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Madhya Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation Vs. the Regional Transport Authority, Raipur and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberMisc. Petn. No. 589 of 1968
Judge
Reported inAIR1971MP76
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 68E and 68F(1)
AppellantMadhya Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation
RespondentThe Regional Transport Authority, Raipur and anr.
Appellant AdvocateV.S. Dabir, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateR.K. Tankha, Adv. for Respondent No. 2
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredAswathanarayana v. State of Mysore
Excerpt:
- .....in chapter iv. the duty of the regional transport authority on receipt of the application from the state transport undertaking for a permit is therefore to examine the application for itself to see whether it is in pursuance of an approved scheme and secondly whether it has been made in the manner laid down in chapter iv.'it is, therefore, correct that if the application is found to be in pursuance of an approved scheme and has been made according to chapter iv, then the regional transport authority is merely to act in a ministerial capacity and to issue the required permit. but then the question is whether in this case the applications were in pursuance of the approved scheme. for this, as already stated, learned counsel relied upon the provision quoted above from paragraph 10 of the.....
Judgment:

Bishambhar Dayal, C.J.

1. This is a petition by the Madhya Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation against an order of the Regional Transport Authority refusing to grant temporary permits to the petitioner. The relevant facts are that Scheme No. 60 was sanctioned and published in December, 1965, and it came into operation from 19th March 1966. Among other routes, the one route which is now in dispute is from Jagdalpur to Bailadilla. A portion of this route from Gedam to Bailadilla was to be of conjoint operation with other while the routes from Jagdalpur to Bhopalpattnam and Jagdalpur to Sukmakotma were routes of exclusive operation by the Corporation. In paragraph 10 of this scheme there was a provision as follows:--

'Facilities of extra buses to clear extra traffic on the route during peak season or during fairs and festivals will be provided to avoid any inconvenience to the travelling public.'

On the strength of this provision in the Scheme the Corporation made an application on 22nd May 1968 for the grant of temporary permits under Section 68-F (1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939. The Regional Transport Authority did not consider that there was any temporary need existing and, therefore, passed an order rejecting the application on that ground.

2. The contention of the Corporation is that the transport authority had no jurisdiction to enter into the question of the existence or non-existence of the necessity for the grant of a temporarypermit and since the applications had been made according to law, the Regional Transport Authority was bound to issue the permits as prayed. For this proposition learned counsel for the petitioner relied upon Abdul Gafoor v. State of Mysore, AIR 1961 SC 1556. It was observed in that case by their Lordships at page 1558, col. 1, as follows:--

'Under Section 68F (1) as already mentioned the Regional Transport Authority has no option to refuse the grant of the permit provided it has been made in pursuance of the approved scheme and in the manner mentioned in Chapter IV. The duty of the Regional Transport Authority on receipt of the application from the State Transport Undertaking for a permit is therefore to examine the application for itself to see whether it is in pursuance of an approved scheme and secondly whether it has been made in the manner laid down in Chapter IV.'

It is, therefore, correct that if the application is found to be in pursuance of an approved scheme and has been made according to Chapter IV, then the Regional Transport Authority is merely to act in a ministerial capacity and to issue the required permit. But then the question is whether in this case the applications were in pursuance of the approved scheme. For this, as already stated, learned counsel relied upon the provision quoted above from paragraph 10 of the Scheme. Learned counsel appearing for respondent No. 2 has contended that the provision in the Scheme is contrary to the provisions of Section 68-E and is, therefore, wholly ineffective. Reliance is placed on the observations of their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Kondala Rao v. Andhra Pradesh S.R.T. Corporation, AIR 1961 SC 82. In that case their Lordships were considering a scheme which contained a note according to Rule 5 of the Rules framed by the State Government. The note was as follows:--

'The frequency of services on any of the notified routes or within any notified area shall, if necessary, be varied having regard to the traffic needs during any period.'

In considering this note their Lordships posed the following question:--

'The short question that arises is whether the variation of frequency of service by the State Transport undertaking amounts to a modification of a scheme within the meaning of Section 68-E of the Act.'

After considering in detail the implications of such a provision, their Lordships came to the following conclusion:

'We are, therefore, definitely of opinion that the rule confers power on the State Transport Undertaking to modify substantially the scheme in one respect, though that power can only be exercised under Section 68-E of the Act in the manner prescribed thereunder. This rule is void and, therefore, the said note was illegally inserted in the schemes.'

Their Lordships while upholding the validity of the scheme struck down that part as invalid and held it to be severable. The note in the present scheme is of a very similar nature and any alteration in the number of buses and their frequency on the route will undoubtedly effect an alteration in the scheme and be contrary to the provisions of Section 68-E.

3. This matter was again considered by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Aswathanarayana v. State of Mysore, AIR 1965 SC 1848. That was a case in which the scheme provided for a maximum and minimum number of vehicles and the frequencies to be put into service according to the exigencies of the traffic and it was contended on the strength of the above-noted case from Andhra Pradesh that such a variation was invalid. Their Lordships distinguished the matter and observed at page 1854, col. 1, paragraph 8, as follows:--

'In that case the scheme provided for an exact number of trips and an exact number of vehicles. Rule 5 however permitted frequency of services to be varied. It was in these circumstances that the rule was held ultra vires Section 68-E. But where the scheme itself provides for a minimum and maximum number of vehicles and trips there is no question of its being violative of Section 68-E. We are therefore of opinion that the provision of minimum and maximum number of vehicles and trips in the scheme as approved is not against the provision of Section 68-C as the section does not require that only an exact number of vehicles and trips for each route must be notified in the scheme.'

4. In the present scheme, there is no provision for such a maximum and minimum number of vehicles and trips for each route. This case is, therefore, covered by the principle laid down in the case from Andhra Pradesh, AIR 1961 SC 82 (supra) and above quoted provision in the scheme is illegal and ineffective.

5. In view of this exposition of law, the position is that the applications of the petitioner for grant of extra temporary permits were not applications in pursuance of the schemes and that not being so, the Regional Transport Authority was entitled to treat the applications as being under Chapter IV of theMotor Vehicles Act and could exercise all the powers which the Regional Transport Authority has in the matter of grant of temporary permits to any applicant. It may be observed at this place that while exercising these powers the Regional Transport Authority has to keep in mind that even temporary permits over a route which is for exclusive maintenance by the State Transport Undertaking can only be granted to the State Transport Undertaking, and temporary permits on routes of conjoint operation can be granted to any party according to the need and convenience of the public-It may not be out of place to observe here that facility for the public may require that a permit granted to the State Transport Undertaking on a route of exclusive operation may be extended over a route of conjoint operation also so as to avoid a break in service to the public. On a consideration of all the relevant matters, it is within the jurisdiction of the Regional Transport Authority to grant a temporary permit according to law to any applicant- In the present case, the Regional Transport Authority has found as a fact that there was no temporary need in existence and it was, therefore, within its authority to dismiss the applications on that ground.

6. We, therefore, see no force in this petition and dismiss it. Parties will bear their own costs. The outstanding amount of the security deposit shall be refunded to the petitioner.


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