1. This is a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. It is directed against an order of the State Transport Appellate Tribunal, U. P. declining to implead the petitioner in a Revision.
2. Briefly stated, the material facts are these:--
By resolution dated 6/7-7-1967, the Regional Transport Authority, Dehradun (hereinafter referred to as the Transport Authority) increased the strength of the Saharanpur-Gangoh-Jalabad Route from 45 to 90 stage carriages. In consequence of the increase in strength, the Transport Authority invited applications for the grant of permanent permits on the aforesaid route. In response the petitioner as well as some others made applications. The applications were published in the U. P. Gazette.
3. The existing operators felt aggrieved by the increase in strength and they preferred a Revision before the State Transport Appellate Tribunal U. P. (hereinafter referred to as the Tribunal). The revision was allowed and the case was remanded to the Transport Authority. The Transport Authority refixed the strength increasing it from 45 to 60.
4. Against the aforesaid order increasing the strength from 45 to 60 the respondents Nos. 2 and 3, two of existing operators preferred a Revision before the Tribunal under Section 64-A of the Motor Vehicles Act. The applications filed by the petitioner and others for the grant of permanent permits in consequence of the increase in strength have been pending consideration before the Transport Authority. While the aforesaid Revision was pending, the petitioner moved an application before the Tribunal for being impleaded as an opposite party to it. It was averred in this application that inasmuch as the petitioner's application for the grant of stage carriage permit was pending consideration he would be prejudicially affected if as a result of the orders passed in the said Revision by the Tribunal, the sanctioned increased strength is reduced. The above application has been dismissed by the Tribunal by its order dated 24-8-73. The Tribunal has rejected the application for impleadment on the ground that as a mere applicant for permit before the Transport Authority, the petitioner can claim no such interest which may require his impleadment is the Revision'.
5. Aggrieved by the aforesaid order of the Tribunal, the petitioner has filed this petition. Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the impugned order is erroneous in law, having been passed by the Tribunal on a patent misapprehension of the true legal position, as regards right or interest of the petitioner. Learned counsel placed considerable reliance on the second proviso to Section 64 of the Motor Vehicles Act and on its basis urged that the petitioner would be inevitably adversely affected if the Revision is allowed and the order of the Transport Authority sanctioning increase in the strength is set aside.
6. Learned Standing counsel on theother hand submitted that the view ofthe Tribunal was correct in law. Heargued that the petitioner's right toapply for permit would arise only ifthere was an increase in the strength,Learned Standing counsel submitted thatthe petitioner had only contingent rightto apply for a permit, and consequently,he could not claim to be impleaded inthe revision as a matter of right.
7. Having heard learned counsel for the parties, we are clearly of the view that the impugned order passed by the Tribunal is patently unsustainable in law.
'Section 64-A of the aforesaid Act reads as follows:
'64-A. Revision. -- The State Transport Appellate Tribunal may, either on its own motion or on an application made to it call for the record of any case in which an order has been made by a State Transport Authority or Regional Transport Authority and in which no appeal lies, and if it appears to the State Transport appellate Tribunal that the order made by the State Transport Authority or Regional Transport Authority is improper or illegal the State Transport Appellate Tribunal may pass such order in relation to the case as it deems fit and every order shall be final:
'Provided that the State Transport Appellate Tribunal shall not entertainany application from a person aggrieved by an order of a State Transport Authority or Regional Transport Authority unless the application is made within thirty days from the date of the order:
Provided further that the State Transport Appellate Tribunal shall not pass an order under this section prejudicial to any person without giving him a reasonable opportunity of being heard',
The second proviso to Section 64-A enjoins the Tribunal not to pass an order prejudicial to any person without giving a hearing to him. It is clear that under the Resolution passed by the Transport Authority, increasing the strength from 45 to 60 the petitioner acquired a right to make an application for the grant of a permit, and indeed in exercise of that right, the petitioner had already made such an application which having been published in the Uttar Pradesh Gazette, was pending consideration before the Transport Authority. It is further clear that if the Revision of respondents Nos. 2 and 3 is allowed and the order of the Transport Authority is set aside the petitioner's application would immediately become infructuous or liable to be dismissed as incompetent, It would thus be seen that the petitioner would be hit directly and prejudicially by the setting aside of the resolution passed by the Transport Authority. In our view, the right or interest of the petitioner to be heard in the Revision flowed from the resolution passed by the Transport Authority increasing the strength. The basis of the petitioner's claim to be heard in the revision was thus the order resolution (sic) of the Transport Authority and in as much as there was a possibility of this basis disappearing in the event of the Revision being allowed, the petitioner is certainly a person who would be prejudicially affected if the revision is allowed by the Tribunal. The mere fact that the petitioner has no legal right to claim increase in strength does not detract from the undisputed fact that the petitioner would be prejudicially affected by the setting aside of the resolution of the Transport Authority.
8. Learned counsel for the petitioner placed reliance on the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Municipal Board v. State Transport Authority Rajasthan reported in AIR 1965 SC 458 (para 33). Their Lordships of the Supreme Court have held that the Tribunalhas to see that even If a person is likely to be affected by the revision order, that person receives notice of the matter, There can be little doubt that the petitioner was clearly likely to be affected by the Revisional order. The dictum laid by the Supreme Court, therefore, clearly applies to the facts of the present case. Further in Re. Sidebotham (1880) 14 Ch D 458 James LJ observed that a 'person aggrieved' is 'a man who has suffered a legal grievance.' We have no doubt that if the revision is allowed, the petitioner would be a person who will have suffered a legal grievance.
9. We therefore, hold that the Tribunal has committed a patent error of law in not permitting the impleadment of the petitioner as an opposite party in the revision,
10. In the result, the petition succeeds and is allowed. The order passed by respondent No. 1 on 24-8-73 (Annexure 2 to the writ petition) is quashed. The Tribunal is directed to allow the petitioner to be impleaded as an opposite party in the revision mentioned above, namely, Revision No. 95 of 1968. There will be no order as to costs.