Narayana Pai, C.J.
1. The petitioner who is operating a stage carriage service on the route Chitradurga and Bellary, has challenged in this writ petition the order passed by the Mysore Rer venue Appellate Tribunal. Bangalore dated the 8th of October 1971, granting the application of Respondent No. 4 for extension of the route Chitradurga to Molakalmuru upto Bellary.
2. Respondent No. 4 held a stage carriage permit for the route Chitradurga to Molakalmuru and back. He made an application to the Regional Transport Authority. Chitradurga (hereafter referred to as the R. T. A.I for variation of the condition of the permit by extending the route, from Molakalmuru to Bellary via Rampura. As the route is an interregional route, the R. T. A. Chitradurga dealt with the application under Rule 123 of the Mysore Motor Vehicles Rules. 1963. Bv its resolution dated the 23rd June, 1964, the R. T. A. partly allowed the. application of respondent No 4 and granted extension from Molakalmuru upto Rampura only. The decision of the R. T. A., Chitradurga was affirmed in appeal by the Mysore State Transport Appellate Tribunal. Bangalore. The further appeal filed by the 4th respondent to the Mysore Revenue Appellate Tribunal, Bangalore was allowed and extension was granted upto Bellary. That decision was challenged by the petitioner in this court in Writ Petition No. 2129 of 1963. This court set aside the order and remanded the case to the Mysore Revenue Appellate Tribunal, Bangalore with a direction to determine afresh the question of need.
3. As per the directions of this court, the Tribunal examined the matter afresh and allowed the appeal of the 4th respondent and granted the extension prayed for upto Bellary. The petitioner has challenged the order of the Tribunal on several grounds.
4. The first submission of Shri K.G. Maheswarappa, learned counsel for the petitioner, is that there is non-compliance with the mandatory provisions of Rule 123 of the Mysore Motor Vehicles Rules. 1963, on the ground that the grant has been made without consulting the R. T. A. of Bellary. We have, therefore, to examine if prior consultation under Rule 123 is mandatory.
5. Section 48 of the Motor Vehicles Act empowers the Regional Transport Authority to grant a stage carriage permit. There is nothing in that provision which precludes the Regional Transport Authority of one region from granting a permit in respect of a route which lies not only within its jurisdiction but also within the jurisdiction of the Regional Transport Authority of another region in the State. But. Section 63(1) of the Act provides that an inter-regional permit granted by one Regional Transport Authority will not be effective in another region unless the R. T. A. having jurisdiction over the other region grants counter-signature to the permit. Section 63(1) of the Act, however, makes it clear that the State Government may make rules providing that the permit granted by the R. T. A of one region shall be valid in any other region without the permit having been countersigned by the R. T. A. of that other region. It is in exercise of the said power conferred by Section 63(1) of the Act that the State Government has framed Rule 123 of the Mysore Motor Vehicles Rules. 1963, which reads as follows:--
'123. Grant of permit without counter-signature.--
(1) The Regional Transport Authority of any Region may, subject to the provisions of Section 45 of the Act, issue a permit to be valid in any other region or regions without the State without the counter-signature of the other Regional Transport Authority or the other Regional Transport Authorities concerned and shall as soon as possible, send copies of such permits to the other Regional Transport Authority or Regional Transport Authorities concerned.
(2) The Regional Transport Authority granting permit under Sub-rule (1), shall, before issuing a permit:--
(i) Notify under Section 57(3) of the M. V. Act. 1939, the whole of the route or area which lies within the State and in respect of which an application for a permit has been received, by publishing the same in the official Gazette and by causing publication of the copies of such notification on the Notice Boards of the other Regional Transport Authorities concerned and shall hear the applicant and any other person making representations;
(ii) Consult the Regional Transport Authority or the Regional Transport Authorities concerned;
Provided that it shall not be necessary to follow the procedure laid down in Clauses (i) and (ii) above in respect of applications for a permit made under Section 68-F of the Act'.
6. It is clear from Rule 123 that the R. T. A. of any region in the State is, subject to the provisions of Section 45, entitled to issue a permit to be valid in any other region or regions within the State without the counter-signature of the other R. T. A. or R. T. As. concerned. Clause 2 of the Rule prescribes the procedure to be followed before such a grant is made. Sub-clause (i) of Clause (2) requires the R. T. A. to notify under Section 57(3) of the Act, the whole of the route or area which lies within the State and in respect of which an application for permit has been made by publishing the same in the official gazette and by publishing the copies of such notification on the notice Boards of the other Regional Transport Authorities concerned and to hear the applicant and other persons making representations. This clause enables persons within the jurisdiction of the other Transport Authorities also to make representations against the proposed grant. Sub-clause (ii) of Clause (2) of Rule 123 further requires that the Regional Authority should consult the other Regional Transport Authority or Authorities concerned The procedure indicated in Clause (2) of Rule 123 is a substitute procedure for the one which is ordinarily required to be followed in the matter of grant of counter-signature by the other authorities. The object of Rule 123 is to ascertain the views of persons making representations in response to the Notification under Section 57(3) as well as the views of the other Regional Transport Authority or Authorities within whose jurisdiction a Part of the route lies. Prior consultation contemplated under Sub-clause (ii) of Clause (2) of Rule 123 is, therefore, not a mere idle formality. As the Regional Transport Authority within whose jurisdiction a part of the route lies is expected to have relevant information about the route, its advice in regard to the need and other relevant matters will be of great value. As prior consultation contemplated thus serves an important objective and dispenses with the counter-signature, which was otherwise required to be secured under Section 63, we have no hesitation in holding that the said requirement of prior consultation is mandatory. The same view has been expressed by this court in M. C. Krishna Murthy v. Mysore Revenue Appellate Tribunal. 1963-2 Mys LJ 241 = (AIR 1963 Mys 329), dealing with similar rules of the year 1958 which have since been repealed.
7. It was urged by Shri Maheswarappa that the mandatory requirement of Rule 123 has not been fulfilled in this case, on the ground that the Regional Transport Authority. Bellary has not been consulted. The Mysore Revenue Appellate Tribunal has presumed that the R. T. A. Bellary has no objection to grant the extension prayed for, because the said R. T. A. did not convey its views in spite of repeated requests made by the R. T. A. of Chitradurga over a considerable length of time. It was urged that as the R. T. A. Bellary did not convey its views, consultation which is a mandatory requirement under Rule 123 became impossible.
8. It is, therefore, necessary to examine as to what constitutes 'consultation' under Rule 123. No specific manner or method of consultation has been prescribed under the Rules. The word 'consult' has not been defined either under the Rules or under the Act. According to its ordinary meaning given in the Oxford English Dictionary the word 'consult' means:-- take counsel; seek information or advice from; take into consideration etc. The Privy Council, when considering the word 'consultation' occurring in Pastoral Reorganization Measure, 1949 quoted with approval in Re: Union of the Benefices of Whippingham and East Cowes Derham v. Church Commrs. of England, (1954) 2 All ER 22, the observations of Bucknill. L. J. in Rollo v. Minister of Town and Country Planning. (1948) 1 All ER 13 at P. 17, which reads as follows:--
'..... Consultation (in the New Towns Act. 1946 Section 1 (1)) ..... means that on the one side, the Minister must supply sufficient information to the local authority to enable them to tender advice, and on the other hand a sufficient opportunity must be given to the local authority to tender that advice.'
This decision has been followed by this court in V.K. Kulkarni v. State of Mysore, 1963 Mys. LJ (Suppl.) 327 = (AIR 1963 Mys. 303) while construing the word 'consultation' occurring in Article 234 of the Constitution. Having regard to the context in which the word 'consult' occurs in Rule 123, it has to be given the same meaning as given to the word 'consultation' by Bucknill, L. J. in the aforesaid decision.
9. In order to constitute 'consultation' under Rule 123, the following conditions have to be fulfilled:--
(1) The consulting R. T. A. must supply sufficient information to the consulted R. T. A. to enable the latter to tender its advice in regard to the grant of the inter-regional permit.
(2) The consulting R, T. A. must give sufficient opportunity to the consulted R. T. A. to tender its advice.
10. What constitutes furnishing of sufficient information to the consulted R. T A; depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case. It is enough to indicate that the information supplied must be such as to enable the consulted R. T. A. to satisfactorily tender its advice. As to what constitutes affording of sufficient opportunity to the consulted R. T. A. to furnish its advice also depends upon, the facts and circumstances of each case.
11. It is not the case of Shri Maheswarappa that sufficient information was not furnished to the R. T. A. Bellary to enable it to tender its advice. The submission of Shri Maheswarappa however is that the R. T. A. Bellary did not, in fact, tender its advice to the R. T. A. Chitradurga and that there was therefore no consultation. In other words, he submits that as long as the R. T. A. Bellary does not tender its advice, consultation is not complete and that therefore the R. T. A. Chitradurga cannot make any grant under Rule 123.
12. In support of his submission, Shri Maheswarappa relied upon a decision of the Supreme Court in Chandramouleshwar Prasad v. The Patna High Court. : 2SCR666 . In particular, reliance was placed on the following observation in paragraph 7 of the said judgment occurring at page 375:--
'Consultation or deliberation is not complete or effective before the parties thereto make their respective points of view known to the other or others and discuss and examine the relative merits of their views. If one party makes a proposal to the other who has a counterproposal in his mind which is not communicated to the proposer the direction to give effect to the counter proposal without any thing more, cannot be said to have been issued after consultation.' The Supreme Court dealt with a case of appointment of a District Judge which, as required by Article 233 of the Constitution, can be made by the Governor of the State only in consultation with the High Court. The Supreme Court pointed out in that case that if the High Court recommends 'A' while the Governor is of the opinion that B's. claim is superior to A's, it is incumbent on the Governor to consult the High Court in regard to its proposal to appoint B and not A. If the Governor appointed B without getting the views of the High Court about B's claim vis-a-vis A's to promotion. B's appointment cannot be said to be in compliance with Article 233 of the Constitution. It is in that context that the Supreme Court observed that consultation or deliberation is not complete or effective before the parties thereto make their respective points of view known to the other or others and discuss and examine the relative merits of their views. We do not find it possible to infer from the aforesaid observations of the Supreme Court that there is no consultation if the authority consulted chooses not to tender its advice even after all necessary materials are furnished to it and sufficient opportunity is afforded to tender its advice. If sufficient information to enable the consulted authority to tender its advice is furnished and reasonable opportunity to tender that advice is also erven, consultation is complete. The consulted R. T. A. cannot render consultation incomplete or ineffective by not tendering the advice sought for within a reasonable time. Though the consulting R. T. A. is bound to take into consideration the advice, if any. received from the consulted R. T. A., it can proceed to take a decision under Rule 123. if after furnishing of all relevant and adequate information and waiting for a reasonable time for receipt of the advice sought for. it does not receive any advice.
13. We shall now examine if there was the requisite prior consultation in the present case. It is not the case of the petitioner that the R. T. A. Bellary was not furnished with adequate information to enable it to tender its advice. It is clear from the order of the Revenue Appellate Tribunal that the R. T. A. of Chitradurga requested the R. T. A. Bellary to tender its advice by its letters dated 29-3-1963. 11-3-1963 13-12-1963 and 16-4-1964. The R. T. A. of Chitradurga ultimately passed the resolution on the 23rd June. 1964 after waiting for more than a year for advice from the R. T. A. Bellary. Having regard to the fact that the R. T. As. ordinarily meet once a month and that the applications for stage carriage permits are normally expected to be disposed of within a period of about three months, it can be regarded as affording reasonable opportunity to the consulted R. T. A. if the consulting R. T. A. waits for a period of at least three months for advice, after furnishing all relevant information and seeking advice. As in this case, the R. T. A. Chilradurga waited for nearly 15 months for advice and as advice was not tendered in spite of reminders, the R. T, A. of Chitradurga was competent to proceed to take a decision on the basis that there was the requisite prior consultation contemplated under Rule 123. As there was prior consultation by the R. T. A. of Chitradurga, the Tribunal as an appellate authority was justified in making the grant on the basis that there was the requisite prior consultation under Rule 123(2) (ii). It is, therefore, not possible to accede to the contention of Shri Maheswarappa that the grant of permit made by the Tribunal in respect of the inter-regional route in question is invalid for want of prior consultation under Rule 123.
14. It was next urged by Shri Maheswarappa that the Mysore Revenue Appellate Tribunal was not competent to entertain and consider fresh material in regard to need. As the Tribunal admitted fresh material for examining the question of need in the order of remand made by this court on an earlier occasion, it cannot be said that the procedure followed by the Tribunal is in any way erroneous.
15. It was lastly urged by Shri Maheswarappa that the finding of the Tribunal on the question of need is based on irrelevant material not on record. He invited our attention to an observation made by the Tribunal in paragraph 6 of its older to the effect that another operator has recently been granted permit for the route Chitradurga to Bellary. It was submitted that no material as such was placed before the Tribunal in this behalf and that therefore the Tribunal was not justified in taking that fact into consideration when dealing with the question of need. It is clear from the discussion in the order of the Tribunal that it has independently come to the conclusion that the need is established. It is only after coming to that conclusion that it has incidentally noticed the submission made on behalf of the 4th respondent that another operator has recently been granted a permit for the route Chitradurga to Bellary. The finding in regard to need being a finding of fact is not liable for interference in this writ petition.
16. For the reasons stated above, this writ petition fails and the same is dismissed.