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Charanjit Singh Vs. the State of Delhi and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Appeal No. 1367 of 1979
Judge
Reported inILR1979Delhi661
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 23(7)
AppellantCharanjit Singh
RespondentThe State of Delhi and ors.
Advocates: Y.S. Chitaley,; B.R. Kapur,; S.K. Mahajan and;
Cases ReferredRoshan Lal Gautain v. The State of Uttar Pradesh and
Excerpt:
.....the starting as well as the ending points are both situated within the state, it would be intra-state transport and it is forbidden.; 4. there is another endorsement made by the nagaland government under section 63(7) on the permit with certain conditions and condition (c) states, that 'the vehicle shall not undertake 'extra-state' transportation of passengers.' the words 'extra-state', like the words 'intra-state' mean outside the state. the prohibition of the 'extra-state' transport does not mean that transport beyond the visiting states is forbidden. what it means is that transport outside the state of nagaland is forbidden. that is to say, journey of a tourist vehicle cannot be confined entirely within the state of nagaland, nor can that journey be entirely outside the state of..........contained in sub-section (1) but subject to any rules that may be made under this act, any 'state transport authority may, for the purpose of promoting tourism, grant permits valid for the whole or any part of india in respect of such number of tourist vehicles as the central government may in respect of that state, specify in this behalf, and the provisions of sections 49, 50, 51, 57, 58, 59, 59-a, 60, 61 and 64 shall, as far as may be, apply in relation to such permits.'theexpression 'tourist vehicle' is defined in section 2(29-a) as follows: ''tourist vehicle' means a contract carriage contracted or adapted and equipped and maintained in accordance with such specifications as the state government may, by notification in the official gazette, specify in this behalf.' the.....
Judgment:

V.S. Deshpande, C.J.

(1) To encourage tourist transport in India, section 63(7) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 has been inserted in the Act to provide for the issue of permits in respect of tourist vehicles. In view of the growing importance of tourist traffic the ascertainment of the scope of the permit issued for a tourist vehicle has become important. It is this question which arises in this writ petition.

(2) The petitioner is the holder of a permit valid for the States of India mentioned therein in respect of a tourist vehicle plied by him. The permit has been issued to him by the State of Nagaland in 1979 under section 23(7) of the Motor Vehicles Act. The petitioner is, however, plying the vehicle between Delhi and Agra and Delhi and Jaipur, but not between Nagaland and Delhi and vice-versa. A prosecution has been launched against him under section 124 of the Act for plying his vehicle without a valid permit.

(3) This writ petition challenges the validity of the prosecution on the ground that the petitioner holds a valid permit for plying between Delhi and Agra or Delhi and Jaipur. The petitioner contends that he is not required to ply between Nagaland and Delhi and Vice-versa. It is true that such objection could have been raised by the petitioner in the criminal prosecution itself and the petitioner would also have had the remedy of appeal in case the petitioner was convicted. However, the respondents did not raise this objection to our entertaining the writ petition. Further, the question of the right of the petitioner to ply the vehicle and his liability to be prosecuted under section 123 of the Act depends purely on the construction of the conditions of the permit and the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. We, thereforee, entertained the writ petition, allowed the pleadings to be filed and heard the learned counsel for the petitioner and the respondents. We dispose of the contentions of the petitioner below:

(4) The scheme of section 63 is to provide for validation of permits 'issued in one region for use outside the region in which 'the permit is granted. Three kinds of such permits are dealt with in sub-sections (6), (7) and (II) of section 63 of the Act. We are concerned with the permit issued under section 63(7). Sub-section (7) of section 63 reads as follows :

'NOTWITHSTANDINGanything contained in sub-section (1) but subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, any 'State Transport Authority may, for the purpose of promoting tourism, grant permits valid for the whole or any part of India in respect of such number of tourist vehicles as the Central Government may in respect of that State, specify in this behalf, and the provisions of sections 49, 50, 51, 57, 58, 59, 59-A, 60, 61 and 64 shall, as far as may be, apply in relation to such permits.'

THEexpression 'tourist vehicle' is defined in section 2(29-A) as follows:

''tourist vehicle' means a contract carriage contracted or adapted and equipped and maintained in accordance with such specifications as the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf.' The expression 'contract carriage' is defined in section 2(3) as follows:

''contract carriage' means a motor vehicle which carriage a passenger or passengers for hire or reward under a contract expressed or implied for the use of the vehicle as a whole at or for a fixed or agreed rate or sum

(I)on a time basis whether or not with reference to any route or distance, or

(II)from one point to another, and in either case without stopping to pick up ; or set down along the line of route passengers not included in the contract; and includes a motor-cab notwithsta'nding that the passengers may pay separate fares.'

ONthe strength of section 63(7) the petitioner contends that he has got an all-India permit and he can ply his vehicle a'nywhere in India. The respondents, however, contend that the permit under section 63(7) of the Act is for a tourist vehicle and a tourist vehicle is defined as a contract carriage. thereforee, the rights of the petitioner are confined to the rights of the holder of a permit for a contract carriage. The plying of the contract carriage is confined either by time or by two points) namely the starting of the contracted journey and the ending of the same. The definition of 'contract carriage' expressly states .that the use of the vehicle as a whole under a contract has to be from one point to another and without stopping to pick up or set down along the line of the route passengers not included in the contract. The respondents argue that since the permit is issued by the Government of Nagaland the point of starting the contract journey must be within Nagaland while the point of termination of the contract journey can be anywhere in India in any of the States whose names are contained in the endorsement of the permit. The petitioner disputes that the starting point of the journey must be within Nagaland. He argues that the starting and finishing points may be anywhere in India in any of the States enumerated in the endorsement on the permit. According to the petitioner these points can be Delhi to Agra. and back and Delhi to Jaipur and back without the petitioner having to either start the journey of the contracted vehicle in Nagaland or having to end such a journey there.

(5) It is not so much the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act reproduced above, but the conditions of the permit which is issued to the petitioner which decide the question against the petitioner. Part 'A' of the permit is divided into 10 paragraphs. Paragraph 10 is as follows:

'ANYother conditions. All motorable routes in Nagaland subject to the condition that the vehicle must not pick up or set down intra-state or intra-district passengers under any circumstances.'

THISmeans that the tourist vehicle permit issued to the petitioner is not to be used an an ordinary permit for intra-State or intra-district transport of passengers. The words 'intra-State' or ''intra-district' mean within the State or within the District. What is meant by prohibiting inter-State transport by the tourist vehicle Transport necessarily means from one place to another. When these starting as well as ending points are both situated within the State it would be an 'intrastate transport. This is not allowed under the permit.

(6) Then we come to the endorsement made by the Nagaland Government as a' tourist vehicle under section 63(7) on the permit. This endorsement also has got conditions attached to it. Condition (c) states. 'The vehicle shall not undertake extra-State transportation of passengers.' The word 'extra-State' is contrasted with the word 'intrastate'. Just as 'intra-State' which means within the State, the word 'extra-State' means outside the State. The endorsement is expressly made under Rule 3(1) of the Nagaland Tourist Rules, 1970. Under Rule 2(c) of the said Rules, 'State' means the State of Nagaland. In the words 'intra'-State' used in the permit and 'extra-State' used in the endorsement on the permit, we must understand the 'State' to mean the State of Nagaland. The learned counsel for the petitioner argued that the word 'State' would apply to the various States in India, the names of which are contained in the endorsement. We are unable to accept this argument. These States are called 'visiting States' in Condition (b) in the endorsement. The prohibition of the extra-State transport does not mean that transport beyond the visiting States is forbidden. What it means is that transport outside the State of Nagaland is forbidden. Just as intra-State transport is contained within the State with the starting and the finishing points of the journey both falling within the State, the extraf-State transport means that the whole of the journey is outside the State and the starting and finishing points lie both outside the State. It is only by contrasting the word 'intra' with the word 'Extra' that we can understand the true meaning of these conditions. Between these two words is the word 'inter-State'. This means from one State to another State. A tourist vehicle is forbidden both the inter-State transport as also the extra-State transport. That is to say journey of a tourist vehicle cannot be confined entirely within the State of Nagaland, nor can that journey be entirely outside the State of Nagaland. It necessarily follows that the starting point has to be in Nagaland, while the finishing point must be outside Nagaland, in one of the States whose names are endorsed in the enforcement. It is only in this way that we can make a sensible meaning out of the provisions of the statute and the conditions of the permit and the endorsement reading all of them together.

(7) The meaning attached by us to the expression 'contract carriage' is in accordance with the decision of the Supreme Court in Roshan Lal Gautain v. The State of Uttar Pradesh and others, : [1965]1SCR841 . Further the view expressed by us that the journey of a contract carriage must start within the State issuing the tourist vehicle contract carriage permit and must end outside that State is also the basis of the decision by E. S. Venka'taramiah, J. (now of the Supreme Court) in D. P. Sharma and others v. State of Mysore and another, Air 1975 Kar 109 .

(8) For the above reasons, we are of the view that the petitioner has not proved that he is plying his vehicle in accordance with the conditions of his permit. He cannot, thereforee, be granted any relief in this writ petition. The writ petition is dismissed with costs.


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