Skip to content


R.K.V. Motors and Timbers (P) Ltd. Vs. M.V. Balachandra Kurup and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberOriginal Petn. No. 4250 of 1972
Judge
Reported inAIR1976Ker7
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 47; Motor Vehicles Rules, 1961 - Rule 177A
AppellantR.K.V. Motors and Timbers (P) Ltd.
RespondentM.V. Balachandra Kurup and ors.
Appellant Advocate S.A. Nagendran,; N.N. Divakaran Pillai,; P.C. Abraham
Respondent Advocate K.C. Sankaran,; K. Ravindran and; M. Krishnakumar, A
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredIn Modern Bus Transports v. The Regional Transport Authority
Excerpt:
.....a further permit on the ground that there will be no healthy competition on the route and hence public interests will suffer are perfectly legal and valid. in dealing with this aspect of the matter, it would not be irrelevant for the appropriate authority to hold that if any applicant is or would be in the position of a monopolist if a permit was granted to him, he would be liable to neglect the interests of the public and may not be very keen on taking all steps to keep his service in good and efficient order. that though it would have been better if the tribunal had given reasons for its finding the failure of the appellate tribunal to give a reason in that behalf or to refer specifically to the evidence adduced by b would not by itself, constitute such an error in its decision as..........by a, unless the conclusion was reached that the grant of a further permit to a would be against public interests.'in the above case the regional transport authority allotted the highest marks among the applicants to applicant no. 7 but denied the permit to him on the ground that in the interest of maintaining healthy competition his claims to the route should be rejected. in anamalais bus transport (pvt.) ltd. v. s. t. a. tribunal, 1961 ker ij 1135, this court has said that an applicant can be denied a permit on the ground of monopoly only when the grant of a further permit to him would be against public interests. the learned counsel for the petitioner points out that the reason given in ext. p-7 decision granting the permit to the 1st respondent is 'to have healthy competitions on.....
Judgment:
ORDER

K.K. Narendran, J.

1. The petitioner in this Original Petition is a stage carriage operator and it was operating on the route Attingal-Palode for several years. When sanction for renewal was granted in April 1962, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation filed Orginal Petitions before this Court against the renewal of the permit to the petitioner in respect of K. L. T. 1725 and against some other operators in the Trivandrum district to whom also renewals were granted. For reasons stated in the Original petition, the petitioner could not renew the permit which expired on 20-8-1964, Thereupon, the petitioner submitted Ext. P-1 application dated 11-10-1985 before the 2nd respondent-Regional Transport Authority, Trivandrum for re-issue of the permit condoning the delay caused in applying for renewal in time. The 2nd respondent con-sidered Ext. P-1 application at its meeting held on 11-10-1965 and took Ext. P-2 deci-sion stating that the petitioner did not make an application in time for renewal of permit and the petitioner applied for a fresh permit. By Ext. P-2 the renewal was refused by the 2nd respondent.

2. In 1968 the 2nd respondent by Ext. P-3 decision decided to invite applications for a stage carriage permit on the route in question. The petitioner made a fresh application. Three new entrants including the 1st respondent also submitted applications. The applications came up for consideration before the 2nd respondent at its meeting (sic) on 28-9-1970 and the 2nd respondent by Ext. P-7 decision granted a permit to the 1st respondent. On the very same day, by Ext. P-6 decision the 2nd respondent granted the petitioner a temporary permit on the very same route with an extension upto Vakkom.

3. Against Ext. P-7 the petitioner filed an appeal before the 3rd respondent-State Transport Appellate Tribunal which by Ext. P-8 dated 31-8-1972 dismissed the above appeal and confirmed Ext. P-7 order of the 2nd respondent. It is against Exts. P-7 and P-8 that the petitioner has approached this Court (sic) this Original Petition.

4. A counter-affidavit has been filed by the 1st respondent. The statement in Para. 2 of the said counter-affidavit is that though the petitioner's permit in respect of vehicle K. L. T. 1725, was renewed on 21-3-1962 for a period of three years from 21-8-61, as the petitioner did not produce the records the renewal granted by the 2nd respondent was not given effect to. From 20-8-1964 the petitioner did not even apply for renewal. Without doing that, the petitioner submitted a suo motu application for a pucca permit on the route in question. The 2nd respondent considered that application as per Ext. P-3 and decided to invite applications for the grant of a stage carriage permit on the route in question. Against Exts. P-2 and P-3 the petitioner did not take any further steps. The 2nd respondent granted a temporary permit to the 1st respondent from 8-30-1969 to 7-2-1970 and thereafter a re-issue was granted for four months. The assertion in Para. 7 of the counter-affidavit is that the 1st respondent is better qualified than the petitioner. Moreover, the petitioner is a fleet owner with several buses on the same route. It is also stated in para. 8 of the counter-affidavit that the petitioner was a defaulter af the time of the grant of permit to the 1st respondent and that even thereafter the petitioner continues to be a defaulter on various routes.

5. The learned counsel for the petitioner contends that the 2nd respondent acted arbitrarily in granting the permit to the 1st respondent as per Ext. P-7. The 2nd respondent did not take into consideration any of the matters which are mentioned in Section 47(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act. The 2nd respondent ought to have held that the petitioner is the only qualified person entitled tor the permit among the applicants considered by it. The 3rd respondent failed to consider the question whether the 1st respondent is entitled to get the permit in the light of the provisions contained in the Motor Vehicles Act and the Rules in preference to the petitioner. In support of his contentions, the learned counsel far the petitioner relies on two decisions of this Court in C. Kunhikutty v. S. T. A. Tribunal, AIR 1964 Ker 253 and Anamalais Bus Transport (Pvt.) Ltd. v. Kunhi-ppalu, 1961 Ker LJ 1135. In C. Kunhikutty v. S. T. A. Tribunal, AIR 1964 Ker 253 Govindan Nair J. (as he then was) said:

'Maintaining healthy competition was not a valid ground for ignoring his claims and granting the permit to the applicant who had obtained nearly 50% of the marks obtained by A, unless the conclusion was reached that the grant of a further permit to A would be against public interests.'

In the above case the Regional Transport Authority allotted the highest marks among the applicants to applicant No. 7 but denied the permit to him on the ground that in the interest of maintaining healthy competition his claims to the route should be rejected. In Anamalais Bus Transport (Pvt.) Ltd. v. S. T. A. Tribunal, 1961 Ker IJ 1135, this Court has said that an applicant can be denied a permit on the ground of monopoly only when the grant of a further permit to him would be against public interests. The learned counsel for the petitioner points out that the reason given in Ext. P-7 decision granting the permit to the 1st respondent is 'to have healthy competitions on the route.' But it is to be noted that the 3rd respondent has taken the view that in the absence of healthy competition public interests can hardly be served.

6. The learned counsel for the 1st respondent points out that the concentration of permits in the hands of the petitioner who is a fleet owner will not be in the public interests. Hence Exts. P-7 and P-8 which reject the petitioner's request for a further permit on the ground that there will be no healthy competition on the route and hence public interests will suffer are perfectly legal and valid. The learned counsel also points out that the route in question being a short route under Rule 177A (3) (a) the first respondent who is a new entrant should be given the permit. Since there is no illegality or irregularity on the part of the Regional Transport Authority or the State Transport Appellate Tribunal there is no error of law apparent on the face of the record to enable this Court to interfere with Exts. P-7 and P-8. The learned counsel for the 1st respondent relies on the decision of the Supreme Court in Sri Rama Vilas Service v. Chandrasekharan, AIR 1965 SC 107 wherein Gajendragadkar J. (as he then was) speaking for the Court has said:

'There can be no doubt that in granting a permit, the appropriate authorities under the Motor Vehicles Act are required to consider the interests of the public generally under Section 47(1)(a), and in assessing the merits of an individual applicant for a permit on any route, it would be open to the appropriate authority to enquire whether the service which the individual applicant would render to the public if he is given a permit would be efficient and satisfactory or not. In dealing with this aspect of the matter, it would not be irrelevant for the appropriate authority to hold that if any applicant is or would be in the position of a monopolist if a permit was granted to him, he would be liable to neglect the interests of the public and may not be very keen on taking all steps to keep his service in good and efficient order. Absence of any competition from another bus-operator on the route is likely to develop a feeling of complacence in the monopolist and that is a factor which the appropriate authority can certainly take into account. Therefore, it cannot be urired that in taking into account the fact that the appellant was a monopolist on a part of the route, the Appellate Tribunal has been influenced by any irrelevant fact'.

In support of his contention that there is no reason why this Court should interfere with Exh. P-7 and P-8 in these proceedings, the learned counsel has referred to the decision of the Supreme Court in Syed Yakoob v. K. S. Radhakrishnan, AIR 1964 SC 477 wherein the Supreme Court said:

'That though it would have been better if the Tribunal had given reasons for its finding the failure of the Appellate Tribunal to give a reason in that behalf or to refer specifically to the evidence adduced by B would not by itself, constitute such an error in its decision as to justify the issue of a writ of cer-tiorari under Article 226.'

The learned counsel then referred to the decision of this Court in New Kerala Bus Transports v. R. T. A. Cannanore, 1965 Ker LT 1039 wherein this Court relying on the decisions of the Supreme Court has said that it will be open to the Tribunal to-choose a new entrant in lie interests of the public. In the above judgment a passage from the decision of the Madras High Court in Rama Vilas Service (P) Ltd. v. Chandrasekharan, AIR 1965 SC 107 wherein it has been held that encouraging bus operators who do not own a fleet of buses ana discouraging monopoly on the route is consistent with me interests of the general public, has been extracted. The learned counsel also referred to three unreported decisions of this Court in V. S. Ramakrishnan v. P. L. John (O. P. No. 3304 of 1969), Modern Bus Transports v. Regional Transport Authority (O. P. No. 463 of 1966) and K. Thomas v. Regional Transport Authority (O. P No. 3005 of 1972). In V. S. Ramakri-shnan v. P. L. John (O. P. No. 3304 of 1969) my learned brother Balakrishna Eradi J, has said that merely because one has a temporary permit on some route for a short period he will not cease to be a new entrant. In Modern Bus Transports v. The Regional Transport Authority (O. P. No. 463 of 1966) an order denying a permit to a fleet owner and granting the same to another operator who had only one other permit was challenged. Govindan Nair J. (as he then was) repelling the contentions of the petitioner held:

'According to the Regional Transport Authority, the 3rd respondent who had only one permit should be preferred because this will help what the Regional Transport Authority termed 'healthy competition'..... ..... The appellate authority decided the case on the ground that the policy of preferring an operator is a method permitted by Section 47 of the Motor Vehicle Act which lays down the paramount consideration in these matters as public interest. The real question has always been the interest of the public. It is not possible to say that extraneous matters weighed with the authorities or that the basic principles have not been borne in mind or have been mis-understood or misapplied in choosing the 3rd respondent, therefore. I do not think there is any ground for interference in these proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution.'

7. The learned counsel for the petitioner answering the contentions of the counsel for the 1st respondent stressed that the reasoning in the orders questioned is bad. The 2nd respondent has stated only one reason, namely, healthy competition, The Regional Transport Authority has not considered the interests of the public in rejecing the petitioner's application.

8. Admittedly, the route in question is a short route. As long as the 1st respondent does not have a pucca permit, he will not cease to be a new entrant. The petitioner is a fleet owner. Prevention of monopoly on the route and ensuring healthy competition are all in the interests of the public. Not only that it is when there is a healthy competition on the route that the interests of the public are best served. So, healthy competition and interests of the public are intimately connected. Hence the basic principles for the grant of a pucca permit are not given the go-bye in this case by the Regional Transport Authority or the State Transport Appellate Tribunal. The grant in question is strictly in accordance with Section 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 and Rule 177A of the Kerala Motor Vehicles Rules, 1961. There is no error of law apparent on the face of the record to warrant an interference by this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution.

9. For the reasons stated above, this Original Petition is dismissed. There will be no order as to costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //