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K.S.R.T.C. Vs. R.T.A. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberW.P. Nos. 1647 and 1648 of 1985
Judge
Reported inILR1985KAR3311
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 226 and 227; Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 64
AppellantK.S.R.T.C.
RespondentR.T.A.
Appellant AdvocateM. Rangaswamy, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS. Udayashankar, HCGP for R-1; ;R.N. Narasimhamurthy, Adv. for R-2; ;C.S. Shanthamallappa, Adv. for R-3
Excerpt:
.....code of civilprocedure, or section 50 of the karnataka rent control act, and considerations for exercise of jurisdiction under articles 226 and 227 of the constitution, are not similar to those which govern the exercise of jurisdiction under section 50 of the karnataka rent control act, or section 115 of the code of civil procedure. no doubt, it is true that the jurisdiction under article 226 or 227 of the constitution, cannot be equated with the aforesaid jurisdictions, but nevertheless the underlying principle in the aforesaid decision can very well be relied upon for the purpose of deciding as to whether it is a proper stage to interfere with the resolution of the r. resolves to grant them such a resolution can very well be challenged in the appeal. will do well to give up such..........by the first respondent, in subject nos. 101 and 306 of 1984-85, recording a finding that the routes applied for by respondents 2 and 3 do not overlap the notified routes included in the approved kolar pocket scheme. consequent to the recording of the aforesaid finding, the first respondent has posted the applications for consideration on merits on the 2nd of february, 1985.3. earlier to this, there were writ petitions filed by the k.s.r.t.c. being w.ps 13839 to 13849 of 1984. the route in question applied for by second respondent was thesubject matter of w.p. 13849/84. the regional transport authority, had posted the application for grant of a stage carriage permit on the route murugamalla to bangalore and back without making survey of the route and withoutcollecting the material.....
Judgment:
ORDER

K.A. Swami, J.

1. Respondent No. 2 bas entered appearance through Sri R. N. Narasimha Murthy, Advocate. The third Respondent has entered caveat through Sri C. S. Shanthamallappa, Advocate. Sri S. Udayashankar, Learned Government Pleader is directed to take notice for the first Respondent. Copies of the Petitions are also furnished to Learned Government Pleader.

2. In these Petitions under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution, the State Transport undertaking i.e. Karnataka State Read Transport Corporation (hereinafter referred to as the 'K.S.R.T.C.') has sought for quashing the resolution dated 5-1-1985, passed by the first Respondent, in Subject Nos. 101 and 306 of 1984-85, recording a finding that the routes applied for by Respondents 2 and 3 do not overlap the notified routes included in the approved Kolar Pocket Scheme. Consequent to the recording of the aforesaid finding, the first Respondent has posted the applications for consideration on merits on the 2nd of February, 1985.

3. Earlier to this, there were Writ Petitions filed by the K.S.R.T.C. being W.Ps 13839 to 13849 of 1984. The route in question applied for by second Respondent was thesubject matter of W.P. 13849/84. The Regional Transport Authority, had posted the application for grant of a stage carriage permit on the route Murugamalla to Bangalore and back without making survey of the route and withoutcollecting the material as to whether the route in question over-laps the notified routes included in Kolar Pocket Scheme. Therefore, this Court by an order dated 25th September, 1984, directed the first Respondent in the following terms :

'Accordingly, this Writ Petition is allowed in the following terms :

As agreed to by the petitioner and Respondent-2, the Secretary, R.T.A., Bangalore be appointed by the first Respondent to inspect the routes applied for by Respondent-2 concerned in subject Nos 94 and 101 of 84-85, in the company of the petitioner and Respondent-2 and their representatives and to make a report on the following points :

(i) The common line of travel between the routes applied for by Respondent No. 2 and the notified routes included in the Kolar Pocket Scheme and Kanakapura Scheme ;

(ii) The extent of common line of travel and the points at which the common line of travel begins and ends and the places situated at or around the common line of travel.

On submission of such report by the Secretary R.T.A., the first Respondent shall afford an opportunity to the petitioner and Respondent No. 2 to file their objections, if any, and then decide the questions as to whether the routes applied for overlap the notified routes included in the Kolar Pocket Scheme and Kanakapura Scheme. If the first Respondent, on considering the questions in accordance with the observations made in the order dated 25-9-1984 passed in Writ Petitions 15560 and 15561 of 1984, and in accordance with law, comes to the conclusion that the routes applied for overlap the notified routes included in the aforesaid two schemes of total exclusion, it shall reject the applications. On thecontrary, if the authority comes to the conclusion that there is no overlapping, it shall consider the applications of the 2nd Respondent in its next meeting, on merits.'

A similar order was passed on 4-1-1985 in Writ Petition No. 189 of 1985 in respect of the route applied for by the third Respondent. Pursuant to that, a route survey has been made and a report is submitted. Thereafter, the firstRespondent has considered the question as to whether the routes applied for by Respondents 2 and 3 overlap the notified routes included in the approved Kolar Pocket Scheme. It has come to the conclusion that the common lines of travel as revealed from the route survey report can be considered only as cross-sections and not as overlappings.

4. Sri M. Rangaswamy, Learned Counsel for the petitioner, submits that the first Respondent has tried to clutch at the jurisdiction by misinterpreting the facts and bymisreading the report, and on misunderstanding as to what is overlapping and what is cross-section. Such a thing is not permissible and thereby the jurisdictional error is committed; as such the petitioner is entitled to seek relief under Article 226 or 227 of the Constitution, at this stage itself.

5.1 No doubt, when a jurisdictional error is committed and a statutory authority tries to clutch at the jurisdiction, it can be interfered with by this Court in exercise of its jurisdiction either under Article 226 or 227 of theConstitution. But, in such cases, the question will always arise whether the interference is called for at the stage at which it is sought or at the later stage. That again depends upon the variety of reasons and the remedies available to the aggrieved party. In this regard, there is a right of appeal provided under Section 64 of the Motor Vehicles Act, to an aggrieved party to prefer an appeal against the decision granting or refusing to grant a permit. K.S.R.T.C. being one of the objectors, is also entitled to prefer an appeal if the R.T.A. - 1st Respondent - resolves to grant the permits.

5.2 In this connection, it is submitted by Sri M. Rangaswamy, learned Counsel for the petitioner that since the resolution in question does not form part of theresolution granting a permit, it will not be open to challenge in the appeal because such a resolution neither grants nor refuses to grant the permit. It is not possible to accept this contention. One of the points that arises in a case of this nature is as to whether there is overlapping or not. If there is overlapping, the first respondent has no jurisdiction to consider the applications on merits, because the notified routes relate to an approved scheme of total exclusion. It is in this connection, this Court on the earlier occasion when the K.S.R.T.C. approached, directed the R.T.A. to first determine the question as to whether the routes applied for overlap the notified routes In case it comes to theconclusion that there is over-lapping, it shall consider the same in its next meeting on merits. Since the first respondent has held that there is no overlapping, it has posted theapplications for consideration on merits. If that be so, when one of the points involved in the case is decided either along with the main matter or as a preliminary point, the finding thereon becomes part of the resolution granting or refusing to grant a permit and it merges into it. As such, it is open to the aggrieved party to challenge the correctness of the same. The entire proceeding is one and the same. Therefore, the apprehension of the petitioner that it will not be entitled to challenge the correctness of the impugned resolution in the appeal is not well founded. Thus, it follows that there is a substantial remedy available to the petitioner against theultimate resolution, if the first respondent resolves to grant stage carriage permits to respondents 2 and 3. In such appeals, it is open to the petitioner to challenge the correctness of the finding that is recorded in the impugned resolution. It is also open to the Appellate, Tribunal to go into the correctness of it and record a finding either affirming or reversing or pass such other order as is found just and proper by it. If it reverses, then, there will be a finding that there is overlapping. In that event, the applications have to be rejected. Therefore, when the petitioner has a substantial remedy available even if it is assumed that there is ajurisdictional error committed, it would not be just and appropriate at this stage to interfere with the impugned resolution. I would like to make it clear that I should not be taken to have laid down that Article 226 or 227 of theConstitution, is not available at a stage at which it is invoked by the petitioner. There is always a power vested in the High Court under Article 226 or 227 of the Constitution, to interfere even in a case like the one on hand, provided there are compelling circumstances, such as, the decision is rendered without enquiry and hearing, that on the undisputed facts the decision is rendered quite contrary to a decision of this Court or the Supreme Court, the order is not a speaking order and is violative of Fundamental Rights etc. It is neither appropriate nor possible to exhaust the circumstances under which the jurisdiction can be exercised. In a recent decision, a Division Bench of this Court in K.S.R.T.C.-v.- K.S.T.A & Ors., : AIR1984Kant4 , has considered this aspect of the matter. It is sufficient to refer to relevant portions from the aforesaid pronouncement :

'...... ........the jurisdiction under Article 226, which is at once extra-ordinary and discretionary, cannot be encapsulated and confined in terminological and technical formulations so as to limit the plenitude of that jurisdiction. This extraordinary constitutional power cannot be cribbed and confined in legal absolutisms. We agree with SriSundaraswami that technicalities of English Rules guiding judicial review cannot be fastened on the jurisdiction of the High Courts under Article 226.... Where an extraordinary situation arises calling for an extraordinary remedy, the Court need not fold up its hands and withhold relief on ground alone of some limitations imposed by conventional and technical Rules of English Practice and Procedure...... That the High Court can, in exercise of power under Article 226, do what the authority vested withthe discretionary power could itself have done does not mean that that should be the approach in every case. Though the powers under Article 226 are wide, there are limitations, inherent in the very width of the power, not only in the matter of the choice of theclass of cases in which that jurisdiction is allowed to be invoked but also the manner in which it is exercised and the forms of relief conventionally considered apposite andappropriate....'

5.3) In Gundu Rao Prahlad Belgaumkar -v.- Channawwa, 1973(1) Mysore Law Journal, 358, this Court following a decision of the Supreme Court, reported in : [1964]4SCR409 and C.A. 1606/67 has held thus:

'The decision of the District Judge on the issue in respect of which this Revision Petition has been presented can be canvassed before this Court in a revision Petition presented against the order of the District Judge passed under Section 48 of the Act. In the circumstances of the case, I am of the opinion that having regard to the alternative remedy by way of an appeal available to the petitioner from the ultimate order passed by the Munsiff and the remedy under Section 50(1)(i) of the Act, this Court should decline to interfere with the order of the Learned Munsiff in exercise of its power under Clause (ii) of Section 50(1) of the Act.

The above view receives support from the observation of Shah, J. in Major S. S. Khanna -v.- Brig. F.J. Dillon' made in respect of a case to which Section 115 CPC was applicable, reads as follows:

'That is not to say that the High Court is obliged to exercise its jurisdiction when a case is decided by a subordinate Court and theconditions in Clause (a), (b) or (c) are satisfied. Exercise of the jurisdiction is discretionary : the High Court is not bound to interfere merely because the conditions are satisfied. The interlocutory character of the order, the existence of another remedy to an aggrieved party by way of an appeal from the ultimate order or decree in the proceeding or by a suit and the general equities of the same being served by the order made are all matters to be taken into account in considering whether the High Court, even in cases where the conditions which attract the jurisdiction exist, should, exercise its jurisdiction.'The above view of the Supreme Court is followed by the Supreme Court in another decision of the Supreme Court rendered recently, namely Brij Gopal Marthur-v.- Kishan Gopal Marthurz.

I, therefore, feel that this is not a fit case in which this Court should exercise its jurisdiction under Section 50 of the Act. Hence, I decline to interfere with the order under revision.'

Though this decision is rendered under the Karnataka Rent Control Act, the context under which it is rendered is relevant for our purpose. The condition precedent for the Munsiff Court to exercise jurisdiction under the Karnataka Rent Control Act, is the existence of relationship of landlord and tenant. Therefore, unless it is established or it is not disputed that there exists a relationship of landlord and tenant, the Munsiff Court does not get jurisdiction to decide a case under the Karnataka Rent Control Act. Such aquestion if raised may be decided either as a preliminary point or along with other points. In the aforesaid decision, it was decided as a preliminary point. It was held that there existed a relationship of landlord and tenant. This finding was challenged in the High Court under Section 50 of the Karnataka Rent Control Act. This Court has held that as against the ultimate order passed in the case, there is a right of appeal provided and that the validity of the order as to existence of relationship of landlord and tenant can be gone into in the appeal; therefore it is not necessary to exercise jurisdiction under Section 50 of the Karnataka Rent Control Act. Sri M. Rangaswamy, Learned Counsel for thepetitioner, has tried to distinguish the aforesaid decision and further contends that the jurisdiction under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution is wider than the one enjoyed by this Court either under Section 115 of the Code of CivilProcedure, or Section 50 of the Karnataka Rent Control Act, and considerations for exercise of jurisdiction under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution, are not similar to those which govern the exercise of jurisdiction under Section 50 of the Karnataka Rent Control Act, or Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure. No doubt, it is true that the jurisdiction under Article 226 or 227 of the Constitution, cannot be equated with the aforesaid jurisdictions, but nevertheless the underlying principle in the aforesaid decision can very well be relied upon for the purpose of deciding as to whether it is a proper stage to interfere with the resolution of the R.T.A. in question. Further, no irreparable injury is caused to the petitioner at this stage because the applications are yet to be considered on merits and in the event the R.T.A. resolves to grant them such a resolution can very well be challenged in the appeal. Therefore, I am of the view that there are no compelling circumstances; hence interference at this stage is not called for. It is also necessary to make it clear that this order should not be interpreted either confirming or upholding the impugned resolution or negativing any of the contentions of the petitioner on the merits of the resolution that is challenged in these petitions. All the contentions raised on the merits of the case are left open to be urged in the appeal.

6. One more aspect of the matter which requires to be adverted to and it is also necessary to consider for the proper functioning of the R.T.A. and to avoid the criticism that is normally levelled against it, is that it is commonly alleged that the R.T.A. does not furnish copies of its resolutions even though applied for, to the parties as soon as it passes. In the instant case, the grievance is that even though the resolution is passed on 5-1-1985 and anapplication for a copy is made on 9-1-1985, nevertheless, it is furnished only on 30th January, 1985 and the matter is posted for consideration on 2 2-1985. It is submitted that it is done only to see that the aggrieved party does not get much time to workout his remedy. In the instant case, the decision relates to a finding recorded on a preliminary point, but this Court has come across many cases, where the permits are granted, the copies are not granted to the parties unless it is made sure that the grantee has put the vehicle on road. This is done only to see that an objector does not secure an interim order from the Appellate Tribunal before the grantee puts the vehicle on road. Such a practice which explicitly leans to further the interest of the grantee tends to shatter the confidence of the public in the R.T.A. The R.T.A. will do well to give up such practice. At least hereafter, as soon as it passes the resolution, it must also be ready to furnish copies to the parties, as early as possible, so that they can workout their remedies well in time. I do not see any justification to delay the supply of copies.

7. For the reasons stated above, these Writ Petitions are rejected.


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