1. In these Writ Petitions the validity of the notifications made under Section 62 of the Motor Vehicles Act calling for applications for the grant of a temporary permit for various routes in the District of Kurnool is challenged. Though in some cases the notifications are different, the contentions urged against the validity of the notifications are identical and therefore, all the Writ Petitions were heard together.
2. It is sufficient, therefore, to set out the contentions in the main Writ Petition No. 4809 of 1968. The petitioner in that Writ Petition alleges that he is the holder of a stage carriage permit on the route Kurnool to Chagalamarri. The District of Kurnool is very much affected by drought conditions and the operators are already finding it difficult to find sufficient traffic for existing buses. While so, the Government issued instructions to the Regional Transport Officers to grant as many temporary permits as possible so that the revenues of the State may be augmented. In pursuance of those directions applications for the grant of temporary permits are being periodically called and the present impugned notification dated 23-10-1968 is one such. The conditions necessary for the grant of a temporary permit under Section 62 of the Motor Vehicles Act do not exist. Further, temporary permits have already been issued in succession. In almost all the routes covered by the impugned notification and in cases like the route Nandyal to Atmakur temporary permits were issued on four occasions successively. This shows that the respondent is clearly abusing its power to grant temporary permits.
A further contention is raised that the procedure adopted for the granting of temporary permits is merely to call for applications and consider the applications in a meeting of the Regional Transport Authority or on some occasion even by circulation. No opportunity is provided for the existing operator like the petitioner to make any representations in the matter of issuing temporary permits as contemplated in section 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act. Further, the respondent is considering the applications ignoring Rule 212 of the Andhra Pradesh Motor Vehicles Rules. fro al the above reason, it is stated that the impugned notification calling for applications for temporary permits is illegal and without jurisdiction. The petitioner, therefore prays for the issue of a writ or order of direction prohibiting the respondent form proceeding further in pursuance of the notification dated 23-10-1968 calling for the applications for the grant of a temporary permit on the route Kurnool to Nandikotkur.
3. In the counter-affidavit filed by the Secretary, State Transport Authority, Hyderabad, it is stated that a draft scheme for nationalsiation of bus Transport in Kurnool District was notified and the same was pending consideration for a considerable time before the Government and was finalised only recently by G. O. Ms . 1103/dt. 1-7-1968 approving the scheme regarding some of the routes and allowing the other routes to be operated by the private operators. Till the final approval of the scheme by government, it was not known which routes were going to be nationalised and which were not in the District. The Regional Transport Authority could not therefore notify new routes or increase the number of buses on existing routes and grant permits on pucca basis as the scheme might be approved at any time and as there was considerable uncertainty as to which routes will be nationalised and which will not be. On all the routes for which applications were called for, for the grant of temporary permits the traffic survey has revealed the need either to increase the buses on the existing routes or put buses on the new routes as the case may be, but early steps could not be taken for grant or permits on pucca basis in the circumstances aforesaid.
There were number of representations from the public to the effect that the existing transport facilities are inadequate and to increase the buses on those routes and also to ply buses on the new routes for which applications for grant of temporary permits were called for. The steps for following the procedure and for grant of permits on pucca basis (would have --Ed) taken considerable time. The needs of the public are sought to be met till pucca permits are granted by grant of temporary permits for further period. Thus, there is a temporary need to justify the grant of temporary permits under Section 62 (c) of the Motor vehicles Act. The department after examination of the traffic potential on all the routes was satisfied about the need to increase transport facilities in these areas by plying some more buses. The allegation that the permits were granted for augmenting the revenues of the State is denied. The grant of successive temporary permits was under unavoidable circumstances and there was ample justification for the same. hence, there is no abuse of power as alleged by the petitioner.
4. The respondent also contended that Section 62 of the Act which deals with the grant of temporary permits, does not envisage an opportunity being given to the existing operators, nor are they entitled to be heard. Section 47 of the Act which deals with the grant of pucca permit has no application to the case of grant of temporary permits and the notification cannot be attacked on the ground that the petitioner and other existing operators are not being given an opportunity either to make representations or that they are not being heard.
5. As is apparent form a perusal of the affidavit and the counter-affidavit the main contentions urge against the impugned notification are the following:----
1. That the requirements of Section 62 for the issue of temporary permits are not satisfied and the power conferred under that section is being abused by the issue of the impugned notification; and
2. In any event the impugned notification is contrary to the provision of the Act, inasmuch as no opportunity has been given to the existing operators to make their representations against the issue of temporary permits and their being not heard in that connection.
6. Contention No. 1.
In order to appreciate this contention it is necessary to set out Section 62 of the Motor vehicles Act which is in the following terms:
'62 Temporary permits: A regional Transport Authority may without following the producer laid down in Section 57, grant permits, to be effective for a limited period not in any case to exceed four months to authorise the use of a transport vehicle temporarily-----
(a) for the convenience of passengers on special occasions such as to and form fairs and religious gatherings, or
(b) for the purposes of a seasonal business, or
(c) to meet a particular temporary need,
(d) pending decision on an application for the renewal of a permit: and may attach to any such permit any condition it thinks fit:
It is clear that the notification in question cannot be brought under clauses (a), (b) and (d) but it sought to be justified as coming under clause (c), i. e. to meet a particular temporary need, which has been set out in the counter-affidavit, to have arisen in the following circumstances. The scheme for nationalsation was pending consideration for a considerable time and was finalised recently. Till that time it was not known which routes were going to be nationalsied and which were not. At the same time there were representations from the public for the increase of buses, on the routes already existing and to ply buses on new routes. The traffic potentials justified the increase of the transport facilities. Therefore, pending steps for nationalsiation of the buses in such routes where the Government approves the scheme and pending issue of a pucca permits after due notification etc. On the routes which were decided by the Government not to be nationalised it was felt that temporary permits should be issued.
In such circumstances it has been held in M P. S. R. T. C Corpn. v. R. T. Authority, : 3SCR786 that S. 62 (c) applies. In that case applications for temporary permits were called for as the public were agitating for the need of town bus operations and the particular need had to be met temporarily till regular operations are introduced. The High Court took the view that temporary permit cannot be granted for any route when there is a permanent need for providing transport facilities on that route and it was decided to invite applications for that purpose. This view was held to be not correct by the Supreme Court. It observed: There is no reason why the clause in Section 62(c) that the Regional Transport Authority may grant a temporary permit 'to meet a particular need' should be given any special restricted meaning. There is no antithesis between a particular temporary need and a permanent need and if the Regional Transport Authority considered it in the circumstances there was temporary particular need and granted a temporary permit, the action cannot be challenged.'
This decision was followed by this Court in W. p. Nos. 3756 to 3758 of 1968 (AP) where it was held that there is nothing in Section 57 or Section 62 of the Motor Vehicles Act postulating that unless an enquiry regarding the need for the grant of a pucca permit is completed, the question of granting temporary permits cannot be taken up. In that case it was also pointed out that the formalities as required under M. V. Act, 1939 for the grant of pucca permit would take some time more and there is demand from the travelling public to provide additional transport facilities immediately on the route in question as they could not get accommodation in the existing bus, and it was desirable to meet this temporary need by granting a temporary permit on this route. It was held that the enquiry to the need or otherwise regarding the grant of a pucca permit cannot be a ground for withholding the grant of temporary permits. I am therefore of the view that there was sufficient temporary need in this case justifying the grant of temporary permits under Section 62(c) of the Act.
It was also sought to be argued that the temporary permits are being issued in succession and in some cases they were issued on four occasion successively and therefore it is clear that the provisions of Section 62 of the Act were being abused and under the guise of granting temporary permits to satisfy a particular temporary need, permits were being renewed indefinitely form time to time. This, itself according to the petitioner showed that the true reason for granting the permits was not any temporary nee, but to augment the revenues of the State. The Supreme Court, however in : 3SCR786 has observed that all that Section 62 enjoins is that tat any one time the Regional Transport Authority is not permitted to issue to any person a temporary permit for a period exceeding 4 months, but the mere fact that the Regional Transport Authority has granted a temporary permit for a second time and the total duration of the two permits is more than 4 months would not invalidate the second permit. Following this decision it was held by this Court in W. P. No. 84 of 1968, D/- 4-4-1968 (AP) that where temporary permits were being granted every four months because scheme for nationalisation of the routes in question and other routes was pending with the Government, that was a sound reason for granting successive permits and it could not be said that there is any abuse of Section 62 of the Act.
It is true as pointed by the Supreme Court that the Regional Transport Authority cannot abuse its power by going on granting temporary permits in quick succession and not take speedy action for completing the procedure under Section 57 of the Act for granting regular permits and if upon the facts of any particular case it appears that the Regional Transport Authority is so abusing its powers, its action is liable to be corrected by granting a writ. in this case nothing has been placed before me to substantiate the allegation that there has been abuse of power in granting successive temporary permits. On the other hand, the counter-affidavits, the terms of which have already been set out, give the reason for granting temporary permits. For all the reasons stated above, I am unable to agree with the contention that the requirements of Sec. 62 are not satisfied or that the power conferred under that Section is being abused.
7. Contention 2: It is next contended by the Petitioner that the temporary permits cannot be granted without providing an opportunity to the existing operators to make their representations. This contention is based upon Section 47(1) of the Act which directs that the Regional Transport Authority shall in considering an application for a stage carriage permit, take into consideration any representations made by persons already providing passenger transport facilities by any means along or near the proposed route or area or by any association representing persons interested in the provision of road transport facilities recognised in this behalf by the State Government, or by nay local authority or police authority within whose jurisdiction nay part of the proposed route or area lies. It is admitted by the respondent that no such opportunity was given to made any representations in terms of this section, but it is contended that Section 47 has no application at all to the case of a temporary permit, which is governed only by the provisions of Section 62 of the Act and that section does not contemplate giving of an opportunity to anyone, much less to the existing operators to made their representations in the matter of granting of temporary permits. It is therefore, to be considered whether Section 47 of the Act applies to the grant of temporary permits.
8. Section 47 occurs in Chapter IV of the Motor Vehicles Act which is headed 'Control of Transport Vehicles' and consists of Sections 42 to 68.
9. Section 42 declares that no owner of a transport vehicle shall use or permit the use of the vehicle in any public place save in accordance with the conditions of a permit granted or countersigned by the authority concerned.
10. Section 45 provides that every application for a permit shall be made to the Regional Transport Authority of the region in which it is proposed to use the vehicle or vehicles.
11. Section 46 and 48 deal with the application for a stage carriage permit and the grant of a stage carriage permit.
12. Sections 49 to 51 deal with contract carriage permits, Sections 52 and 53 with private carrier's permit, and Sections 54 to 56 with public carrier's permit.
13. Section 57 relates to the procedure in applying for and granting permits of all types.
14. Section 58 deals with the duration and renewal of permits.
15. Section 59 deals with the general conditions attaching to all permits, Section 60 with the concellation and suspension of permits, and Section 61 with the transfer of permit.
16. No distinction I made in these sections between a regular permit and a temporary permit. The sections refer generally to permits, indicating any particular type of permit whenever it is necessary to do so. In this connection it is important to bear in mind the following definition of 'permit' under Section 2(20) of the Act; 'permit' means the document issued by the Commissioner or a State or Regional Transport Authority authorising the use of a transport vehicle as a contract carriage, or authorising the owner as a private carrier or public carrier to use such vehicle.' This would clearly include even a temporary permit. As the expression used in Section 47 is 'stage carriage permit' it would follow that it would apply to all permits for use of such carriages whether they are a regular permit, or temporary permits. Is there anything in the language of Section 47 or in the context in which the expression 'stage carriage permit' occurs to limit the operation of the section to 'regular permits' only and not include temporary permits within its purview?
17. It is argued that Section 47 occurs after Section 45 and 46 and can refer only to permits referred to in those sections. This argument presupposes that Sections 45 and 46 apply only to regular permits and have no application to temporary permits. I do not see any reason why the application of these sections should be limited to regular permits only. In these sections the expression used is 'a permit' which according to the definition would include 'a temporary permit' also. On the other hand, wherever it is necessary to exclude temporary permits from the operation of a particular section, care has been taken to say so in express terms. Fro instance Section 57(8) referees to an application to vary the conditions of any permit, other than a temporary permit. Section 58 directs that a stage carriage permit or a contract carriage permit other than a temporary permit issued under Section 62 shall be effective without renewal for such period, not less than three years and not more than five years as the Regional Transport Authority may specify in the permit. Similarly, Section 58-B refers to a private carriers permit or a public carrier's permit other than a temporary permit. Section 59-A prescribes the form of every permit other than a temporary permit issued under Section 6.2 . These instance where a temporary permit is expressly excluded from the operation of the section point to the conclusion that, but for such exclusion the expression 'permit' would embrace not only regular permits but temporary permits. A reading of the various provisions in the chapter also leads to the conclusion that these provisions would equally apply to temporary permits. For instance, Section 45 prescribes that every application for a permit shall be made to the Regional Transport Authority and Section 46 prescribes the particulars which an application for a permit should contain. These provisions are equally necessary in connection with a temporary permit. it may be that some of these and other provisions by their very nature cannot be made be that some of these and other provisions by their very nature cannot be made applicable to temporary permits. But that is not a reason why it should be held that these sections have not application to temporary permits. The same reasoning holds good in respect of Section 47 which directs that in considering an application for a stage carriage permit, the Regional Transport Authority shall have regard to the several matters mentioned in that section. These matters have to be considered even in the case of application for a temporary permit, except in so far as they are obviously inapplicable owing to the nature of the provision, to the case of a temporary permit. The position is the same with regard to the sections dealing with private carrier's permits, public carrier's permits or contract carriage permits.
18. In Section 62 of the act it is specifically provided that the procedure laid down is Section 57 need not be followed. But there is no such exemption in the case of the requirements of to her sections. it has to be remembered that Section 62 deals with temporary permits for all types of transport vehicles, whether they be stage carriages or contract carriages or private carriers or public carriers. The fact that mention is made only to Section 57 indicates that the other sections applicable in any particular case should be followed.
19. It was then argued that whereas Section 48 which deals with the grant of stage carriage permits is made subject to the provisions of Section 47, it does not stage that Section 62 is subject to the provisions of that section. This argument in my opinion is without force.
20. Section 49 to 51 which deal with the contract carriage permit correspond to Section 46 to 48 which deal with stage carriage permits. Section 51 is made subject to the provisions of section 50.
In the same way Section 48 is made subject to the provisions of Section 47. Similarly, in the case of public carrier permits Section 56 is made subject to the provision of Section 55. As has already been noticed Section 62 deals with the grant of temporary permits of all types of transport vehicles and therefore, would be subject to the provisions relating to all the different types of permits which preceded the Section and if the language similar to Ss. 48, 51 or 56 were used it would be necessary to mention a number of sections which preceded Section 62. Perhaps, it was not considered necessary to expressly state that this was subject to the provisions of various other sections in the Act, as the sections in an Act have to be read together and no express provision is necessary to mention that a particular section is subject to another provision. the mere fact that in some cases it has been so stated, does not mean that in all other sections which do not contain a similar clause the said section must be applied without due regard to the provisions.
21. It was contended by the learned Government Pleader that if the provisions of Section 47 have to be complied with, especially those relating to the taking into consideration of any representations, the very object and purposes of the provisions relating to the temporary permits would be defeated. it was stated that the period of a temporary permit can in no event exceed four months and the grant of temporary permits was for the purpose of convenience of the passengers on special occasions like fairs and religious gatherings, for the purpose of seasonal business,, to meet a temporary need and pending decision on an application for renewal of a permit. It was argued that a temporary permit being designed to cover such a situation, it is of the utmost importance that it should be granted expeditiously and if the procedure adopted under Section 47 is to be followed, the lapse of time consequent upon such procedure would defeat the very purpose for which the temporary permits are granted. Instances like earth-quake or floods were given as illustrations to point out that if the procedure under Section 47 is to be followed before the grant of temporary permits on such occasion, considerable hardship would be caused of the public. I do not think that extreme illustrations of this kind serve any useful purpose. These temporary permits are normally intended to be given on special occasions such as fairs, and religious gatherings or for the purposes of seasonal business or to meet a particular temporary need etc. These occasions are known sufficiently in advance and it is not impossible to comply with the provisions of Section 47 and hear representations if any, before the granting of temporary permits.
22. Future a provision is made in Section 42(3) of the act where under it is stated that there is no necessity even for a permit in certain cases, for instance in the case of any transport vehicle used solely for police, fire brigade or ambulance purposes or for the conveyance of corpses or a transport vehicle or for removing goods from a disabled vehicle to a place of safety, or any transport vehicle used for any other public purpose prescribed in this behalf. It is therefore possible for the Government to make rules of the effect that there is no need even for a permit where a transport vehicle is used in connection with earth-quake or in the event of floods or such conditions of great emergency.
23. It is not right to judge the applicability of Section 47 to temporary permits granted under Section 62 merely with reference to the requirement sunder Section 47(1) in regard to representations made by the persons already providing transport facilities etc. Section 47 also provides that the Regional Transport Authority shall in considering an application for a stage carriage permit have regard of the various matters like the into rests of the public, the advantages of the public of the services to be provided adequacy of other passenger transport services, the benefit to any particular locality or localities likely to be afforded by the services etc. If the argument that, Section 47 will not apply to the grant of temporary permits under Section 62 were to be accepted, then there would be no criteria at all in considering several applications made for the issue of temporary permits. Even if conditions under Section 62 are satisfied, it may be that there are more than on application for the issue of temporary permit in any particular route and it could not have been the intention of the framers of the Act that such an application should be considered without any criteria and it should be left to the sweet will and discretion of the authority to grant the permit to whomsoever they like.
24. For all these reasons I have n hesitation in rejecting the contention of the learned Government Pleader that the requirements of Section 47 need not be complied with while granting permits under Section 62. This view of mine finds support in the decision in Ambala Ex. S. T. Co.-op. Society v. Punjab State, (FB) . In that case in repelling the argument that the power conferred under Section 62(d) of the Act (as amended by the Punjab Legislature) which enabled the authority to grant temporary permit in any such circumstances as may in the opinion of such authority justified granting of such permits, was uncontrolled or unrestricted and therefore void, it was observed that the power of issuing temporary permits is controlled by Section 55 and Section 56 of the Act and the Legislature had in the aforesaid provisions indicated the basis for the exercise of the same. Section 55 provides that the Regional Transport Authority shall in considering an application or a public carrier's permit take into consideration any representations made by persons already providing goods transport facilities by any means, whether by rod or otherwise in the proposed area or along or near the proposed route etc. In that case their Lordships were dealing with a public carrier's permit and therefore they referred to Section 55 and 57.
The same reasoning holds good in the case of temporary stage carriage permit in which case Section 62 will be controlled by the provisions of Section 46 to 48 . This decision was followed in a recent decision in Prem Bus Service v. R. T. A. Patiala. where it was held that the requirement s of Section 47 have to be followed in the grant of temporary stage carriage permit under Section 62 in the same manner and to the same extent as is required in the grant of regular stage carriage permit. it was further held that a statutory duty is cast on the Regional Transport Authority to take into consideration any representations made by the persons already providing passenger transport facilities by any means along or near the proposed route, as required by Section 47 (1). A similar view has been taken by the Rajasthan High Court in Kotah Transport Ltd, v. R. T. authority, in which it was held that provisions of the Sections 45 to 48 would apply also to the case of the issue of temporary permits. In Abdul Gafoor v. State of Rajasthan. 0043/1962 it was held that it is in consonance with the principles of natural justice that the persons who are already holding permits in certain routes and are likely to be affected by the grant of temporary permits must be given an opportunity of being heard in the matter.
25. The learned Government Pleader drew my attention to the decision in C. S. S. Motor Services v. State of Madras, : AIR1953Mad279 in which it was held that the factor to be considered in granting of a permit is not whether the existing operators will suffer by competition but whether the extension of service will be in the interests of the public. Similarly in Surendra Singh v. State of U. P. : AIR1966All455 it was observed that no operator on a particular route can be heard to say that if the strength of the route is increased his financial interest would suffer and consequently the increase should not be allowed.
26. These decisions in may view have no application. it is one thing to say that the interests of the existing operators cannot be taken into account in considering the question whether a permit should be issued or not, but it is quite another thing to say that their representations need not be considered. The consideration of the representations is specifically provided for in Section 47(1) . Further such representations need not be limited to how they may be affected by the issue of a permit, but may also relate to the various factors referred to in Section 47(1) in which case it would be necessary for the authorities to consider those representations in so far as they are relevant to Section 47(1).
27. In this case no doubt the petitioners have come to the court even when the notifications calling for applications for the temporary permits were issued without waiting to see whether an opportunity would be given to the existing operators to make their representations and whether these representations would be taken into consideration. But the attitude of the Government as expressed in the counter-affidavit clearly shows that they have all along been of the view and are still of the view that is not necessary to give the petitioners any such opportunity or take into consideration any representations made by them. This view according to me is not justified.
28. Another contention that was sought to be raised though feebly, is that as the limit of the number of stage carriages generally or of any specific type for which such carriage permits may be granted in the region has not been fixed by the Regional Transport Authority in this case. temporary permits cannot be granted until such limit is fixed. I do not see nay force in this contention. Section 47(3) authroises the Regional Transport Authority to limit the number of stage carriages having regard to the matters mentioned in sub-section (1). it does not render it obligatory on the part of the authority to do so. If, no doubt such a limit is fixed the grant of nay permit, whether it be under Section 48 or under Section 62, in view of what has been stated above has to be subject to that limit. But, so long as no such limit is fixed the authority is empowered to grant permits unfettered by Section 47(3) . The decision of the Supreme Court in Abdul Mateen v. Ram Kailash Pandy, AIR 1963 SC 64 is only an authority for the proposition that where a limit has been fixed under Section 47(3) by the Regional Transport Authority and thereafter the said authority proceeds to consider applications for permits under Section 48 read with Section 47, the Regional Transport Authority must confine the number of permits issued by it within those limits. I do not consider this as an authority for the extreme contention urged on behalf of the petitioners that until such a limit is fixed, no permits and in particular, temporary permits can be granted.
29. Mr. Srinivasamurthi who appeared for respondents---operators in W. P. 4813/ 68 who were granted temporary permits contended that the routes in question in which they were granted permits were he routes 9 to 12, 16 17 and 19 to 22 with which the petitioners in the Writ Petition were not at all concerned and therefore they are not entitled to question the grant of temporary permits for these routes. but under Section 47(1) the representations of persons providing passenger transport facilities not only along the proposed route but also near the proposed route have to be taken into consideration. It is the case of the petitioners that they are providing passenger transport facilities near the proposed routes and therefore it cannot be said that their representation need not be considered.
30. As I have negatived the contention of the petitioner that the conditions for the issue of temporary permits do not exist or that there has been an abuse of the power to grant temporary permits under Section 62 the request of the petitioners to issue a writ prohibiting the respondent form proceeding in pursuance of the notifications calling for applications for grant of temporary permits cannot be granted. But, in view of may decision on the second contention, the respondent has to provide an opportunity to the petitioner to made their representation before the applications for the grant of temporary permits are considered on merits. A writ will be issued accordingly.
31. There will no order as to costs.
32. Writ issued.