1. The petitioner is a Stage Carriage operator. On 19-6-1981 he filed an application under S. 57 (2) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') for grant of a stage carriage permit on the inter-regional route lying between Somasetty Hally within the region of Kolar Regional Transport Authority and Tumkur Town which is in the jurisdiction of the Regional Transport Authority, Tumkur. The application presented to the Secretary, Regional Transport Authority, Kolar, first respondent herein, was not acted upon as normally when such application is presented the same has to be published under S. 57 (3) of the Act, for inviting objections. On the other hand, when the petitioner approached the . first respondent with a representation on 13-7-1981, he has been issued an endorsement dated 16-7-1981 stating that his application dated 19-6-1981 for grant of a stage carriage permit on the route in question will be placed before the Regional Transport Authority, Kolar, after the need is established under S. 47 (3) of the Act and notifying the application under S. 57 (3) of the Act.
2. Aggrieved by this, the petitioner has approached this Court under Arts, 226 and 227 seeking inter alia, a writ of mandamus directing the 3rd respondent to publish his application under S. 57 (3) of the Act, forthwith and also for a direction to the first respondent, Regional Transport Authority, Kolar, to consider the application so published along with the application of the 2nd respondent now under consideration by the Regional Transport Authority,
3. Respondent 2, has entered appearance and respondents 1 and 3 though served have remained absent and unrepresented.
4. Sri M. Rangaswamy, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner has strenuously contended that the entire action of the 3rd respondent has been arbitrary and without the authority of law depriving the valuable right of the petitioner of being heard. The fear of the applicant is that the reason given in the impugned endorsement that the need is required to be established under S. 47 (3) of the Act, is only to cause delay of the publication so that the petitioner's application will not be ready for hearing when the second respondent's application is considered by, the first respondent. He further argues that in the case of Mahommed Ibrahim v. State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Madras : 1SCR474 the Supreme Court has clearly held that S. 47 (3) of the Act, is not applicable to cases relating to inter-regional permits, It clearly established that the 3rd respondent was clearly in error in issuing the endorsement stating that a need has to be established for service on the route in question and the same is in utter disregard of the ruling of the Supreme Court. Therefore, the petitioner undoubtedly is entitled to a writ of mandamus directing the 3rd respondent to publish the application of the petitioner in accordance with the provisions contained under subsection (31 of S. 57 of the Act.
5. I have some doubt in acceding to the second prayer that the petitioner is entitled to a writ of mandamus directing the first respondent to consider his application along with that of the 2nd respondent.
6. Sri M. R. Venkatanarasimhachar, learned counsel appearing for the 2nd respondent has resisted the claim made by the petitioner in regard to the second prayer that he may resist the first prayer also on the ground that the application of the petitioner being one for inter-regional route, there was some time lag involved in the consultation with the other Regional Transport Authority to publish the application under S. 57 (3) of the Act. So far as the consultation of the other regional transport authority is concerned, consent has been given to the first respondent by the Regional Transport Authority, Tumkur, for the route in question as far back as July, 1981. Even otherwise from the language of R. 123 of the Motor Vehicles Rules, it is clear that consultation is something which follows the notification under S. 57 (3) of 1he Act. Therefore, the reason given in the endorsement that a need has to be established is unjustifiable. Counsel argued in support of his first contention that the petitioner is not entitled to a writ of mandamus to the first respondent to consider after due publication under S. 57 (3) of the Act, his application along with the application of the second respondent having regard to the ruling of the Supreme Court in the case of Purshottam Bhai Punnambhai Patel v. State Transport Appellate Authority Madhya Pradesh in Civil Appeal No. 762 of 1963* (Unreported decision). in the said case decided on 14-4-1964 N. Rajagopala Ayyar J. (as he then was) speaking for himself and M. Hidayatullah J. (as he then was) considering the scope of S. 47 (1) (c) in the scheme of the provisions of the Act, and dissenting from the view taken by the High Court Madhya Pradesh that all applications for identical routes shall be heard together, held as under:-
'If it were held that immediately an application is made for a permit on a route which is the same as that for which applications are being considered by the Transport Authority under S. 57 (5) or which might have a material bearing on the grant of permits on that route, the Transport Authority would have to hold its hand and wait till all the application could be considered together, then it would be apparent that if there are successive applications at intervals for these permits the stage might never be reached when the applications could be considered and a permit granted. Once it is recognised that the grant of permits to transport operators to ply their carriages on specified routes is primarily for the benefit of the travelling public, it would be seen that such a result would mean that the public would be deprived of a transport service for appreciable lengths of time and this could not have been contemplated by the Act.'
If it is so understood, it necessarily follows that in the light of the admission made by the petitioner that he filed the application. as well as his objections to the grant of a permit to the second respondent on the identical route, the Petitioner's application was an afterthought not originally intended to operate the route in question. If that is so, the right to have the petitioner's application heard together will arise when both the applications are ready for hearing before the same authority and not otherwise- . It therefore, cannot be said that ever tending applicant in respect of a given route can hold up the Proceedings in respect of the first applicant whose application is ready for hearing. However, it is necessary to observe on the facts of this case, as the delay in getting the application ready for hearing has been entirely due to the illegal endorsement issued by the Secretary which has been struck down by me above, if the concerned authority as not disposed of the application of the second respondent as On the date of this order, it would serve the interest of the petitioner by clubbing the applications together after the 3rd respondent publishes the application of the petitioner as directed by me in the course of this order earlier under S. 57 (3) of the Act.
7. However, this matter may be raised by the petitioner in -the Proceedings now pending before the first respondent authority in respect of the application made by the second respondent. If so represented, the first respondent is free to decide on merits the two applications by clubbing them together. With these ob
servations rule issued is made absolute in respect of the first Prayer. So far as the second prayer is concerned, it is rejected and the rule stands discharged.
8. Order accordingly.