1. These two writ petitions challenge the validity of an order of the Government of Andhra (now Andhra Pradesh) dated 9th August, 1956 passed in exercise of the revisional power vested in them Under Section 64A of the Motor Vehicle) Act as amended by the Madras State Legislature, Under that section, the State Government may, of Its own motion or on application made to it, call for the records of any order passed or proceeding taken under Chapter IV of the Motor Vehicles Act by any authority or officer subordinate to It, for the purpose of satisfying itself as to the legality regularity or propriety of such order or proceeding and after examining such records may pass such order in reference thereto as it thinks fit.
2. The facts leading up to these present petitions are these : A new stage carriage route was opened in the East Godavari District from Goganna-mattam to Narasapuram Ferry Via Mulkipalli, Jag-gannapeta, Razole and Lakkavaram and applications were invited for the grant of two permits on that route. There were as many as 25 applications and they were considered by the Regional Transport Authority Under Section 57 of the Act at its meeting held on 31-10-1955.
That Authority, after hearing the applicants, directed the grant of a permit each to Sri K. Kon-dalarao of Bhadrachalam and to Sri P. Subbanna ol Bandarulanka. Against the orders passed by the Regional Transport Authority some of the unsuccessful applicants filed appeals to the State Transport Authority, then known as the Central Road Traffic Board, under See. 64 of the Act. There were in all 24 appeals before the Board and by its order dated 29-2-1956 the Board confirmed the grant made in favour of Sri P. Subbanna but set aside that in favour of Sri K. Kondala Rao and directed the award of the second permit to Sri R. Venkates-wara Sarma.
Aggrieved by the order passed in appeal, 9 of the appellants preferred revision petitions to the State Government Under Section 64-A of the Act. The Government set aside both the orders of tha Regional Transport Authority as well as that of the Central Road Traffic Board and remanded the application, of the 9 petitioners and the. 2 respondents before them for reconsideration by the Regional. Transport Authority. In the writ petitions as origi- nally filed, a point was taken that the State Government had no power to direct a remand in exercise of their revisional power. But since the filing of these petitions, it has been decided by a Division Bench of this court that there is such a power. That point therefore has not been pressed before me.
3. The other point taken by the petitioners is that the order of the Government is patently erroneous because it purports to set aside the orders of the Regional Transport Authority and the Central Road Traffic Board on the main ground that the Regional Transport Authority's resolution was vitiat-ed by a violation of the statutory provision of Section 57 (7) of the Motor Vehicles Act, although the order of the Central Road Traffic Board itself does not disclose any infirmity,
Now Sub-section (7) of Section 57 of the Act enacts that 'when a Regional Transport Authority refuses an application for a permit of any kind, it shall give to the applicant in writing its reasons for the refusal.' The main reasoning of the Government is contained in the last paragraph of their order which runs thus : 'From the position set out above, it is clear that the resolution of the Regional Transport Authority constitutes a violation of the statutory provision of Section 57 (7) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 and therefore invalid. In the circumstances and as the resolution of the Regional Transport Authority is not regular, the Government consider that it is not necessary to examine the merits of other revision petitioners. In this view, the resolution of the Regional Transport Authority, East Godavari passed at its meeting held on 31-10-1955 ...... and the order of theCentral Road Traffic Board ..... dated29-2-1956 are set aside and the case is remitted to the Regional Transport Authority, East Godavari, for fresh disposal in accordance with law. The Regional Transport Authority, should, however, con-sider the applications of only the revision petitioners and the respondents before the Government'. It is true, however, that in the preceding paragraph the order states as follows:
'Even the Central Road Traffic Board in Its proceedings in R. No. 36702-A2-55 dated 20-2-1956 apart from saying that the appellants viz., Sarvasri Y. G. Krishna Murthi and Sri Mavuri Subbanna are In the transport field from the end of 1953 as individual operators having one permit each with clean history sheet and with a common sector of 19 miles did not assign any reasons for not preferring them For the grant of permits.'
The Government order does not slate that this omisi-sion affects the legality of the Board's order and indeed it is not mentioned in the last paragraph which embodies the Government's reason for Interference. Besides that, as a statement it is not correct. It is patent from even a superficial examination of the order of the Central Road Traffic Board that reasons have been given by it for rejecting the claims of the appellants whose names are given in the above extract.
Be it noted that what the Government says is that reasons are not given for not preferring 'them' and not for refusing them permits. When thereare only two permits to be granted and reasons are given for preferring two out of the several applicants, those reasons are, at the same time, reasons for rejecting the others. The statute does not require that reasons should be given for 'not preferring' one applicant to the others, but only for refusing permit asked for.
When applications are called for and everybody knows that only two permits are to be awarded one good reason -- manifest on the face of the order -- why other applications are refused is that there are not more than two permits to give. Now, when we look at the order of the Central Road Traffic Board, it is perfectly clear that it compared the qualifications of appellants Nos. 1 and 2 with those of appellant No. 9 and summed up the position thus :
'Appellant No. 9 is therefore better suited in the opinion of the Board for the grant of this permit as this would enable him to build up an economic fleet by which he will be able to serve public more efficiently and he would be also able to maintain a continuous service between Muramalla and Sakhinetipalli Ferry.'
The reason why appellant is preferred to the others is, in my opinion, the reason 'for not preferring' the others.
4. If the order passed in appeal is good, I cannot see how that order can be set aside, because of a defect in the original order. This is not a case where the proceedings before the Regional Transport Authority were vitiated by an error which could not be set right by the appellate tribunal. If the proceedings are tainted in their origin in a manner that the appellate authority is not able to repair, then both the original and appellate order would be bad; but where the defects of an original order can be rectified in appeal andare in fact so rectified, there is no reason why theappellate order should not stand. Otherwise, the very purpose of an appeal in most cases would be defeated.
In the present case, if the Regional Transport Authority did not give reasons, the Central Road Traffic Board made up the defect and the Government were in revision really concerned with the order of the Central Road Traffic Board. That order is not vitiated by the legal infirmity alleged against the Regional Transport Authority's order. In exercising their jurisdiction under Section 64-A in relation to orders whereby rights are created in favour of persons by authorities statutorily empowered to create them, the Government are not exercising a disciplinary but a quasi-judicial power, subject to limitations. They can set aside orders that are irregular, improper or illegal.
But in the present case the Government do not state that the appellate order Government do not state that the appellate order is irregular, improper or illegal. Under that order, certain rights vested, by the force of a statute, in the respondents before the Government. The Government could only disturb those rights under certain conditions. None of the conditions is satisfiedhere. Any way, the Government order does not say so.
5. I cannot help feeling that the order of the Government discloses a laboured attempt to make out a case for interference. I, therefore, think it is my duty to quash it. I wish to add that if the Government stated that the reasons given by the Board are not 'proper' in their view, I should not have interfered with their order.
6. A writ wilt therefore issue quashing the order. This, of course, does not entail the consequence that the revision petitions before the Government cannot be re-heard and disposed of on their merits by the Government.
7. This will be the order in both the writ petitions. The petitioner in each of these writ petitions is entitled to his costs -- Advocate's fee Rs. 50/- in each petition.