1. The question raised in this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution is a short one. It is whether in proceeding, for the transfer of a permit taken under Section 59 (1) of the Motor Vehicles Act read with Rule 75 of the Madhya Bharat Motor Vehicles Rules, 1949, a person objecting to the transfer can claim the grant of the permit proposed to be transferred to himself.
2. In February, 1955, the Dhar Transport Company of Dhar addressed a letter to the Regional Transport Authority, Indore, for the transfer of a permit held by it on Dhar-Indore route to the respondent No. 3 Gendalal. On receipt of this letter the Regional Transport Authority published a notice in the Madhya Bharat Gazette dated 19th May, 1955, about the transfer of five permits held by the Dhar Transport Company including the one in question to the persons mentioned in the notice. The notice invited representations in connection with the intended transfer of permits. The Regional Transport Authority invited representations purporting to act under Section 57.
In response to this notice the petitioner filed an objection opposing the transfer and also made an application for the grant of a permit to him on the Dhar-Indore route. The Regional Transport Authority did not entertain the petitioner's claim for the grant of a permit to him and made an order for the transfer of the permit of the Dhar Transport Company in respect of the Dhar-Indore route to Gendalal, The petitioner then preferred an appeal before the State Transport Appellate Authority which was dismissed. He now prays for the issue of a writ of ccrtiorari for quashing the decisions of the Regional Transport Authority and the Appellate Authority,
3. Shri Sen, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner, submitted that under Rule 75 (d) of the Madhya Bharat Motor Vehicles Rules, 1949, the Regional Transport Authority was given the power to deal with an application for the transfer of a permit as if it were an application for a permit; that in the present case on receipt of the intimation of the Dhar Transport Company that the permit held by it for the Dhar Indore route should be transferred to Gendalal, the intimation was treated as an application for transfer; that the application was also treated by the Regional Transport Authority as an application for a permit as was evident from the fact that in the notice which was published in the Madhya. Bharat Gazette dated 19th May, 1955, about the transfer of certain permits, representations with reference to Sub-sections (3), (4) and (5) of Section 57 wore invited by the Regional Transport Authority; and that having treated the application for transfer as an application for a permit, the Regional Transport Authority was hound to publish the petitioner's application under Section 57 for the grant of a permit to himself and to entertain and decide his claim to that respect. It was said that the view taken by the Regional Transport Authority and the State Transport Appellate Authority that in the proceedings for a transfer of the permit the petitioner could not ask for a grant of the permit to himself was erroneous.
Learned counsel relied on Ram Gopal v. Anant Prasad, AIR .1959 SC 851 to support the contention that when the application for transfer of the permit was dealt with as an application for grant of a permit, it should have been heard and decided along with new applications for the permit.
4. We are unable to accept this contention which proceeds on the assumption that when an application for the transfer of a permit held by a person, is made, then the route covered by the permit falls vacant. There is no warrant for such an assumption under Section 59 (1) of the Act which deals with the transfer of a permit from one person to another.
Under Section 58 (1) a permit is effective without renewal for such period, not lets than three years and not more than five years, as may be specified in the permit. Section 59 (1) says that save as provided in Section 61 a permit shall not be transferable from one person, to another except with the permission of the transport authority which granted the permit and shall not without such permission operate to confer on any person to whom a vehicle covered by the permit is transferred any right to use that vehicle in the manner authorized by the permit. This section nowhere says that if tho transport authority refuses permission for the transfer ot the permit then the permit shall cease to be effective. There is no provision to this effect anywhere in the Act. If the permission for transfer is refused, then it is plain that the holder of the permit can continue to use the vehicle covered by the permit in the manner authorized by it. That being so, in an enquiry by the transport authority concerned into the question whether the transfer of the permit should or should not be sanctioned, there can be no question of the consideration of any new applications for the grant of a permit. If transer is sanctioned, the transferee gets the right to use the vehicle in the manner authorized by the permit. If, on the other hand, it is refused, the transferor continues to have that right. The enquiry which the transport authority has to bold in connection with the transfer of a permit is only as to the genuineness of the transaction and its property and legality.
Rule 75 (d) no doubt provides that the 'Regional Transport Authority may, if it deems fit, deal with the application as if it were an application for a permit.' This rule has to be construed consistently with Sections 58 (1) and 59 (1). The rule cannot be read as enabling the Regional Transport Authority to ignore the application for transfer altogether and to invite fresh applications for permit treating the permit sought to he transferred as having become ineffective by the very fact of the making of an application for its transfer or to refuse the transfer and to say that the permit had ceased to be operative. Such a construction of the rule would be in clear violation of the legal effect of Sections 58 (1) and 59 (1). On that construction Sub-rule (d) of Rule 75 would become ultra vires. Consistent with the aforesaid provisions, ihe provision in the rule that 'the Regional Transport Authority may deal with the application (for transfer) as if it were an application for a permit' can only mean that in matters relating to the disposal of the application and inviting objections and representations against the transfer the application for transfer may be dealt with in the same manner as an application for a permit. In this view of the matter nothing turns on the fact that in the notice published in the Gazette dated 19th May, 1955, about the transfer the Regional Transport Authority invited representations under Sub-sections (3), (4) and (5) of Section 57. The Representations that were contemplated and which could be validly entertained by the Regional Transport Authority had to be about the transfer itself and not with regard to the grant of a permit to another person in place of the transferor or the intended transferee.
5. The decision of the Supreme Court relied on by the learned counsel for the petitioner is of no assistance here. In that case the Supreme Court held that Section 58 (2) requires an application for the renewal of the permit to be dealt with in the same way as a new application for a permit and that such an application has, therefore, to be heard along with new applications for the permit. But there is no analogy between Section 58 (2) and Rule 75 (d). The reason why Section 58 (2) provides that a permit may be renewed on an application made and disposed of as it it were an application for a permit is that the expiry of the period of a permit legitimately gives rise to the consideration of the question whether the permit should be renewed in favour of the person already holding it or whether it should be granted to some other person. No such consideration arises when a permit is intended to be transferred from one person to another.
6. For these reasons we are of the opinionthat the Regional Transport Authority and theState Transport Appellate Authority were lightin the conclusion they reached. This application is therefore, dismissed with costs of respondent No. 3. Counsel's fee is fixed at, Rs. 100/--.The outstanding amount of the security depositafter deduction of costs shall be refunded to thepetitioner.