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Chautala Workers Co-operative Transport Society Ltd. and anr. Vs. State of Punjab and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. No. 1037 of 1961
Judge
Reported inAIR1962P& H94
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 254 and 227; Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 64 and 64-A
AppellantChautala Workers Co-operative Transport Society Ltd. and anr.
RespondentState of Punjab and ors.
Appellant Advocate D.S. Nehra, Adv.
Respondent Advocate H.S. Doabia, Addl. Adv.-General and; J.S. Wasu, Adv.
Cases ReferredAmbala Bus Syndicate Private Ltd. v. State of Punjab
Excerpt:
- sections 100-a [as inserted by act 22 of 2002], 110 & 104 & letters patent, 1865, clause 10: [dr. b.s. chauhan, cj, l. mohapatra & a.s. naidu, jj] letters patent appeal order of single judge of high court passed while deciding matters filed under order 43, rule1 of c.p.c., - held, after introduction of section 110a in the c.p.c., by 2002 amendment act, no letters patent appeal is maintainable against judgment/order/decree passed by a single judge of a high court. a right of appeal, even though a vested one, can be taken away by law. it is pertinent to note that section 100-a introduced by 2002 amendment of the code starts with a non obstante clause. the purpose of such clause is to give the enacting part of an overriding effect in the case of a conflict with laws mentioned with the.....order(1) chautala workers, co-operative transport society limited, chautala, district hissar, and the harijans. balmiki friends co-operative transport society limited. dabwali, have approached this court under article 227 of the constitution for quashing the order dated the 10th april 1961 passed by the secretary to the government in transport department. the allegations contained in the petition are that the two petitioner-societies, consisting of harijans, workers, poor villagers, ex-servicemen and labourers, etc. have a share capital of rs. 25,500/- and rs. 32,000/- respectively, both of them being co-operative societies, recently formed. in the year 1958 the punjab government released some new and katcha routes including (a) dabwali-jhuti and (b) dabwali-chautala routes and authorised.....
Judgment:
ORDER

(1) Chautala Workers, Co-operative Transport Society Limited, Chautala, district Hissar, and the Harijans. Balmiki Friends Co-operative Transport Society Limited. Dabwali, have approached this Court under Article 227 of the Constitution for quashing the order dated the 10th April 1961 passed by the Secretary to the Government in Transport Department. The allegations contained in the petition are that the two petitioner-societies, consisting of Harijans, workers, poor villagers, ex-servicemen and labourers, etc. have a share capital of Rs. 25,500/- and Rs. 32,000/- respectively, both of them being co-operative societies, recently formed. In the year 1958 the Punjab Government released some new and Katcha routes including (a) Dabwali-Jhuti and (b) Dabwali-Chautala Routes and authorised the Regional Transport Authority to issue regular permits for these routes to the new co-operative transport societies consisting of workers or of Harijans, etc.

By a notice appearing in the Weekly 'Driver', Jullundur, dated 1st September 1958, applications were invited by the Regional Transport Authority for permits on the above routes by 4th September 1958. The petitioners, accordingly, submitted their applications in respect of the permits on Chautala-Jhuti route. By a press note dated 26th December 1958, issued by the Public Relations Department, applications were again invited on the above route so as to reach the office of the Regional Transport Authority, but the application fee, if any paid earlier, could be adjusted against the fresh applications submitted. In compliance with the above notice the petitioners again submitted applications on the prescribed forms for the grant of permits on the aforesaid routes. It is asserted that Dabwali Transport Company (Private) Limited, Mandi Dabwali, did not submit any application after the above notice.

On 22nd March 1959 the Regional Transport Authority published a list of the applications in the Weekly 'Driver' and invited objections under Section 57(3) of the Motor Vehicles Act. No application having been received from the Dabwali Transport Company (respondent No. 3), there could, according to the petitioners, be no question of the publication of their application, and indeed, the petition proceeds, respondent No. 3 had no right to file any objection to the petitioners' applications. In its meeting held on 18th December 1959 the Regional Transport Authority, after considering the relative merits of the claimants ordered one permits each to be granted to the petitioners on Dabwali-Jhuti route for a period of three years.

After this order, petitioner No.1, that is, Chautala Workers, Co-operative Transport Society Limited purchased three new buses, two of them being Mercedez Benz 1960 and the third one being Leyland 44 seater 1961 Model Bus by spending more than a sum of Rs. 1,40,000/-. This amount is said to have been raised by the said petitioner through a loan of Rs. 60,000/- from the Co-operative Bank at 7 per cent interest and further loans from its members and non-members in the sum of Rs. 70,000/- at 12 per cent interest. The Harijans Balmiki Friends Co-operative Society, petitioner No. 2, has similarly purchased a vehicle at a heavy cost; and both the petitioners started their operation on the above route.

(2) Against the above order of the Regional Transport Authority dated 18th December 1959 the Dabwali Transport Company, respondent N. 3, filed an appeal before the Appellate Authority which was dismissed on the 20th October 1960.

(3) Feeling still aggrieved respondent No. 3 filed a revision against the order of the Appellate Authority, dated 20th October 1960, to the Punjab Government which was heard and disposed of by the Secretary, Transport Department on the 10th of April 1961, whereby he set aside the orders passed by the Appellate Authority and the Regional Transport Authority, thus cancelling the permits granted to the petitioners. It is against this order that the present petition under Article 227 of the Constitution is directed, and the counsel for the petitioners has concentrated on three points. In the first instance, be has assailed the vires and Constitutionality of clause (h) added to Section 64 of the Motor Vehicles Act by the Punjab State. In the second place, he has contended that by virtue of various amendments of the Motor Vehicles Act effected by the Union Act (The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, No. 100 of 1956), clause (h) of section 64 must be deemed to be abrogated and considered to be impliedly repealed with the result that no revision under this provision of law would be competent after the enforcement of Parliament Act 100 of 1956. Lastly, it is contended that the order passed on revision is in any case illegal and therefore open to challenge and liable to be set aside in these proceedings.

(4) It appears to me that points 1 and 2 are virtually based on the same argument and they would therefore be considered together. It is agreed at the Bar that the relevant entry on the subject, with which we are concerned is Entry No. 35 of the Concurrent List in Schedule VII of the Constitution. This entry relates to mechanically propelled vehicles including the principles on which taxes on such vehicles are to be levied. I am, however, of the view that Entry 21 of this list must also be read along with it. Article 254 of the Constitution deals with the in consistency between laws made by parliament and laws made by the State Legislature and is in the following terms:

'254.(1) If any provision of law made by the Legislature of a State is repugnant to any provision of a law made by Parliament which Parliament is competent to enact, or to any provision of any existing law with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent List then, subject to the provisions of clause (2), the law made by Parliament, whether passed before or after the law made by the Legislature of such State, or, as the case may be, the existing law shall prevail and the law made by the Legislature of the State shall, to the extent of the repugnancy be void.

(2) Where a law made by the Legislature of a State with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent List contains any provision repugnant to the provisions of an earlier law made by Parliament or an existing law with respect to that matter, then, the law so made by the Legislature of such State shall, if it has been reserved for the consideration of the President and has received his assent, prevail in that State: Provided that nothing in this clause shall prevent Parliament from enacting at any time any law with respect to the same matter including a law adding to, amending, varying or repealing the law so made by the Legislature of the State.'

(5) It is submitted that by the amending Act (Parliament Act No. 100 of 1956) section 64-A has been added in the Motor Vehicles Act, and it is emphasised that this newly added section is an exhaustive provision on the question of revisions against orders like those passed by the Regional Transport Authority and the Appellate Authority in the case in hand. It would be helpful at this stage to read Section 64A:--

'64A. Revision:--The State Transport Authority may, either on its own motion or on an application made to it, call for the record of any case in which an order has been made by a Regional Transport Authority and in which no appeal lies, and if it appears to the State Transport Authority that the order made by the Regional Transport Authority is improper or illegal, the State Transport Authority may pass such order in relation to the case as it deems fit:

Provided that the State Transport Authority shall not entertain any application from a person aggrieved by an order of a Regional Transport Authority, unless the application is made within thirty days from the date of the order: Provided further that the State Transport Authority shall not pass an order under this section prejudicial to any person without giving him a reasonable opportunity of being heard.'

The argument is that this section being an exhaustive provision on the question of revisions, clause (h) added by the Punjab State to Section 64 must be held to be ultra vires or at least impliedly repealed with the result that no revision under the said clause would be legally competent. In support of his contention Shri Nehra has drawn my attention to some decided cases. Locally added clause (h) of Section 64 may here be read:--

'64. (h) Government may ask the Appellate Authority prescribed under the Rules framed under this section to forward for its consideration any of the appeals decided by the Appellate Authority and may alter, revise, cancel or uphold any such orders.'

The learned counsel has in the course of arguments referred to the Full Bench decision of this Court in Ambala Ex-Servicemen Transport Co-operative Society Ltd., Ambala City v. State of Punjab, AIR 1959 Punj 1 (FB). In that case it was canvassed that section 64A, introduced by Parliament Act 100 of 1956, and Section 62(d) added by the Motor Vehicles (East Punjab Amendment) Act (28 of 1948) were repugnant to each other. Gosain J., who delivered the judgment of the Full Bench (Bhandari C. J. and Dulat J. agreeing with him) after considering the various tests laid down by decided cases, for finding out repugnancy between section 64A and clause (d) of section 62 (as added by the Punjab Act), summarised the position as under:--

'(1) Whether the provisions of the Punjab Act are wholly incompatible with the later Central Act;

(2) Whether the two statutes together would lead to wholly absurd consequence; and

(3) Whether the parliament by enacting Act 100 of 1956 covered the whole filed on the matter or evinced intention to cover the same.''

After applying these three tests to the two statutory provisions, which were the subject-matter of controversy before the Full Bench, the argument of repugnancy or implied repeal was negatived. Shri Nehra has contended that the ratio of this Full Bench decision has been shaken by a later decision of the Supreme Court in Deep Chand v. State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1959 SC 648, where a Bench of five Judges considered whether certain provisions added by the Uttar Pradesh Legislature to the Motor Vehicles Act had become void by reason of the coming into operation of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act (No. 100 of 1956) passed by the Parliament. It is contended that the ratio of the Supreme Court decision, being somewhat in conflict with the ratio of the Full Bench decision of this Court in Ambala Ex-Servicemen Transport Co-operative Society's case, AIR 1959 Punj 1 (FB), I should refer the case to a larger Bench so that the Full Bench decision of this Court may be reconsidered.

After hearing the counsel at length I do not think there is any occasion for referring the case to a larger Bench. In the first instance, I do not find any real conflict between the law as laid down by the Supreme Court and the real ratio of the Full Bench decision. It is true that Gosain J. has, while summarising the true position after considering the case-law, approved a passage from Craies on Statute Law and has perhaps expressed himself in language which at first sight may appear to be somewhat strong, but reading the whole judgment I do not think there is any essential or material difference between the ratio of this Court's decision and that of the Supreme Court. But this apart, in my opinion, the law laid down by the Supreme Court is binding throughout the Union of Indian and therefore for the purposes of deciding the instant case I would prefer to confine myself to the law as laid down by the Supreme Court.

(6) The counsel has contended that, according to the test laid down by the Supreme Court, clause (h) of section 64 (as added by the Punjab State) must be considered to have been abrogated or to have become wholly ineffective. Reference has been made to the following passage in the judgment of Subba Rao, J:--

'A comparison of the aforesaid provisions of the U. P. Act and the Amending Act indicates that both the Acts are intended to operate in respect of the same subject-matter in the same filed. The unamended Motor Vehicles Act of 1939 did not make any provision for the nationalization of transport services, but the States introduced amendments to implement the scheme of nationalization of road transport. Presumably, Parliament with a view to introduce a uniform law throughout the country avoiding defects found in practice passed the Amending Act inserting Chapter IV-A in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939. This object would be frustrated if the argument that both the U. P. Act and the Amending Act should co-exist in respect of schemes to be framed after the Amending Act, is accepted.

Further the authority to initiate the scheme, the manner of doing it, the authority to hear the objections, the principles regarding payment of compensation under the two Act differ in important details from one another. While in the U. P. Act the scheme is initiated by the State Government, in the Amendment Act, it is proposed by the State Transport Undertaking. The fact that a particular undertaking may be carried on by the State Government also cannot be a reason to equate the undertaking with the State Government; for under section 68-A the undertaking may be carried on not only by the State Government but by five other different institutions. The undertaking is made a statutory authority under the Amending Act with a right to initiate the scheme and to be heard by the State Government in regard to objections filed by the persons affected by the scheme. While in the U. P. Act a Board hears the objections, under the Amending Act the State Government decides the disputes. The provisions of the scheme, the principles of compensation and the manner of its payment also differ in the two Acts.

It is therefore manifest that the Amending Act occupies the same filed in respect of the schemes initiated after the amending Act and therefore to that extent the State Act must yield its placed to the Central Act. But the same cannot be said of the schemes framed under the U. P. Act before the Amending Act came into force. Under Article 254(1) the 'law made by Parliament, whether passed before or after the law made by the Legislature of such State...... shall prevail and the law made by the Legislature of the State shall, to the extent of the repugnancy be void'.'

Relying on this ratio it is submitted that clause (h) as added by the Punjab State to section 64, and Section 64A, as inserted by the Parliament, cover the same filed of revisions and therefore they cannot both co-exist. The clause added by the Punjab State must, according to the counsel, be struck down as ineffective or impliedly repealed.

(7) The contention of the learned counsel is based on an obvious misconception in respect of the two impugned provisions. Section 64A, as is obvious, only provides for a revision in cases in which orders have been passed by the Regional Transport Authority and in which no appeal lies, whereas clause (h) added by the Punjab State to section 64 is concerned with the cases in which the Appellate Authority prescribed under the rules has decided appeals obviously preferred against appealable orders. The two fields covered by these two provisions do not thus overlap. It is axiomatic that Courts must try to reconcile two apparently conflicting statutory provisions and must presume and uphold, if it is reasonably possible to do so, the constitutionality of statutory instruments. The rule of harmonious construction and of the presumption of constitutionality are well settled, and it is hardly necessary to deal with them at any length in the instant case.

(8) But, then Mr. Nehra has contended that the rule of exclusion must have been intended by the Parliament to apply to this case with the result that it must be inferred that the Parliament did not intend any appellate order passed by the Appellate Authority to be subject to a further revision. Here again I find it a little difficult to agree with the learned counsel. The rule of exclusion, as is well known, is merely an auxiliary rule of construction adopted for the purpose of ascertaining the intention of the law-giver. It is neither conclusive nor of universal application and is to be applied with great caution. It may be applied only when in the natural association of ideas the contrast between what is provided and what is left out leads to an inference that the ;latter was intended to be excluded; it may accordingly be held inapplicable if there exists a plausible reason for not including what is left out.

In the instant case it is reasonable to assume that the subject-matter of clause (h) added by the Punjab State was not deal with by the Parliament Act as it had already been provided by the local amendment. Besides, no legitimate or convincing reason has been advanced to show as to why the Parliament should be deemed to have intended to take away from the State Government the overall control over the Appellate Authority in respect of appeals decided by it. The argument of the learned counsel, as a matter of fact, proceeds in a circle. His argument seems to be based on an initial assumption that the Parliament intended to apply the rule of exclusion and then by applying the said rule the counsel says that it should be inferred that the Parliament did not intend that the orders of the Appellate Authority should be subjected to a further revision by the State Government. As at present advised, I have not been convinced of the force of this contention.

Statutes conferring powers or investing duties may, normally speaking, be strictly construed so as to treat them not only grants of powers but also as limitations thereon, but then this rule of interpretation can hardly be attracted in the instant case for the purpose of imputing to the Parliament an implied intention to repeal clause (h) added by the Punjab Legislature to section 64. It is in this connection to be remembered that there is, to begin with, a presumption against implied repeals; a presumption classically founded on the doctrine that the Parliament, when enacting a law, is presumed to picture or keep in view the whole body of the existing law on the subject, and therefore, if a repeal of the existing law is intended the Parliament would much rather expressly specify the offending provision than leave it to the not-too-certain rule of implied repeal during the interpretative process by the Courts.

(9) It has been stressed by the petitioners' counsel that keeping in view the object and purpose of, and extensive nature of the amendment effected by, Parliament Act 100 of 1956, it must be assumed that the Motor Vehicles Act, as it emerged after the enforcement of the said Parliament Act, is exhaustive and covers the entire filed of the subject-matter actually dealt with by it. I do not find it possible to acceded to this contention. The object and purpose of the Act has not been shown to support the argument. Nor is the extent of the modifications of much avail to the counsel. The Parliament does not appear to have passed a consolidating Act so as to do away with all the different amendments effected by the various State Legislatures, and indeed there are some decided cases which clearly seem to negative such an intention. The two provisions in question have not been shown to be so much opposed to each other that they cannot co-exist and be cumulative.

While considering the question of repugnancy between two apparently competing provisions an endeavor must be made to reconcile them and to so construe them as to avoid repugnancy, if it is reasonably possible to do so, for, repeal by implication is, generally speaking, not favoured by Courts and would not be upheld unless it is inevitable and also free from reasonable doubt. Section 64A can, in my view, be adopted into the existing scheme of the law on the subject of revisions including clause (h) added by the Punjab State of section 64, and no supervening obstacle in the operation of this clause in the field of revisional interference has been pointed out by the learned counsel which would irresistibly lead to the conclusion that the two cannot co-exist.

(10) In Express Auto Service (Private) Ltd., Dumka v. State of Bihar, AIR 1960 Pat 537, a Division Bench of that Court had an occasion to deal with section 64A added by the Parliament Act and section 64A added by the Bihar Legislature to the Motor Vehicles Act, and an argument similar to the one advanced by Mr. Nehra was pressed there but was disposed of in the following manner :--

'Lastly, it has been contended that section 64A of the Act, as amended by Bihar Act 27 of 1950, has to give way to section 64A of the Act, as amended by the Central Act 100 of 1956, inasmuch as both the sections make the same provision giving revisional jurisdiction to certain authorities. It is submitted that there could not be two parallel Acts to deal with revision applications and it must, therefore, be taken that by amendment of the Act by Central Act 100 of 1956, section 64A, as amended by the Bihar Act, stood impliedly repealed.

In my opinion, there is no force in this argument also. There is no repugnancy between the two sections of the Central Act and the Bihar Act, and they make provisions to meet different clauses of cases. Section 64A of the Act, as amendment by the Central Act, provides for revision by the State Transport Authority only in cases in which no appeal lies; but section 64A of the Act, as amended by the Bihar Act, does not lay down any such condition for giving revisional jurisdiction to the State Government.

Again, section 64A of the Act, as amended by the Central Act, gives power to the State Transport Authority to revise an order of a Regional Transport Authority only, but the above section, as amended by the Bihar Act, gives jurisdiction to the State Government to revise the order of any authority of officer subordinate to it. It is not, therefore, correct to say that the two sections make provisions for the same remedy by two different authorities. There is thus no repugnancy in the two sections, and it cannot be legitimately urged that by the introduction of section 64-A in the Central Act, Section 64-A of the Act, as amended by the Bihar Act, stood repealed.'

In Calicut Wynad Motor Services (Private Ltd.) v. State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Trichur, AIR 1958 Kerala 19, also, a similar contention was repelled by the learned Single Judge in the following words:--

'It will be noticed that there is no inconsistency, express or implicit, between the two provisions. There is nothing impossible or even difficult or unusual in there being two authorities exercising concurrent powers of revision--the concurrent power of revision conferred on the High Court, the Sessions Judge and the District Magistrate by the Code of Criminal Procedure is an instance in point. It is quite possible for the Tribunal appointed under section 64 and the State Transport Authority to function concurrently as revisional authorities under sections 64(2) and 64-A respectively, the former over both the Regional and the State Transport Authorities and the latter over the Regional Transport Authorities, and hence the test of harmonious co-existence and simultaneous obedience is satisfied.'

In the cited case the Madras Legislature had added by Madras Act (XXXIX of 1954) sub-section (2) of section 64, whereby the authority prescribed in sub-section (1) was empowered to call for the records of any Regional Transport Authority or the State Transport Authority for the purpose of satisfying itself as to the legality, regularity or propriety of any order made by such Transport Authority against which no appeal is provided for under sub-section (1), and after examining such records was empowered to pass such orders in reference thereto as it thought fit. The case in hand is, in my view, somewhat stronger than the case before the Kerala High Court.

(11) The counsel also in passing submitted that the Parliament must have intended to take away from the State Government all arbitrary powers of passing orders as its sweet will in the garb of revision under the aforesaid clause (h) of Section 64. This argument is connected with the other point on the basis of which clause (h) has been sought to be declared ultra vires and invalid independently of the provisions of the Parliament Act. It has been submitted that this clause confers uncontrolled and arbitrary powers on the State Government, and, therefore, it must be considered to be unconstitutional. It is emphasised than no test has been laid down as to under what circumstances it is open to the State Government to set aside the order of the Appellate Authority; the clause is also said to be vague as to the nature of the order which the Government may itself pass, for the power conferred is too wide and no guiding principle has been laid down. The counsel has in this connection relied upon Dwarka Prasad v. State of Uttar Pradesh, SIR 1954 SC 224. Head note (b), from which assistance has been sought, is in the following words:--

'An unrestricted power has been given to the State Controller to make exemptions, and even if he acts arbitrarily or from improper motives, there is no check over it and no way of obtaining redress. Clause 3 (2)(b) of the Control Order is, therefore, prima facie unreasonable.'

The reported case was concerned with the U. P. Coal Control Order and the impugned clause was struck down as violative of Article 19 of the Constitution. Some other cases of the Supreme Court were also cited without actually reading the relevant passages. I, however, find it exceedingly difficult to sustain this contention either. The power conferred by clause (h) added by the Punjab State apparently gives an overall control over the orders passed by the Appellate Authority on appeals preferred to it. This power appears to be analogous to the power of revision and indeed at the Bar the counsel proceeded on the assumption that this was a revisional power. Now S. 64 which is headed as 'Appeals' also does not lay down any test as to what kind of an order the appellate Tribunal is entitled to pass and in what circumstances it is entitled to interfere. The word 'appeal' has not been defined anywhere and its scope has not been laid down in the statute in question.

An appeal in legal parlance is held to mean the removal of a cause from an inferior or subordinate to a superior tribunal or forum in order to test and scrutinise the correctness of the impugned decision. It amounts in essence and pith to a complaint to a higher forum that the decision of the subordinate tribunal is erroneous and therefore liable to be rectified or set right. Considered in this background, merely because the section providing for appeals does not lay down specifically any criteria for the guidance of the appellate Tribunal, it is not liable to be struck down an unconstitutional on account of arbitrariness or vagueness, and the appellate Tribunal cannot be considered to be empowered at its whim and fancy to pass any order it likes. It must be guided by the relevant provisions of the law in question. In the instant case the appellate Tribunal must administer the law as laid down in the Motor Vehicles Act when deciding the appeal, and this seems to me to be implicit in the very conception of the functioning of the appellate Tribunal.

(12) Supervisory or revisional power (the term used does not seem to be very material) is also, normally speaking, considered to be a power vesting in the higher or superior tribunal to satisfy itself about the soundness or correctness of the order of the inferior tribunal. One usually accepted difference between the two powers (appellate and supervisory) appears to me to be that an appeal confers a right on the aggrieved party to complain in the prescribed manner to the higher forum, whereas the supervisory or revisional power has for its object the right and responsibility of the higher forum to keep the subordinate tribunals within the bounds of law. The latter power, therefore, can always be exercised sum motu in order to see that the subordinate tribunals do not transgress the limits of law and keep themselves within the power conferred on him.

In order to perform this function in the interests of administration of law, in my opinion, it must be held to be implicit that the supervisory tribunal must also act within the legal limits or the statutory provisions, for the proper administration of which it has been vested with the supervisory power. Just as the subordinate tribunals are in the case in hand bound by the provisos of the Motor Vehicles Act and the rules made thereunder, similarly the supervisory tribunal is also bound to pass orders strictly within the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. Clauses (h) added by the Punjab State of Section 64 must, therefore, in my humble opinion be considered in the same manner in which the appellate provision is considered, and if the Government passes any order which is outside the four corners of the Motor Vehicles Act is influenced by collateral or irrelevant considerations then such an order is liable to be challenged in appropriate proceedings. Such challenge to the order of the Government may either be in this Court on the writ side or before the Supreme Court by way of special appeal if such an appeal is otherwise permissible. The orders passed on applications for permits are quasi-judicial orders; as has been finally settled by the Supreme Court, and, therefore, as just observed while exercising its power under section 64, clause (h), the orders of the Government are amenable to the writ jurisdiction of this Court.

(13) The question of the vires of clause (h) was also argued before me in Ambala Bus Syndicate Private Ltd. v. State of Punjab, ILR (1959) 12 Punj 2108: (AIR 1960 Punj 142), where I upheld its vires. There I said that thought the power conferred by section 64(h) empowers the Government to pass any order it likes by reversing, modifying, cancelling or altering the order passed by the Appellate Authority, this power must be construed to the limited to interference only if the order of the Appellate Authority is considered to he illegal or improper or unreasonable, and without finding the order to be improper the Government could not, and perhaps would not, very or cancel it. I held there that it was implicit in this provision that the order of the Appellate Authority would be revisable only if it was held to be illegal or improper. I may here mention that a Letters Patent appeal against that decision was dismissed to limine. This contention is thus also repelled.

(14) Lastly it was contended that the petitioners are co-operative societies and such societies are, as a matter of policy, to be given preference over other operators. Besides, so argues the counsel interference by the State with the order of the Appellate Authority is contrary to law because there was no infirmity in the appellate order which justified interference on revision. It is emphasised that Dabwali Transport Company (respondent No. 3) having not filed any application second time, it was obviously not entitled to be heard either in opposition to the petitioner's claim or in pressing its own claim. After going through the order of the Secretary to Government, Punjab (Transport Department), dated 10th April 1961, I have no hesitation in holding that the conclusion drawn in that order is a permissible and a possible conclusion and there is, therefore, no scope for interference with that order under Article 227 of the Constitution.

(15) The power under Article 227 is extraordinary and must therefore be used only in exceptional cases of flagrant abuse of elementary principles of justice or manifest and patent error of law. I am satisfied that such is not the case here. Besides, the consequence which flow from this order are just and fair, for, they would merely enable the claim of respondent No. 3 also to be considered along with the claim of the two petitioners in this Court. If the basic consideration in granting the permit is the benefit and advantage of the travelling public, I do not see any harm in the Transport Authorities considering the claim of other applicants also in addition to those of the present petitioners. The impugned order not being beyond the power of the Government, I would feel disinclined to interfere under Article 227 of the Constitution.

(16) An appeal was made by the counsel on the ground that the petitioner-societies are owned by Harijans, etc. It may be so, but I do not think it is possible for me on this ground to rule out the consideration of the claims of other operators on the merits. When the authorities determine the rights of various claimants. I have not the least doubt that whatever privileges have under the law been conferred on Harijans and workers and co-operative societies, would be kept in view and the decision would be arrived at in a just and impartial manner strictly in accordance with the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act and the rules made thereunder.

(17) For the foregoing reasons I dismiss this petition but with no order as to costs.

(18) Petition dismissed.


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