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T. Govindaraja Mudaliar Etc. Etc. Vs. the State of Tamil Nadu and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Appeal No. 672 to 702, 704 to 710, 722 to 728 and 776 to 781, 1057-1062, 1120 to 1125, 1200, 1
Judge
Reported inAIR1973SC974; (1973)1SCC336; [1973]3SCR222
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 19, 19(1), 19(5) and 19(6); Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 68C, 68D and 68G; Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 1968
AppellantT. Govindaraja Mudaliar Etc. Etc.
RespondentThe State of Tamil Nadu and ors.
Cases ReferredShrinivasa Reddy and Ors. v. The State of Mysore and Ors.
Prior historyFrom the Judgment and Order dated February 3, 1972 of the Madras High Court in Petition No. 883, 884, 885, 886, 942, 992, 993, 994, 995, 1966, 2061, 2649, 3825 of 1970
Excerpt:
motor vehicles - nationalization - sections 68-c, 68-d and 68-g of motor vehicles act, 1939 - nationalization of routes carried out and was challenged - supreme court observed that no question of compensation arises as there has been no cancellation of existing permits - effect of nationalization cannot be said to be exceeding reasonable restriction encompassed by constitution of india - mere fact that schemes were approved without modification does not establish that secretary to state government had failed to carry out his functions properly - no merits in appeal and consequently appeals dismissed. - indian evidence act, 1872. section 3: [dr.arijit pasayat & asok kumar ganguly,jj] murder case -circumstantial evidence held, to draw inference of guilt, all the incriminating facts and.....a.n. grover, j.1. these appeals by certificate arise out of a common judgment of the madras high court given in a number of writ petitions filed before it by various stage carriage operators.2. the facts have been set out in detail in the judgment of the high court and need be stated only briefly. the policy of nationalisation of passenger bus transport in the state of madras (now tamil nadu) was laid down by the government order dated june 7, 1967. under that order all routes of 75 miles and above, all routes radiating or terminating in madras city and all routes in the kanyakungi district were to be nationalised as and when the permits of the private operators expired. by the government order dated june 17, 1967 a committee was constituted for implementing the above decision. a draft.....
Judgment:

A.N. Grover, J.

1. These appeals by certificate arise out of a common judgment of the Madras High Court given in a number of writ petitions filed before it by various stage carriage operatOrs.

2. The facts have been set out in detail in the judgment of the High Court and need be stated only briefly. The policy of nationalisation of passenger bus Transport in the State of Madras (now Tamil Nadu) was laid down by the Government Order dated June 7, 1967. Under that order all routes of 75 miles and above, all routes radiating or terminating in Madras City and all routes in the Kanyakungi District were to be nationalised as and when the permits of the private operators expired. By the Government order dated June 17, 1967 a committee was constituted for implementing the above decision. A Draft scheme was prepared by the committee for nationalising the routes in question to the complete elimination of private operatOrs. This scheme was published Under Section 68-C of the Motor Vehicle Act 1939, hereinafter called the 'Act'. A number of writ petitions were filed in the High Court in 1967 challenging the validity of the draft scheme. That scheme was struck down by the High Court. Thereafter the Governor of Madras inserted Rule 23-A in the Madras Government Business Rules in Exercise of his powers under Article 166 of the Constitution. It was provided thereby that the powers and functions which the State Transport Undertaking could exercise Under Section 68-C shall be exercised by the Secretary to the Government of Madras in the Industries, Labour and Housing Department on behalf of the State Government. It was also provided by that Rule that the powers and functions of the State Government Under Section 68-D of the Act and the Rules relating thereto were to be exercised by the Secretary to the Government of Madras in the Home Department on behalf of the State Government. In April 1968 an Ordinance was promulgated by the Governor which was later replaced by the Madras Act 18 of 1968 which became effective from April 1, 1968. By that enactment Section 47(1) CC, Section 58(2)(A) and Section 68(CC) were added to the Act. Under the first two sections the Regional Transport Authority was to have due regard to the publication of the draft scheme in granting a permit or a renewal of a permit. The State Transport Undertaking, however, was entitled as of right to the issuance of a temporary permit on the publication of a draft scheme under Section 68(CC). In exercise of the powers and functions under the new Business Rule 23-A schemes of nationalisation were promulgated and published. A number of operators again filed writ petitions challenging the draft scheme as also the validity of the Tamil Nadu Act 18. of 1968. The High Court upheld the validity of these provisions including the newly added sections. That decision was affirmed by this Court in A. Sanjeevi Naidu etc. etc. v. State of Madras and Anr. : [1970]3SCR505 .

3. It was pointed out in that judgment that in the State of Tamil Nadu the State Transport Undertaking is a Department of the State Government. Therefore the necessary opinion had to be formed by that Government. It was held that the function under the Act had been allocated by the Governor to the Transport Minister under the Rules and the Secretary of that Ministry had been validly authorised under Rule 23-A to take action Under Section 68 (c) of the Act. The validity of the provisions of the Madras Act 18 of 1968 which amended the Act had been canvassed before this Court but it was observed that it was not necessary to decide that matter while deciding the question of the validity of the impugned scheme.

4. As pointed out by the High Court a third attempt was made by way of filing writ petitions in the High Court out of which the present appeals have arisen to impugn the validity of Chapter IV-A of the Act as amended by Madras Act 18 of 1968. We shall first state the allegations which are relevant for deciding the Constitutionality of the impugned provisions. In this connection we may refer to writ petition No. 780 of 1970 in which the petitioner V, Krishnamurthy was one of those who had challenged the validity of the draft scheme published by the Director, Madras State Transport Department as well as the draft scheme published by the Secretary to the Government of Madras, Industries, Labour and Housing Department. It was stated in para 7 of the petition that by reason of the dismissal of the appeals by this Court the Secretary to the Government, Home Department, would now be competent to take up the draft scheme for hearing Under Section 68-D of the Act. On finalisation of the scheme the petitioner's permit would automatically stand cancelled. In that event the petitioner's business would have to be closed down and he would be seriously affected financially. The following part of paragraph 7 may be reproduced:

It would be seen that the result of the implementation of the Chapter IV-A is that only two buses operated by me as a commercial undertaking could have been nationalised, and the vehicles covered by the permits would be reduced in value to that of scrap and it would have no market at all as there would be no operators who would be coming forward to purchase these vehicles by reason of the nationalisation policy of the Government.

5. According to paragraph 8 of the petition Chapter IV-A of the Act is violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19(1)(f) and (g) of the Constitution for the reason, inter alia, that the permit issued under the Act constitutes property and the right to apply for a permit as also to be granted a renewal of a permit is a right to hold property and the petitioner would be deprived thereof. The petitioner's right under Article 19(1)(f) could, therefore, be taken away only by a law relating to nationalisation of stage carriages if such a law satisfied the test of Article 19(5), namely that it should be a reasonable restriction in public interest. It was stated that public interest would in no way be promoted by nationalisation because the Government undertaking wherever the routes had been nationalised was running into loss. Another attack was made on the ground that no procedural safeguards were contained in the Act before deprivation of the right to property could take place. It was further pleaded that although Section 68-D provided for compensation, being paid at the rate of Rs. 200/-per month of the unexpired portion of each permit there was no provision for compensation where as a result of the approved scheme renewal of the permit was refused.

6. In the return which was filed on behalf of the respondents an objection was raised that the writ petition was liable to be dismissed on the ground of constructive res judicata. A writ petition had been filed on previous occasion and the points now sought to be agitated had not been taken. It was further maintained that according to the scheme it was only on the expiry of the existing permits of operators that the State Transport Undertaking would commence its services under the scheme of nationalisation. Other allegations made were denied.

7. The High Court first considered the question whether Chapter IV-A of the Act is violative of Article 19(1)(f) of the Constitution and the same has been canvassed before us strenuously. The High Court was of the view that a route permit is property and that although the validity of that Chapter had come up for consideration before this Court earlier and had been upheld but the decision in those cases was confined to the attack under Clause (g) of Article 19 and not Clause (f). Now was it open to challenge before the decision of this Court in what is known as the Bank Nationalisation case : Rustom Cavasjee Cooper v. Union of India : [1970]3SCR530 The High Court acceded to the argument of the Advocate General that a bus with a permit is a valuable property but without a permit or when the permit expires it ceases to have more value than what can be fetched in the market. The motor vehicle is not taken away by the Government and the permit holder is free to use it. Since the renewal of a permit is not a matter of right on the expiry of the permit its holder had no property in it and as such there was no question of infringement of his fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 19(1)(f) or Article 31 of the Constitution.

8. It is necessary to notice the previous decisions in which the Constitutional validity of the provisions similar to those of the Act was challenged. In Saghir Ahmed v. State of U.P. and Ors. : [1955]1SCR707 it was held that the U.P. Road Transport Act 1951 violated fundamental rights of private citizens guaranteed under Article 19(1)(f) of the Constitution and was not protected by Clause (6) of Article 19 as k stood at the time of the enactment. A declaration had been made in terms of Section 3 of that Act to the effect that the stage carriage services, among others, on the Bulandshahr Delhi route shall be run and operated exclusively by the State Government. A scheme was also notified for the operation of the stage carriage services on those routes. This was held to be an infraction of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. The new clause inserted in Article 19(6) by the Constitution First Amendment Act 1951 did not apply to the facts of this case. It was observed that after the insertion of that clause no objection could be taken to the creation of a monopoly by the State on the ground that it violated Article 19(1)(g).

9. In the next case Ram Chandra Pilai and Ors. v. The State of Orissa and Ors. [1956] S.C.R. 29 schemes of nationalisation of stage carriage services were assailed on various grounds including Infringement of Article 19(1)(f) and (g). In view of the amendment made in Clause (6) the creation of a state monopoly by law was found to be permissible under that clause. Saghir Ahmad's ease was held to be inapplicable and the decision in Bhikaji Narain,,Dhakras and Ors. v. The State of Madhya Pradesh and Anr. : [1955]2SCR589 was followed. It was not considered necessary to examine the further contention that the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19(1)(f) and 31(2) had been violated. If the permits held under the Act were prematurely terminated or cancelled compensation was provided by the Orissa Act under which the nationalisation had been done. If there was no renewal of the permits on their expiration after they had run for their normal period no claim could be made by the permit holders on the score of such nonrenewal because renewal was not a matter of right. The concerned transport authority would be well within its right to refuse such renewal having regard to the provisions of the amended Sections 47 and 55 of the Act. If at all there was any deprivation of proprietary rights it would be by authority of law. In Gullapalli Nageswara Rao and Ors. v. Andhra Pradesh State Transport Corporation and Anr. [1959] Supp. S.C.R. 319 the validity of the provisions contained in Chapter IV-A of the Act was directly assailed. The Court refused to draw inferences from the provisions contained in Section 68-G for payment of compensation to the holder of a permit that the legislature had assumed that a transfer of the business was involved in the process laid down in Chapter IV-A. Article 31 of the Constitution was held not to having been attracted.

10. Before the decision in K.K. Kochuni and Ors. v. State of Madras and Ors. : [1960]3SCR887 this Court had held in the State of Bombay v. Bhanji Munji and Anr. : [1955]1SCR777 which was followed in certain other cases that the substantive provisions of law relating to acquisition of property were not liable to be challenged on the ground that they imposed unreasonable restrictions on the right to hold property. In other words, in cases falling under Article 31(2) the provisions of Article 19(1)(g) could not be invoked. In Kochuni's case, however, the effect of the Constitution Fourth Amendment Act 1955 on Article 31 was considered. It was held that that Article was no longer a self-contained Article providing for a subject different from that dealt with by Article 19. It dealt with two different subjects. Clauses 2 and 2A dealt with acquisition and requisition and Clause 1 with deprivation of property by authority of law. Clause 1 of Article 31 could no longer be so construed as to exclude the operation of Article 19. Bhanji Munji's case was distinguished on the ground that after the Constitution Fourth Amendment Act it no longer held the field. In Smt. Sitabati Debi and Anr. v. State of West Bengal and Anr. : [1967]2SCR949 it was pointed out that Kochuni's case was not concerned with a law of requisition or acquisition. Therefore the observations therein had to be under-stood as meaning that Bhanji Munji's case no longer governed a case of deprivation of property by means other than requisition and acquisition. In other words any deprivation of property under Article 31(1) had to satisfy the guarantee of other fundamental rights including Article 19(1)(f). In Rustom Cavasjee Cooper's case however, this Court settled the whole position by holding that the limitation prescribed for ensuring due exercise of the authority of the State to deprive a person of his property and the power to compulsorily acquire the property were specific clauses of limitation on the right of private property falling under Article 19(1)(f). Thus the Court came to the conclusion that Articles 19(1)(f) and 31(2) were not mutually exclusive.

11. The argument of the appellants is that prior to the decision in Rustom Cavasjee Cooper's case it was not possible to challenge Chapter IV-A of the Act owing to the decision of this Court that Article 19(1)(f) could not be invoked when a case, fell within Article 31 and that was the reason why this Court in ail the previous decisions relating to the validity of Chapter IV-A proceeded on an examination of the argument whether there was infringement of Article 19(1)(g), and Clause (f) of that Article could not possibly be invoked. We are unable to hold that there is much substance in this argument. Bhanji Munji and other decisions which followed it were based mainly on an examination of the inter-relationship between Article 19(1)(f) and Article 31(2). There is no question of any acquisition or requisition in Chapter IV-A of the Act. The relevant decision for the purpose of these cases was only the one given in Kochuni's case after which no doubt was left that the authority of law seeking to deprive a person of his property otherwise than by way of acquisition or requisition was open to challenge on the ground that it constituted infringement of the fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 19(1)(f). It was, therefore, open to those affected by the provisions of Chapter IV-A to have agitated before this Court the question which is being raised now based on the guarantee embodied in Article 19(1)(f) which was never done. It is apparently too late in the day now to pursue this line of argument, in this connection we may refer to the observations of this Court in Mohd. Ayub Khan v. Commissioner of Police Madras and Anr. : [1965]2SCR884 according to which even if certain aspects of a question were not brought to the notice of the court it would decline to enter upon re-examination of the question since the decision had been followed in other cases. In Smt. Somavanti and Ors. v. The State of Punjab and Ors. : [1963]2SCR774 a contention was raised that in none of the decisions the argument advanced in that case that a law may be protected from an attack under Article 31(2) but it would be still open to challenge under Article 19(1)(f), had been examined or considered. Therefore, the decision of the Court was invited in the light of that argument. This contention, however, was repelled by the following observations at page 794 :-

The binding effect of a decision does not depend upon whether a particular argument was considered therein or not, provided that the point with reference to which an argument was subsequently advanced was actually decided.

12. It is common ground in the present cases that the validity of Chapter IV-A of the Act has been upheld on all previous occasions. Merely because the aspect now presented based on the guarantee contained in Article 19(1)(f) was not expressly considered for a decision given thereon will not take away the binding effect of those decisions on us.

13. The learned Advocate General who appears for the respondents has invited our attention to certain decisions which do not relate to the provisions of the Act but in which the principle which is sought to be invoked on behalf of the appellants based on Article 19(1)(f) has been examined. In Akadshi Padhan v. State of Orissa [1963] Supp. 2 S.C.R. 691 the question was whether the monopoly in the trade of Kendu leaves which the State of Orissa took over constituted restriction on the fundamental right of the petitioner who used to carry on extensive trade in the sale of Kendu leaves. The attack against the Orissa Act by which the monopoly was created was based on the alleged contravention of the fundamental rights under Article 19(1)(f) and (g). The rival contentions which were advanced were that the effect of the change made by the Constitution First Amendment Act 1951 in Article 19(6) was not to exempt the law passed for creating a State monopoly from the application of the rule prescribed by the first part of Article 19(6). On the other hand it was contended by the State that the object of the amendment was to out the monopoly laws beyond the pale of challenge under Article 19(1)(f) and (g). The scope and effect of Article 19(6) after its amendment was fully considered. The Court felt no difficulty in rejecting the argument that the creation of a State monopoly must be justified by showing that the restrictions imposed by it were reasonable and were in the interest of the general public. It was stated emphatically that the amendment clearly indicated that the State monopoly in respect of any trade or business must be presumed to be reasonable and in the interest of general public so far as Article 19(1)(g) was concerned. The Court proceeded to hold that the effect of the amendment made in Article 19(6) was to protect the law relating to the creation of monopoly and that meant it were only these provisions of that law which were integrally and essentially connected with the creation of the monopoly which were protected. The rest of the provisions which might be incidental did not fall under the later part of Article 19(6) and would inevitably have to satisfy the test of the first part of that Article. The question which is more relevant for our purpose was next considered, namely, the effect of the amendment, on the other fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 19(1). The following observations at page 710 on this point may be reproduced :

The position, therefore, is that a law creating a State monopoly in the narrow and limited sense to which we have already referred would be valid under the later part of Article 19(6), and if it indirectly impinges on any other right, its validity cannot be challenged on that ground. If the said law contains other incidental provisions which are not essential and do not constitute an integral part of the monopoly created by i.e., the validity of those provisions will have to be tested under the first part of Article 19(6), and if they directly impinge on any other fundamental right guaranteed by Article 19(1), the validity of the said clause will have to be tested by reference to the corresponding clauses of Article 19. It is obvious that if the validity of the said provisions has to be tested under the first part of Article 19(6) as well as Article 19(5), the position would be the same because for all practical purposes, the tests prescribed by the said two clauses are the same.

14. The instances given in the above decision of the State monopoly in respect of road or air transport are pertinent. A law relating to such a monopoly would not normally impinge upon the citizens' fundamental right under Article 19(1)(f). Similarly a State monopoly to manufacture steel, armaments or transport vehicles or railway engines and coaches would not normally impinge on Article 19(1)(f). If the law creating such monopolies were, however, to make incidental provisions directly infringing the citizens' right under Article 19(1)(f) that would be a different matter, (see pages 710, 711).

15. In Municipal Committee, Amritsar and Anr. v. State of Punjab and Ors. : [1969]3SCR447 the validity of the Punjab; Cattle Fairs (Regulation) Act 1967 came up for examination. The Act declared that the State had the monopoly to hold cattle fairs and it prohibited all local authorities and individuals from holding such fairs at any place in the State. Shah J., delivering the judgment of the Court said at page 456 :-

By imposing restrictions upon the right to hold a fair, the citizens are not deprived of their property, and the freedom guaranteed by Article 19(1)(f) is not infringed. The primary object of the Act is to give a monopoly to the State to hold cattle fairs. As a necessary concomitant of that monopoly, holding of cattle fairs by local authorities and individuals is prohibited. The prohibition flows directly from the assumption of monopoly by the State and falls within the terms of Article 19(6) of the Constitution. It is a provision of the law creating monopoly 'basically and essentially necessary' for creating the State monopoly to prevent other persons from conducting the same business.

16. The learned Advocate General maintains that it follows from the above decisions that when nationalisation of a transport service is made which is fully protected by Article 19(6) no question arises of any deprivation of property. It is possible and likely that the value of the buses owned by the operators may be prejudicially affected or that they may not be able to carry on trade or business on the nationalised routes. According to the clear instance given in Akadshi Padhan's case to which reference has already been made a law relating to such a monopoly would not normally infringe the citizens' fundamental right under Article 19(1)(f).

17. Mr. Natesan for the appellants has pointed out that while promulgating the schemes of nationalisation temporary permits have been granted to the State Road Undertaking and the compensation which is sought to be paid to the permit holders is either nil or too small and there is no provision for payment of any compensation the operators for being deprived of the transport business or for the effect of the non-renewal of their permits. While examining the above contentions it may be stated that there is no dispute on certain matters. The first is that according to the schemes of nationalisation which have been impugned all existing permits must come to an end before each scheme will become enforceable on a particular route. In, other words by virtue of the scheme the existing permits of any operator will not be cancelled. None of the properties or assets of the appellants is going to be acquired. So far as the renewal of a permit is concerned this Court has already held that no operator can claim renewal as a matter of right. Section 68-G of the Act, contains the principle and method of determination of compensation if any existing permit is cancelled or its terms are modified. In the present cases, however no such question arises because no occasion for cancellation of existing permits can arise in view of the terms of the impugned scheme. The effect of nationalisation on the properties or business of the operators is not such as cannot be regarded to be a reasonable restriction in the interest of the general public within Article 19(5) in the same way as a state monopoly must be presumed to be reasonable and in the interest of the general public so far as Article 19(1)(g) and Article 19(6) are concerned this is view of the fact that the tests prescribed by Clauses 5 and 6 of Article 19 are the same : (vide Akadshi Padhan's case). We are accordingly unable to sustain the challenge under Article 19(1)(f) even of such a challenge is open to the appellants in the light of what has been observed earlier.

18. It has next been argued that the nationalisation scheme were vitiated for various reasons. The first submission is that a policy decision was taken by the government which was embodied in the Government Order dated June 17, 1967. It was stated therein that the Government had considered carefully the question of extension of nationalisation of passengers transport in the State. In modification of the existing policy the Government had decided that the types of routes set out should be nationalised. The Government proceeded to direct that the routes in the categories mentioned should be nationalised as and when the permits of the private operators expired. On the same day by another Government Order the Government constituted an ad hoc committee 'to work out the details in all aspects for implementing the policy decision.' One of the members of that committee was the Secretary to the Government, Home Department. The Committee was to submit its report within a fortnight. After the report had been submitted schemes were published Under Section 68-G by the Secretary, Industries, Labour and Housing Department, hereinafter referred to as the Secretary industries. He purported to do so under Rule 23A of the Rules of business. Objections which were fixed by the operators were heard and the schemes considered by the Secretary Home, Under Section 68-D who had been so authorised Under Section 23A. According to the appellants the Secretary, Home, while hearing the objections Under Section 68-D of the Act was acting as a quasi-judicial tribunal. Since he was a member of the committee which had made the report in accordance with which the schemes had been published Under Section 68-C it is claimed that the Secretary, Home, acted as a Judge in his own cause. In other words, he participated in the policy decision of the Government and then he exercised the powers Under Section 68-D of hearing objections and considering the merits of the schemes. This, it is suggested, is wholly contrary to the rules of natural justice the hearing by the Secretary, Home, being vitiated by bias. Learned single Judge of the Calcutta High Court in East India Electric Supply & Traction Co., Ltd. v. S.C. Dutta Gupta and Ors. 59 C.W.N. 162 held that where a number of a rating Committee had already prejudged at least one of the issues that had been raised before it, his inclusion as a member made the Rating Committee and its functioning contrary to law. In Dosa Satyanarayanamurthy etc. v. The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation : [1961]1SCR642 the Minister in charge of the portfolio of Transport had presided over the sub-committee constituted to implement the scheme of nationalisation of bus services. It was contended there that the same Minister could not be a Judge in his own case as he was biased against the private operatOrs. That contention was negatived by this Court. It was pointed out that any decision arrived at by the Sub-Committee was not final or irrevocable and it was only a policy decision. The sub-committee was only meant to advise the State Government how to implement the policy of nationalisation. That could not either expressly or by necessary implication involve a predetermination of the issue. The Minister, therefore, could not be said to have any such bias as disqualified him from hearing objections under Chapter IV-A of the Act in which Section 68-D occurs. This case is quite apposite for disposing of the submission based on bias.

19. The second reason advanced in support of the challenge to the schemes is based on what is described as complete absence of coordination so far as the various schemes are concerned. The objectionable feature of the schemes is stated to be that there was no proper coordination of the services on the various routes which are to be nationalised and which should have been done by an integrated scheme. We are unable to see that if the schemes conformed to the requirements of Section 68-C why they should be struck down on the only ground that routes were to be nationalised as and when permits of private operators on those routes expired. Section 68-C permits the State Transport undertaking to operate a service in relation to any area or route or even a portion thereof and to the exclusion complete or partial, of other persons. The decision in Shrinivasa Reddy and Ors. v. The State of Mysore and Ors. : [1960]2SCR130 can be of no avail to the appellants because no question arose of coordination of service on the various routes which were to be nationalised and in respect of which the nationalisation was to become effective from different dates. In that case it was pointed out that piecemeal nationalisation of a particular route is not permissible. It is quite clear that each route can be nationalised and it is difficult to comprehend that when the law empowers that to be done any further conditions should be superimposed of coordinating the services on all the routes which are proposed to be nationalised. The following observations with regard to the above decision in Dosa Satyanarayanamurthy's case explain the law on the point:

This Court did not lay down that there cannot be any phased programme in the nationalisation of transport services in a State or in a district nor did it hold that there cannot be more than one scheme for a district or a part of a district, the observations of this Court in regard to the implementation of a scheme piecemeal were aimed at to prevent an abuse of power by discriminating against some operators and in favour of others in respect of a single scheme.

20. Learned Counsel for the appellants laid a great deal of emphasis on the manner in which the policy decisions were taken by the Government and the mandatory language contained in the Government Orders already referred to which hardly left any discretion or choice to the authority considering the objections Under Section 68-D of the Act. We are unable to see how any authority who exercises individual power Under Section 68-D is bound by what has been stated as a policy decision of the Government. In fact his main function is to hear such objections as may be referred to the schemes published Under Section 68C and approve or modify the schemes so published after giving an opportunity to the objector. His function being of a quasi-judicial nature he is to bring a judicial approach to the matter and even if he happens to be a servant of the government he is not bound in any way to carry out or endorse the policy of the Government without discharging his duties as contemplated by Section 68-D. We are unable to hold nor has anything been shown to us except the suggestion that the schemes as published Under Section 68-C were approved in toto that the authority acting Under Section 68-D had not discharged his duties in a proper and judicial manner. The mere fact that the schemes were approved without any modification cannot establish that the Secretary, Home who exercised the functions of the State Government Under Section 68-D had failed to carry out his functions as laid down in Section 68-D or that he had approved the schemes without any modification merely because the Government orders contained language of mandatory nature.

21. In the result these appeals fail and they are dismissed but owing to the nature of the points raised there will be no order as to costs.


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