1. This is an appeal by Smt. Magan Devi against a judgment of a learned Single Judge of this Court dismissing her petition under Article 226 of the Constitution by which she had challenged an order of the State Transport Authority (Tribunal), Uttar Pradesh.
2. The appellant was one of the applicants for a permit tor running a stage carriage on Moradabad -- Kashipur route. She presented an application accompanied by answers to a questionnaire that had been issued by the Regional Transport Authority and an affidavit in support of the answers to the questionnaire. The Regional Transport Authority sanctioned a permit in favour of the appellant. One other applicant was Kali Charan Singh, respondent No. 3 in this special appeal. His application for grant of a permit was rejected. Kali Charan Singh, therefore, appealed to the State Transport Authority (Tribunal). The Tribunal allowed the appeal, set aside the order of the Regional Transport Aulhority granting the permit to the appellant and instead, directed that the permit be issued in favour of Kali Charan Singh. That order was challenged by the petition under Article 226 of the Constitution before I the learned Single Judge. It is against the order of dismissal of that petition that the appellant has come up before us in this special appeal.
3. It appears that the State Transport Authority (Tribunal) had given two reasons for setting aside the order of the Regional Transport Authority granting a permit to the appellant Learn ed counsel appearing for the appellant has challeng ed both the reasons. One reason given by the State Transport Authority (Tribunal) was that the appellant had no experience in the line and that the Tribunal was further of the view that she being a lady it was difficult for her to supervise the operation of the vehicle. This reason recorded by the Tribunal is based on questions of fact Found by the Tribunal and is not open to scrutiny by this court in its writ jurisdiction. It was, however, urged by learned counsel for the appellant that the Tribunal had committed error in recording these findings because there was no evidence before the Tribunal in that respect, fn support of this plea the appellant swore an affidavit. Kali Charan Singh has sworn a counter-affidavit stating that there was material before the Tribunal on both the points on which the Tribunal recorded the finding.
According to Kali Charan Singh, it was brought to the notice of the Tribunal that though he appellant had received her permit in question about three or four years before the appeal was heard by the Tribunal, the permit was being misused. It was asserted in the affidavit that she was living at Bijnor and had nothing whatsoever to do with the permit. It was also stated in an earlier paragraph that she had severed all her interests in the permit and that the stage carriage was being plied by S. Autar Singh to whom the permit had been given by her. In view of this assertion in the counter-affidavit it is not possible to hold that the finding recorded by the Tribunal that she had no experience in the line was not based on evidence. Similarly, the counter-affidavit shows that facts were brought to the notice of the Tribunal on the basis of which the Tribunal could record the finding that she being a lady it was difficult fof her to supervise the operation of the vehicle. The counter-affidavit shows that the Tribunal's attention was drawn to the fact that she was an old lady, 60 years of age. The affidavit also mentions that she had been a school teacher and that she was permanently residing at Bijnor, which was not the place connected with the route for which the permit was issued. It is also sated in the counter-affidavit that the appellant's family consists of herself and a grand-daughter only.
We are unable to hold that, in these circumstances, the Tribunal committed any error of law in arriving at the finding that it was difficult for her to supervise the operation of the vehicle. It is true that for recording this finding the Tribunal only mentioned the fact that she was a lady and hence it was difficult for her to supervise the operation of the vehicle; but the Tribunal was making an order in appeal, which was not subject To scrutiny in any further appeal. It appears that for this reason the Tribunal did not consider it necessary to record the material on which the Tribunal arrived at the finding. On these findings recorded by the Tribunal the order of the Tribunal setting aside the grant of the permit to the appellant was fully justified on merits. A more suitable person, in the opinion of the Tribunal. was available. The Tribunal's order shows that the Tribunal considered respondent. No. 3 Kali Charan Singh to be more suitable. The order being thus justified on the findings of fact recorded by the tribunal on merits there was no question of interference by this Court in exercise of its writ jurisdiction.
4. The second reason given by the Tribunal for setting aside the order granting permit to the appellant was that the appellant had never made the declaration which was required to be given by her in her application. The form prescribed for the application shows that the declaration consists of two parts; in the first part the applicant declares that all the statements made in the application are [correct, and the second part consists of a declaration that the applicant agress that the various terms mentioned in the application shall be conditions of any permit issued to the applicant. This declaration has to be signed, or a thumb mark put in token of making the declaration. The Tribunal clearly found that this appellant had neither signed not thumb-marked the declaration. Learned counsel urged before us that the declaration required to tie recorded in the application was similar in nature to the verification required to be recorded in a plaint under the Code of Civil Procedure by the plaintiff, and since courts have held that want of such a verification of a plaint or defective verification cannot be a ground for interference by the appellate court with the decree passed by the trial court, we should hold that in this case also the Tribunal should not have interfered with the order of the Regional Transport Authority granting the permit to the applicant.
As we have mentioned earlier, the declaration in an application for grant of permit consists of two parts; the first part relates to verifying the correctness of the statement made in the application. That is no doubt similar to the verification which is required in a plaint under the Code of Civil Procedure. But even with regard to that part of the declaration another aspect that has to be kept in view is that, in the case of a plaint even if the facts have not been verified, the defendant has a right to come and contest the assertions made therein, and the court need not, therefore, be on guard about their correctness. Even if the defendant does not appear the provisions laid down by the Code of Civil Procedure require that in an ex parte case, the court will not pass a decree unless the plaintiff actually leads evidence and proves by that evidence the correctness of all the facts needed for obtaining a decree. The final order is, therefore, not based merely on the facts as given in the plaint.
In the case of an application for grant of permit the position is different. There is no procedure prescribed, or even practice existing, for making enquiries as to the correctness of the assertions made in the applications. It is not asserted before us that the contents of applications of each applicant are even communicated to all other applicants and the latter arc given an opportunity to contest their correctness. In these circumstances. the Regional Transport Authority, or the other authorities acting under the provisions of Motor Vehicles Act, have to act on the basis of the statements made in the application accepting them as correct, and that can only be done if there is a proper verification. This distinctive feature has to be kept in view and may, therefore render the tests relating to verification of plaints inapplicable to the case of declarations required to be made in such an application. This is, however, a point on which we need not express any final opinion because there is the requirement of the second part of the declaration under which an applicant agrees that the terms of the application are to be treated as conditions of the permit which may be issued. We have looked at the form in which a permit is issued, and we find that some of the terms of the application are not automatically incorporated in the permit so that the position is that those terms become binding on the issue of a permit only because of the declaration by the applicant that those terms of the application shall be conditions of the permit.
In the absence of an applicant agreeing to such conditions it is clear that the applicant would not be entitled to grant of permit as the applicant would not be bound by some of the conditions contained in the terms of the application which the Act and the rules contemplate should be carried out by the applicant. The form of application is prescribed by the rules, and the terms of that form taken together with the declaration clearly mean that the terms of the application which are not incorporated or reproduced in the permit are to form part of the permit by virtue of the declaration. The applicant not having signed the declaration, she was not bound by those terms, and this was a matter of substance and not a mere matter of form or technicality. It is true that the tribunal did not record any specific finding that there was failure of justice as it was required to do under Section 134(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act but the very fact that the applicant wanted a permit without subscribing to the declaration so as to bind herself by all the terms of the application not otherwise incorporated in the permit clearly leads to the inference that the permit was being sought to be obtained in circumstances which did not carry out the purposes indicated by the various provisions of the Act and the rules.
That would clearly amount to failure of justice as it would result in denial of issue of permit to others who were prepared to undertake to comply with all the terms and conditions. It may be noted that the failure of the appellant to sign the declaration was made one of the grounds of appeal before the State Transport Authority (Tribunal) by Kali Charan Singh who had filed the appeal and even though such a ground was specifically taken, the applicant did not, at any stage before the State Transport Authority (Tribunal), offer to fill up the gap by signing the declaration. On the other hand, what the appellant did was to insist that she had made a signature at one place which had been erased, though, at the time of the arguments before the Tribunal the Counsel appearing for the appellant conceded that, even if it be held that some signature had been erased, it was not at the proper place. This concession clearly meant that there was no signature in the declaration, and that is what the Tribunal found as a fact.
Before the Tribunal, the contention that thefailure to give the necessary declaration should nothave been considered as furnishing sufficientground to allow the appeal by virtue of Section 134(2)of the Motor Vehicles Act was not raised. Infact, it appears that the arguments there proceededon the basis that, if there was an omission tomake a declaration, it would be a case where theTribunal would be justified in setting aside theorder granting the permit. The attempt before theTribunal was to charge some one else with erasureof signature and to take shelter behind it. In thesecircumstances, if the Tribunal proceeded to holdthat the appellant was not entitled to a permit forwant of making the declaration, we are unable tosee that the Tribunal committed either any errorof jurisdiction or any other manifest error of lawapparent on the face of the record, In the circumstances, this appeal has no force and it is dismissed with costs. One set of costs will be payable to respondents Nos. 1 and 2 and another setto respondent No. 3. The stay order dated 23-5-62 is vacated.