D.S. Mathur, J.
1. This is a petition under Article 228 of the Constitution of India by Messrs. Bhumarg Yatayat (Registered), 431, Khatikan, Muzaffarnagar, through Uma Sharan (to be referred herein after us the petitioner), for the issue of a writ of certiorari or a like writ or direction to quash the resolution dated! the 6th/7th April, 1960, and also for the issue of a writ of mandamus to direct the respondents, namely, the Regional Transport Authority, Meerut, and the Secretary of the Regional Transport Authority Meerut, to forbear from giving effect to the said impugned resolution.
2. The facts of the case are not in controversy. What the respondents have pleaded in the counter-affidavit is to justify their action.
3. The admitted facts of the present case are that Muzaffarnagar-Rohana-Charthawal route, about 15 miles long, was declared a B-class route under the U. P. Motor Vehicles Taxation Rules, 1935, and in the beginning applications for permanent permits were invited and later for temporary permits; but no final orders were passed and in the end under resolution No. 49 dated the 6th/7th April, 1960, the Regional Transport Authority, Meerut, respondent No. 1, amalgamated the route, Muzaffarnagar-Rohana-Charthawal, with Muzaffarnagar-Rohana-Deoband-Saharanpur route by temporarily extending the route, Muzaffarnagar-Rohana-Deoband-Saharanpur, to Charthawal also. In other words, the motor vehicles plying on Muzaffarnagar-Saharanpur route were to ply on Muzaffarnagar-Rohana-Charthawal route also. None of the operators of the Muzaffarnagar-Saharanpur route had applied for permanent Or temporary permits on the Muzaffarnagar-Rohana-Charthawal route and the objection that they had made to the ereation of this new route had been rejected.
4. The only point for consideration is if the Regional Transport Authority had the power to temporarily extend the route without calling for applications or compliance of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.
5. Section 57(8) of the Motor Vehicles Act makes a provision for the inclusion of a new route or routes or a new area in a permit (other than a temporary permit) and it is laid down therein that an application for the inclusion of a new route etc., shall be treated as an application for the grant of a new permit. The inclusion of a new route or a new area in the permit amounts to extension of the route. Consequently, if the route of a permit other than a temporary permit has to be extended, the provisions of Section 57 of the Motor Vehicles Act must be complied with. In the Motor Vehicles Act there is no provision for the temporary extension of the route of a permit; but such temporary extensions Can be treated at par with temporary permits. Under Section 57 (8) an application for extension of the route is to be treated as an application for the grant of a new permit and consequently when the route is being extended temporarily the application should, as far as the temporary extension is concered, be treated as an application for temporary permit and in such circumstances, the provisions of See. 62 of the Motor Vehicles Act shall become applicable.
6. Under Section 62 the Regional Transport Authority can, without following the procedure laid down in Section 57, grant temporary permits for a period not exceeding four months to authorize the use of a transport vehicle temporarily for the convenience of passengers on special occasions or for the purposes of a seasonal business or to meet a particular temporary need or pending decision of an application for the renewal of a permit. The Regional Transport Authority had already taken a decision for the creation of a new Muzaffarnagar-Rohana-Charthawal route and consequently, the need for running transport vehicles on this route, could not be for temporary purposes detailed in the first three clauses of Section 62 of the Act. No application for renewal of a permit was pending; in other words, none of the ingredients of Section 62 had been fulfilled, and no temporary permit could be granted with the result that the route of the permit-holders on Muzaffanagar-Saharanpur route could not be temporarily extended to Rohana-Charthawal route.
7. Temporary extension of route can be placed at par with temporary permits on another ground also. At occasions it may become necessary to provide transport service on an additional route and it may not be considered desirable to provide this facility in addition, as mew operators may not be able to or may consider unprofitable to ply their vehicles on a route of a few miles only. In such circumstances, the Regional Transport Authority would rightly consider permitting the existing permit holders to ply their vehicles on the additional route for a temporary period. If the facts are looked into in this light one can say that the same operators have been granted a temporary permit for the additional route.
This matter if considered from a different angle can be expressed by saying that the route of the permit holders had been temporarily extended. For all practical purposes the permit holders had been allowed to ply the transport vehicles on the additional route for which they have been given a temporary permit. Temporary extension of the route is thus at par with the grand of temporary permit and consequently, the provisions of Section 62 of the Motor Vehicles Act must be fulfilled before temporary permits can be granted or the route temporarily extended.
8. The provisions of Section 57 had not been followed and as the extension was made On temporary basis it was not necessary to comply with the provisions of this section. But at the same time it must be observed that the Regional Transport Authority had the jurisdiction to issue temporary permits or to temporarily extend the route only if the conditions laid down in Section 82 had been fulfilled. In the present case, none of the ingredients detailed in Section 62 have been fulfilled and consequently the permits of the operators of Muzaffarnagar-Saharanpur route could not be temporarily extended.
9. The learned counsel for the respondents has raised two preliminary objections to the maintainability of the present petition : firstly, that no one had the right to ply buses on a particular route and consequently the petitioner could not be deemed to be an interested party so as to challenge the order of the Regional Transport Authority. The second objection raised is that the operators of Muzaffarnagar-Saharanpur route, whose route had been temporarily extended, were not impleaded in the present proceeding and consequently any direction issued by this Court would become infructuous and ineffective.
10. In the Special Appeal arising out of Misc. Writ No. 5 of 1961, decided on 6-3-1961, State Transport Authority v. Hamiduddin, the State had raised the first objection detailed above, but the Advocate General did not press this objection at the stage of the hearing of the appeal. In these circumstances, we can start with the presumption that a Division Bench of this Court has taken the view that an applicant who applied for permit on a route is an interested party where there has been breach of any provisions of the law as far as the grant or extension of the route of the permit is concerned.
It would be better that I should give my additional reasons why the above contention has no force. If we consider the question from a narrow outlook, without due regard to the fundamental rights of the citizens of the country, we shall have to start with the assumption that no one can ply a motor vehicle on a route Unless he has been granted a permit for the purpose. It will not be proper to construe the matter from such a narrow angle. Article 19 of the Constitution confers a fundamental right on every citizen to carry on a business of his choice though, of course, the State can place restrictions in public interest. In other words, every citizen has the right to ply a motor vehicle on any route, but the State or the public authorities can place restrictions or can prohibit the running of additional vehicles on the route if they take action in accordance with the law.
Illegal acts of the State or the public authorities can, therefore, be challenged by anyone who has the intention to ply his transport vehicles on a particular route; but if by the stage the Writ petition is moved, the Regional Transport Authority has called for applications, those persons who do not apply for permit shall cease to be interested in plying their vehicles on the route and they would be the applicants who can in the eye of law be regarded as interested persons, A writ petition moved by such persons can be entertained by the High Court. The present petitioner had moved an application for a permanent permit and consequently he was an interested person. The present petition is thus maintainable,
11. If the operators on Muzaffarnagar-Saharanpur route had been impleaded in the present proceeding, any permit, temporary or permanent, granted for Rohana-Charthawal portion of the route would have stood automatically quashed, but as those persons have not been impleaded, any permit or extension already granted to them or any benefit which has already accrued to them snail not stand quashed though it shall not be within the power of the Regional Transport Authority to take any further action on the basis of the impugned resolution.
12. The petition is hereby allowed with costs, and the impugned resolution dated the 6th/7th April, 1960, is quashed subject to the observations made above. It is further ordered that a writ of mandamus be issued to direct the respondents not to take any further action to give effect to the impugned resolution dated the 6th/7th April, 1960.