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 28th November, 84, passed by the Karnataka State Transport Appellate Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as the K.S.T.A.T.), in Appeal No. 65/83, produced as Annexure-B. The petitioner has also further prayed that the appeal be remitted to the K.S.T.A.T. with a direction to hear and decide the same along with Appeal Nos. 30, 70 and 103 of 1983 pending on the file of the K.S.T.A.T., preferred against the resolution granting a stage carriage permit to the petitioner.
2. The contention of the petitioner is that the application filed by the petitioner and the third respondent related to substantially the same route except for a distance of about 4 miles, therefore, the appeals preferred against the resolution granting the permit to the petitioner ought to have been heard along with the appeal in question. Whereas Sri A. S. Viswanath, learned Counsel for the third respondent submits that the routes applied for by the petitioner and the third respondent are neither same nor substantially the same; that there was no prayer made before the K.S.T.A.T. to club all the appeals ; that clubbing is not an essential requirement for exercise of jurisdiction ; that there is no jurisdictional error committed by the K.S.T.A.T., therefore, it is submitted that it is not a case for interference either under Article 226 or 227 of the Constitution.
3. The facts necessary to appreciate the contentions are not in dispute. The petitioner filed an application for grant of a stage carriage permit on the route Sagar to Udupi and back via Bheemanakone, Heggodu, Battemallappa, Hosangadi, Siddapur, Haladi, Bidakalkatte, Barkur and Brahmavara (1 RTD). The third respondent also filed an application for grant of a stage carriage permit on the route Sagar to Udupi and back via Amtekoppa, Honnasara Battemallappa, Hosanagar, Nagar, Mastikatte, Hulikal, Balebare, Hosangadi. Siddapur, Haladi, Baidkalkatte, Bankur, Brahmavar, Gundibylu, Parampalli and Manipal (1 RTD). After Brahmavara and before Udupi there are two villages, they are Ambagilu and Gundibylu. The third respondent after reaching Gundibylu goes back to Ambagilu and then to Manipal and then again returns to Udupi via Ambagilu via Gundibylu. This is all the difference in the route. It is not in dispute that Ambagilu to Manipal the distance is only about 4 miles. Thus, except this deviation, the route is identical.
4. The R.T.A. after following the required procedure considered both the applications together in Subject Nos. 80 and 104 of 1980-81 and granted both the applications by its resolution dated 22/23-10-1982. The petitioner aggrieved by the grant made in favour of the third respondent, preferred Appeal No. 65/83 before the K.S.T.A.T. Other objectors also preferred Appeal Nos. 992/82 and 31/83. Similarly, the other objectors also preferred Appeal Nos. 30, 70 and 103 of 1983 against the grant of permit made in favour of the petitioner. Appeal Nos. 30, 70 and 103 of 1983 were pending on the file of the K.S.T.A.T. when appeal Nos. 992/82, 31/83 and 65/83 were heard and decided by the K.S.T.A.T. on 28th November, 1984.
5. It is now stated that Appeal Nos. 30, 70 and 103 of 1983 have been posted for hearing on 5-9-1985. The K.S.T.A.T., by the impugned order, has held that the application of the third respondent is in order, and the need is established; therefore the petitioner has been rightly granted the permit on the very same route. Accordingly the KSTAT has dismissed ail the three appeals. The appellants in Appeal Nos. 992/82 and 31/83 have not challenged the order dismissing their appeals. Therefore in this Writ Petition it is also not necessary to consider the correctness of the order of the K.S.T.A.T. in so far it relates to the dismissal of the appeal Nos. 992/82 and 31/83, as the appellants themselves have not come forward to challenge the same.
6. It is contended that the routes applied for by the petitioner and the 3rd respondent are neither same nor substantially the same. It is not disputed before me that the routes applied for by the petitioner and the third respondent except the deviation by the third respondent after reaching Gundibylu and going to Manipal via Ambagilu and Parampalli and then returning to Udupi, there is no difference in the route. Thus, it can safely be taken as established or even not disputed that the route applied for by the 3rd respondent except the aforesaid deviation is substantially the same. Therefore, it is not possible to accept the contention of the third respondent that the routes are not substantially the same.
7. The point for consideration is whether the K.S.T.A.T. ought to have clubbed and decided all the appeals together irrespective of the fact whether such a contention was urged before it or not.
8. When the two or more applications relate to the same or substantially the same route, the principle is that they have to be clubbed and decided together. The R.T.A. has done this. No doubt, before the K.S.T.A.T. none of the parties to the appeals had brought to the notice of the K.ST.A.T. that the appeals preferred against the grant made in favour of the petitioner were pending. When the principle is that the applications relating to the same or substantially the same route are to be heard and decided together, the same principle also applies to the appeals arising out of such applications. Whether it is brought to the notice of the K.S.T.A.T. by any of the parties to the appeals or not as long as the appeals preferred against both the grants are pending on its file it is the duty of the K.S.T.A.T. to club all the appeals and decide them together. If the appeals are not clubbed and decided together, not only there will be the possibility of conflicting decisions, the parties in the other appeals will not have an opportunity to meet the case made in the connected appeals. The finding recorded in one set of appeals that there is need for only one service adversely affects the grantee whose grant is challenged in the other appeals which are not clubbed. Therefore, irrespective of the fact whether the parties to the appeals bring it to the notice of the K.S.T.A.T. or not, it is the legal duty of the K.S.T.A.T. to club all the appeals pending on its file relating to the same or substantially the same route. In the instant case there was no difficulty whatsoever for the K.S.T.A.T. to find out and club all the appeals because the R.T.A. had clubbed both the applications and decided them by a common resolution. Therefore, the contention of the third respondent that in the absence of the prayer for clubbing the appeals preferred against the grant made in favour of the petitioner, the K.S.T.A.T. cannot be held to have committed an error of jurisdiction in not clubbing the appeals cannot be accepted. It does amount to an illegality committed in the exercise of jurisdiction because the K.S.T.A.T. by deciding only one set of appeals, it adversely decides against the parties in those appeals which are not clubbed. A finding on the question of need is common to both the appeals. Therefore, the non-clubbing does result in an illegality affecting the jurisdiction of the K.S.T.A.T. Thus, it is clear that this is a case in which interference is called for.
9. Sri. M. Rangaswamy, Learned Counsel for the petitioner, submits that in case the K.S.T.A.T. finds that there is a need for two permits, the petitioner will not challenge such order. This submission is placed on record.
10. For the reasons stated above, this Writ Petition is allowed. The order dated 28th November, 1984, passed by the K.S.T.A.T. in so far it relates to appeal No. 65/83 is quashed. As far as dismissal of Appeal Nos. 992/82 and 31/83 is concerned, the same is not disturbed because the appellants therein are not aggrieved with it. The Appeal No. 65/83 now stands remitted to the K.S.T A.T. with a direction to club the same with appeal Nos. 30, 70 and 103 of 1983 and decide all of them together. It is submitted that Appeal Nos. 30, 70 and 105 of 198 5 are posted on 5-9-1985. The Appeal No. 65/83 which is now remitted shall also be heard on that date or on a subsequent date along with those appeals if possible. The petitioner and respondent No. 3 are directed to appear before the KSTAT on 5-9-1985. No fresh notice need be issued to them.
11. It is submitted by Learned Counsel for the third respondent that pursuant to the grant he has obtained the permit. As the grant is not set aside by this order, it does not come in the way of the third respondent to operate the service if he has obtained the permit.