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P. Satyanarayana Vs. the State of Andhra Pradesh by the Secretary, Home (Transport Department), Hyderabad and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Appeal No. 91 of 1957 and Writ Petn. Nos. 329 and 395 of 1957 and 1374 of 1958
Reported inAIR1959AP429
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 48(3)
AppellantP. Satyanarayana
RespondentThe State of Andhra Pradesh by the Secretary, Home (Transport Department), Hyderabad and ors.
Appellant AdvocateP. Ramchandra Rao, Adv.
Respondent Advocate2nd Govt. Pleader, ;G. Suryanarayana, ;M. Dwarkanath and ;R. Rajeshwara Rao, Advs.
Disposition Petition dismissed
.....buses except petitioner's - prayed for writ of certiorari to quash changes in timings of other buses - writ denied because petitioner had no vested legal right to get his timings changed - no violation of legal right - writ under article 226 not maintainable - court also observed that secretary of regional transport authority was not proper authority under section 28 (3) to alter timings of buses. - maximssections 2(xv) & 3(1) & (3): [v.v.s. rao, n.v. ramana & p.s. narayana, jj] ghee as a live stock product held, [per v.v.s. rao & n.v. ramana, jj - majority] since ages, milk is preserved by souring with aid of lactic cultures. the first of such resultant products developed is curd or yogurt (dahi) obtained by fermenting milk. dahi when subjected to churning yields butter..........court. again some of the operators on the route sought in 1954 additional trips from the regional transport authority of krishna district; but the board had, after review of the whole position, rejected the request on the ground that it would adversely affect the interests of several other overlapping routes, no public purpose would be served and the existing traffic did not justify it. in the end of 1956, however, the secretary, r. t. a., has introduced several changes by modifications in timings and these have been confirmed in 1957. they have been objected to and are sought to be quashed by the petition for certiorari, which was filed in may, 1957. the first change was through tentative timings that were issued on 16-10-1956 and thereby additional trips to three buses besides the.....

Ansari, J.

1. One P. Satyanarayana has filed two petitions, one for the Writ of certiorari and another for a mandamus. He has also filed an appeal against the order by a learned judge of this Court, refusing to stay the orders challenged by the petitioner for certiorari. The circumstances, under which those came to be instituted, may be shortly stated. The petitioner was operating one out of ten buses or Pamarru-Bantumalli route in Krishna District. Five of these start from Pamarru and the remaining start from Bantumalli.

Prior to 6-10-1956, each of the nine buses cm the route was permitted to ply two single trips; but the petitioner's bus was allowed four single trips per day. The said route overlaos to a large extent another route from Pamarru to Upputern, on which eleven buses were plying. Each of these was also then doing two single trips. Some changes are alleged, to have been made m 1953 by the Regional Transport Officer; but the Government had then set aside the orders and the earlier arrangement had thereby continued.

A writ petition also against the Government order appears to have been dismissed by the Madras High Court. Again some of the operators on the route sought in 1954 additional trips from the Regional Transport Authority of Krishna District; but the Board had, after review of the whole position, rejected the request on the ground that it would adversely affect the interests of several other overlapping routes, no public purpose would be served and the existing traffic did not justify it.

In the end of 1956, however, the Secretary, R. T. A., has introduced several changes by modifications in timings and these have been confirmed in 1957. They have been objected to and are sought to be quashed by the petition for certiorari, which was filed in May, 1957. The first change was through tentative timings that were issued on 16-10-1956 and thereby additional trips to three buses besides the existing bus were allowed on Pemarru --Bantumalli route.

Thereafter the four single trips per day came to be enjoyed by buses owned by others and an additional shuttle trip was given to the two postal buses. Objections were called for against the aforesaid timings and as a result of the discussions with the operators the timings were cancelled and revised tentative timings were notified on November 30, 1956. Again a meeting of the concerned bus operators was convened on January 18, 1957, at which all the operators were present.

The notified tentative timings were again cancelled and fresh tentative timings were notified on February 20, 1957. After convening a conference of all the operators the Regional Transport Officer has on April 18, 1957 confirmed the tentative timings notified on February 20, 1957 in respect of the buses operating on Pamarru-Bantumalli route, and the times notified on November 30, 1956 in respect of the buses plying on Pamarru-Upputeru route.

Thereafter the petition for writ of certiorari, W.P. 329/57 was filed and the cancellation of the four orders was sought on grounds that we shall mention later in this judgment. There was only one respondent to this writ petition and the petitioner had filed a miscellaneous petition No. 3402/57 seeking stay of the order. On this petition notice was ordered by the High Court on April 30, 1957. Meanwhile some of the operators who had got the additional trips applied for being impleaded. They also objected that the writ petitioner had another remedy by way of revision to the Government and the petitioner appears to have filed such a revision.

He also obtained a stay order on May 9, 1957; but the Government subsequently cancelled the stay order. It is said that this was done on its being made aware of the writ proceedings. The petitioner has thereupon filed another writ petition No. 395/ 57 complaining that summarily vacating the stay orders while keeping the revision petition alive was improper and mandamus should be issued directing the stay order to be kept alive while the revision petition be pending. This writ petition needs no further adjudication because the revision has since been dismissed by the Government.

2. But to continue with the narration of events that has led to the appeal before us, the C.M.P. 3402/57 seeking the stay of the orders challenged by the petition for certiorari came up before a leared Judge of this Court and he has disallowed it. Against this judgment W.A. 91/57 has been filed. There is yet another writ petition tagged to the main one.

The original writ petitioner was only a hire purchaser of the bus he was operating and one Venkatachala Sarma claims to have got the bus due to apprehension of non-payment of the instalments. He further claims to have got the vehicle's permit transferred in his name. He has therefore filed a writ petition No. 1374/58 challenging the four orders and has also applied to be substituted as a petitioner in the writ Appeal.

3. The common object of all these petitions is to get the notifications of October 16 and November 30, 1956, February 20, 1957 and of April 18, 1957 vacated and this is sought on the following four grounds:

(i) The Secretary, R. T. A. has no jurisdiction to alter the timings arbitrarily, capriciously or change the system of rotation so as to prejudice the existing operators.

(ii) The changes of times or of rotation of buses are changes in the conditions of the permits, and as the permits in the instant cases were granted by the Road Transport Authority, varying or altering the conditions can be done by the Road Transport Authority alone under Section 48 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

(iii) Under Section 48-A of the same Act, the S.T.A has got the power to vary the conditions subject to the proviso of no change to be made to the prejudice of the operator without three months' notice to him, and no such notice has been given.

(iv) The Secretary has acted in opposition to the principles of natural justice by cancelling the times issued on June 21, 1956 without notice to the operators that were affected by it. Against this the position taken by the several respondents is:

(1) The provisions as to timings fall within Section 48 (o) of the Act and the Rule 134-A (ii) provides for the delegation of such powers to the Secretary who is competent to change the timings.

(2) Section 48-A of Motor Vehicles Act relates to the variation of the conditions covered by Section 48(d) of the aforesaid Act and as provisions concerning additional trips consequent on changes in times do not constitute variation of conditions of permits, reliance on the proviso to Section 48-A and the reference to the Rule 208(b) are not relevant.

(3) The petitioner is in no way aggrieved because the timings of his buses have not been changed, much less the trips given to his bus.

(4) No right of the petitioner has been infringed as he has no right to exclude competition and the orders have been validly passed in the interests of the public.

4. These grounds when analysed raise only two questions for adjudication in the cases. The first is whether the acts complained against constitute variation of the several conditions of permits which cannot be amended by the Secretary. The second is whether they have affected the conditions of the permit held by the petitioner. In connection with the first question it should be mentioned that Section 48 of the Motor Vehicles Act has been amended by the Central Legislature and the amendments came into force on February 16, 1957.

Reliance on the old Section 48(c) in the replies to the Writ petitions is therefore not of much importance. Also Section 48-A of the Act would only be material if we were to decide the acts complained against to be still governed by the old enactment. The old Section 48(c) had provided that Regional Transport Authority may after considering the matter set forth in Section 47 (i) regulate timings of arrival and departure of stage carriages, whether they belong to a single or more owners.

The old Section 48(d) enumerated six conditions which the authority may attach to a stage carriage permit as prescribed conditions. Rule 134-A (ii) authorises delegation of power to regulate timings of state carriages under Section 48(c) and also to attach conditions under Section 48(d) of the Act.

Then Section 48-A which is not repealed and was enacted by the State Legislature provides that any conditions attached to a stage carriage permit in pursuance of Clause (d) of Section 48 may be varied, cancelled or added to by the Authority provided the power shall not be exercised to the prejudice of the holder of the permit without giving not less than three months' notice to him. The distinction between timings of buses and other conditions of the permit for such buses has not been maintained by the new Section 48, whose relevant provisions read as follows:--

'New Section 48 (3): The Regional Transport Authority, if it decides to grant a stage carriage permit, may grant the permit for a service of stage carriages of a specified description or for one or more particular stage carriage, and may, subject to any rules that may be made under this Act attach to the permit any one or more of the following conditions namely:

(iv) that the service shall be operated within such margins' of deviation from the approved timetable as the Regional Transport Authority may from time to time specify;

(x) that the conditions of the permit shall not be departed from, save with the approval of the Regional Transport Authority;

(xxi) that the Regional Transport Authority may, after giving notice of not less than one month:-

(a) vary the conditions of the permit;

(b) attach to the permit further conditions;

5. It is therefore clear that under the new provisions the time-table for stage carriages has assumed importance and now forms part of the permit. It is also clear that the delegations authorised by Rule 134(A) (ii) cannot be of much assistance, as the provisions of the new section 48(3) are not mentioned in the Rule. If was argued before us that the old rules would be operative till new rules were framed.

It is however doubtful whether the authority to delegate what was not then a condition of a permit would still be available when the now Section 48(xx) prohibits departure from conditions of the permit save with the approval of the Road Transport Authority, and the old Rule contains no authority to delegate this power. The Counsel of the Respondents has further argued that the authorised delegation under the aforesaid Rule would still govern changes in timings for buses run under the old permit, but then any exercise of powers should be according to the enactment operative when the power is exercised.

6. We think the more important question tor decision in the petitions is whether the acts complained against have affected any private or personal right of the petitioner; for ho cannot seek certiorari under Article 223 unless he succeeds in showing his position to be such. That there are authorities laying down the above proposition can hardly be doubted In Charanjit Lal v. Union of India, : [1950]1SCR869 , Mukherjea, J., fas he then was) dealing with the persons, who could invoke Article 32 observed as follows;

'.....It would not be Open to an individual shareholder to complain of an Act which affects the Fundamental Rights of the company except to the extent that it constitutes an infraction of his own rights as well. This follows logically from the rule of law that a corporation has a distinct legal personality of its own with rights and capacities, duties and obligations separate from those of its individual members.

As the rights are different and inhere in different legal entities, it is not competent to one person to seek to enforce the rights of another except where the law permits him to do so. A well-known illustration of such exception is furnished by the procedure that is sanctioned in an application for a writ of Habeas Corpus .....

'Article 32, as its provisions show, is not directly concerned with the determination of constitutional validity of particular legislative enactments. What it aims at, is the enforcing of Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution, no matter whether the necessity for such enforcement arises out of an action of the Executive or ot the Legislature.

To make out a case under this article, it is incumbent upon the petitioner to establish not merely that the law complained of is beyond the competence of the particular Legislature as not being covered by any of the items in the legislative lists, but that it affects or invades his Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution, of which he could seek enforcement by an appropriate writ or order. The lights that could be enforced under Article 32 must ordinarily be the rights of the petitioner himself who complains of infraction of such rights and approaches the Court tor relief.

Relying on this authority Rajamannar, C.J., in In re Ramamoorthi. : AIR1953Mad94 has held that the High Court's power under Article 226 can only be invoked at tile instance of a person who has a personal grievance against any act, which inflicts a legal injury on him, since the right which is the foundation of a petition under Article 226 is a personal Or individual right.

Khosla J., in Harnam Singh v. State of Punjab 0065/1953 has also held that the High Court will not take action under the Article, unless it is completely satisfied that the petitioner has a legal right which has been infringed or is about to be infringed or some legal wrong has been inflicted upon him OT is about to be inflicted upon him. Moreover it has been held in State of Orissa v. Madan Gopa), : [1952]1SCR28 that the concluding words of Article 226 have to be read in the context of what precedes the same and therefore the existence of the right is the foundation of the exercise of jurisdiction of the Court under the Article.

An illustration of this general rule is the decision in Kali v. Vedachala, : AIR1952Mad545 where change in the timing for the bus of another was found not to authorise the bus owner operating on the same route to appeal under Section 54(b). We therefore take it to be well-settled that the writ of certiorari should be, issued as of right only for such an applicant as has suffered an infraction ot a personal right,

Now in his reply the respondent who is the Secretary has pleaded that the permit held by the petitioner has not been varied and therefore he has no cause of complaint. The petitioner's bus is admittedly one out of the ten operating on Pamarru to Bantumalli route and timings for other buses would not form part of his permits. Therefore any charges in their timings or giving them further trips while the petitioner's permit remains the same would not amount to variation of his right. It follows that no right of his can be claimed to be infringed if any changes in permits held by others are made in the interests of public.

That the changes complained against are in the interests of the public is also well-established; for had they been otherwise the judgment would not be against the petitioner in his revision petition to the Government. That judgment further shows the complaint of the Secretary not acting bona fide to be without substance. Under these circumstances we think the petition has not succeededin showing that the changes have affected his legalright. It follows that the petitioner cannot claimany relief under Article 226. Accordingly all the writpetitions and the appeal fail on this short groundand are dismissed with costs to the respondents,one set in all, Rs. 100/- to each of the contestingrespondents.

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