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Y. Bhagyalakshmamma Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Appeal No. 804 of 1973
Judge
Reported inAIR1975AP294
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 47(3), 57(3) and 64A; Constitution of India - Article 226
AppellantY. Bhagyalakshmamma
RespondentState of Andhra Pradesh and ors.
Appellant AdvocateK. Mangachari, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateA. Suryanarayana Murty for Govt. Pleader for Transport, ;O. Adinarayana Reddy, ;A.S.C. Bose, and ;S. Rangareddy, Advs.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
motor vehicles - revision petition - section 64-a of motor vehicles act, 1939 and article 226 of constitution of india - application for variation of route and stage carriage permit - revision petition filed before government - death of respondent permit holder - legal representatives not brought on record - writ petition filed against revisionary order - held, revisionary order passed by government is nullity and is accordingly annulled as legal representatives were not brought on record. - .....against the said order muddanna filed a revision petition under section 64-a of the act to the state transport authority on 19-6-1968. he also preferred another revision petition to the state transport authority against the order dated 22-12-1967 of the regional transport authority rejecting the proposal for variation on 14-9-1970. both these revision petitions were heard together and disposed of by the state transport authority on 31-10-1970 allowing the revision petitions. against the said order three of the objectors viz. sri janakirem chetty, sri b. srikantaiah and m/s. r. p. & g. t. (p.) ltd.. hindupur preferred revision petitions to the government under section 64a of the act. the revision petitions were purported to be filed against the order of the state transport authority.....
Judgment:

Ramachandra Rao, J.

1. This Writ Appeal is preferred against the judgment of our learned brother Obul Reddi, J. (as he then was) in W. P. No. 2149 of 1972 dismissing the same. The facts giving rise to this Writ Appeal are as follows:--

2. The appellant's husband Y. Muddanna was granted a stage carriage permit for plying a stage carriage on the route Nambulipulikunta to Penugonda. The said Muddanna sought for variation on the route Nambulipulikunta to Penu-gonda as Nambulipulikunta to Hindupur via Penugonda. On 22-12-1967 the Regional Transport Authority, Anantapur, considered the proposal with regard to the variation under Section 47 (3) of the Motor Vehicles Act, hereinafter called 'the Act' and rejected the same. The said Muddanna had also applied under Section 57 (3) of the Act for variation of the permit. After due notification calling for objections, and after receiving the representations, the Regional Transport Authority at its meeting held on 18-5-19&8 rejected the said application. Against the said order Muddanna filed a revision petition under Section 64-A of the Act to the State Transport Authority on 19-6-1968. He also preferred another revision petition to the State Transport Authority against the order dated 22-12-1967 of the Regional Transport Authority rejecting the proposal for variation on 14-9-1970. Both these revision petitions were heard together and disposed of by the State Transport Authority on 31-10-1970 allowing the revision petitions. Against the said order three of the objectors viz. Sri Janakirem Chetty, Sri B. Srikantaiah and M/s. R. P. & G. T. (P.) Ltd.. Hindupur preferred revision petitions to the Government under Section 64A of the Act. The revision petitions were purported to be filed against the order of the State Transport Authority allowing both the revision petitions. Subsequent to the filing of the revision petitions, Muddanna, who was impleaded as respondent to the revision petitions, had died on 2-11-1971. But no steps were taken to bring his legal representatives on record. The Government however, disposed of the revision petitions by a common order in G. O. Rt. 1167 Home (Transport III) Department dated 13-4-1972, allowing the revision petitions, and setting aside the orders of the State Transport Authority and restoring the order of the Regional Transport Authority.

3. Challenging this order V. Bhagyalakshmamma the widow of late Muddanna, filed W. P, No. 2149 of 1972 under Art. 226 of the Constitution. The contentions raised in the Writ Petition were that the Government should not have disposed of the revision petitions without issuing a notice to the petitioner, the legal representative of late Muddanna, and without affording an opportunity to her to make her representations, that the Government erred in taking the view that the revision petition filed by late Muddanna on 14-9-1970 before the State Transport Authority against the order dated 22-12-1967 of the Regional Transport Authority rejecting the proposal for variation under Section 47 of the Act, was barred by tune and on that ground the application filed by late Muddanna for the grant of variation under Section 57 (3) was liable to be rejected, and that the State Transport Authority passed a common order in the two revision petitions preferred by late Muddanna against the orders of the Regional Transport Authority, but only a single revision petition was filed by each of the respondents before the Government against the order of the State Transport Authority. There-fore the Government should not have interfered with the order of the State Transport Authority,

4. Our learned brother held on the first point that in a case where the permit-holder dies an application for transfer of the permit should be made by the legal representative, that in the Instant case the petitioner filed an application for transfer after the death of her husband and the permit was transferred in her favour on 29-12-1971 and that she did not take any steps to come on record in the revision petition which was then pending before the Government. The learned Judge also held that the provisions of Order 22, C. P. C, are not applicable to appeals and revisions under the Act, that the appellant's husband was given notice of the revision petition filed by each of the respondents, that he had filed his representations, that the appellant did not file any further representations and therefore was not a case where it could be said that the order of the State Transport Authority was reversed without affording an opportunity to the person in whose favour the order of the State Transport Authority was made. In that view the learned judge held that the appellant was not entitled to notice from the Government and that it was for her to file an application to come on record if she was interested.

5. On the second point the teamed Judge held that under the provisions of Section 64-A the period of limitation for filing a revision petition before the State Transport Authority is thirty days, that the revision petition filed by the appellant husband on 14-9-1970 against the order of the Regional Transport Authority was barred by time and that so long as the said order of the Regional Transport Authority remained, there was no question of revising the order of the Regional Transport Authority, dated 18-5-1968 rejecting the application of the appellant's husband under Section 57 (3) of the Act.

6. On the 3rd point the learned Judge took the view that two revision petitions were filed by the appellant's husband but a common order was passed dismissing both the revision petitions, and as there was only one order relating to the variation of the route a single revision petition was maintainable.

7. Before us Sri K. Mangachary. learned counsel for the appellant challenged the view taken by the learned Judge. The learned counsel for the contesting respondents sought to sustain the order for the reasons given by the learned Judge. But after hearing both the learned counsel we are inclined to think that the order passed by the Government in revision after the death of the appellant's husband without bringing on record his legal representatives viz. the appellant herein is a nullity. Sri A. S. C. Bose reliea upon a decision of the Supreme Court in Dhani Devi v. S. B. Sharma, : [1969]2SCR507 where the leaned Judges made the following observations:--

'Under Section 57 an application for a state carriage permit or a public carrier's permit must be made within the appointed time and published in the prescribed manner. The representations relating thereto must also be made before the appointed time. In the event of the death of an applicant after the expiry of the time appointed for making the applications, the person succeeding to the possession of the vehicle cannot, having regard to the lapse of time, make another application in his own right. The successor cannot obtain the permit unless he is allowed to prosecute the application filed by his predecessor and we see no reason why he cannot be permitted to do so. Where the successor is allowed to prosecute the application the Regional Transport Authority may have to take into consideration many matters personal to the successor, such as his experiences, the facilities at his disposal for operating the services and his adverse record, if any. The matters personal to the deceased applicant can no longer be taken into account. The rival applicants should, if necessary be given suitable opportunity to file objections against the grant of the permit to the successor. Section 57 does not deal with the situation arising on the death of an applicant nor has it prescribed any time for the making of an application for substitution of the successor or for the filing of objections against the grant of the permit to him. In the absence of any statute or statutory rule, the Regional Transport Authority may devise any reasonable procedure for dealing with the situation. As stated in American Jurisprudence 2nd Vol. 2 (Administrative Law) Article 340, P. 155 'Where the statute . does not require any particular method of procedure to be followed by an administrative agency, the agency may adopt any reasonable method to carry out its functions.' (See also Corpus Juris Secundum, Vol. 73 (Public Administrative Bodies and Procedure Article 73, P. 399).) The Regional Transport Authority has complete discretion in the matter of allowing or refusing substitution. It is not bound to embark upon prolonged investigation into disputed questions of succession. Nor is it bound to allow substitution if such an order will delay the proceedings unreasonably or will otherwise be detrimental to the interests of the public generally.

Under Section 57 (1) an application for a contract carrier's permit or a private carrier's permit may be made at any time and therefore, the Regional Transport Authority can more readily allow the successor to prosecute the application filed by his predecessor. The Regional Transport Authority may similarly deal with the situation arising on the death of an applicant for the variation of the permit under Section 57 (8) or the renewal of the permit under Section 58. Likewise in the case of the death of an applicant during the pendency of an appeal under Section 64 or a revision petition under Section 64-A the appellate or the revisional authority has power if it thinks fit to substitute the successor in place of the deceased applicant in the records of the proceedings.'

We do not think this case advances the argument of the learned counsel for the respondents. It is open to the Transport authorities to bring on record the legal representatives of the deceased party. But in a case where the Transport authority either original or revisional seeks to dispose of the matter on merits and the order proposed to be passed is likely to be either detrimental or prejudicial to the deceased party, it is necessary that the legal representatives of the deceased party should be brought on record. Moreover, where a party to the proceeding before the Transport Authority dies and an adverse order is passed against such party, it would be without jurisdiction and would be a nullity. Of course if the Transport Authority does not think it fit to permit the successor or the legal representative to come on record, the proceeding will automatically terminate and will have to be dismissed as abated. In the instant case the appellant's husband was the respondent in the revision petition before the Government. He died during the pendency of the said revision petition. If the revision petitioners desired that the revisions should be disposed of on merits, the legal representatives of the deceased respondent should have been brought on record. It is to be noted that the revision petitions were preferred by the contesting respondents herein and therefore if the legal representatives of the deceased respondent before the State Transport Authority were not brought on record, the revisions would abate. Therefore it is the contesting respondents who were the revision petitioners before the Government that should have taken steps to bring the appellant on record.

8. For the foregoing reasons we hold that the order of the Government passed in the revision petitions against the respondent Muddanna who was dead by the date of the passing of the order in the revision petitions, was a nullity. In the circumstances we think the proper course is to quash the impugned order of the Government and remand the matter to the Government for disposal afresh. The revision petitions will be disposed of afresh by the Government after giving notice to the petitioner herein. In this view we do not think it necessary to express any opinion on other two contentions urged by the learned counsel for the petitioner in the writ petitions. The questions whether the revision petition filed by the said Muddanna before the State Transport Authority against the order of the Regional Transport Authority dated 22-12-1967 was barred by limitation or not and whether a single revision petition lies to the Government against the common order passed by the State Transport Authority on 31-10-1970, are matters which can be considered by the Government.

9. It is contended by Sri K. Mangachary learned counsel for the appellant that the Government erred in holding that the revision petition filed by the appellant against the order dated 22-12-1967 of the Regional Transport Authority, was barred by limitation. He submits that the State Transport Authority has power to suo motu revise an order of the Regional Transport Authority, and he relies upon the decision of this court in Motor Workers' Union v. R. Apparao, : AIR1970AP220 .

10. He contends that when the State Transport Authority set aside the order of the Regional Transport Authority, it must be deemed that the State Transport Authority exercised the suo motu power of revision.

11. In the impugned order of the Government, it is stated that the revision petition filed before the State Transport Authority against the order of the Regional Transport Authority, passed under Section, 47 (3) of the Act, was not within time. The question, whether the State Transport Authority could not have interfered in exercise of its suo motu power of revision, was not considered,

12. With regard to the question whether a single revision petition could have been filed against the common order by the State Transport Authority in the two Revision Petitions Nos. 156/RPS/A3/ 70 Item No. (4) and 77/RPS/A3/68 Item No. 4-A while it is the contention of Sri K. Manga Chary, that a single revision petition is not maintainable it is contended for the respondents, that there were three revision petitions before the State Transport Authority and therefore the State Transport Authority must be deemed to have treated at least one revision petition as having been filed against the order under Section 47 of the Regional Transport Authority, and the other revision petitions against the order under Section 57 (3) of the Act. Alternatively it is also contended that the Government has suo motu powers of revision under Section 64-A of the Act, and therefore the Government must be deemed to have exercised the suo motu power of revision.

13. But in the order of the Government, it has not been indicated whether the Government treated the revision petitions as mentioned above or interfered in exercise of suo motu powers also. This is also a question which has to be considered by the Government.

14. The Writ Appeal is accordingly allowed, the order dated 26-7-1973 in W. P. No. 2149 of 1972 is set aside, and W. P. No. 3149 of 1972 is allowed and the impugned order of the Government quashed with a direction to the Government to dispose of the revision petition according to Law and in the light of the observations contained in this order. But in the circumstances of the case, we direct the parties to bear their own costs, both here and in the writ petition. Advocate's fee Rs. 100/-.


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