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The Canara Public Conveyance Co. Ltd., Mangalore Vs. the Regional Transport Authority, South Kanara, Mangalore and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 904 of 1967
Judge
Reported inAIR1971Kant356; AIR1971Mys356; (1971)2MysLJ279
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 47(1) and 63(6); Mysore Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Rules, 1957 - Rules 103 and 127
AppellantThe Canara Public Conveyance Co. Ltd., Mangalore
RespondentThe Regional Transport Authority, South Kanara, Mangalore and ors.
Appellant AdvocateT. Krishna Rao and ;M. Gopalakrishna Setty, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateT.R. Subbanna, Adv. for ;C.S. Shanthamallappa, Adv.
Excerpt:
- income tax act,1961[c.a.no.43/1961] -- section 254(2) : [k.l. manjunath & arali nagaraj, jj] power of tribunal to review its order -whether the tribunal can exercise its powers under section 254(2) of the act to review its earlier on merits? held, the tribunal can review its own order if there is a mistake apparent from the record. but in the present case, the power exercised by the tribunal under section 254(2) of the act results in reviewing the entire earlier order by reconsidering its earlier findings which is not the scope of 254(2) of the act. hence, impugned order was set aside. - it also has sufficient statutory background because we have, provisions like sections 15 and 21-g providing for disqualification for a specified period in the case of driving licences and permits......as the order is not appealable,the petitioner filed a revision petitionbefore the mysore state transportappellate tribunal. the tribunal, by itsorder dated the 20th of may, 1967 hasconfirmed the resolution of the originalauthority.6. in this writ petition, two points have been argued, one of fact and the other of law or jurisdiction.7. the question of fact suggested is that the case of alleged breach of any of the conditions of the permit or any other type of misuse or abuse of permit has not been made out at all by any acceptable material placed before the regional transport authority. in further support of this contention, it is also pointed out that the appellate tribunal has stated that the copies of the judgments of criminal courts looked into by the regional transport.....
Judgment:

A. Narayana Pai, C.J.

1. The petitioner is a company engaged in the business of public transport with its Headquarters at Mangalore. For some time during the year 1966-67, the Regional Transport Officer. Mangalore, used to issue special permits under Sub-section (6) of Section 63 of the Motor Vehicles Act for transporting passengers from Mangalore in Mysore State to Bombay in the State of Maharashtra. By virtue of the special provisions of the said sub-section, it is not necessary to secure the counter-signature of any Regional Transport Authority in the Maharashtra State although the route is an inter-State one. It would appear that the grantees of such special permits were guilty of several charges of abuse and some of their servants also prosecuted or convicted by the State of Maharashtra, The State Government of Maharashtra addressed a letter to the State Government of Mysore bringing to its notice what it considered to be an unsatisfactory state of affairs arising out of the grant of special permits as aforesaid.

2. In the light of Rules 103 and 127 of the Motor Vehicles Rules, an application for such special permits is required to be made in Form No. 53 PCOSPA appended to the rules. The Form then in force contained the following declaration (in paragraph 11 thereof) to be signed by' the applicant:--

'I hereby declare that the above statements are true and further agree that they and the conditions laid down under Sub-section (3) of Section 59 and such other provisions of the Act and the rules made there under as relating to permits and the conditions of permit stated at item No. 8 and that for any breaches thereof, I may be disqualified from obtaining further any special permit or in lieu thereof to pay a sum agreed upon.'

3. We may note in passing that the said declaration has since been deleted from the Form.

4. Obviously, in the enforcement of the declaration, the Regional -Transport Authority initiated proceedings against the petitioner and by a resolution adopted at its meeting held on 3-4th April 1967, disqualified the petitioner from taking or being granted special permits The operative portion of the resolution, after stating that the petitioner or authorities thereof had declined to compound the alleged conditions of the permit by payment of Rs. 100/- in respect of each of the convictions entered against them concludes as follows:--

'In view of this, the Authority has no other alternative except to disqualify C. P. C. and M. M. S. Mysore and its proprietors, either jointly or individually from obtaining any further special permits for breach of conditions as embodied in their applications for special permits in form 53 prescribed under the Rule 127 for the route Mangalore to Bombay and back. Accordingly, they are disqualified.'

5. As the order is not appealable,the petitioner filed a revision petitionbefore the Mysore State TransportAppellate Tribunal. The Tribunal, by itsorder dated the 20th of May, 1967 hasconfirmed the resolution of the originalauthority.

6. In this writ Petition, two points have been argued, one of fact and the other of law or Jurisdiction.

7. The question of fact suggested is that the case of alleged breach of any of the conditions of the permit or any other type of misuse or abuse of permit has not been made out at all by any acceptable material placed before the Regional Transport Authority. In further support of this contention, it is also pointed out that the appellate tribunal has stated that the copies of the judgments of criminal courts looked into by the Regional Transport Authority could not have been looked into because they are not signed or certified by anybody.

8. We do not think that it is necessary for us to scrutinise this contention at any length. One thing that is clear is that the actual allegations or cases of abuse or misuse of the permits were made known to the petitioner who was represented by a counsel before the Regional Transport Authority. There is nothing to show that either the petitioner or its counsel made any denial of the allegations or case sought to be made against the petitioner. The Regional Transport Authority cannot therefore be found fault with for proceeding on the footing that there is a case of breach sufficient to bring into operation the declaration in the application form or other similar provision of law.

9. In any event, there is no case for interference under Article 227 of the Constitution.

10. The question of law or jurisdiction cannot, however, be disposed of so lightly. The question is formulated as follows: The statute or any rule does not specify in any of its provisions the consequences or penal consequences with which breach of any of the conditions of the permit may be visited. The appellate tribunal also says that there is no such rule. It however takes the view that because the form prescribed under the rules actually forms part of the rules and the declaration on the strength of which action has been taken is part of the form, it may be taken as equivalent to the existence of an actual provision in the rules themselves for imposing a disqualification of the type set out in the declaration.

11. The view taken by the Appellate Tribunal cannot be said to be wholly without support for two reasons. The special permits granted under Sub-section (6) of Section 63 are for such short periods or for a single journey that the cancellation of the permits is neither possible in ordinary circumstances, nor is of such a nature as to be effective deterrent against the operator. Hence, the provision of subsequent disqualification or disentitlement from taking out similar permits may be regarded as a reasonable way of controlling operations and obviating breaches of conditions of the permits. It also has sufficient statutory background because we have, provisions like Sections 15 and 21-G providing for disqualification for a specified period in the case of driving licences and permits. Under Clause (e) of Sub-section (1) of Section 47, the operation by the applicant of other transport services including those in respect of which applications from him for permits are pending is one of the relevant considerations bearing upon the question whether to grant or refuse the permit in a given case.

12. The only legal difficulty however is that the disqualification contemplated or suggested by the declaration appears to be a disqualification for all time to come; secondly, the proceedings of the type now taken conclude by an order which is not appealable.

13. Both these circumstances make it possible to argue that the restriction sought to be imposed on normal fundamental right of carrying on a business is so unreasonable that it cannot be upheld, In other cases, where disqualification is prescribed by the statute, any case of unconstitutionality is not possible, because the disqualification is for a specified period commensurate with the reason therefore and the order is open to scrutiny and correction on appeal.

14. Having regard to these considerations, it appears to us that the way in which the declaration in the application is sought to be enforced by the Regional Transport Authority in this case cannot be sustained. The proper way to deal with the matter would have been to depend upon the declaration and the principle of Clause (e) of Sub-section (1) of Section 47 for refusing, if such a case is made out, to grant a special permit when applied for by the petitioner. In such an event, the argument of disqualification for an unlimited or indefinite period of time becomes unavailable and the exercise of discretion by the original authority being open to examination and correction, if necessary, by an appellate authority, also makes it impossible to allege or attribute any unreasonableness in the exercise of power or discretion by the original authority.

15. The resolution of the Regional Transport Authority dated the 3rd/4th of April, 1967 so far as it relates to the petitioner and the order dated the 20th of May 1967 of the Mysore State Transport Appellate Tribunal are therefore quashed.


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