1. This appeal under Clause 10 of the Letters Patent is directed against the order of a learned Single Judge dated January 12, 1972 accepting C. W. 2970 of 1971. The appellant was one of the respondents to the said writ petition.
2. The facts are that Barnala Transport Service Private Limited (respondent No. 3) held four permits on 'Barnala Diwana extended up to Hathur route' providing for six return trips. The route was extended up to Jagraon by the State Transport Commissioner by order dated March 30, 1971, after following the procedure prescribed in Section 57 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (hereinafter called the Act). The appellant contested the application of respondent 3 for extension of the route and having failed filed an appeal before the appellate authority (District and Sessions Judge, Ludhiana). The learned appellate authority accepted the appeal by order dated July 31, 1971 and set aside the order of the State Transport Commissioner. The main argument which prevailed with the learned appellate authority was that clause (xxi) of Section 48(3) of the Act applied to the permits and, therefore, no variation in the distance of the route could be made for more than 24 kilometers. In this case it was pleaded that the original permits were between Barnala and Diwana which were first extended up to Hathur and then upto Jagraon. The distance between Hathur and Jagraon was admittedly less than 24 kilometres but between Diwana and Jagraon. It was more than 24 Kilometres. Against the order of the appellate authority respondent 3 filed C. W. 2970 of 1971, which was accepted by the learned Single Judge on the ground that clause (xxi) of Section 48(3) did not apply and the extension in the route could be granted under Section 57(8) of the Act.
3. The learned counsel for the appellant has stressed that Section 57(8) of the Act only prescribes the procedure but does not prescribe the authority which can vary the conditions of any permit by the inclusion of a new route or routes or a new area. According to Section 57(8), such an application is to be treated as an application for grant of new permit. It, therefore, follows that the application to vary the conditions of a permit by the inclusion of a new route or routes or a new area has to be made to the same authority which is competent to grant a new permit. It is not disputed that the State Transport Commissioner was competent to grant a new permit and, therefore, was also competent to deal with the application for extension of the route. This admission is, therefore, repelled.
4. The learned counsel then argued that under Section 48(3) of the Act, the Regional Transport Authority can attach to the permit any one or more of the conditions specified therein and condition No. 1 is 'that the vehicle or vehicles shall be used only in a specified area, or on a specified route or routes.' If that condition has to be changed, it can only be done under clause (xxi) of sub-section (3) of Section 48 of the Act. It is admitted by the learned counsel that clause (xxi) was not prescribed as a condition of the permit and, therefore, it cannot be said that condition No. 1 with regard to the route could be changed only as is provided in clause (xxi) ibid. As I have pointed out above, a specific provision for the extension of a route permit has been made in Section 57(8) of the Act and any order under that sub-section can be passed to vary the conditions of a permit including condition No. 1 with regard to the area or the routes specified in the permit. 'Route' has been defined in Section 2(28A) of the Act to mean-
' a line of travel which specifies the highway which may be traversed by a motor vehicle between on terminus and another.'
From this definition it is clear that if one of the two termini of a route is to be changed, it can be done under Section 57(8) of the Act and not under Clause (xxi) of Section 48(3).Clause (xxi) applies to the variation of the distance covered by the original route, that is, the termini prescribed for the original route should remain the same or, in other words, this clause applies only to a diversion of a route between two termini fixed for the original route and not for the extension thereof beyond one of the two termini. If a route has to be extended beyond one of the two termini, the application has to be made under Section 57(8) and not under clause (xxi) of Section 48(3) of the Act. There is, therefore, no merit in this submission of the learned counsel, for the appellant.
5. Lastly, the learned counsel for the appellant argued that under Section 57(8) of the Act no extension of the route could be made because the permits held by respondent 3 were temporary permits. In reply, it has been stated by the learned counsel for respondent 3 that the permits were in fact regular permits but were being issued on four monthly basis because the Government was considering the scheme of hundred per cent nationalisation of the routes living in the area of the former Pepsu State. Support is sought from the minutes o the meeting of the State Transport Commissioner dated September 29, 1969 filed as annexure R-1 to its written statement by the appellant-Company wherein it is mentioned that respondent 3 is allowed extension of Barnala-Diwana route up to Hathur on four monthly basis. A temporary permit cannot be granted for more than four months and can only be granted once. The State Transport Commissioner had adopted this method of granting permits on four monthly basis pending the decision with regard to nationalisation policy so that no complications are created if the Government decides to nationalise all the routes lying in the Pepsu area. It has been mentioned in the impugned order of the State Transport Commissioner (copy annexure A to the writ petition) that 'the earlier extension up to Hathur is not to be counted as it has been done on regular basis and the new regular extension is the original permit.' In the permit the date of its operation is stated to be from July 1, 1970, to June 30, 1973, that is for a period of three years although the order of the State Transport Commissioner is dated March 30, 1971, and the permit issued bears the date April 30, 1971. This permit makes it clear that the previous renewal of the permits on four monthly basis was in the nature of a regular permit being issued on four monthly basis and not that temporary permits for four months were being issued successively which could not be done.
6. There is another way of looking at the matter. It is admitted that originally the permits for the route from Barnala to Diwana were regular permits issued to respondent 3 from time to time and those permits were granted temporary extension up to Hathur and thereafter up to Jagraon on regular basis. The order of the State Transport Commissioner can also be considered as granting new regular permits on Barnala-Jagraon route because it is admitted by the learned counsel for the appellant that the procedure prescribed by Section 57 of the Act was followed in this case. If at all the grievance should be on the side of the respondent 3 that the period of its permits was reduced by nine months that is, the order having been passed on March 30, 1971, the permit was issued from July, 1970. But we fail to understand how the appellant can make a grievance thereof. This submission of the learned counsel is also repelled.
7. For the reasons given above, we find no merit in this appeal which is dismissed with costs. Counsel's fee Rs. 200/- to be shared equally by respondents 2 and 3.
8. Appeal dismissed.