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The Dashmesh Tractor Trolley Union and ors. Vs. the State of Punjab and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petition No. 8796 of 1994
Judge
Reported in(1997)116PLR649
ActsCentral Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 - Rule 2
AppellantThe Dashmesh Tractor Trolley Union and ors.
RespondentThe State of Punjab and ors.
Appellant Advocate J.R. Mittal, Sr. Adv. and; M.S. Joshi, Adv.
Respondent Advocate D.S. Dhillon, DAG,; Sarwan Gupta, Adv. for Respondent No. 4 and;
Excerpt:
- .....petitioners in these writ petitions are seeking to quash the amendment of rule 2 of the central motor vehicles (amendment) rules 1993 adding clauses (b) and (c) to rule 2 of central motor vehicles rules, 1989 and also to issue a direction to the respondents to renew their goods carriage permits.3. the main grievance of the writ petitioners is in regard to the addition of sub clauses (b) and (c) in rule 2 of the central motor vehicles rules by which agricultural tractor and agricultural trailer were defined as non-transport vehicles. it is further the case of the writ petitioners that by virtue of the amendment, the respondent are not treating the tractor as goods carriage vehicle and are refusing to renew the permits or refusing to grant fresh permits to the tractors.4. the.....
Judgment:

T.H.B. Chalapathi, J.

1. These two writ petitions raise common questions of law and facts and therefore, they are disposed of by this common judgment.

2. The petitioners in these writ petitions are seeking to quash the amendment of Rule 2 of the Central Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Rules 1993 adding clauses (b) and (c) to Rule 2 of Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 and also to issue a direction to the respondents to renew their goods carriage permits.

3. The main grievance of the writ petitioners is in regard to the addition of sub clauses (b) and (c) in Rule 2 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules by which Agricultural Tractor and Agricultural Trailer were defined as non-transport vehicles. It is further the case of the writ petitioners that by virtue of the amendment, the respondent are not treating the tractor as goods carriage vehicle and are refusing to renew the permits or refusing to grant fresh permits to the tractors.

4. The petitioners are owners of tractors and trailers. They are carrying the trade of tractors and trailers as goods carriers. The petitioners have obtained public carrier permits to carry the goods as required under the provisions of the Act. The grouse of the petitioners is that because of the addition of the definition in the rules defining the Agricultural Tractor and Trailer, the authorities are treating all the tractors and trailers as agricultural tractors and agricultural trailers falling within the purview of Rule 2(b) and (c) and they are refusing to renew the public carrier permits or issue fresh permits to the tractors/trailers though they are not used for agricultural purposes and are only use for carrying the goods. The contention of the petitioners is that the definitions added in the rules are contrary to the provisions of the main Act namely Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and, therefore, the provisions of Rule 2(b) and (c) are ultra vires of the rule making power and, therefore, liable to be quashed. Consequently they also pray that the respondents be directed to renew their public carrier permits or issue l'resh permits under the provisions of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

5. To decide the controversy raised by the petitioners, it is useful to examine the provisions of the main Act and the amended provisions.

6. Tractor is defined Under Section 2(44) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 as follows;-

'tractor' means a motor vehicle which is not itself constructed to carry any load (other than equipment used for the purpose of propulsion), but excludes a road-roller.

Under Section 2(46) trailer is defined as follows:-

'trailer' means any vehicle, other than a semi-trailer and side car, drawn or intended to be drawn by a motor vehicle.'Under Section 2(47) a transport vehicle is defined as follows;-

'transport vehicle' means a public service vehicle, a goods carriage, an educational institution bus or a private service vehicle'.A motor vehicle is defined Under Section 2(28) as follows:-

'motor vehicle or vehicle means any mechanically propelled vehicle adapted for use upon roads whether the power of propulsion is transmitted thereto from an external or internal source and includes a chassis to which a body has not been attached and a trailer, but does not include a vehicle running upon fixed rails or a vehicle of a special type adapted for use only in a factory or in any other enclosed premises or a vehicle having less than four wheels fitted with engine capacity of not exceeding (twenty five) cubic centimeters.

A goods carriage is defined Under Section 2(14) as follows;-

'goods carriage means any motor vehicle constructed or adapted for use solely for the carriage of goods or any motor vehicle not so constructed or adapted when used for the carriage goods. Heavy goods vehicle is defined Under Section 2(16) as under;-'heavy goods vehicle means any goods carriage the gross-vehicle weight of which, or a tractor or a road-roller the unladen wright of either of which, exceeds 12,000 kilograms.

7. Thus a reading of the above provisions clearly shows that a tractor is a motor vehicle and trailer is also a motor vehicle. Transport vehicle includes goods carriage. A goods carriage is a motor vehicle. Heavy goods vehicle is a goods carriage, or a tractor. Thus the above provisions dearly show that a tractor is included within the definition of Motor Vehicles Act, as goods carriage, heavy goods vehicle and also as transport vehicle. Therefore, as per rules contained in Motor Vehicles Act, a tractor is said to be used as a goods vehicle. For its use, a permit is required to be granted. Under Section 2(31) permits arc issued by the Regional Transport Authority or an authority prescribed in this behalf under the Act authorising the use of a motor 'vehicle as transport vehicle.

8. Sections 78 and 85 deal with the procedure for granting goods permits. Section 86 deals with cancellation and suspension of permits. Thus the provisions of the Act clearly show that for a tractor when used as a good carriage vehicle or heavy goods vehicle, a permit is required to be issued and without permit it cannot be used as a goods carrier. The petitioners intend to use the tractors for the purposes of transporting goods for hire and reward. Therefore, the petitioners before plying the tractors as goods carriage vehicles are bound to obtain the permits and the authorities can deny permits only in accordance with the provisions contained in Sections 79 and 80 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

9. The main grievance of the petitioners appears to be that the permits are being refused to be renewed or grant fresh permits on the ground that the tractors and trailers will come within the definition of Rule 2(b) and (c) and therefore, no goods carriage permit could validly be granted under the provisions of Sections 79 and 80 of the Motor Vehicles Act. It is, therefore, necessary to examine the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 which stood amended by a Notification of the Govt. of India bearing No. GSR338(E) dated 26.3.1993. By virtue of the amended Rules of 1993, the definition of Agricultural Tractor and Agricultural trailers is given in Rule 2(b) and (c). Rule 2(b) defines the 'Agricultural Tractor and Rule 2(c) defines the Agricultural Trailer as follows:-

'2(b) 'Agricultural tractor' means any mechanically propelled 4 wheel vehicle designed to work with suitable implements for various field operations and/or trailers to transport agricultural materials. Agricultural tractor is non-transport vehicle'.

(c) 'Agricultural trailer' means a trailer generally left uncovered with single/double axle construction which is coupled to an Agricultural Tractor by means of two hooks and predominantly used for transporting agricultural materials'.

10. Thus a reading of these two provisions clearly shows that an agricultural tractor is a four wheel vehicle designed to work with suitable implements for various field operations and to transport agricultural materials only. An agricultural trailer is a non transport vehicle like an agricultural tractor and is generally left uncovered with single/double axle which is coupled to an agricultural tractor and predominantly used for transporting agricultural, material. A reading of the above rules of 1993 clearly gives an expression that these definitions were intended to benefit the agriculturists for the purposes of agricultural operations. Rule 50 as amended shows that in the case of agricultural tractors, the registration mark need not to be inclined to the vertical by more than 30 degrees. Sub rule (6) of Rule 50 was also amended which provides that the registration mark of the drawing agricultural tractor may not be exhibited on the agricultural trailer or trailers, Rule 93 as amended provides that in case of agricultural tractors lateral projection upto 700 milimetres beyond the central line of the rear wheel shall be permitted. Rule 96 was also amended exempting the tractors in regard to the operation of the brakes of the motor vehicles. Sub rule (7) of Rule 96 was also amended providing that in the case of agricultural tractor, the braking system shall act as on both the rear wheels either directly or through the transmission gear. The table given Under Section 96 was also amended providing a separate load and weight for the agricultural tractors. Sub clause (2) of Rule 98 was added providing a separate steering gear for agricultural tractor different from the steering gear of other mother vehicles. Rule 100 was amended giving differential treatment to agricultural tractors. Rules 105, 106, 109, 111 and 115 were also amended giving some exemptions to the agricultural tractors. Thus the rule making authority wanted to give certain benefits to the tractors used predominantly for the agricultural operations and for agricultural goods and inclusion of agricultural tractors and agricultural trailers in the definition under Rule 2 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 as amended in 1993 does not take away the tractor from the definition of goods carriage vehicle or heavy goods vehicle. The amendments, as seen above, are intended only to benefit the agriculturists who use the tractors and trailers in agricultural operations. That does not mean that no tractor or trailer shall be used as goods vehicle. Admittedly, the definitions in Section 2(14), 2(16), 2(21), 2(44), 2(46) and 2(47) of the Motor Vehicles Act are not amended. Therefore, the petitioners cannot challenge the amendments to the Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 as they are not the persons affected by the amendments of the rules. Their rights under the Act have not been taken away by the amendments. The said amendments were only intended to benefit the agriculturists who use the tractors and trailers in the agricultural operations. Therefore, there is no question of quashing the Rule 2(b) and (c) as amended in 1993 vide notification No. GSR 338 (E) dated 26.3.1993.

11. The next grievance of the petitioners is that the authorities are refusing either to renew the permits already granted or to grant fresh permits on the ground of amendments in the rules. As discussed above, the amendments do not take away the right of the owners of the tractors and trailers who use them as goods vehicles for hire or reward. All the tractors cannot be taken as agricultural tractors. Only those tractors which are used for agricultural purposes will come within the definition of Rule 2(b) and (c). All other tractors and trailers will be governed by the provisions of the Act and they are entitled to public carrier permits or renewal of the old permits. The petitioners have not filed any order of the authority in the State of Punjab refusing either to renew the licences or refusing to grant new licences. They are only apprehending that in view of the amendments in the rules, their permits will not be renewed or no fresh permit will be granted. I do not find any valid ground for the apprehension of the petitioners. In the writ petition, it is stated that the 2nd. respondent has orally declined even to entertain the application of some of the members whose permits have expired or near about to expire, but it appears that the respondents filed a written statement in CWP No. 9764 of 1994. In the said written statement, it is stated in para 4 as follows:-

'In reply to para 4 of the writ petition the respondent-State had taken a specific stand to the effect that on receipt of notification dated 26.3.1993, the Tractor-Trollies are not issued or renewed goods carriage permit and further the State is taking steps for cancellation of licences already issued. Para 4 of the written statement is reproduced for ready reference of this Hon'ble Court:-

'Para 4 - In reply to para No. 4, of the petition, it is submitted that consequent upon the receipt of Notification dated 26.3.1993 vide which the Agricultural Tractor was declared to be a non-transport vehicle, no goods carriage permit has either been issued or renewed in favour of the Tractor Trolleys which is evident from the fact that aggrieved from the action of the office of the answering respondent of not issuing/renewing the regular goods carriage permits in favour of the Tractor Trolleys, some of the owners of the Tractor Trolleys have filed CWP Nos. 309 of 1994 and 8796 of 1994 in the Hon'ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana and identical matter involved in another writ Petition No. 9764 of 1994 and the same are yet pending for decision. It may also be added here that the cases of the Tractor Trolleys who were issued Goods Carriage permits before the receipt of notification dated 26.3.1993 by the office of the Answering respondent are being examined for cancellation'.

12. In the light of the above written statement, CWP No. 9764 of 1994 was disposed of with the following orders passed by this Court on 27.9.1994;-

'In view of the averments made in para No. 4 of the written statement, the writ petition stands disposed of. However, we hope that the State would complete its action within six months from today'.

13. Therefore, the apprehension of the petitioners appears to be well founded that their permits are likely to be cancelled and they would not be granted fresh permits. In my view, the reading of the provisions of the Act and the rules as amended, every tractor is not an agricultural tractor. Only those tractors and trailers, which are used for the purpose of agricultural operations would fall within the definition of Rule 2(b) and (c) of the amended rules. The tractors and trailers which are used for carrying goods and not for agricultural operations and transport of agricultural materials will not come within the purview of Section 2(b) and (c) of the amended rules of 1993. Thus the amended rules will apply only to agricultural tractors and agricultural trailers. There is no question of denying of any permit to a tractor, if the owner/that tractor wants to use it as a transport vehicle or as goods carriage vehicle, in which events, he is entitled to get a permit under the provisions of the Act. There cannot be any dispute that rule making authority cannot travel beyond the provisions of the Act.

14. In this view of the matter, I allow both the writ petitions in part and direct the authorities to consider the applications of the petitioners for the grant or renewal of the permit to their tractors as goods vehicles on their own merits and no renewal or issue of fresh permit shall be denied on the basis of introduction of the definition of Agricultural Tractor and Agricultural Trailer in Rule 2(b) and (c) of the amended Rules. There will be no order as to costs.


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