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Raghunath Patnaik Vs. State Transport Authority and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtOrissa High Court
Decided On
Case NumberM.J.C. No. 118 of 1950
Judge
Reported inAIR1951Ori81; 16(1950)CLT202
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 44(3), 44(4), 44(5), 45, 57(4) and 64; Constitution of India - Article 226
AppellantRaghunath Patnaik
RespondentState Transport Authority and anr.
Appellant AdvocateK. Patnaik and ;S.C. Parija, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateAdv. General and ;P.V.B. Rao, Adv.
Cases ReferredIn Vedachala Mudliar v. Central Road Traffic Board Madras
Excerpt:
.....by the court. no specific order condoning any delay for the purpose of deposit under first proviso to sub-section (1) of section 173 is necessary. [new india assurance co. ltd. v md. makubur rahman, 1993 (2) glr 430 and new india assurance co. ltd. v smt rita devi, 1997(2) glt 406, approved. new india assurance co. ltd. v birendra mohan de, 1995 (2) gau lt 218 (db) and union of india v smt gita banik, 1996 (2) glt 246, are not good law]. - as the provincial transport authority is not consulted before the grant or renewal of such permits, it is not convenient to introduce efficient control over the management of the various services in order to give better facilities to the public and to avoid uneconomical and rival competitions. within whose jurisdiction the longest stretch of..........resolution:'resolved further that the chairman is authorised to take over any other inter-district route or routes it the circumstances justify unitary control.' in pursuance of this resolution the secretary of,' the p. t. a, issued the following letter to all; the r. t. as.no. 150 (4) ptadated cuttack, the 9th march l946tothe regional transport authority,cuttack/puri/ganjam/sambalpur.subject:-control of routes by provincial transport authority.it has come to notice that some of the regional transport authorities are granting or renewing permits over the routes, the control of which has been taken over by the provincial transport authority. as the provincial transport authority is not consulted before the grant or renewal of such permits, it is not convenient to introduce efficient.....
Judgment:

Narasimham, J.

1. This is an application for the issue of a writ of certiorari under Article 226 of the Constitution for quashing an order dated 27-7-50 passed by the Chairman, State Transport Authority while purporting to decide an appeal Under Section 64, Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, against an order of the Regional Transport Authority, Puri, granting a permit for stage carriage on the route from Banpur to Berhampur to the petitioner Sri Raghunath Patnaik. The said route lies in the districts of Puri and Ganjam but a major portion of the route lies in the latter district. On 16-4-49 the R. T. A., Ganjam gave a permit for stage carriage on the said route to the opposite party Somanath Patro, On the same day, the R. T. A., Puri granted a stage carriage permit conditionally to the petitioner, Sri Raghunath Patnaik, the condition being that his vehicle should be inspected and certified by the Motor Vehicles Inspector. On 16-7-1949 the R. T. A., Puri after perusing the fitness certificate issued by the Motor Vehicles Inspector confirmed the grant of the permit in favour of the petitioner. Some time in May 1949, the opposite party Sri Somanath Patro on coming to know about the conditional grant of permit to the petitioner by the Puri authorities filed an objection before them against the grant of permit to the petitioner. But his objection was not looked into because it was filed long after the period prescribed for filing objections under Schedule 7 (4), Motor Vehicles Act. The opposite-party there upon filed an appeal before the Chirman, State Transport Authority who by his order dated 27-7 1950 set aside the order of the R. T. A., Puri mainly on the ground that the application for permit made by Sri Raghunath Patnaik before the R. T. A., Puri was incompetent in view of a direction issued by the Provincial Transport Authority under Sub-section (4) of Schedule 4 of the M. V. Act.

2. It is necessary to describe briefly the functions of the R. T. A. and the P.T.A. under the M. V. Act. Both the said authorities are constituted by the State Government under Schedule 4 of the Act and while the jurisdiction of the R. T. A. ordinarily extends over a district, the jurisdiction of the P. T. A. extends over the whole State of Orissa. The function of granting a stage carriage permit is primarily that of the R. T. A, (s. 47) and it has to follow certain principles and procedure described fully in . 47 and 57. A permit issued by a R. T. A. is not valid in another district and consequently where a route lies in two districts, the permit issued by the first R. T. A. requires validation by the R. T. A. of the second district in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Schedule 3 of the Act In the present case that section has been complied with and the counter-signature of R. T. A. Ganjam obtained to the permit issued by R. T. A , Puri in favour of the petitioner. Section 64 provides for an appeal against some of the orders of the R. T. A to a prescribed authority and it is admitted that the Chirman of the P. T. A. has been notified by the Government as the appellate authority over the decisions of the R.T.A. The P.T.A. is a superior body which ordinarily does not take upon itself the function of the R. T. A., though under cl. (b) of Sub-section (3) of Section 44 it may perform the duties of the R.T A. if it thinks fit in respect of a route common to two or more regions. Its main function however is to co-ordinate and regulate the activities and policies of the R. T. A. and for that purpose it is empowered to issue directions from time to time for their guidance (see Sub-section (4) of Schedule 4). By an amendment made in 1942, a new sub-section (Sub-section (5) was inserted in Schedule 4 of that Act and the P. T. A. was given the power to delegate such of its powers and functions to such authority or person as may be prescribed by the rules framed by the State Government. It was not challenged before us that no rules have yet been made by the State Government under Sub-section (5) of Schedule 4 and consequently this power of delegation could not be validly exercised by the P. T. A.

3. On 15-11946 the P. T. A., passed the following resolution:

'Resolved further that the Chairman is authorised to take over any other inter-district route or routes it the circumstances justify unitary control.' In pursuance of this resolution the Secretary of,' the P. T. A, issued the following letter to all; the R. T. As.

No. 150 (4) PTA

Dated Cuttack, the 9th March l946

To

The Regional Transport Authority,

Cuttack/Puri/Ganjam/Sambalpur.

Subject:-Control of routes by Provincial Transport Authority.

It has come to notice that some of the Regional Transport Authorities are granting or renewing permits over the routes, the control of which has been taken over by the Provincial Transport Authority. As the Provincial Transport Authority is not consulted before the grant or renewal of such permits, it is not convenient to Introduce efficient control over the management of the various services in order to give better facilities to the public and to avoid uneconomical and rival competitions. The Regional Transport Authority should, therefore, consult the Provincial Transport Authority before the grant of renewal of any permit or change of timings or fares of the existing and future service for any part over these routes. The following routes are under the Provincial Transport Authority's control :

(1) Cuttack-Berhampur.

(2) Cuttack Puri.

(3) Sambalpur-Meramundali.

(4) Cuttack-Sambalpur.'

The Advocate-General urged that by virtue of the aforesaid resolution read with the subsequent letter, the P. T. A. in exercise of its powers under cl. (b) of Sub-section (3) of Section 44 took over the duties of the R. T. A. in respect of inter district routes such as Cuttack-Berhampur. The route from Banpur to Berhampur lies on this route except for a few miles near Banpur and hence that route also may be said to have been taken over by the P. T. A. In 1947 the P. T. A. found the work of granting permits over inter-district routes to be unmanageable and therefore passed the following resolution on 3-10 1947.

'2. The granting of original permits and counter signature of permits by the P. T. A. : -

Discussed the question of application for original permits and applications for counter-signature of permits doming to the P. T. A, Resolved that in view of the large volume of work it involves which can conveniently be done by the R. T. As. application for original permits and for counter-signature permits should be made to the R. T. A. in whose jurisdiction the longest stretch of the route lies. Applications for extension of the existing permits or extension of any permit that will be granted in future should be made to the R.T.A. of the region in which the extended route lies. The Advocate-General further urged that by the aforesaid resolution of 3-10-1947 the P. T. A. divested itself of its power of issuing permits over Cuttack-Berhampur route but it directed that applications for orignal permits and for counter-signature of permits should be made to the R. T. A. in whose jurisdiction the longest stretch of the route lies. In accordance with this direction an application for a permit over Banpur-Berhampur route ought to have been made before the R. T. A. Ganjam within whose jurisdiction a major portion of the route lies and that consequently the R. T A., Puri had no jurisdiction either to receive the application or to grant a permit. This argument appears to have weighed with the lower Court.

4. In my opinion this argument is untenable, It is true that under Sub-section (4) of Schedule 4 the P. T. A. has the power to issue directions for the guidance of the R. T. As. Bat such directions should be consistent with the other provisions of the M. V. Act. Section 45 of the Act is as follows :

'General provision as to applications for permits : Every applioation9 for a permit shall be made to the Regional Transport Authority of the region or of one of the regions in which it is proposed to use the vehicle and, if the applicant resides or has his principal place of business in any one of those regions, to the Regional Transport Authority of that region.'

This section therefore says that if a route lies in two regions an application for a permit may be made to the R. T. A. of either of the two regions; but that if the applicant resides or has his principal place of business in any of those regions the application shall be made to the R. T. A. of that region. The petitioner Sri Raghunath Patnaik is a resident of Puri district and consequently under Section 45 he is entitled to apply to the R. T. A., Puri for the grant of a permit over the Banpur-Berhampur route. This right conferred by S.45, cannot be taken away by any direction that may be issued by the P. T. A. under Sub-section 4 of Section 44. But this does not mean that the P. T. A. cannot issue directions regulating the disposal of such applications. Under cl. (a) of sub a. (3) of Section 44 the P. T. A. has the power to co-ordinate and regulate the activities of the R. T. As. and in exercise of that power the P. T. A. could have directed one R. T. A. to send such applications for disposal to another R. T. A. within whose jurisdiction the longest stretch of the route lies. There is a clear distinction between disposal of an application for a permit and filing of such an application. Section 45 deals with the forum for filing such applications, It has nothing to do with their disposal and for the latter purpose the P. T. A. could have easily issued appropriate directions, But the resolution of the P. T. A. dated 3-10-1947 says that applications should be made to the R. T. A. within whose jurisdiction the longest stretch of the route lies, thereby clearly going against the provisions of Schedule 5. Hence that resolution cannot be a valid direction under Section 44 (4), M. V. Act so as to oust the jurisdiction of the R. T. A., Puri to receive the application of Sri Raghunath Patnaik. As there was no further direction from the P. T. A., regarding the disposal of such applications the R. T. A., Puri was within its powers in disposing of it in accordance with the other provisions of the M. V. Act.

5. It is now necessary to examine how far the resolution of the P. T. A. dated 15-1-1946 took away the power of the R. T. As. to grant permit over inter-district routes. The resolution has been already quoted and it merely authori the Chairman to take over any inter-district route if the circumstances justify unitary control. The power to take over such routes is conferred on the P. T. A. by cl. (b) of Sub-section (3) of Schedule 4, M. V. Act. That power cannot be delegated to the Chairman except under the provisions of Sub-section (5) of that section. But as already pointed out, the exercise of the power of delegation is dependent on the existence of rules framed by the Government under that sub-section. In the absence of such rules such delegation itself becomes invalid and consequently the aforesaid resolution of the P. T. A. must be 'held to be ineffective. The letter of the P. T. A. dated 9-8-1946 doubtless implies that the P. T. A. has taken over control of Cuttack-Berhampur route. But the learned Advocate-General has not placed before us any other resolution of the P. T. A. between 15-1-1946 and 9-8-1946 to show that the P. T. A. itself took over that route. Apparently, in pursuance of the January resolution, the Chairman took over that route and this was considered to be an act of the P. T. A, itself and then instructions were issued to all R. T. As. As the P. T. A. had no jurisdiction to delegate its functions to its Chairman, it is obvious that even if the latter took over the control of the Cuttack-Berhampur route his action cannot oust the jurisdiction of the R. T. As. of the regions through which the said route passes.

6. It must therefore be held that neither the resolution of the P. T. A. dated 15-1-1946 nor its letter dated 9 3-1946 nor its subsequent resolution dated 3-10-1947 had the effect of taking away the juris3iction of the E. T. A., Puri to receive the application of the petitioner for a permit over Banpur-Berhampur line and to grant the same. It is true that the permit issued by the R.T. A., Puri will be valid only within the limits of Puri district and to validate the same in Ganjam district the petitioner was required to apply to the R. T. A., Ganjam under Schedule 3. This was also done and the counter-signature of the R. T. A., Ganjam was obtained.

7. The aforesaid conclusion vitally affects the competence of the Chairman, P. T. A. to hear the appeal which was filed before him by opposite party 2 Somanath Patro. The right of appeal is conferred by cl. (f) of Schedule 4, M. V. Act, on a person who having opposed the grant of a permit is aggrieved by the grant thereof. The said Somanath Patro did not oppose the grant of a permit to Sri Raghunath Patnaik prior to 16-4-1949. It is true that he filed an objection some time in May 1919. But that was long after the period fixed for filing objections under Sub-section (4) of Schedule 7. Consequently he had no right of appeal and the Chairman, P. T. A. had no jurisdiction to hear the appeal and set aside the order of the R. T. A, The Chairman was fully aware of this difficulty; but he tried to get sound it by saying that as the R. T. A., Puri was not the proper authority for receiving applications for permits in view of the resolution of the P. T. A. dated 15-1-1946 the opposite party could not file a valid objection before him. But in view of what has been said above it is dear that the R. T. A., Puri was competent to receive the application and grant permit and consequently the objection of Somanath Patro ought to have been filed before him within the prescribed time as required by Schedule 7 (4).

8. It was not seriously contested before us that a writ of certiorari would lie in a case of this type. It is true the Chairman, P. T. A. is, not a Court as ordinarily understood. But it' has been laid down in (The King v. Londons County Council; Ex parte The Entertainment Protection Association, (l93l)-2 K. B. 215: (100 L. J. K. b. 760), by Scrutton L. J. following previous decisions that a writ of certiorari would lie against the order of a tribunal exercising judicial functions even though such a tribunal may not be a Court. To a similar effect are the following observations of Viscount Simon L. O in Ryots of Garabandho v. Zemindar of Par. lakhimedi, A. I. R. (30) 1943 P. C. 164: (I. L. R. (1944) Kar P. C. 119).

'This writ does not issue to correct purely executive acts, but on the other hand, its application is not narrowly limited to inferior 'Courts' in the strictest sense, Broadly speaking, it may be said that if the act done by the interior body a judicial act, as distinguishes from being a ministerial act certiorari will lie.

The order of the Chairman, P. T. A. is clearly a judicial act inasmuch aw it purports to be an order passed in appeal after hearing the parties and after deciding between a proposal and an opposition. In Vedachala Mudliar v. Central Road Traffic Board Madras, A. I. B. (35) 1948 Mad. 454: (I. L. R. (1949) Mad. 194) this power was exercised for quashing an order passed by the Central Road Traffic Board Madras (which corresponds to the P. T. A. in Orissa) on an incompetent appeal.

9. I would therefore make the rule absolute and quash the order dated 27-7-1950 passed by the Chairman, State Transport Authority in M. V. Apps. Nos. 32 and 37 of 1949. The petitioner should get costs and hearing fee of two gold mohurs to be apportioned equally between the two opposite parties.

Ray, C.J.

10. I agree.


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