1. This order will also govern Miscellaneous Petition No. 95 of 1963.
2. The petitioner Sheelchand and Co.'s application for the grant of a stage carriage permit for Shujalpur-Bhopal route was rejected by the Regional Transport Authority, Bhopal. It was, however, granted in . appeal by the' State Transport Appellate Authority. While granting the permit applied for, the Appellate Authority made it conditional on the petitioner putting up a bus of 1962 model on the route. The other petitioner Suganchand Sheelchand and Company's application for the grant of a stage carriage permit for Sironj-Bhopal route was also similarly granted by the State Transport Appellate Authority and on the same condition. Both the petitioners now challenge the validity of the conditions attached to their permits, and pray for the issue of writs of certiorari for quashing them.
3. It was argued by Shri Sen, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners, that each of the petitioners had been granted 'P. St. S.' permit and not 'P. St. P.' permit; that while on a 'P. St. P.' permit, in relation to a particular stage carriage a condition of the year of manufacture of the vehicle could be imposed, no such condition could be attached to a 'P.St.S.' permit which entitled the holder of the permit, to use any of his vehicles without any qualification and that the condition imposed by the Appellate Authority while granting the permits was not any of the conditions enumerated in Clauses (i) to (xxii) of Section 48 (3) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, (hereinafter referred to as the Act), nor was it any 'prescribed condition' falling under Clause (xxiii) of the said provision. Learned counsel proceeded to say that even Form-G of 'Certificate of Registration given in Schedule I to the Act did not require any vehicle to be specified by the year of its manufacture and that the Rules under the Act did not also lay down such specification of stage carriages. In support of his argument, learned counsel relied on Mangilal v. Appellate Tribunal of State Transport Authority, AIR 1957 Raj 167.
4. In our judgment, both these petitions must be dismissed. Section 48 (3) of the Act runs thus
'48. (3) The Regional Transport Authority, if it decides to grant a stage carriage permit, may grant the permit for a service of stage carriagesof a specified description or for one or more particular stage carriages, and may, subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, attach to the permit any one or more of the following conditions, namely : x x X X x'
Then follow Clauses (i) to (xxii) enumerating the conditions which may be attached to a permit. Clause (xxiii) gives to the Regional Transport Authority the authority to attach 'any other conditions which may be prescribed.' It is quite true that Clauses (i) to (xxii) do not speak of the condition of a stage carriage, for which a permit has been granted, being of a particular year of manufacture. No such condition has also been prescribed by the Rules made under the Act. But the Regional Transport Authority's power to make the grant of a permit for the service of a stage carriage conditional on the vehicle to be used being a particular year of manufacture flows not from any of the clauses of Sub-section (3) of Section 48 enumerating the conditions that may be attached, but from the substantive provision of Sub-section (3) itself. That sub-section says that the Regional Transport Authority may grant a permit for the service of stage carriages of a specified description. If the stage carriage for which a permit can be granted has to be of a 'specified description', then it follows that the Regional Transport Authority has the power to say that the stage carriage for which a permit has been granted shall be of a particular year of manufacture. The specific description of a stage carriage is not confined to its class, name, maker, number of cylinders or horse-power, but also includes the year of manufacture. In the detailed description of a vehicle, which is to be inserted in the certificate of registration given in Form-G in the first schedule, the year of manufacture has to be mentioned. The whole idea in requiring that the service of a stage carriage shall be run with a stage carriage of a particular year of manufacture is to ensure reliability and efficiency of the service and the safety of the travelling public. Sections 47 and 48 of the Act, read together, clearly show that the statutory powers to issue permits with certain conditions of stage carriages are not meant for the benefit and protection of permit-holders but are meant for the benefit of the general public. If the contention advanced by the learned counsel for the petitioners is accepted, then the result would be that a person, who has obtained a permit for the service of a stage carriage, would be at liberty to run the service with ramshackle vehicles or with vehicles which are not road worthy. The running of a stage carriage service with such vehicles would be irregular, unreliable and would endanger the safety of the travelling public. Such a service would then be one being run in the interest of the permit-holder and not for the benefit of the general public. In our opinion, the words 'stage carriages of a specified description', which occur in Section 48 (3), are wide enough to give to the Regional Transport Authority power to attach to a permit, while granting it, a condition that the service shall be run with, a stage carriage of a particular year of manufacture.
5. The decision of the Rajasthan High Court in AIR 1957 Raj 167 (supra) holding that under Section 48, as it stood before it was amended in 1956, the Regional Transport Authority or the State Transport Authority has no right to impose any condition regarding the year of manufacture on the permit issued by them, is not of any assistance here. The Rajasthan case was decided on 12th December 1955 and the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 1956, which substituted a new Section 48 for the old one, came into force on 16th February 1957. The old Section 48' was as follows :
'A Regional Transport Authority, after consideration of the matters set forth in Sub-section (1) of Section 47
(d) attach to a stage carriage permit any prescribed condition or any one or more of the following conditions, namely,
Then follow the enumeration of the conditions. The Rajasthan High Court held that the condition that the vehicle of a particular year of manufacture only shall be permitted to ply was not one of the conditions mentioned in Section 48 and that Clauses (i) to (vi) of Section 48 (d) made no reference to such a condition and that it was also not a condition prescribed by the rules framed under the Act. It will be seen that in the old Section 48-there was no provision similar to Sub-section (3) of the new Section 48. Here we are concerned not with Section 48 as it stood before the amendment of the Act in 1956 but as it is today after amendment.
6. For the foregoing reasons, both these petitions are dismissed. As none appeared for the respondents, there will be no order as to costs. The outstanding amount of security deposits shall be refunded to the petitioners.