1. This writ petition and two others, namely, Smt. Durga Devi v. Regional Transport Authority, Gwalior, (Misc. Petn. No. 229 of 1969) and Rameshwar Dayal v. The Regional Transport Authority, Gwalior (Misc. Petn. No. 250 of 1969), have been placed for disposal before us because certain earlier Division Bench decisions of this Court in regard to the procedure to be adopted for grant of stage carriage permits under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (hereinafter mentioned as the Act) in regard to a new route required reconsideration in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in R. O. Naidu v. Addl. State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Madras, AIR 1969 SC 1130. This order shall dispose of the three petitions.
2. The facts giving rise to these three petitions are these. In this case, the respondent 2 Ramgopal, who was an existing operator of a stage carriage on the Katni-Beohari route (92 miles) applied on August 13, 1965 for extension of that route upto Sidhi (another 52 miles), While this application was pending, Ramgopal applied for and secured renewal of this permit for the Katni-Beohari route on May 3, 1966. Long afterwards, on January 1, 1969, when the application for extension was taken up for consideration, the Regional Tran-sport Authority declined to consider the petitioner's objections on the ground that he had not made any representation when that application was published in 1965. The extension was actually granted on February 14, 1969 and the extended permit was renewed on December 31, 1969. In this connection, it may be mentioned that the petitioner had secured on February 18, 1967 a stage carriage permit for Sidhi-Beohar-Shahdol route in lieu of renewal of another permit but that grant was set aside in appeal and a writ petition, being Miscellaneous Petition No. 253 of 1967, filed against the appellate order was dismissed on May 1, 1969.
3. In Miscellaneous Petition No. 229 of 1969, the petitioner had, on February 6, 1969, applied for a stage carriage permit for a new route, Gwalior-Daboh route. The Regional Transport Authority did not publish that application and instead invited, by a notification dated May 9, 1969, fresh applications for the ruote. The petitioner has called in question the validity of this procedure by which the consideration of an application already made was not taken up and instead fresh applications were invited for the route.
4. In Miscellaneous Petition No. 250 of 1969 also, the Regional Transport Authority, Gwalior, invited, by the aforesaid notification dated May 9, 1969, fresh applications for the new Daboh-Gwalior route instead of taking up, in the usual way, consideration of the petitioner's application for the route which he had earlier made on November 20, 1968.
5. The main question for consideration is whether, on an application being made for a new route, for which no order had been passed under Section 47 (3) of the Act, the Regional Transport Authority is bound to proceed to consider that application in the manner provided by Section 57 of the Act without inviting other applications. In Rameshwar v. Regional Transport Authority, 1969 MPLJ 894 a Division Bench of this Court held that, after the Regional Transport Authority had decided under Section 47 (3) of the Act to increase the number of permits for certain routes, it acted properly in inviting fresh applications instead of proceeding with those that had been filed earlier. It is true that the routes in this case were not new ones but the number of permits to be granted for each of these routes had been fixed earlier. There was, therefore, not much difference in principle between the two. On the other hand, in several cases decided by this Court earlier, it was hold that, when an application was made for a new route, theRegional Transport Authority was bound to proceed with that application under Section 57 of the Act and it could neither defer consideration of that application nor invite fresh applications. We may refer only to Bhojraj Chauksey v. R. T. A., Jabalpur, Misc. Petn. No. 263 of 1961, D/- 26-10-1961 (Madh Pra); New Jabalpur Transport (Private) Ltd. v. R. T. A. Misc. Petn. No. 403 of 1962, D/-28-2-1963 (Madh Pra); S. K. Rosool Motor Transport Co. (Private) Ltd. v. R. T. A., Misc. Petn. No. 184 of 1963, D/-31-8-1963 (Madh Pra), Hemandas and Brothers v. R. T. A., Jabalpur, Misc. Petn. No. 250 of 1962, D/- 11-12-1962 (Madh Pra) and Janta Transport Co-operative Society Ltd. v. S. T. A., Misc. Petn. No. 510 of 1964, D/- 6-7-1965 (Madh Pra). As we would show immediately, this controversy has now been settled by the Supreme Court.
6. In AIR 1969 SC 1130 an application for a stage carriage permit had been made for a new route. It was accepted and a permit was issued to the applicant without first passing an order under Section 47 (3) of the Act or inviting applications for the route. The State Transport Appellate Authority set aside the grant on the ground that it was made without first passing an order under Section 47 (3) of the Act or inviting applications for the route. That order was unsuccessfully challenged in the High Court. In affirming the view taken by the Appellate Authority and the High Court, the Supreme Court stated:
'Sub-section (3) of Section 47 of the Act requires the Regional Transport Authority to limit the number of stage carriage permits that may be granted in a route having regard to the matters mentioned in Sub-section (1) of that section. The question for determination is whether the determination as to the number of stage carriages required on a route should be done at a stage anterior to that of entertaining applications for stage carriage permits or that it could be done at the time it considers applications made by operators for stage carriage permits in that route. The R. T. A. has proceeded on the basis that that question can be decided while considering the applications made to it for permits by operators whereas the Appellate Tribunal and the High Court have taken a contrary view.
Sub-section (3) of Section 47 of the Act if read by itself does not throw any light on the controversy before us but if Sections 47 and 57 of the Act are read together, it appears to us to be clear that the view taken by the Appellate Tribunal and the High Court is the correct view. If contrary view is taken, it willthrow open the door for manipulations and nepotism. There may be possibility of the personality of the applicant influencing the decision of the R. T. A. on the question of need for a stage carriage permit in the route and thereby public interest which should be the main consideration while taking a decision under Section 47 (3) may suffer. If we accept the view taken by the R. T. A. as correct, an operator who happens to apply for the route first will be in a commanding position. The R. T. A. will have no opportunity to choose between competing operators and hence public interest might suffer.'
(Paragraphs 4 and 5)
The view taken in this case was referred to with approval in Mohd. Ibrahim v. S. T. A. Tribunal, Madras, AIR 1970 SC 1542 and J. N. Wahal v. Seikh Mahfooz, AIR 1970 SC 1704. It is true that, in Mohd. Ibrahim's case, AIR 1970 SC 1542 (supra), no order had been passed under Section 47 (3) of the Act before applications were invited and that order was actually passed sometime before the hearing of the applications for the grant of permits and the representations made in connection therewith, but the parties had not challenged the orders passed under Section 57 of the Act on the ground that there was no valid order under Section 47 (3) of the Act. Here also, that is not a ground of challenge in Miscellaneous Petitions Nos. 229 and 250 of 1969. Therefore, the law laid down by the Supreme Court in O. R. Naidu's case, AIR 1969 SC 1130 (supra) governs two of these petitions and no exception can be taken to the procedure of inviting fresh applications for the new routes. We may also state that the contrary view taken earlier in Misc. Petn. 263 of 1961, D/- 26-10-1961 (Madh Pra) (supra) and other cases mentioned earlier is no longer good law.
7. In Miscellaneous Petition No. 135 of 1969, the petitioner, who has challenged the grant of extension on the ground that he was an existing operator on a part of the route, ceased to be, as already indicated, such operator long before he filed this petition. It is true that after the grant in his favour was set aside in appeal, he had filed a writ petition and obtained a stay of the appellate order, but even the stay terminated automatically upon dismissal of the writ petition on May 1, 1969. The petitioner has now no right to operate on the route or any part thereof nor is he affected by the action taken by the Regional Transport Authority, That being so, we should decline to assist him. In this connection, we may mention the case of Kalyan Singh v. State of U. P., AIR 1962 SC 1183 where the petitioner,held a permit when he filed the writ petition, but it was subsequently cancel-led. It was stated:
'After cancellation of his permit,he could not maintain a petition for awrit under Article 226 because a rightto maintain such a petition postulatesa subsisting personal right in the claimwhich the petitioner makes and in theprotection of which he is personally interested'.
(Paragraph 14, page 1183)
8. In the result, we dismiss the three writ petitions. In the first case (No. 135 of 1969), we direct that the petitioner shall pay out of the security amount the costs incurred by the respondent 2 and bear his own. The remaining amount of security shall be refunded. Hearing fee Rs. 100/-. In the other two cases which were not defended, there will be no order about costs and the security amounts shall be refunded.