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Saraswati Co-operative Transport Society Ltd. Vs. Chief Commissioner Delhi State and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetters Patent Appeal No. 37-D of 1955
Judge
Reported inAIR1958P& H465
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 64
AppellantSaraswati Co-operative Transport Society Ltd.
RespondentChief Commissioner Delhi State and ors.
Appellant Advocate A.N. Grover, Adv.
Respondent Advocate R.L. Anand and; Bishamber Dayal, Advs.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredSangram Singh v. Election Tribunal Kotah
Excerpt:
.....a single judge in exercising powers of superintendence under article 227 of the constitution. - the unsuccessful applicants who are aggrieved by the rejection of their applications are given a right of appeal to obtain permits for themselves and not to get a permit cancelled which has been granted to other persons......of the transport authority. such an appeal docs not necessarily involve the cancellation of a permit granted to any person or persons. under section 64(f) a local authority or police authority or an association or a person providing transport facilities who is aggrieved by the grant of a permit to a person can appeal, but no other person has been given the right of appeal on this ground.in the present case, therefore, the delhi agra goods transport company had no right of appeal to the appellate authority for the purposes of getting the permit granted to the petitioner-appellant cancelled. the policy of section 64 appears to me to be to give a right of appeal to persons aggrieved by the order of the transport authority refusing permits to them but not to get the permits granted to.....
Judgment:

Bishan Narain, J.

1. The Saraswati Co-operative Transport Society, Limited of Delhi, applied to this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to get an order of the Chief Commissioner dated the 10th of September, 1954, quashed by which he as Appellate Authority had granted a stage carriage permit to the Delhi Agra Goods Transport Company, Limited of Delhi, along with the petitioning Company on the Delhi-Jaipur route. This petition was dismissed on the 27th of September, 1955, and the Saraswati Cooperative Society has filed this appeal under Clause 10 of the Letters Patent.

2. The facts leading to this appeal briefly are as follows. The State Transport Authority of the Delhi State invited applications for stage carriage permits on various routes including the route now in question. About 750 applications were received. The State Transport Authority after hearing the applicants granted permits to various persons and one permit was granted to the appellant Society to ply a bus on the Delhi-Jaipur route.

No other person was granted a permit for this route. The Delhi Agra Goods Transport Company, Limited, appealed to the Chief Commissioner under Section 64(a) of the Motor Vehicles Act impleading the State Transport Authority as respondent. The appeal was heard and on the 10th of September, 1954, the Chief Commissioner ordered that a permit be issued to the Delhi Agra Goods Transport Company, Limited, for this route. This order was passed without any notice to the appellant Society and without hearing it.

On coming to know of this order the Society applied for review, but the Chief Commissioner while stating that according to the usual practice he should have heard the Society, dismissed it on the ground that he had no power to review his order. Thereupon the writ petition out of which this appeal has arisen was filed in this Court.

3. The learned counsel for the appellant has urged two points in support of this appeal, namely (1) that the Society was interested in the appeal filed by the Delhi Agra Goods Transport Company, Limited and should have been heard before the impugned order was passed, and (2) that the Chief Commissioner had no jurisdiction to order the issuance of a new permit without following the procedure laid down in Section 57 of the Motor Vehicles Act,

4. I proceed to deal with the first point first. Section 64 of the Act lays down that an aggrieved person may appeal to the prescribed authority within prescribed time in the prescribed manner and that authority is to decide the appeal after giving an opportunity of being heard to the appellant and to the authority against which the appeal has been filed. It is to be noticed that there is no provision in the Act nor in the rules under which any person other than the appellant or the Original Authority is to be impleaded or heard. The Act does not contemplate that anybody else should be heard in appeal. The learned counsel's argument is that his client was seriously affected by the impugned order, and that it would be contrary to all canons of natural justice if the appeal in such circumstances was to be decided without affording any opportunity to his client, the Society, to place its case before the Appellate Authority.

The learned counsel has relied on Sangram Singh v. Election Tribunal Kotah, (S) AIR 1955 SC 425 (A). in support of his contention. The Supreme Court did not deal in that ease with the Motor Vehicles Act, but it has laid down--

'that a law of natural justice exists in the sense that a party must be heard in a Court of law, or at any rate be afforded an opportunity to appear and defend himself, unless there is express provision to the contrary....'

Now, Section 64 of the Act grants right to appeal to persons who are aggrieved by an order of the Transport Authority. Such an appeal docs not necessarily involve the cancellation of a permit granted to any person or persons. Under Section 64(f) a local authority or police authority or an association or a person providing transport facilities who is aggrieved by the grant of a permit to a person can appeal, but no other person has been given the right of appeal on this ground.

In the present case, therefore, the Delhi Agra Goods Transport Company had no right of appeal to the Appellate Authority for the purposes of getting the permit granted to the petitioner-appellant cancelled. The policy of Section 64 appears to me to be to give a right of appeal to persons aggrieved by the order of the Transport Authority refusing permits to them but not to get the permits granted to others cancelled. The reason is obvious

The stage carriage permits are to be granted or refused in public interest and not to advance private or individual interests, nor are these permits to be granted to enable certain persons to increase their sources of income. Therefore when a Transport Authority comes to the conclusion that a stage carriage permit should be issued for a given route it has to invite applications for this purpose. The applications are then to be published and decided on a given date in a public hearing.

At that time all persons who have made representations or submitted applications have a right to be heard (vide Section 57). After the hearing the Transport Authority passes orders granting any number of permits on a given route in the public interest. The unsuccessful applicants who are aggrieved by the rejection of their applications are given a right of appeal to obtain permits for themselves and not to get a permit cancelled which has been granted to other persons.

It is for this reason that Section 64 lays down that an opportunity should only be given to the person aggrieved and to the original authority of being heard and to no one else as no one else is interested in the matter. If it were otherwise, it would not be possible to dispose of an appeal within a reasonable time after service of notice on all the applicants and persons who have a right to be heard under the Act and it would prominently introduce consideration of private interests which are opposed to the object of the Act.

The Transport Authority in appeal represent the applicants' interests so far as they are consistent with the public interest. In these circumstances it cannot be said that a party to whom a permit has been granted on a given route is interested in opposing the appeal of another person who wishes to get a permit granted to him on that very route. It may be that a person to whom a permit has been issued is financially affected if the Appellate Authority decides to issue an additional permit on the same route because thereby an additional competitor is introduced, but that is a consideration which is not relevant for the purposes of advancing the object of the Act.

The matter of additional permits is to be decided on the ground of public and not individual or personal interest The public interest is represented by the Original Transport Authority. The principle laid down in the Supreme Court judgment AIR 1955 SC 425 (A), would have applied to the present case only if the appellant's permit had been cancelled or was sought to be cancelled and not otherwise. Therefore, in the present case the appellant had no right as a matter of law or under the rules of natural justice to be heard by the Chief Commissioner before the impugned order was made.

5. It was then argued that the Chief Commissioner could not grant an additional permit without following the procedure laid down in Section 57 of the Act. In other words, the contention is that after the Chief Commissioner had decided that an additional permit should be granted on this route, he should have remanded the case to the Original Authority to choose the person to whom it should be granted.

This means that the Appellate Authority has no power to decide the appeal finally when an appeal is filed under Section 64(a) against the refusal to grant a permit to the appellant. Moreover, before an appeal is filed, the Transport Authority has to comply with the provisions of Section 57, which was admittedly done in the present case, and then the record goes to the Appellate Authority for decision of the appeal. No reason has been brought to my notice which should impel me to hold that in such circumstances the Appellate Authority has no power to decide an appeal finally but has to remand the case for observing afresh the provisions of Section 57 of the Act and then the Transport Authority should grant additional permit or permits.

Such a procedure, while unnecessary, must cause considerable delay in disposing of the matter finally. If the contention of the learned counsel is accepted, then an appeal cannot be decided finally within a reasonable time because after every remand there will be a fresh right of appeal to all applicants and then this process can be continued indefinitely because after every decision on remand an applicant can move the Appellate Authority who can never pass a final order. This reduces the right of appeal under Section 64(a) for grant of permit into a farce. I have therefore no hesitation in rejecting this contention.

6. No other point was argued before us. This appeal therefore fails and is dismissed with costs.

D. Falshaw, J.

7. I agree.


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