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T. Narayanaswamy Vs. Regional Transport Authority and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. Nos. 71 etc. of 1969
Judge
Reported inAIR1971Kant276; AIR1971Mys276; (1970)2MysLJ121
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 45, 48, 63 and 68-D
AppellantT. Narayanaswamy
RespondentRegional Transport Authority and ors.
Appellant AdvocateP.S. Srirangaiah, ;M. Narayana Rao, ;Rangavittalachar, ;M.R. Venkatanarasimhachar, ;C. Narasimhachar, ;G. Narayana, ;Yaduraya Godwa, ;S.J. Srinivasan, ;Nagesh Rao, ;M. Rangaswamy, ;S.V. Krishnaswamy,
Respondent AdvocateE.S. Venkataramiah, Spl. Govt. Pleader, ;G.V. Shantharaju and ;S. Rajendra Babu, Advs.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
- labour & services section 4(6): [s. abdul nazeer, j] statutory liability of the employer to pay gratuity - held, the act is enacted for introducing a scheme for payment of gratuity for certain industrial and commercial establishments as a measure of social security. it is a beneficent piece of social legislation expressly drafted in the interest of employees for payment of statutory gratuity to them. gratuity is a retirement benefit for long and continuous service as a provision for old age. it is earned as a matter of right subject to fulfilling the conditions therefor. section 4 of the act prescribes the statutory liability of the employer to pay gratuity and the right of the employee to seek it whenever it becomes payable. it is only under sub-section (6) of section 4 that the.....narayana pai, j. 1. the question referred to the full bench as arising out of these writ petitions is as follows:--'whether the term, 'existing permit-holders on inter-state routes' would mean only those who, on the date on which the approved scheme was published in the gazette, were holders of permits (to operate on inter-state routes) granted by transport authorities of one state and also countersigned by transport authorities of the other state, under section 63 of the m. v. act, or whether that term would also include the holders of uncountersigned primary permits who, on that date had the right to operate on a part of an inter-state route and which part overlaps a notified route under the scheme.'the circumstances in which the writ petitions came to be filed and which gave rise to.....
Judgment:

Narayana Pai, J.

1. The question referred to the Full Bench as arising out of these Writ Petitions is as follows:--

'Whether the term, 'existing permit-holders on inter-State routes' would mean only those who, on the date on which the approved scheme was published in the Gazette, were holders of permits (to operate on inter-State routes) granted by Transport Authorities of one State and also countersigned by Transport Authorities of the other State, under Section 63 of the M. V. Act, or whether that term would also include the holders of uncountersigned primary permits who, on that date had the right to operate on a part of an inter-State route and which part overlaps a notified route under the Scheme.'

The circumstances in which the Writ petitions came to be filed and which gave rise to this reference to the Full Bench are briefly the following:--

2. A scheme for nationalisation of Road Transport Services in respect of 87 specified routes in the District of Kolar and neighbouring Districts was prepared by the Mysore State Road Transport Corporation. After necessary publication, receiving and hearing of objections, etc., the Scheme as approved under the provisions of Chapter IV-A of the Motor Vehicles Act was published in the Mysore Gazette dated 25th January, 1968.

3. The validity of the Scheme was challenged in several writ petitions presented to this Court. By an order dated 7th October, 1968, the Writ Petitions were dismissed. The appeal against the said order of this Court to the Supreme Court was not successful.

4. Subsequently, action was taken by the appropriate Regional Transport Authorities under Section 68-F (2) or the Motor Vehicles Act for the purpose of giving effect to the Approved Scheme. In the case of the petitioners in this batch of Writ Petitions the action proposed was to curtail the routes covered by the permits held by them in so far as such permits related to one or other of the notified routes covered by the approved Scheme. The petitioners complained that the action so proposed was not correct or legal and depended in support of their contention on what they described asthe true effect of Sub-clause (a) appearing against Clause (d) of the approved Scheme. The said Clause (d) sets out the extent and nature of the exclusion of private operators sought to be brought about by the Scheme. That clause reads as follows:

'(d) Whether the services are to be operated by the State Transport Undertaking to the exclusion, complete or partial of other persons or 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 condition that their permits shall be rendered ineffective for the overlapping portions of the notified routes.'

The petitioners in these cases have secured from appropriate Regional Transport Authorities of Mysore State, on various dates, permits in respect of routes, one of the termini or the starting point of which lies within the State of Mysore and the other in the State of Andhra Pradesh or the State of Madras (now called Tamil Nadu). None of them had secured countersignature of the appropriate Transport Authority in the State of Andhra Pradesh or in Tamil Nadu, as the case may be, before the date of the publication of the Scheme, i.e., 25th January, 1968.

5. The principal question, therefore, that was debated before the referring Bench which first heard these Writ petitions was whether the benefit of Sub-clause (a) of Clause (d) of the Approved Scheme copied above could be available only to such persons who had secured countersignature from the appropriate Transport Authorities of other States. The contention strongly pressed on behalf of the petitioners was that the securing of counter-signatures was quite immaterial and therefore unnecessary for the purpose of entitling them to the benefit of the said clause. The contrary contention pressed on behalf of the Mysore State Road Transport Corporation was that the necessary pre-condition for taking the benefit of the relevant clause was the existence of a right on the relevant date in the claimant to operate on the entire inter-State route described in the permit and that such a right to operate on the entire route could not be acquired unless, after obtaining the permit from appropriate Regional Transport Authority in this State, the grantee actually secures counter-signature before the publication of the Approved Scheme.

6. The petitioners appear to have depended upon an observation contained in the order of Somnath Iyer and Ahmed Ali Khan, JJ., in W. P. No. 277 of 1968, D/-3-6-1968 (Mys) and the Corporation on another order of the same Bench D/- 11/12-11-1988 made in W. P. No. 1443 of 1968 = (reported in AIR 1970 Mys 219) and connected petitions. The referring Benchthought that the views expressed in the said two orders as to who may be regarded as an existing permit-holder on art inter-State route referred to in the relevant clause of the Scheme were somewhat conflicting. They formulated and referred the above question to a Full Bench as the matter is of importance both from the point of view of the State Transport Undertaking and from the point of view of a large number of private operators who may be affected by the Scheme.

7. We have been taken through the entire orders of Somnath Iyer and Ahmed Ali Khan, JJ., in W. Ps. Nos. 277 of 1968 (Mys) and 1443 of 1968 = (reported in AIB 1970 Mys 219) and connected cases. It seems to us that there is no real conflict between the two decisions, nor is it possible to read such a conflict, if the facts of the case in W. P. No. 277 of 1968 (Mys) and the type of question that arose in the said Case are borne in mind.

8. In the said W. P. No. 277 of 1968 (Mys), the Scheme that was relevant for consideration was what is called the Mysore Scheme in which the corresponding provision regarding the exclusion read as follows:--

'2. In so far as the notified routes which overlap the inter-State routes are concerned, the State Transport Undertaking will operate without prejudice to rights of the existing valid permit-holders for operation of State Carriage services on tie inter-State routes only'.

The facts were that respondents 4 and 5 therein were, even before the commencement of the Scheme, operating on an interState route between Mysore and a place called Manantody in Kerala, a part of which, viz., that between Mysore and Bavali, happened to be a notified route under the approved Scheme. The petitioner in that case started operating on the said inter-State route from Mysore to Manantody long after fee publication of the Scheme and applied for and obtained the grant of a permit in respect of the said inter-State route from the Regional Transport Authority which was affirmed by the State Transport Appellate Tribunal, to whom respondents 4 and 5 had appealed. But in the further appeal preferred by them to the Mysore Revenue Appellate Tribunal, they succeeded in getting the grant of permit to the petitioner set aside. Thereupon the petitioner approached this Court with W. P. No. 277 of 1968 (Mys). It was indisputable in that case that respondents 4 and 5 who already had a permit to operate on the entire inter-State route before the publication of the Scheme were existing permit-holders within the meaning of the relevant paragraph of the Scheme.

The principal argument addressed on behalf of the petitioner therein wag that the exemption created by the relevant paragraph of the Scheme was available not only to those persons who were operating their stagecarriages when the Scheme commenced to operate but also to persons who, after the Scheme commenced to operate, made an application for the grant of a permit. This argument was rejected by the Court, observing that the acceptance thereof would lead to the acceptation of the interpretation that the expression 'existing valid permit-holders' also includes non-existing permit-holders. Their Lordships then made the observation mentioned in the present referring order reading-

'The word 'existing' appearing in that paragraph has reference only to those permit-holders who had a valid permit to operate on the route which overlapped an inter-State route when the Scheme commenced to operate.'

The only reason why great reliance appears to have been placed on this observation by the present petitioners before the referring Bench is that the said observation does not State that the permits in question should have been counter-signed by the appropriate Transport Authorities of other States. Before us, further support to the same contention was sought to be derived from the fact that the observation refers to operation on the route which overlapped an inter-State route, meaning apparently such part of the inter-State route as corresponds to a notified route under the approved Scheme.

On this basis, the argument is developed that for the purpose or enabling a holder of permit in respect of an inter-State route to take the benefit of exemption under the relevant paragraph, it is enough if he is authorised to operate on that part of the route that lies within this State, which right be acquires the moment the permit is granted by the appropriate Regional Transport Authority of this State and that therefore it is unnecessary for him to operate on that part of the inter-State route which is outside the border of this State and for the said purpose secure counter-signature to his permit from the appropriate Transport Authority of the other State, which means that for the purpose of taking advantage of the exemption under the Scheme, he need not secure such counter-signature.

9. All this argument, in our opinion, is reading into the decision something which was never intended to be stated on a question which never arose for consideration in that case. As pointed out already, the one and only question (apart from the argument under Article 14 of the Constitution which was rejected on other grounds) was whether the petitioner therein, who started operation and obtained a permit long after the commencement of the Scheme, could be regarded as an existing permit-holder for the purpose of that case and the same was rejected as wholly unstatable.

10. We do not think, therefore, that it is possible to read any conflict between this decision and the decision in W. P. No.1443 of 1968 = (reported in AIR 1970 Mys 219) and connected cases in which the question now raised directly arose and is found fully discussed. The real question for consideration by this Full Bench is whether there is any ground to disagree with the view expressed in the said decision. In fact, all the arguments before us have been directed to show that the said decision is not correct and should therefore be overruled.

11. Now, the decision in W. P. No. 1443 of 1968 = (reported in AIR 1970 Mys 219) discussed the interpretation of the very paragraph of the Kolar Scheme with which we are now concerned. The facts were that the 3rd respondent in that case had obtained on 30-6-1987 (i.e., before the publication of the Kolar Scheme) from the Regional Transport Authority, Chittoor in the State of Andhra Pradesh, a permit to operate a stage carriage service on the inter-State route between Timpathi in Andhra Pradesh and Tumkur in Mysore State, but had not, before the publication of the Kolar Scheme, secured counter-signature of the Mysore State Transport Authority before the commencement of the Kolar Scheme. A part of that route between Mulabagalu and nod-daballapur became a notified route under the Kolar Scheme. By an order dated 2nd March 1968, the M. S. T. A. refused counter-signature, but on appeal by the 3rd respondent, the Revenue Appellate Tribunal directed that counter-signature should be affixed to the 3rd respondent's permit. This direction by the Revenue Appellate Tribunal was set aside by this Court by its order D/- 11/12-11-1968 in the said W. P. No. 1443 of 1968 = (reported in ATR 1970 Mys 219) and connected petitions. The basis or the foundation for the decision of this Court in that case is that the 3rd respondent was not a person who could take advantage of Sub-clause (a) of Clause (d) in the Kolar Scheme already copied.

12. Their Lordships first refer to Section 63 of the Motor Vehicles Act and point out that, according to the said section, a permit granted by the authority of one State shall not be valid in the other State unless the concerned authority of the other State affixes its counter-signature to it. After pointing out that the exemption under the relevant clause of the Kolar Scheme was available to 'existing permit holders on the inter-State routes' and explaining that the exemption stated in the expression 'may continue to operate on such inter-State routes' means in the context that the permit-holder should have acquired the right to operate on the inter-State route whether or not he has actually put his vehicle on the route, their Lordships stated the legal position in the following terms:

'Now, Section 63 (1) says that, if an inter-State permit is granted by the authority of one State, it shall not be valid in the region of another State until it Is countersigned by the authority of that other State. The clear meaning of this part of the subsection is that inter-State permit so granted shall have validity only in the State in which it was granted, and that in the other State what infuses validity into the permit is the counter-signature by the authority of that State. Until it becomes efficacious and valid in that way in the other State, it is obvious that the operation which is authorised by the permit is the operation in the State in which the primary permit was granted. ......

The words 'a permit granted in any one State shall not be valid in any other State unless counter-signed by the State Transport Authority of that other State or by the Regional Transport Authority concerned' clearly indicate that until the counter-signature is secured, the primary permit does not become an inter-State permit.'

13. Their Lordships then quote the definition of 'permit' occurring in Clause (2) of Section 2 of the Motor Vehicles Act, and State its effect on the question as follows:--

'The purpose for which a permit is obtained by an operator is to use his vehicle on the route to which that permit relates. And, if in the case of a primary permit granted by one State which purports to be an inter-State permit, the right to such user in the other State does not accrue until the counter-signature in that other State is granted, it should be clear that the primary permit does not become a permit in the other State such as would create the right to operate the Stage carriage in that other State. So, what is clear from Section 63 (1) is that a primary permit which purports to be an inter-State permit granted by the authority of one State becomes an inter-State permit only when it is counter-signed by the concerned authority of that other State, and not until then.'

14. The correctness of this view is assailed on different grounds by learned counsel appearing for the petitioner before us-15. They first State that, according to the definition contained in Section 2 (2) 'permit' means only a document issued by appropriate Transport Authority 'authorizing the use of a transport vehicle as a contract carriage, or stage carriage, or authorizing the owner as a private or public carrier to use such vehicle'. Under Section 45 of the Act, every application for a permit has to be made to the R. T. A. of the region in which it is proposed to use the vehicle or vehicles. There are two provisos to the section, the first of which states that where the route proposed lies in two or more regions within the same State, the application should be made to the R. T. A. or the region in which the major portion of the proposed route lies.

The second proviso states that if the route proposed lies in two or more regionslying in different States, the application has to be made to the R. T. A. of the region In which the applicant resides or has his principal place of business. Section 46 states that one of the particulars to be set out in the application is a full description of the route to which the application relates. Section 48 (2) states that every stage carriage permit shall be expressed to be valid only for a specified route or routes or for a specified area.

16. On the basis of these statutory provisions, it is contended that the R. T. A. of the region where the applicant resides or has his principal place of business is the authority which has the jurisdiction to entertain an application for the grant of a permit for an inter-State route, that once that authority grants such a permit, what is granted is a permit and that because the permit has to set out under Section 48 (2) the entire inter-State route, there can be no question that what is so granted is an inter-State permit and for counter-signature by the another State is a mere minor incident not affecting the substance of the matter. Reliance is also placed on the following passage occurring in Abdul Aziz v. Mysore Revenue Appellate Tribunal, 1964 Mys LJ (Supp) 215 at page 218:--

'In Krishnamurthy V. M. R. A. T., (1963) 2 Mys LJ 241 = (AIR 1963 Mys 829), it has been pointed out that the source of the power of a R. T. A. to grant every stage carriage permit for the grant of which an application is made, is Section 48 of the Motor Vehicles Act. It is also pointed out that that section is also the source of the power of a R. T. A. to grant an inter-Regional permit in the State. It is, in my opinion, equally clear that Section is also the source of the power to grant an inter-State permit under Section 63 (1) of the Motor Vehicles Act read with Section 48 of that Act, and that the authority which can grant an inter-State permit is the R. T. A. to which an application is made, provided the conditions requisite for the grant of that permit and for the making of that application exist. All that Section 63 (1) provides is that an inter-State permit granted by a R. T. A. of one State shall not have validity in the other State unless it is counter-signed by the appropriate authority of that other State. But notwithstanding the necessity for such counter-signature by the authority of the other State, the power to grant an inter-State permit is what resides in the R. T. A. of the State to which an application is presented by a person seeking that inter-State permit.'

17. There can of course be no doubt that the jurisdiction of the Transport Authority to entertain an application is the one described in Section 45 and that the Jurisdiction actually to make a grant is one conferred by Section 48 (1) which states that subject to certain provisions of the statute, the R. T, A. may upon an application madato it grant a stage carriage permit in accordance with the application or with such modification as it deems fit. But Section 48 does not stand by itself. As pointed out in the very passage relied upon by the petitioners which is extracted above, in the case of an inter-State permit, it should be read along with Section 63 (1).

Secondly, the contention that the setting out of full details of an inter-State route in the permit as required by Section 48 (2) is itself sufficient to treat a permit as an inter-State permit the moment it is granted by the S. T. A., is demonstrably inaccurate. What Section 48 (2) requires is that the permit should be expressed to be valid only for a specified route. When Section 63 (1) says that a permit granted in one State shall not be valid in any other State unless countersigned by an authority of that other State, no R. T. A. issuing a permit in respect of an inter-State route can say in its permit that it is valid not only for the route within the State but also for the route beyond the frontiers of the State. Indeed, it is never done. The petitioner in W. P. No, 89 of 1969 before us has produced an authenticated duplicate of his permit. The said permit, after describing the route in all detail in paragraph 4, expressly states at the end of its last paragraph No. 14:

'He should not ply his vehicle in Andhra Pradesh and Madras States without obtaining counter-signature by the authorities concerned.'

This is a case where Section 48 (2) and Section 63 (1) operate together and both are obeyed by the R. T. A. which granted the permit. It has not only described the entire inter-State route but also has taken care to State that the authorisation therein to operate the vehicle is limited to that part of the route which lies within this State and that the authorisation to operate the vehicle in that part of the route which lies in other States should be acquired by obtaining counter-signatures of the appropriate authorities of those States,

18. Hence, the mere grant of a permit in respect of an inter-State route by the R. T. A. having the jurisdiction under the second proviso to Section 45 does not at once make it a permit valid for the operation of the vehicle on any part of the route beyond such part of it as lies within the frontier of the State in which the authority is functioning.

19. Reliance is next placed on the observation contained in another ruling of this Court in United Transport Co. v. R. T. A., 1963 Mys LJ (Supp) 569 = (AIR 1964 Mys 26). But those observations do not carry the matter any further. All that is stated there is that an application for an inter-State permit has to be made to the appropriate Transport Authority of the home State of the operator but that before an operator can use his vehicle on a portion of the route in another State, he is required toobtain counter-signature of the appropriate authority of that other State and that counter-signature has to be made on the primary permit granted by the authority of the home tate.

20. It is clear therefore from the statutory provisions and the rulings discussed above that though the jurisdiction of the R. T. A. under the second proviso to Section 45 of the Motor Vehicles Act enables it to entertain an application for a permit in respect of an inter-State route, its jurisdiction to authorise the applicant to operate his vehicle is limited to that part of the route which lies within the border of the State where the said authority functions. Now, the essence of a permit as appears from its definition contained in Section 2 (20) is that it is an authorisation for the use of a transport vehicle. Section 42 of the Act contains a prohibition to the effect that no owner of a transport vehicle shall use or permit the use of the vehicle in any public place, save in accordance with the conditions of a permit granted or counter-signed by an appropriate Transport Authority authorizing the use of the vehicle in that place.

The grant of permit by a R. T. A. under the second proviso to Section 45, for the reasons already stated, would authorise the use of the vehicle only on that part of the route which lies within the State, and it is the counter-signature of the authority of the other State that authorises the use of the vehicle on that part of the route which lies in that other State. There can be no doubt therefore about the accuracy of the statement of law contained in the decision In W. P. No. 1443 of 1968 = (reported in AIR 1970 Mys 219} that what is originality granted is only a primary permit purporting to be an inter-State permit and that it becomes an inter-State permit only when if is counter-signed by the concerned authority of the other State.

21. It has been very vehemently contended that under the relevant paragraph of the Scheme as it stands, the person entitled to exemption is described not as a holder of an inter-State permit but as a permit holder on an inter-State route, and that therefore the apparent meaning is that it is enough if such person holds a primary permit granted by the R, T. A. of this State which describes the entire inter-State route, whether or not the same is counter-signed by the authority of the other State. The argument is that the permit is not described as one for or in respect of an inter-State route but as one on an inter-State route, and that 'on the inter-State route', according to the argument, may mean on any part of the inter-State route and not necessarily the entire route which would have been the position if the word 'for' or the words 'in respect of had been used.

The argument, in our opinion, involves a method of interpretation by cutting upa sentence and what is worse, leaving out a part of it which is really the essence. The exemption, it should be remembered, is an exemption which authorises the person exempted to 'continue to operate such interState route', 'To continue to operate inter-State route' necessarily means that he has already a right to operate on the entire inter-State route, and no such right to operate on the entire inter-State route can be said to have been acquired by him unless he has obtained the counter-signature from the concerned authority of the other State.

22. Although what is discussed already is sufficient to answer the question referred to this Full Bench, we may refer to two or three other arguments which have been pressed before us.

23. The first of them is that the application for a permit itself is a proposal to use a transport vehicle as appears from the language of Section 45 itself. That proposal, according to the argument, is in the oases in question for the use of a vehicle on the entire inter-State route. It is therefore stated that when the authority acting under Section 48 grants a permit, it must be taken to have accepted the proposal to operate the vehicle on the entire inter-State route. The fallacy of the argument is that for securing an authorisation for operating a vehicle on the entire inter-State route, the acceptance by the original authority alone is insufficient, but the acceptance expressed by affixing counter-signature by the authority, of the other State is also necessary before the entire route can be operated upon.

24. The second argument is that whereas the corresponding provisions of the Mysore Scheme used the expression 'existing valid permit-holders', the relevant paragraph of the Kolar Scheme has omitted the word 'valid' and that therefore we must attach significance to the omission of the said word. Now, if one reads Section 48 (2) as well as Section 63 (1), the word Valid' is used in the sense of having the effect of conferring authorisation to operate the vehicle. When the present clause says that the exemption or protection is in the shape of continuing to operate on the inter-State route, it undoubtedly contemplates the existence of a valid inter-State permit, that is to say, an inter-State permit which authorises the holder to operate his vehicle along the entire inter-State route,

25. Another argument is that as pointed out by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Aswathanarayana v. State of Mysore, : [1966]1SCR87 , an inter-State route is one in which one of the termini is in one State and the other is in another State and that therefore when the termini mentioned in the permit in question demonstrably lie in two different States, We must hold that the permit is one to operate the inter-State route. Their Lordships) merely defined what an inter-State route'means; they have not stated that the mere mention of the entire inter-State route in a permit necessarily authorises the holder to operate the entire route. As already pointed out, such authorisation has to be acquired by securing the counter-signature on the primary permit.

26. From, any point of view, therefore, we see no reason to depart from the view expressed by a Bench of this Court in W. P. No. 1443 of 1968 = (reported in AIR 1970 Mys 219).

27. Our answer to the question referred to us therefore is as follows:--

'The expression 'existing permit-holders on inter-State routes' occurring in Sub-clause (a) of Clause (d) of the Kolar approved Scheme means only those who, on the date on which the approved Scheme was published in the Gazette, were holders of permits authorizing them to operate their motor vehicles on the entire inter-State routes mentioned in their respective permits and who therefore had by the said date got the said permits granted to them by Transport Authorities of one State actually counter-signed by the Transport Authorities of the other State. The said expression does not include the holders of primarily permits not so counter-signed.' ORDER OF THE DIVISION BENCH (31-3-1969).

Chandrashekhar, J.

28. The petitioners are holders of permits to run stage carriages on inter-Stateroutes. Such permits had been granted bythe Transport Authorities in Mysore Stateand those permits had not been counter-signed by the Transport Authorities of theadjoining States on or before 25-1-1968, onwhich date a Scheme Called the 'KolarScheme' as approved by the Governmentunder Section 68-D of the Motor VehiclesAct (hereinafter referred to as the Act) waspublished in the Mysore Gazette. In orderto give effect to the said Scheme, the Regional Transport Authorities of Kolar,Bangalore and Tumkur, acting under Section 68-F (2) of the Act, curtailed witheffect from 1-1-1969 the permits of the petitioners in respect of the portions of theirrespective routes which overlapped the notified routes under the Scheme. Feeling aggrieved by such curtailment of their permits the petitioners have presented thesepetitions under Article 226 of the Constitution.

29. The resolutions of the aforesaid three Regional Transport Authorities curtailing the permits of the petitioners, have been assailed on the following grounds:--

(i) The Regional Transport authorities had no jurisdiction to curtail permits in respect of inter-State routes;

(ii) The notifications proposing action Under Section 68-F (2) and calling for representations, are invalid;

(iii) Curtailing permits in respect of Inter-State route, is contrary to the terms ofthe inter-State agreements between Mysore State and the neighbouring States;

(iv) Curtailing permits of the petitioners is invalid as the Regional Transport Authorities did not take action under Section 68-E (2) simultaneously in respect of all the permits; and

(v) The Regional Transport Authorities had no power to curtail the permits of the petitioners on the portions of the routes overlapping the notified routes of the Scheme. At the most the Regional Transport Authorities could have only rendered the petitioners' permits ineffective in respect of such portions of routes.

30. Grounds similar to grounds (i) to (iv) above, were considered and rejected by us in a batch of Writ Petns. -- W. P. No. 70 of 1969 (Mys) and connected petitions, in which we rendered decision on 20-2-1969. In view of our earlier decision, it is unnecessary to consider again those very grounds.

31. Regarding the last ground, the learned counsel for the petitioners urged that though the permits issued to the petitioners by the Transport Authorities in Mysore State, in respect of inter-State routes had not been counter-signed by the Transport Authorities of adjoining States, the petitioners must be regarded as 'existing permit holders on inter-State routes' who have been exempted under Sub-clause (a) against Clause (d) of the Schedule to Kolar Scheme. The relevant part of Clause (d) in Schedule reads:

'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 condition that their permits shall be rendered ineffective for the overlapping portions of the notified routes.'

32. In respect of this contention of the petitioners, we formulated the following question and referred that question to a Full Bench:

'Whether the term 'existing permit holders on inter-State routes' would mean only those who, on the date on which the approved scheme was published in the Gazette, were holders of permits (to operate on inter-State routes) granted by Transport Authorities of one State and also counter-signed by Transport Authorities of the other State, under Section 63 of the Motor Vehicles Act, or whether that term would also include the holders of encounter-signed primary permits who, on that date had the right to operate on a part of an inter-State and which part overlaps on notified route under the Scheme.'

33. After we received the opinion of the Full Bench, the above petitions were posted for further hearing and we heard the arguments of such of the learnedcounsel who desired to address further arguments.

34. In view of the opinion of the Full Bench it is clear that the petitioners whose permits in respect of Inter-State routes had not been counter-signed on or before 25-1-1969, do not come within the exemption in Sub-clause (a) of Clause (d) of the Kolar approved Scheme. Nevertheless, learned counsel for some of the petitioners urged that the Regional Transport Authorities could not curtail their permits in respect of the portions overlapping the notified routes.

35. We shall now examine those contentions.

36. The petitioner in W. P. No. 89 of 1969 had been granted by the Transport Authorities of Mysore State, an inter-State permit to operate a stage carriage service between Bangalore and Madras. It was submitted on behalf of the petitioner that the Transport Authorities or Madras State counter-signed this permit on 24-12-1968, that the Transport Authorities of Andhra Pradesh had counter-signed this permit in March 1968 (sic), but later such counter-signature was set aside in appeal. By its resolution dated 30-12-1968, the R. T. A. Kolar curtailed the permit of this petitioner with effect from 1-1-1969 between Bangalore and Mulbagal.

37. Mr. N. S. Narayana Rao, learned counsel for this petitioner, argued that a scheme approved under Section 68-D comes into force only on the date fixed by the R. T. A. under Section 68-F (2) for implementation of the Scheme, that in the present case the R. T. A. Kolar had fixed the date of implementation as 1-1-1969, and that it was this date which is material for determining whether a permit on an inter-State route had been counter-signed. Mr. Narayana Bao added that the permit of this petitioner had been counter signed by the Transport Authorities of Madras State before 1-1-1969 and hence this petitioner must be regarded as an existing permit-holder on an inter-State route so as to attract the exemption provided under Sub-clause (a) against Clause (d) of the Schedule to the Scheme.

38. In support of his contention that a Scheme approved under Section 68-D comes into force only when the date fixed by the H. T. A. for implementation, Mr, Narayana Rao relied on certain observations of the Supremo Court which have been referred to in the following passage in D. Sangaya v. State of Andhra Pradesh, AIR 1962 Andh Pra 452 at p. 468:

'In Civil Appeal No. 347 of 1961 (SC) the Supreme Court has held that the B. T. A. has the power to fix a date after the Scheme has been approved by the State Government, as it is that authority which has, under Section 68-F the power to issue a permit to a State Transport Undertaking for plying the Motor Vehicles, and to cancel the existing permits .....'

39. We are unable to read the above quoted observations of the Supreme Court as laying down that a Scheme approved under Section 68-D doss not come into effect until the date fixed by the R. T. A. for the commencement of the permit issued to the State Transport Undertaking or for cancellation or modification of the existing permits.

40. The learned Special Government Pleader argued that unless an approved Scheme states a separate date from which it would come into force, it would come into force on the date on which it is published in the Official Gazette.

41. This submission of the Special Government Pleader has much force. It is difficult to accept the proposition that the Scheme which is a law, should depend upon the action of the R. T. A., for its (the Scheme) coming into force. Section 68-F (1) of the Motor Vehicles Act which provides for a State Transport Undertaking applying for a State carriage permit, does not say that the Undertaking should make such an application after the H. T. A. has fixed a date for the commencement of the Scheme. On the other hand, the language of Section 68-F(1), is such as to imply that by the time the State Transport Undertaking makes an application, the Scheme published under subsection (3) of Section 68-D, would be already in force. The competence of the R. T. A. to take action under Section 68-F(2), also is on the basis that the approved scheme will have come into force on publication under Section 68-D (3).

42. In the answer of the Full Bench to the question referred to it by us, it has been clearly stated that the expression 'existing permit-holder on inter-State route' means only those who on the date on which the approved Scheme was published in the Gazette, were holders of permits authorizing them to operate their motor vehicles on the entire inter-State route by getting their permits actually counter-signed by the Transport Authority of the other State by that date.

43. In view of the above pronouncement of the Full Bench, it is no longer open to Mr. Narayana Rao to contend that for claiming exemption under Sub-clause (a) against Clause (d) of the Schedule to the Scheme, the material date for obtaining the counter-signature was not the date of publication of the approved Scheme in the Gazette (i.e., 25-1-1968) but the date with effect from which the permits of private operators were curtailed or modified by the Regional Transport Authorities.

44. Moreover, even by 1-1-1969, this petitioner had not obtained the counter-signature of Transport Authorities of Andhra Pradesh and hence he could not operate his stage carriage on the entire inter-State route between Bangalore and Madras.

45. The contention that the permit of the petitioner in W. P. No. 89 of 1969,could not be curtailed between Bangalore and Mulbagal must fail.

46. Mr. S. J. Sreenivasan learned counsel for the petitioner in W. P. No. 165 of 1969, submitted that that petitioner had been granted by the Transport Authorities of Mysore, State, a permit on the inter-State route between Bangalore and Guntakal, that the Transport Authorities of Andhra Pradesh had counter-signed that permit but later such counter-signature was cancelled. It was not disputed by Mr. Srinivasan that on 25-1-1968 such counter-signature was not in operation. For the purpose of exemption under Sub-clause (a) against Clause (d) of the Schedule to the Kolar Scheme, the position of this petitioner would be the same as if his permit had never been counter-signed.

47. In view of the opinion of the Full Bench', all these petitions fail and are dismissed. But in the circumstances of these petitions, we direct the parties to bear their own costs.


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