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B. Rama Rao Vs. the Secretary, Regional Transport Authority, Srikakulam and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. Nos. 9496 and 11126 of 1983
Judge
Reported inAIR1985AP166
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 68C, 68D, 68E, 68F, 68F(1A) and 68F(1C)
AppellantB. Rama Rao
RespondentThe Secretary, Regional Transport Authority, Srikakulam and anr.
Appellant AdvocateM.V. Rama Reddy and ;B. Nageswara Rao, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateB. Nageswara Rao, Adv. and ;Govt. Pleader
Excerpt:
.....be treated as draft scheme within meaning of section 68f (1-c) - proposal in instant case made by state transport undertaking under section 68e - section 68e does not call such proposal for modification of existing scheme as scheme - proposal to modify scheme made by state transport undertaking under section 68e cannot be called as scheme - sections 68f (1-a) or 68f (1-c) prescribes for pendency of scheme for approval of government - pending approval of suggested modifications to an existing scheme cannot be made applicable - no temporary permits within meaning of section 68f can be granted by state transport authority to private operator as it would amount to contrary to terms of approved scheme. - - 68f of the motor vehicles act, it should logically follow that on the failure of..........of the scheme no private operator could ply his stage carriage on the overlapping route of the state transport undertaking had made certain proposals on 22-9-83 to amend the scheme approved in the year 1975. one of the amendments to the approved scheme proposes to permit the holders of stage carriage permits to ply on such route or routes which partially overlap the proposed route. it appears, cheepi to boddapadu might fall within that amendment. the secretary, regional transport authority,srikakaulam, taking the view that the route cheepi to boddapadu which falls under the proposed amendment of the approved scheme is a scheme within the meaning of s.68-f of the motor vehicles act, had earlier granted a temporary permit to ramulu, the writ petitioner in w.p.11126 of 1983. that permit.....
Judgment:

P.A. Choudary, J.

1. These two matters relate to the grant of a temporary permit under S.68-F(1-C) of the Motor Vehicles Act in favour of K. Ramulu on the route of Cheepi to Boddapadu. The route of Cheepi to Boddapadu is part of another bigger route called Itchapuram to Visakhapatnam, which was notified under S.68-D of the Motor Vehicles Act. The scheme was approved in the year 1975 and according to the terms of the scheme no private operator could ply his stage carriage on the overlapping route of the State transport Undertaking had made certain proposals on 22-9-83 to amend the scheme approved in the year 1975. One of the amendments to the approved scheme proposes to permit the holders of stage carriage permits to ply on such route or routes which partially overlap the proposed route. It appears, Cheepi to Boddapadu might fall within that amendment. The Secretary, Regional Transport Authority,Srikakaulam, taking the view that the route Cheepi to Boddapadu which falls under the proposed amendment of the approved scheme is a scheme within the meaning of S.68-F of the Motor Vehicles Act, had earlier granted a temporary permit to Ramulu, the writ petitioner in W.P.11126 of 1983. That permit was valid only for four months. The said Ramulu therefore had applied and obtained an another extension of his temporary permit for period of 145 days. On the eve of the expiry of that period of 15 days, the Secretary, Regional Transport Authority, Srikakulam in Rc.No.8767/A1/80 dt 20-10-83 invited applications for the grant of one temporary permit on the route of Cheepi to Boddapadu. The said Ramulu filed writ petition no.9019 of 1983 seeking a writ of mandamus from this court to direct the Secretary, Regional Transport Authority, Srikakulam to treat his temporary permit of 15 days as valid till a pucca permit is granted to the State Transport Undertaking under S.68-F of the Motor Vehicles Act, when that writ petition came up for admission before our learned brother Seetharama Reddy, J. the learned Judge allowed the writ petition in terms of the prayer of the writ petitioner. The prayer of the writ petitioner in that writ petition was to declare that the temporary permit granted to him for a period of 15 days should be valid till a pucca permit was issued to the State transport Undertaking pursuant to the approval of the modified scheme. In other words, this Court in Writ Petition No. 9019/83 granted to Ramulu the relief which he could have been entitled to only if S.68F(1-C) would apply to the afore-mentioned draft modification of 1983. It may be mentioned that in pursuance of this Court's order made in Writ Petition No.9019 of 1983 the said Ramulu has been plying his vehicle on the route of Cheepi to Boddapadu. In that writ petition, Ramulu made only the Secretary Regional Transport Authority, Srikakulam as a party and that was heard and disposed of at the admission stage without the Court having any benefit of considered arguments by the respondent or any counter from him. However, the Regional Transport Authority, Srikakulam acting in pursuance of this Court's order in the aforementioned Writ PetitionNo.9019 of 1983 granted a permit to Ramulu on 22-10-83. Subsequently another rival operator by name B> Ramarao had filed Writ PetitionNo.9596 of 1983 objecting to the proposal of the Secretary, Regional Transport Authority contained in the above mentioned notification in Rc.No.8767/A1/80 dt. 21-10-83 to grant temporary permit on the route of Cheepi to Boddapadu. His argument is that no temporary permit can be granted on the route of Cheepi to Boddapadu because, that would be contrary to the terms of the scheme approved in the year 1975. That argument is accepted by our learned brother Seetharama Reddy, J., who by another ex parte order in W.P.M.P.12942/83 suspended the operation of the aforementioned notification inRC No.8767/A1/80 dt 21-10-83 of the Regional Transport Authority Srikakulam. The Regional Transport Authority understood this order of suspension to mean that the above mentioned Ramulu should not ply his vehicle on the route of Cheepi to Boddapadu in pursuance of the orders of our learned brother Seetharama Reddy, J., made in W.P.9019/83 dt 22-10-83. Accordingly it issued proceedings on1-12-1983 to the following effect:

It is now the turn of Ramulu to file a writ petition challenging the proceedings of the Regional transport Authority, Srikakulam dt 1-12-1983. He has filed W.P.No.11126/83 making the Secretary, Regional Transport Authority, Srikakulam as the sole respondent and seeking the issuance of a Writ of Certiorari to quash the notification of the regional transport Authority, Srikakulam issued inRc.No.8367/A1/80 dt 1-12-1983. This writ petition came up before Upendralal Waghray J., who directed it to be posted before Seetharama Reddy, J. When W.P.11126/83 came up for admission before Seetharama Reddy, J., the learned Judge directed to above mentioned Ramulu to get himself impleaded in W.P.No.9496/83. Accordingly Ramulu got himself impleaded in W.p.9496/83. Now those two matters have been placed before us for disposal.

The above narration of rather simple facts in this agonising detail would have been avoided but for our anxiety to show how these writ petitions are being manipulated upon by the motor vehicle operators. Yet the point in this case is rather simple and the basic facts with which we are concerned are quite few and clear. They are: The fact of an approved scheme from Itchapuram to Visakhapatnam in the year 1975 under S.68D of the Motor Vehicles Act. It is the admitted case of all the parties before us that under the terms and conditions of that scheme, no permit can be granted by the Regional Transport Authority, Srikakulam from Cheepi to Boddapadu because, Cheepi to Boddapadu is part of the route of Itchapuram to Visakhapatnam and overlaps it to an extent of 14 Kms. Yet the Secretary, Regional transport Authority, Srikakulam had not only granted Ramulu in the first instance a temporary permit for a period of four months, which he renewed for a period of 15 days, but had also invited by his notification published in Rc.No.8767/A1/80 dt 21-10-83 applications for the grant of a temporary permit under S.68-F(1-C) of the Motor Vehicles Act. His justification appears to be that when the State transport Undertaking has proposed an amendment to the existing scheme approved in the year 1975, that proposal must be treated as a draft scheme within the meaning S.68F(1-C) of the Motor Vehicles Act. When once the proposal made by the State Transport Undertaking to amend the existing scheme approved in 1975 was treated as a scheme for the purpose of S.68F of the Motor Vehicles Act, it should logically follow that on the failure of the State Transport Undertaking to apply for the grant of a temporary permit private operator can apply and obtain the temporary permit under S.68F(1-C) of the Act subject to its conditions and terms. It is on this ostensible basis the whole of this litigation has been set in motion by the Secretary, Regional transport Authority, Srikakulam. But we find no support or justification for the stand taken by the Secretary, Regional Transport Authority either in the Statute or in the decisions of this Court. S.68-F(1-C) of the Act is a part of Chap.IV-A of the Motor Vehicles Act containing special provisions relating to State Transport Undertaking. Under S.68-C of the Act where any State Transport Undertaking proposes, in the interest of the public, that the Road Transport services in general or any particular class should be run and operated by the State Transport Undertaking whether to the exclusion of others, the State transport Undertaking prepares a scheme and submits it for the approval of the State Government. Under S.68-D of the Act objections to the said scheme made by the affected parties are considered and the State Government approves the scheme either as proposed or in any modified form. Now S.68F(1-A) and Sec.68-F(1-C) deal with the period of interregnum that should necessarily pass between Ss.68-C and 68-D. Under S.68-F(1-A) the State transport Undertaking may apply for a temporary permit in respect of a route proposed t be covered by the scheme for a period intervening between the date of publication of the scheme and the date of publication of the approved or modified scheme. Under S.68-F(1-C) if no application for the grant of a temporary permit is made by the State transport Undertaking, under S.68-F(1-A) a private operator can apply and obtain a temporary permit. But for the application of Ss.68-F(1-A) and 68-F(1-C) of the Act there must be a scheme submitted by the State transport Undertaking to the Government for the purpose of approval and that the scheme must be pending for consideration by the Government. Now the proposal in this case made by the State transport Undertaking on 22-9-83 is proposal made not under S.68C of the Act but is a proposal made under S.68E of the Act. S.68E does not call such a proposal for modification of an existing scheme as a scheme. It merely calls for the application of the procedure enumerated in Ss.68-c and 68-D for the purpose of approval or modification of a scheme submitted by the State transport Undertaking. It therefore, follows that the proposal to modify the scheme made by the State Transport Undertaking under S.68E of the Act cannot be called as a scheme. Now S.68-F(1-A) as well as S.68-F(1-C) of the Act speak of the pendency of a scheme for the approval of the Government. In view of the fact that a modification suggested under S.68-E is not treated as a scheme , it must be held that pending the approval of the suggested modifications to an existing scheme, S.68F(1-A) or 68-F(1-C) cannot be made applicable. It follows, therefore, that no temporary permits within the meaning of S.68F of the Act can be granted by any State Transport authority to a private operator. That would be contrary to the terms of the approved scheme.

2. The above view is not based on any verbal distinction. A scheme which has been approved by the State Government under S.68-D of the Act is declared to be a law. Its terms and conditions would govern the right to ply vehicles either by private operators or by the State Transport Undertaking on the approved route. In our opinion it would be quite illogical to hold that these rights so settled after following an elaborate procedure and after full consideration of the convenience of the travelling public and the rival interests, could be suspended by a mere proposal made by the State Transport Undertaking. The State Transport Undertaking is not a law-making institution, It is as much bound by the terms of the scheme as any other party. It is one thing to say that pending the approval of a scheme proposed by the State transport Undertaking its draft proposals may be given up and it is yet another thing to say that a settled scheme can be brought to nought by a mere proposal by the State Transport Undertaking. We are, therefore, unable to endorse the view of the regional transport Authority which, as we have already said, is the source of all these litigations, that a proposed amendment by the State Transport Undertaking made to a settled scheme would have the same legal effect for the purpose of S.68-F(1-C) as a draft scheme proposed by the State transport Undertaking under S.68-C of the Act. A Division Bench of this Court consist4ing of Narsimham J. and Parthasarathi , J., had taken a similar view in Writ Appeals Nos. 339 and 359 of 1968. The learned Judges held that an approved scheme can yield place only to a modified scheme when it was approved by the State Government and till then it would be the approved scheme that governs the rights of the parities. But our learned brother Ramaswamy, j., in W.P.No.3988 of 1984 in Srinivasa Rao v. S.T.A.T., A.P.1984 (1)Andh LY (N.R.C.)84 held that the proposal to modify the approved scheme as a separate scheme under S.68-C of the Act. Since the proposal to modify the approved scheme is a scheme by itself and since it is pending, there is a power under S.68-F(1-C) to grant temporary permits. With respect, we are unable to agree with the view taken by the Learned Judge. We have already examined the languages of S.68-C S.68-D, 68-E and 68-F of the Motor Vehicles Act. We have found that a proposal to modify an approved scheme falls under S.68-E and not under S.68-C of the Act and that, therefore, the proposal cannot be treated as another draft scheme. For these reasons, we are unable to agree with our learned brother Ramaswamy J.

3. The decision in M.P.S.R.T. Corporation v. State Transport Authority, Madhya Pradesh : AIR1975MP181 does not help the argument of the learned counsel for Sri Ramulu. This decision merely lays down that a proposal for modification of an approved scheme carrying out the object of nationalisation and supplementing the approved scheme would be a scheme within the meaning of S.68-C of the Act. It also decides that a mere proposal to cancel an approved scheme cannot be called a scheme within the meaning of S.68-Cof the Act. We, therefore, think that that case is of no assistance to the view of the Regional transport Authority.

4. In view of the above, we revoke and set aside the order made by this Court in W.p.No.9019/83 and dismiss the writ petitions filed in W.P.Nos.9019/83 and 11126/83 and allow W.P.No.9496/83 to the extent indicated above. There will be no order as to costs.

5. Orders accordingly.


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