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B. Satyanarayana Singh Vs. Karnataka State Transport Appellate Tribunal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberW.P. No. 10583 of 1984
Judge
Reported inILR1985KAR395
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 68F(1A) and 68F(1C)
AppellantB. Satyanarayana Singh
RespondentKarnataka State Transport Appellate Tribunal
Appellant AdvocateH. Rangavittalachar, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateAbdul Khader, HCGP for ;R 1 and 2 and ;B.M. Chandrasekharaiah, Adv. for R-3
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
.....within 15 days of application of private operator under section 68f(1c), can file it before grant of permit -- not incumbent on sta/rta to first record finding as to need and then afford opportunity to ksrtc to file application adjourning the case for this purpose. ;even though ksrtc can file an application within 15 days from the date of the application made by a private operator under section 68f(1c) of the act, and in case it fails to file within that period, it is still open to it to file an application before the permit under section 68f (1c) is granted. therefore, it does not mean, that the sta and rta as the case may be, has to first record a finding as to the need and then adjourn the case for filing an application by the ksrtc; where no application is filed by the ksrtc..........had not applied for grant of temporary permit on the route in question at the time the rta granted temporary permit in favour of the appellant. it is clear from section 68f(1c) of the act, that the rta cannot grant a temporary permit in respect of a particular route in favour of a person other than the corporation if there is an application of the corporation for grant of temporary permit for that route under section 68f(1a) of the act. as it is not disputed that there was no such application of the corporation on the date of the grant of permit in favour of the applicant, the rta had jurisdiction to make the grant in favour of the appellant. we however come to the conclusion that the grant of permit can be sustained only in respect of one round trip daily and not two round trips.....
Judgment:
ORDER

K.A. Swami, J.

1. In this Petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution, the petitioner has sought for quashing the Order dated 11-6-1984, passed by the Karnataka State Transport Appellate Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as the 'Tribunal') in R.P. No. 8/81.

2. The petitioner held a stage carriage permit on the route Vaddarahatti to Kampli with two round trips. The length of the route is 15 miles. In the year 1979, due to laches on the part of the petitioner to seek renewal of the permit it lapsed. In the meanwhile, Draft Scheme of Raichur was published by the State Transport Undertaking i.e. 3rd respondent Therefore, the petitioner had to file an application under Section 68F (1C) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act') seeking a temporary permit on the route Voddarahatti to Kampli for two round trips, This application before it was filed a copy of it way also sent to the 3rd respondent as required by Sub-rule (6) of Rule 9 of the Karnataka State Transport Undertaking (Karnataka) Rules, 1976 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Rules'). Even though, the application was filed in the year 1979 itself, but it was not disposed of early. However, the Karnataka State Transport Authority (hereinafter referred to as 'KSTA') by its resolution dated 28/29/30th July, 1980, granted the application on the report made by the Deputy Commissioner for Transport, Gulbarga Division, Gulbarga. A copy of the resolution is produced as Annexure-- B. The KSTA came to the conclusion that there was a need to introduce the service as prayed for by the petitioner. The report of the Deputy Commissioner for Transport, Gulbarga Division also specifically stated that there was a need to introduce number of services. Accordingly, as the 3rd Respondent had not made an application for grant of stage carriage permit under Section 68F (1A) of the Act, the application of the petitioner was allowed and he was granted stage carriage permit under Section 68F (1C) of the Act.

3. Third respondent went up in revision before the Tribunal. The Tribunal has set aside the resolution of the KSTA and has remitted the matter for fresh consideration, stating that KSTA has not recorded a categorical finding as to the need to increase the number of services on the route and has not given an opportunity to the KSRTC to seek temporary permit under Section 68F(1A) of the Act. While coming to these conclusions, the Tribunal relied upon two decisions of this Court in B. Satyanarayana Singh and Ors. v. RTA Raichur and Ors., W.P. No. 12410 of 1981 and another decision in Abdul Basbeer v. T. Veeranna and Ors., : AIR1984Kant84

4. Sri. H. Rangavittalachar, learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner submits that the Tribunal is not right in holding that KSTA has not recorded the finding as to the need to increase the number of services on the route and grant the permit as sought for by the petitioner ; that such a finding amounts to holding that there is a need to increase the services on the route by 4 single or two round trips, for which the permit is granted. Whereas, the KSRTC has failed to make an application till the subject was considered by the KSTA, there was no need to grant fresh opportunity to it to file an application. Therefore, the remand is illegal and is not justified having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case.

5. Whereas, Sri. B.M. Chandrasekhariah, learned Counsel for the KSRTC submits that it is necessary for the KSTA to record a categorical finding that the existing services are not adequate and it is also necessary for the KSTA to quantify the number of services to be increased on the route, but there is no such finding found in the resolution by the KSTA, Therefore, it is submitted that the Tribunal is justified in remanding the case. It is also further submitted that having regard to the observations made in Satyanarayana Singh's case that after finding that there is a need to increase the number of services on the route, an opportunity should be given to the KSRTC to seek permit under Section 68F(1A) of the Act, the Tribunal is justified in following those observations and remanding the case for fresh consideration. Thus, it is submitted on behalf of the KSRTC that the order of remand does not call for interference.

6. Having regard to the aforesaid rival contentions, the points that arise for consideration are as follows :

1. Whether the Tribunal is justified in holding that there is no finding recorded by the KSTA as to the number of services to be increased on the route ?

2. Whether the Tribunal is justified in holding that the Karnataka State Transport Authority ought to have called upon the State Transport Undertaking i.e., KSRTC as to whether it is prepared to apply for the temporary permit under Section 68F (1A) of the Act, before granting temporary permit to the petitioner under Section 68F (1C) of the Act ?

7.1) Point No. 1 : Pursuant to the application filed by the petitioner, KSTA called for the report from the Deputy Commissioner for Transport for Gulbarga Division, Gulbarga for grant of a stage carnage permit under Section 68F(1C) of the Act, on the route Vaddarahatti to Kampli. The Deputy Commissioner for Transport, Gulbarga Division, Gulbarga submitted his report as per Annexure-B. The report is a detailed one. It is not necessary to refer to the entire report. The relevant portions of the report are as follows :

'The need for the introduction of service on the route in question is need based as the present buses plying on this route is most inadequate to provide better facilities to the travelling public of this area on these developing days. There is a traffic and need is positive not only for introduction of this service (applied for) but also for more services, as the people have to walk miles to get their daily necessity.

Timings proposed will be most suitable and there will be no clash of timings.

(a) During my course of conducting survey, villagers on the route represented fur early introduction of service on the route. They stated that due to lack of transport facilities, people have to walk for miles together to get their daily necessities. It has also been informed to me that the applicant is giving concession to the school going children particularly.

(b) Various representations and resolutions of the Panchayat Board of the Area are enclosed herewith.

I am therefore of the opinion that there is heavy traffic andthere is a dire need for increase of buses in this area. Hencethe request of the applicant deserves favourable consideration.'

7.2) On consideration of the aforesaid report and also on hearing the KSRTC, the, K.S.T.A., in its resolution passed on 28, 29 and 30th July, 1980, in Sub. No. 120/80, has held as follows :

This authority carefully considered the arguments advanced on behalf of the applicant and objector and perused the record. In so far as the need for the grant of temporary permit is concerned, there is a report of the Dy. Commissioner for Transport, Gulbarga available on record who has submitted a detailed report after conducting survey from which it is seen that there is a heavy traffic on this route and that more number of services are required that traffic is general in nature as people of Vaddarahatti, Kampli and from Anegundi side regularly have to go to Gangavathi for daily necessities and all other purposes that there is frequent movement of labourers on this particular route as this area is facilitated by Thungabhadra Canal Water and it is an agricultural developed area. He has also stated that the need for introduction of service on this route is need based as the present bus plying on this route is most inadequate to provide better facilities to the travelling public of this area, that due to lack of transport facilities, the people have to walk for miles together to their daily necessities. He further stated that the timings proposed by the applicant is suitable and would not clash with any other timings.

In addition to the report of the Deputy Commissioner for Transport, Gulbarga there are representations from H.R. Sriramalu Memorial Arts and Science College urging for the introduction of this service. There are also representations from the President, Town Municipal Council, Kampli, the Secretary, Block Congress Committee, Kampli. The Chairman, Village Panchayat, Chikkaanthakal ; the Chairman, Village Panchayat, Vaddarati Village ; and various other representations requesting for introduction of this service.

All the above representations coupled with the report of the Deputy Commissioner for Transport, Gulbarga establishes the need for the grant of temporary permit applied for by she applicant under Section 65F(1-C) of the Motor Vehicle Act. This authority therefore resolves to accept the aged for grant of temporary permit. As regards the objection raised on behalf of the General Manager, K.S.R.T.C, it may be stated here that Kampli to Bridge (Bellary border) comes within the Municipal Limits of Kampli town and that being so the Bellary, scheme of nationalisation does not come in the way of grant of temporary permit according to the ruling of the Hon'ble High Court of Karnataka in W.Ps. 498, 499 and 561/72 dated 13-11-1973 reported in 1974(1) KLJ Short note under item No. 291-wherein it has been held as follows :-

'If the route traversed by a private operator were to pass through a town and in that process, the portion traversed was within the limits of such town which is really a part of a nationalised route, all that can be said is that both the routes vouched one and the same point. In such a situation it cannot be said within the meaning of the scheme of Nationalisation that they traversed portions of the routes. At best, it could be said that they traversed one and the same point.'In view of the above ruling of our High Court the objection urged on behalf of the General Manager, KSRTC being untenable in Jaw, is over-ruled. This authority having come to the conclusion that there is need for the grant of this permit resolves to grant the temporary permit as prayed for by the applicant. This temporary permit is valid till the approval of the draft scheme by the Government under Section 68-D(3) of the Motor Vehicles Act.

The applicant is hereby directed to produce all the relevant documents and obtain the permit within 30 days from the date of receipt of this resolution, failing which action will be taken to revoke the grant of permit.'

7.3) From the aforesaid finding recorded by the KSTA, it is clear, that the KSTA has come to a conclusion that there is a need to increase the services on the route by introduction of 4 single trips as applied for by the petitioner. No doubt, it is not in clear words stated in the resolution of the KSTA, but the effect of its finding is to hold that there is a need to increase the services on the route by 4 single trips. This is clearly spelled out from the underlined portions of the resolution. Therefore, the Tribunal is not justified in holding that there is no finding recorded by the KSTA as to the need to increase the services on the route by 4 Single trips. Thus, the Tribunal has failed to read the resolution of the KSTA correctly. Thereby, it has misdirected itself in coming to the conclusion that no requisite finding is recorded by the KSTA. Accordingly Point No. 1 is answered as follows :

The effect of the conclusions reached by the KSTA is that there is a need to increase the services on the route in question by 4 single trips. Therefore, Tribunal is not justified in holding that there is no such finding.

8.1) Point No. 2 : Before the application was filed by the petitioner a copy of it was sent to KSRTC by registered post with acknowledgment due as per Sub-rule (6) of Rule 9 of the Rules. It is not in dispute that, that application filed by the petitioner was taken up for consideration only after 15 days from the date of the receipt of the application. The KSRTC participated in the proceedings objected to the application, but did not file any application for grant of permit under Section 68F(1A) of the Act, until it was granted to the petitioner. Even to this day, no such application is filed. Therefore, the question for consideration is whether in a case where the KSRTC is served with a copy of the application filed under Section 68F (1C) of the Act and it participates in the proceeding and opposes the grant on the ground that there is no need to increase the number of services and files no application under Section 68F (1A) of the Act, is it necessary to grant a fresh opportunity to KSRTC after KSTA comes to a conclusion that there is need to increase the number of services? It appears to me that the question is no more res integra. In the case of K. S. Malleshappa v. RTA, Chitradurga, W.P. No. 13044 of 1981 Division Bench of this Court has held as follows :

'........ All that the R.T.A. has observed is that the sector is not adequately served and that a number of overloaded cases have been booked, The R.T.A has not stated as to how many oases of overloading were there and on which route and for which period. No reason has been given why it has come to the conclusion that the routes are not adequately served and that there is need to increase the services. As the conclusions are not based on consideration of the material produced by the parties and they are not supported by any reasons, the resolution of the RTA cannot be sustained. The State Transport Appellate Tribunal was therefore right in setting aside the resolution of the RTA and remitting the cases for fresh disposal. The STAT is also right in observing that the RTA should first determine the need for additional services by fixing the number of additional vehicles which are required to be operated on the routes in question and then to consider the applications of the parties if there are no applications for grant of temporary permits on those routes by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation. If the Corporation fails to apply or applies for less number of vehicles, the RTA can proceed to make grant for temporary permits after considering the suitability of the applications. It is, therefore, obvious that it is open to the Corporation even now to make an application for grant of temporary permits under Section 68F(1A) of the Act before the grant is made under Section 68F(1C) in respect of the routes in question by the RTA. Hence, we are of the opinion that this is a case which does not call for interference.'

8.2) That was a case in which, the Division Bench cameto the conclusion that there was no specific finding recordedby RTA as to the number of services to be increased on the route; therefore, the matter was remitted to the RTA with the aforesaid observations for fresh consideration. Thus, in that case, it was possible to make an application by the KSRTC before the application filed by a private operator under Section 68F (1C) of the Act, was granted. Therefore, it was observed that even now it was possible to the Corporation to make an application before the date of the grant.

Again in Abdul Basheer's case, it is held as follows :

'The Corporation had not applied for grant of temporary permit on the route in question at the time the RTA granted temporary permit in favour of the appellant. It is clear from Section 68F(1C) of the Act, that the RTA cannot grant a temporary permit in respect of a particular route in favour of a person other than the Corporation if there is an application of the Corporation for grant of temporary permit for that route under Section 68F(1A) of the Act. As it is not disputed that there was no such application of the Corporation on the date of the grant of permit in favour of the applicant, the RTA had jurisdiction to make the grant in favour of the appellant. We however come to the conclusion that the grant of permit can be sustained only in respect of one round trip daily and not two round trips as directed by the RTA.'

8.3) Thus, it is clear from the aforesaid two decisions, that even though the State Transport Undertaking fails to file an application within 15 days from the service of the application filed by a private operator under Section 68F(1C) of the Act, it is still open to it to file an application before the, permit is granted under Section 68F (1C) of the Act. These two decisions to which Venkatachala, J. was a party, are not distinguished by another Division Bench of this Court, to which also Venkatachala, J. was a party, which decided Writ Petition Nos. 12410, 13774 of 1984 and other connected petitions. It is this decision which is relied upon by Learned Counsel Sri B.M. Chandrashekharaiah appearing for the K.S.R.T.C. He has laid stress on the observations made in para-19 of the said Judgment which reads thus :-

'It was next contended on behalf of the petitioners that the Tribunal was not justified in directing the RTA to consider the applications made by the Corporation for grant of temporary permits if it determines as a first step that there is need to increase the number of vehicles on any portion thereof concerned, before granting the applications of the petitioners made in that regard. Sri Datar's submission was that when once an application is made under Sub-section (1C) of Section 68-F of the Act, by a private operator, the STA or the RTA, as the case may be, would be barred from entertaining an application of the Corporation under Sub-section (1A) of Section 68F of the Act. Acceptance of this submission, in our view, would result in making the provision in Sub-section (1A) of Section 68-F which confers a statutory right of priority in favour of Corporation nugatory. It would be so, for the reason that if private operators file applications under Sub-section (1C) of Section 68-F immediately after the publication of the draft scheme under Section 68-C, the question of the Corporation filing applications under Sub-section (1A) of Section 68-F can never arise. Sri Rangavittalachar, who did not subscribe to the submission of Sri Datar in the said regard, however, contended that the Corporation should not be permitted to make applications under Sub-sections (1A) of Section 68-F after a period of 15 days allowed for filing its objections under Sub-rule 6 of Rule 9 of the State Transport Undertaking (Karnataka) Rules 1975, respecting an application made under Sub-section (1C) of Section 68-F by a private operator. We find it difficult to accede to this submission also. In the case of K.S. Malleshappa v. RTA., Chitradurga (WP No. 13044/81), & a Division Bench of this Court, while upholding the order by which it set aside the resolution of the RTA granting the application made by a private operator and remitted the case to the RTA with a direction that it is open to the Corporation to make an application for grant of a temporary permit under Section 68-F(1A) of the Act before the grant is made under Section 68-F(1C) in favour of private operator, has observed as already pointed out, thus :

'It is therefore obvious that it is open to the Corporation even now to make an application for grant of temporary permits under Section 68-F(1A) of the Act before the grant is made under Section 68-F(1C) in respect of the routes in question by the RTA.'Section 68-F (1 A) of the Act, it cannot be disputed, confers a right on the Corporation to obtain a temporary permit on a priority basis. This right of priority conferred upon the Corporation, it is difficult to think, could be defeated by any trick and stratagem that could be resorted to by a private operator. It is no doubt true that if the Corporation fails to apply for temporary permits despite being told by the STA or the RTA that there is need for increasing the number of vehicles respecting any area, route or a portion thereof covered by the draft scheme, the application of a private operator made in that regard should be granted. In our view, it would not, therefore, be unreasonable to think that the STA or the RTA should afford the first opportunity to the Corporation in the matter of obtaining a temporary permit, keeping in view of the statutory priority available to it under Sub-section (1A) of Section 68F of the Act. In this view of the matter, we are unable to disturb the direction of the Tribunal given to the RTA.'

8.4) In the aforesaid Satyanarayan Singh's case, the Tribunal had set aside the resolution passed by the R.T.A. granting permit under Section 68F(1C) of the Act, on the grounds that there was no determination made by the RTA as to the need to increase the number of vehicles on the route, and such determination could not have been made without taking into account the number of existing stage carnage services and in the absence of sufficient relevant material. The matter was remitted by the Tribunal to the RTA for fresh consideration with a further direction to consider the application made by the KSRTC for grant of temporary permits under Section 68F(1A) of the Act. Thus, it is clear that the whole proceeding was remitted to the RTA. Therefore, it was open to the KSRTC to file an application for grant of permit under Section 68F(1A) of the Act, before the proceeding reached the stage of granting permit.

8.5) In addition to this, the aforesaid observations made in Satyanarayana Singh's case have to be read in the light of the earlier pronouncements made by two Division Benches of this Court to which Venkatachala, J. was a party, and the same have been followed in Satyanarayana Singh's case. In addition to this Satyanarayana Singh's case, their Lordships were considering the contentions advanced on behalf of the private operators that KSRTC was not entitled to file an application once there was an application filed under Section 68F(1C) of the Act, or at any rate on the expiry of 15 days from the date or receipt of the application filed by a private operator under Section 68F (1C) of the Act. While rejecting these contentions, their Lordships observed that an opportunity should be given to K.S.R.T.C. to file an application For this observation, their Lordships relied upon the decision in Writ Edition No. 13044/81 (K.S. Malleshappa v. RTA, Chitradurga). It is clear from the decision in Satyanarayan Singh's case that it does not lay down a different law than the one laid down in K.S. Malleshappa's case (W.P. 13044 of 1981). The effect of the decision in Satyanarayana Singh's case is that even though KSRTC can file an application within 15 days from the date of the application made by a private operator under Section 68F (1C) of the Act, and in case it fails to file within that period, it is still open to it to file an application before the permit under Section 68F(1C) is granted. Therefore, it does not mean, that the S.T.A. and R.T A. as the case may be has to first record a finding as to the need, and then adjourn the case for filing an application by the KSRTC where no application is filed by the KSTA under Section 68F(1A) of the Act, on or before the grant of temporary permit is made under Sub-section (1C) of Section 68F of the Act. It is incumbent on the KSRTC (State Transport Under taking) to file an application for grant of permit under Section 68F (1A) of the Act on or before the date on which the grant of permit is made in favour of a private operator under Section 68F(1C) of the Act. If it was not so in Basheer Ahmed's case, the Division Bench could not have proceeded on the basis that as no application had been filed by the KSRTC, the grant made in favour of the private operators was justified and it was accordingly upheld. Therefore, it is not possible to read the pronouncement made in Sathyanarayana Singh's case as laying down the law different from the one laid down in the aforesaid two decisions. Accordingly, Point No. 2 is answered as follows :

As the KSRTC had failed to file an application on or before the date on which the application filed by the petitioner under Section 68F (1C) of the Act, was granted, the KSTA was justified in granting the permit to the petitioner. Therefore, the Tribunal was not justified in holding that the KSTA ought to have called upon the KSRTC as to whether it was prepared to apply for the temporary permit under Section 68F(1A) of the Act, before granting permit to the petitioner under Section 68F (1C) of the Act.

9. No other contention is urged.

10. For the reasons stated above, the petition is entitled to succeed. Accordingly, it is allowed. The order dated 11-6-1984 passed by the Tribunal in No. R.P.8/81 is hereby quashed. Consequently, the resolution of the KSTA stands restored.


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