1. This petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution is directed against two orders, one passed by the Regional Transport Authority Jabalpur (respondent 2) on 20th August 1957 rejecting the petitioner's application for a stage carriage permit for the Chhindwara-Balaghat Via Seoni route (hereinafter called the route) for want of scope and the other passed in appeal by the State Transport Appellate Authority (respondent 1) on 26th March 1960 affirming the earlier order.
2. The petitioner, which is an association of persons providing transport facilities by road, applied as usual for a stage carriage permit for the route. The application was duly published. On 20th August 1957, the respondent 2 passed the following order:
'This route is adequately covered by a large number of services and, on the Seoni Gondia portion, the applicant himself has been granted a permit in a previous meeting. As the route is overcrowded and there is no scope, the application is rejected. Order communicated.'
In the appeal filed by the petitioner against this order, the respondent 1, after long delay, passed on 26th March 1960 the following order :
'The counsel for C. P. T. S. stated that there is no scope on the route and that operation on the route not being economic, C. P. T. S. has surrendered its permit. Shri Nema for respondent No. 4, National Transport Co., has submitted an affidavit that application for Seoni-Chhindwara route was continuously rejected by the Regional Transport Authority on 15-7-57, 20-8-57 and 16-9-57 which goes to show that there is no scope on the route. A certified copy of the Order of the R.T.A., Jabalpur, dated 30-5-58 was also submitted before us in which the R.T.A. had rejected application for grant of permit on Seoni-Gondia route. The consistent view of the R.T.A. has been that there is no scope on the route. We therefore see no ground to interfere with the order of the R.T.A. Appeal is rejected accordingly.'
3. Although several grounds were raised in support of the petition, only two of them have been pressed before us. The first is that the respondent 1 failed to consider the question of scope with reference to a direct service between the two termini, Chhindwara and Balaghat, and misdirected itself in taking into account the want of scope over parts of the route. The second is that this principle, which was not applied by the respondents 1 and 2 in other cases, was, contrary to the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution, employed for the purpose of rejecting the petitioner's application.
4. Having heard the counsel, we are of opinion that this petition must succeed On the first ground. As pointed out by the Privy Council in K. V. Motor Transit Co. Ltd. v. C. R. Omnibus Co. Ltd., AIR 1946 PC 137, a route is an abstract Conception of a line of travel between one terminus and another, and is not the same thing as the physical track between the two termini. At another place, their Lordships observed in the same case:
'In their Lordships' view it is of the essence of a route for which a licence is granted that it should run from one terminus to another. That will ensure a service between the two termini, and may also provide, though with less certainty, a service for the use of intermediate places.'
What the Transport Authorities had to consider was the need, having regard to the passenger traffic between Chhindwara and Balaghat, for ensuring a direct service between the two places. Whether or not there were adequate transport facilities between intermediate stations could not be regarded as conclusive of the matter. Indeed, those Transport Authorities were bound to consider, as provided by Clause (b) of Section 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 'the advantages to the public of the service to be provided, including the saving of time likely to be effected thereby and any convenience arising from journeys not being broken.' It is not for us to decide whether or not there is scope for a direct service between Chhindwara and Balaghat. But, since the Transport Authorities have failed to properly decide the question with reference to the materials relevant to the matter and have decided it upon considerations, which could not be given, as was done, an overriding importance, the order passed, by the respondent 1 must be quashed so that the matter may be freshly decided with advertence to the observations made in the order.
5. The petition succeeds and is allowed. The order passed by the respondent 1 on 26th March 1960 is quashed. Since the Central Provinces Transport Services (respondent 3) alone Opposed the petition, it must pay the petitioner's costs. All other costs as incurred. The security amount shall be refunded to the petitioner. Hearing feeRs. 50/-.