundar's affidavit merely states that an argument was presented in that regard. But that surely was not enough. Moreover, any subsequent increase in the volume of traffic on the old routes cannot properly reflect the adequacy of the proposed nationalised services on the reorganised routes.

72. In the order made by the Chief Minister, one of the factors upon which he depended was the fact that the Corporation would provide a seat mileage of 4.9 lakhs as against 3.3 lakhs provided by the private operators, and, on the materials before him, it does not appear that he had any reason to think that there was any such alteration in the situation subsequent to the year 1964 which could displace the otherwise acceptable character of the scheme.

73. With respect to the unavailability of an opportunity for persons who had been granted permits subsequent to the publication of the draft scheme, it is enough to observe that under Section 68-D of the Act, the right to produce an objection to the proposed scheme is not restricted to existing operators but was available to every person affected by the scheme. Section 68-D prescribes a period of limitation within which objections have to be preferred, and, one who did not produce his objection within that period of limitation, cannot properly have a grievance that he was not afforded an opportunity to make a representation. Any other view would lead to the consequence that no one can say within that time or who among those who are affected by the scheme could produce objections and the enquiry would become interminable.

74. What we have said so far is also what disposes of the criticism made of Rules 6 and 7 of the Rules made under Section 68 under which an operator who wishes to object to the proposed scheme must specify many particulars including the length of the routes on which he operates and the termini and the like. If, as we have said, a person who can object within the period of limitation prescribed by Section 68-D should either be an existing operator or one who is otherwise affected, it is possible for him to give those particulars if he is an existing operator, and, those parts of Rule 6 which refer to the particulars to which Mr. Iyengar referred, have application only to existing operators. It is equally clear that those particulars with respect to the length of the route and its termini to which Rule 6 refers have to be furnished only by an existing operator and not by a person who is otherwise affected by the scheme.

75. It was at one stage contended that there is such great disparity between the maximum and the minimum number of vehicles which could be operated by the Corporation on some of the routes as to justify the conclusion that the scheme is a fraud on Section 68-C and Section 68-E of the Act. It was pointed out to us that with respect to one route the maximum is as high as ten and the minimum is as low as three and it was also pointed out to us that in some cases the maximum is four and the minimum is one and so on.

76. But, in Civil Appeal No. 8 of 1968 Viswanatha Rao v. State of Mysore, : [1968]3SCR198 , the Supreme Court pointed out that an argument founded upon such disparity is unacceptable.

It said this :--

'It was also stated that the maximum number of daily services was 10 and the minimum was 3. It was maintained on behalf of the appellants that by prescribing the maximum and minimum number of vehicles and daily services and by permitting such a great disparity between the maximum and minimum number of vehicles and daily services there was a virtual modification of the draft scheme and the procedure prescribed by Section 68-E of the Motor Vehicles Act should have been followed. In our opinion, there is no justification for this argument. It is true that in B. H. Aswathanarayan Singh v. State of Mysore, : [1966]1SCR87 , it was pointed out by this Court that if the proportion which the minimum bears to the maximum is so great, and the gap between the two, is so wide as to make the prescription to the maximum and the minimum amount to a fraud on Section 68-C and 68-E, the scheme will stand vitiated. But at the same time it was explained that it was not possible to lay down specifically at what stage the fixing of minimum and maximum would turn into fraud; but it is only when the gap between the minimum and maximum is so great that it amounts to fraud on the Act that it will be open to a court to hold that the scheme is not in compliance with Section 68-C and is hit by Section 68-E. The gap between the minimum and maximum would depend upon a number of factors, particularly on the variation in the demand for transport at different seasons of the year.'

77. In the counter-affidavit produced in Writ Petition No. 1862 of 1968, the General Manager of the Corporation has justified the fixation of the maximum and the minimum number of vehicles on the ground that fixation had for its aim the making of due provision for meeting the traffic potentiality which is likely to vary and that in the case of the Bangalore-Chintamani route in respect of which the maximum of ten and the minimum of three has been fixed in the scheme, such fixation became necessary for the reason that Kaivara on the route was a place of pilgrimage where jatras are held, and that due provision had to be made to ply a larger number of services during peak seasons. A similar explanation was accepted by the Supreme Court in C. A. No. 8 of 1968 = : [1968]3SCR198 as a justification for the disparity between the maximum and the minimum also say with respect to the argument advanced before us.

78. The next argument to which we should now address ourselves is that constructed on the proviso to section 68-D of the Act. That proviso says that when a scheme relates to an inter-State route, its approval under Section 68-D must be preceded by the approval of the Central Government. It was contended that in the case of a large number of petitioners before us, the permits granted to them are inter-State permits concerning routes portions of which lie within the State of Mysore and the other portions beyond it. It was also pointed out that those portions of the routes which lie within the State have now become notified routes under the scheme and that the same is therefore one which relates to an inter-State route within the meaning of that proviso, which reads:

'68-D--Objection to the scheme, (1) Any person affected by the scheme published under Section 68-C may, within thirty days from the date of the publication of the scheme in the Official Gazette, file objections thereto before the State Government.

(2) The State Government may, after considering the objections and after giving an opportunity to the objector or his representatives and the representatives of the State Transport Undertaking to be heard in the matter, if they so desire, approve or modify the scheme.

(3) The scheme as approved or modified under sub-section (2) shall then be published in the Official Gazette by the State Government and the same shall thereupon become final and shall be called the approved scheme and the area or route to which it relates shall be called the notified area or notified route:

Provided that no such scheme which related to any inter-State route shall be deemed to be an approved scheme unless it has been published in the Official Gazette with the previous approval of the Central Government.'

In support of the argument, argument, dependence was also placed upon clause (d) of the schedule to the scheme which incorporates exemptions and which reads:--

SCHEDULE

** ** ** ** ** **

(d) Whether the services are to be operated by the State Transport Undertaking to the exclusion, complete or partial of other persons of otherwise. The State Transport Undertaking will operate services on all the routes to the complete exclusion of other persons except that:

(a) that existing permit holders on the inter-State routes, may continue to operate such inter-State routes, subject to the conditions that their merits shall be rendered ineffective for the overlapping portions of the notified routes: and

(b) ** ** ** **.'

We are not concerned with clause (b) appearing against clause (d) of the scheme, and, it was urged that since clause (a) confers power on the concerned transport authority to render ineffective an inter-State permit in respect of the overlapping portion of the notified route, the scheme was one which related to an inter-State route within the meaning of the proviso.

79. Mr. Special Government Pleader in support of his argument to the contrary depended upon the decision of Supreme Court in : [1966]1SCR87 , in which the enunciation made was that a route is an inter-State route only when one of its termini is in one State and the other in another. The further exposition made was that if both the termini were in the same State the route would not be an inter-State route even if one of the termini is reached through the other States.

80. Reliance was also placed upon another decision of the Supreme Court in C. S. Rowjee v. State of Andhra Pradesh, : [1964]6SCR330 , the relevant part of which reads:

'The next objection was that some of routes included in the scheme were inter-State routes and that under the proviso to Section 68-D (3) it could not be deemed to be an approved scheme unless the previous approval of the Central Government had been obtained. We consider this objection as without force. The route which is proposed to be nationalised under the scheme admittedly lies wholly within the State. The right of the private operators to ply their vehicles beyond the State border is not affected by any of the schemes. It would, therefore, follow that the proviso to Section 68-D(3) is not attracted and consequently the scheme does not suffer from the defect alleged.'

81. But Mr. Iyengar urged that so long as clause (d) of the scheme conferred power on the concerned transport authority to render ineffective a portion of the inter-State permit although it related to that part of the notified route which overlapped the inter-State route, the proviso to Section 68-D operates and that the previous approval of the Central Government is indispensable to impress upon the scheme the element of validity.

82. Mr. Iyengar depended upon the words which relates to any inter-State route' occurring in that proviso and submitted that those words are so comprehensive as to take within their ambit a scheme which makes it impossible for an inter-State operator to operate on any portion of the inter-State route even if the portion of the route on which he is unable to so operate is the notified route falling within the State in which the Corporation proposes to operate.

83. The meaning to be given to the words 'which relates to any inter-State route' must be gathered from sub-section (3) of Section 68-D which also contains similar words. That sub-section defines an approved scheme which is published in the Official Gazette after its approval or modification under sub-section (2) and the notified route is defined as a route to which that approved scheme relates. The concluding part of that sub-section which defines a notified route reads:--

'and the area or route to which it relates shall be called the notified area or notified route.'

84. The expression 'such scheme which relates to an inter-State route' occurring in the proviso should be understood in the same way in which it has been defined in sub-section (3), and, when we do so, it becomes clear that the relationship between a scheme and an inter-State route is a notified route in the sense that part of that notified route lies in one State and the remainder in another. If, however, the notified route is entirely within a single State, the scheme cannot relate to an inter-State route.

85. So, the proviso has application only to a case where the nationalisation extends to that part of the route which is outside one State and lies in another. In that event that inter-State route becomes a notified route and the scheme would be one which relates to an inter-State route; otherwise not.

86. Under the scheme before us, no inter-State route became a notified route since all the notified routes were inside the State of Mysore. The exemption created by clause (d) of the scheme in favour of inter-State permit-holders only means that subject to the curtailment to which it refers, there shall be no exclusion from the notified route. But that exemption does not alter the character of the scheme whose operations is restricted only to the notified routes inside the State and does not extend to the routes beyond its limits.

87. It is thus clear that the scheme is not one which relates to any inter-State route within the meaning of the proviso even if the impact of the scheme on an inter-State permit holder is that with respect to the notified route his permit is to be rendered ineffective under its provisions. The scheme was therefore not one which required the previous approval of the Central Government.

88. It was said that part of the scheme which conferred power on the concerned Transport Authority to render ineffective an inter-State permit with respect to the notified route was no authorised by Section 68-F of the Act, and it was argued that all that could be done under Section 68F(2) of the Act was to render a permit ineffective beyond a specified date.

89. But this argument overlooks the provisions of sub-clause (iii) of Section 68F(2)(c) which authorises the Transport Authority referred to in that section to curtail a route covered by the permit in so far as such permit relates to a notified route. That clause reads:

68-F (2) 'For the purpose of giving effect to the approved scheme in respect of a notified area or notified route, the regional Transport Authority may, by order,.........

*** *** *** ***

(c)(iii) curtail the area or route covered by the permit in so far as such permit relates to the notified area or notified route.

The power created by clause (d) of the scheme which authorises the Transport Authority to render ineffective an inter-State permit in so far as it relates to the notified route is thus clearly conferred by section 68-F(2)(c)(iii).

90. At one stage an argument was advanced before us that under Article 302 of the Constitution, Parliament was the exclusive authority which could impose restrictions with respect to an inter-State permit, and that if the impugned scheme did affect an inter-State permit as it was argued it does, the restriction on the exercise of the right created by an inter-State permit could be imposed only be Parliament by a law made by it, and that power could not be exercised by a Transport Authority such as the one to which S. 68-F(2) refers. It was also contended that no restriction could be placed upon the right of an inter-State permit holder to operate his stage carriage under the inter-State permit by the Chief Minister functioning under Section 68-D(2).

91. In the view that we take that the scheme is not one which affects the rights of an inter-State permit holder to operate his stage carriage in the other States and that the only effect of the scheme is to impose restrictions on the operation of the stage carriage inside the State and on the notified route, the argument constructed on Article 302 becomes unavailable to the petitioners.

92. That that is the correct view to take is clear from the decision of the Supreme Court in : [1966]1SCR87 , the effect of the enunciation made in which is that if the notified route is inside the State the scheme would not affect an inter-State route or a permit.

93. It was urged that the scheme was sponsored by the Corporation with the previous sanction of Government, and that the Chief Minister who has accorded his sanction under Section 68-D made an order which was affected by bias. The only foundation for this argument was an allegation in the affidavit produced by the petitioners in those writ petitions in which it was asserted that the scheme was prepared by the Corporation with the previous sanction of the State Government. It was urged before us that this allegation was not controverted by the Deputy General Manager of the Corporation who produced his counter affidavit.

94. But it is not right for the petitioners to contend that there is no repudiation of that allegation. the allegation about bias is contained in paragraph Z-10 of Sundar's affidavit produced along with the writ petition, and in the counter affidavit of the Deputy Manager, he does deny the truth of the allegation contained in paragraph Z-10 of Sundar's affidavit. We see no reason to believe the allegation in Sunder's affidavit or to distrust the repudiation in the Deputy General Manager's affidavit.

95. The appeal to the allegation in Sundar's affidavit which was produced in this Court in which there is an allegation that even when the Chief Minister heard the objecting operators, those operators, intimated him that they had no faith in the possibility of an objective decision in the Chief Minister cannot take the case of the petitioners far enough. That statement does no more than to make an imputation, the truth of which had to be proved but was not.

96. That the then Chief Minister made a declaration in the year 1959 on the floor of the Legislative Assembly that it was the decided policy of government to nationalise all the routes in the State by 1966, does not display any predilection such as could be equip rated (equated?) with bias. Nor could that declaration affect the approval accorded by the succeeding Chief Minister.

97. What we should now proceed to consider is the argument touching the constitutionality of Sections 68-B and 68-D. Before doing so, we must notice an argument advanced by Mr. Datar on behalf of the petitioner in Writ Petition No. 1526 of 1968. He maintained the argument that the decision in Golak Nath v. The State of Punjab, : [1967]2SCR762 makes unavailable to the impugned scheme, the protection of the first amendment to the Constitution, and that unless it is established by the Corporation that the restrictions imposed by the scheme on the fundamental right created by Art. 19(1)(g) of the Constitution were reasonable restrictions imposed in the interest of the general public, the scheme would have to be declared void under Article 13 of the Constitution.

98. But this argument is clearly unsupportable since what was said by the Supreme Court in : [1967]2SCR762 far from supporting it, is completely, destructive of the postulate placed before us. That that is so is clear from the following observations in para 52 of the judgment which read:

'We, therefore, declare that our decision will not affect the validity of the Constitution (Seventeenth Amendment) Act 1964, or other amendments made to the Constitution taking away or abridging the fundamental rights. We further declare that in future the Parliament will have no power to amend Part III of the Constitution so as to take away or abridge the fundamental rights.'

99. The submission made in support of the argument that Section 68-B was unconstitutional was that it confers unregulated and uncanalised power on the Stage Government and the other authorities referred to in Chapter IV-A of the Act to make orders under its provisions.

100. We do not think that any such unregulated or uncanalised power flows from that section. The power that would be exercised is subjected to the clear guidance which sections 68-C and 68-D incorporate. The State Government could make an order under Section 68-D only when there is a scheme which is prepared by the State Transport Undertaking in accordance with the provisions of Section 68-C, and, in respect of that scheme he could make an order either of approval or modification or refusal, only after giving an opportunity to those who object to the acceptance of the scheme to be heard with respect to that matter and after it is satisfied that any one of these three orders could be made by it.

101. In respect of Section 68-D the only argument pressed on us was that its provisions are repugnant to the provisions of Art. 14 of the Constitution since with respect to a scheme prepared by the State Transport undertaking and published by it only those who produced their objections within thirty days from the date of the publication of the scheme could be heard by the State Government and not whose who became subsequently affected by the scheme such as permit holders who were granted permits after the expiry of thirty days specified in that section.

102. The unsupportable assumption on which the argument is constructed is that those who are affected by the Scheme and so could produce their objections within the period of limitation prescribed by Section 68-D and those who could have no grievance against the scheme when it was so published and who became affected by it only after the expiry of the period of limitation prescribed by Section 68-D fall within the same classification, while it is obvious that they do not. No one can suggest that the Parliament had no power to prescribe a period of limitation for the production of objections and those objections within the period prescribed by Section 68-D could be produced only by those within the period prescribed by Section 68-D could be produce only be those who were affected by the scheme, since, those who were not, could not. But, if a person who was not affected within the period, prescribed by Section 68-D, becomes affected by the scheme by reason of the fact that he was granted a permit subsequently, it is obvious that he belongs to an entirely different classification for the reason that he takes the permit granted to him subject to the decision under Section 68-D(2).

103. We should, for the same reason, repel the argument that the exemption created by Exhibit D is discriminatory since it could be claimed only by existing permit holders and not by future inter-State permit holders.

104. The contention that the scheme was not in accordance with law since the timings in accordance with which the Corporation proposed to operate their transport services on the notified routes, were not specified in the annexure to the scheme, cannot be of mush assistance to the petitioners since the rules do not require the Corporation to specify in the scheme prepared by it the timings in accordance with which the Corporation proposes to operate its stage carriage services. All that the rule requires is that the Corporation should make arrangements for the exhibition of the time tables and fare tables. The relevant portion Rule 3 is that which is contained in clause (k) of that rule and that clause says that the scheme should state the arrangements for the exhibition of the time tables and fare tables on the vehicles should be made by the State Transport Undertaking, and, in clause (k) of the draft scheme, it was stated by the Corporation that those arrangements would be made.

105. We therefore, dismiss these writ petitions. No costs.

106. We, however, make it clear that with respect to the publication in the gazette by the Regional Transport Authorities of Kolar, Bangalore and Tumkur, those petitioners who are likely to be affected by any order which may be made pursuant to that notification will be at liberty to challenge the order of cancellation or curtailment which may be made by any of those regional transport authorities if and when such order is made against them and that nothing that we have said in the course of this judgment will preclude them from doing so.

107. Petitions dismissed.


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