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Vypeen Transport Corporation (P) Ltd. and ors. Vs. State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Trichur and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberO.P. Nos. 447, 458, 581, 654, 658, 754, 755, 777 and 798 of 1959
Judge
Reported inAIR1961Ker77
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 16, 17, 21F, 47 and 47(1); Constitution of India - Article 226
AppellantVypeen Transport Corporation (P) Ltd. and ors.
RespondentState Transport Appellate Tribunal, Trichur and ors.
Appellant Advocate T.S. Venkiteswara Iyer, Adv. (in O.P. 447/59),; K.S. Sebastian, Adv. (in O.P. 458/59),;
Respondent Advocate T.N. Subramonia Iyer,; S. Narayana Potti,; E.V. Abraham
DispositionWrit issued
Cases ReferredSri Rama Vilas Service (Private) Ltd. v. Raman
Excerpt:
motor vehicles - issuance of permit - sections 16, 17, 21f, 47 and 47 (1) of motor vehicles act, 1939 - refusal of permit on account of conviction of drivers and conductors for cases of overloading, irregular running or for not maintaining trip sheet - authorities under act not taken any action against such persons under sections 16, 17 or 21f - denial of permit to owner on ground of employing such drivers and conductors untenable and set aside. - - , on the ground that its managing director was an efficient business organiser and a resident of the island who could therefore effectively supervise the service. 30 and 31 have experience and facilities of operation on this route having due regard to the convictions of their conductors and drivers, selection cannot be made front amongst.....madhavan nair, j.1. these original petitions are to call up to the high court the order of the state transport appellate tribunal, trichur dated 2-4-1959, passed in motor vehicles act appeals nos. 24 to 28, 31, 32, 38, and 43, of 1959 to be quashed by an, order under arts. 226 and 227 of the constitution on the ground that the said order is vitiated by gross errors apparent on the face of the record.2 there is an island near the cochin harbour, by name vypin. 15 miles in length and 1 1/21 miles in breadth which is very thickly populated. stage carriage coaches are plying through the entire length of this island from vypin to pallipuram. there are six buses running regular services on this route, but they are found inadequate to meet the pressure of passenger traffic therein. accordingly,.....
Judgment:

Madhavan Nair, J.

1. These Original Petitions are to call up to the High Court the order of the State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Trichur dated 2-4-1959, passed in Motor Vehicles Act Appeals Nos. 24 to 28, 31, 32, 38, and 43, of 1959 to be quashed by an, order under Arts. 226 and 227 of the Constitution on the ground that the said order is vitiated by gross errors apparent on the face of the record.

2 There is an island near the Cochin Harbour, by name Vypin. 15 miles in length and 1 1/21 miles in breadth which is very thickly populated. Stage carriage coaches are plying through the entire length of this island from Vypin to Pallipuram. There are six buses running regular services on this route, but they are found inadequate to meet the pressure of passenger traffic therein. Accordingly, the Regional Transport Authority, Ernakulam, (hereinafter referred to as the R. T. A.) by a notification dated 11-8-1958, invited applications for the grant of permits for putting four additional stage carriages on the above-said route. 86 applications came forth from 85 applicants including the six existing operators on the route.

They were duly published under Section 57(3) of the Motor Vehicles Act. Representations against one another's application were then filed. There was a public hearing as contemplated in Section 57(5) of the Act. And', then, the R. T. A. by its order dated 30-11-1958 granted one permit each to applicants Nos. 23, 48, 64 and 77. (It is convenient to refer to these applicants by the order of their applications as was done by the Transport Authorities). Against that order several appeals were preferred before the State Transport Appellate Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as S. T. A. T., and they were all disposed of by one order dated 2-4-1959.

The S. T. A. T. confirmed the grant of permits to applicants Nos. 48 and 64, but set aside the grant ot permits to applicants Nos. 23 and 77, and in their stead granted one permit each to applicants Nos. 4 and 31. The nine Original Petitions before us were filed by applicants Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 17, 23, 30, 50 and 77, seeking to have the order of the S. T. A.T. quashed by a writ of Certiorari or other appropriate writ on the ground that the said order is based on considerations which are not germane to the issue according to the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act and that the order is vitiated by gross errors apparent on the face of the record.

3. The six existing operators running stage carriages on the route are applicants Nos. 1 to 5 and 17. Two other applicants, namely, Nos. 30 and 31 were running buses on the same route sometime ago. With regard to the services operated by these 8 applicants, the Police at Nharakkal have given the R. T. A. a list of convictions for over-loading, irregular running and non-maintenance of trip sheets in the buses. The list was appended to the order of the R. T. A.; and on its basis the R. T. A. rejected their applications with the following observations:--

'Compared to the rest of the applicants the existing operators in the route, no doubt, stand on a favourable footing in that they have got experience, workshop and residential qualifications. But .......... this list (of convictions) would reveal a very unsatisfactory picture in regard to the services of these applicants ...................... (Referring to applicants Nos. 30 and 31) ... .... but their record of service as could be seen from the appendix--(i.e. the list of convictions) has not been satisfactory..........Their applications are hence rejected.'

They granted one permit each to applicants Nos. 48 and 64 on the ground that the applicant No. 64 had experience in motor transport as he was running a bus service in this route for five years before1937, and had mechanical knowledge, and was a resident of the island, and the applicant No. 48 was a Havildar in the Army in charge of heavy motor vehicles for over 4 years, and was himself an automobile mechanic, and a native of the island. After, rejecting the applications of all the other individual applicants on the score of want of prior motor-transport experience, the R. T. A. took into consideration the applications submitted by co-operative societies, and limited companies and chose one from each set. They granted one permit to applicant No. 77 which-is a co-operative society composed of Ex-Service Men, who were drivers, conductors, and mechanics in the Services. Of the three limited concerns who had applied, the R. T, A. selected applicant No. 23,, Vypin Transport Corporation (Private) Ltd., on the ground that its Managing Director was an efficient business organiser and a resident of the island who could therefore effectively supervise the service.

4. On appeal, the S. T. A. T. found that none of the permit-holders had been convicted of any offence under the Motor Vehicles Act or the Rules,, and that all the cases enlisted by the Nharakkal Police related to convictions of their conductors or drivers only. Neither the date nor the nature of those convictions had been supplied. Nobody knew whether the offences involved in those cases were of a trivial nature or of any serious character. The-permit-holders concerned were not given any opportunity to explain those convictions put against them by the police. It continued:--

'To penalise them without affording them air opportunity to explain is certainly a violation of the principles of natural justice ............ It is really surprising that the R. T. A. did not think it worthwhile to suspend or cancel the permits of these applicants under Section 60 of the Motor Vehicles Act .......... In this view also, much value cannot be given to the list of convictions appended to the-impugned order. In these circumstances, I am inclined to think that the R. T. A. was not justified in screening and disqualifying the existing operators and applicants Nos. 30 and 31 on the basis of the list of convictions furnished by the Nharakkal Police.'

Alter saying all this the S. T. A. T., in the very-next sentence of its order held:

'I am of opinion that although the existing operators and applicants Nos. 30 and 31 have experience and facilities of operation on this route having due regard to the convictions of their conductors and drivers, selection cannot be made front amongst them for the grant of permits if there are other applicants who would be in a position to conduct the service on the route efficiently and in the interests of the travelling public although the operational qualifications of the other applicants are inferior to those of the existing operators and applicants Nos. 30 and 31.'

5. Having thus disqualified the existing operators and past operators, on the very ground which it had found to be unreliable and immaterial, the Tribunal proceeded to confirm the grant of permits to applicants Nos. 48 and 64 on the score of their transport experience, mechanical knowledge, residential qualification and financial soundness. It set aside the grant of permits to applicants Nos. 23 and)77 with the observation that the applicant No. 23 was only a limited concern registered after the publication of the notification dated 11-8-1958 by the R. T. A. inviting applications for the permits, that the fact of its managing director having an oil mill or having been once the president of a Coir Co operative Society cannot be taken as a relevant matter for consideration in the absence of any experience in motor-transport service, that the applicant No. 77, Co-operative Society is living upon loans advanced by the S. P. W. R. Fund but has otherwise no financial soundness, that its operational qualifications are inferior to those of the others and that, therefore, the case of the Society cannot the considered on a Par with the other applicants. Discrediting all the other applicants before it on the ground that they had no experience in road-transport, the Tribunal considered the cases of the existing operators, being applicants Nos. 1 to 5 and 17 and past operators who are applicants Nos. 30 and 31, and selected applicants Nos. 4 and 31 for the grant of permits on the ground that the list supplied by the Nharakkal Police showed the least number of convictions of drivers and conductors in their services.

6. The right to obtain a stage carriage permit is a tight created by the Motor Vehicles Act which also prescribes the procedure regulating the grant of such permits. The right must therefore be determined in accordance with the provisions contained in the Act and the Rules made under it. Section 47(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act sets out the matters to be considered by the Transport Authorities in disposing of applications for stage carriage permits; and even among those matters, the one mentioned first, namely, 'the interest of the public generally,' is the most important one. Adverting to this, a Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court held in Raman and Raman Ltd, v. State of Madras, (S) AIR 1956 SC 463 at 468 as follows:--

'It is to be remembered that under Section 47 of the Act a Regional Transport Authority in deciding whether to grant or to refuse a permit shall have regard, amongst other things, to the interest of the public generally and the advantages to the public of the service to be provided. Assuming that in the matter of experience there was nothing much to choose between the appellant and the respondent 2, better facilities for, operation of the service possessed by respondent 2, would be to the interest of the public generally and an advantage to the public of the service to be provided and therefore was an over-riding factor when other things were equal.

As between the appellant and respondent 2 neither the Regional Transport Authority nor the Board recorded a finding as to which of them had the better facilities for transport operation or that such facilities as existed between them were of equal merit ........ The interest of the public and the advantages to it of the service to be provided were very, if not the most, important factors to be taken into consideration in the matter of granting or refusing to grant a permit.

In the conflicting claims of the appellant and respondent 2 concerning the facilities available tothem for operation of the bus service, the State Government was bound to decide in the interests of the public generally which of these had the better facilities.'

b21 7. This dictum clearly shows that in deciding what would be in the interests of the public generally two of the factors that may arise for consideration are, firstly, experience in operating the service, and secondly, better facilities for the operation of the bus service.

8. In Krishanchand v. Appellate Authority, AIR 1956 Madh. B. 231, it was held:

'The most important thing that' the Transport Authorities are required to take into account is the travelling public. It cannot be seriously disputed that the most material thing to be considered would be, whether the applicant for a permit could be depended upon to manage his transport business efficiently and with particular, attention to the convenience of the travelling public.' This is best determined by assessing the experience of the applicant in operating stage carriages on the route in question, or if such be not available, on routes nearby.

9. Rajamannar, C. J. and Venkatarama Iyer, J., observed in Veerappa Pillai v. Rathnaswami Nadar, 1953-1 Mad LJ (NRC) 46 :

'It should be a material consideration to take into account that the applicant has experience of a particular route over which the stage carriage has to be run and that such a consideration is not out of place in deciding to whom, in the interest of public, the Stage carriage permit should be granted.' Subba Rao, C. J, and Satyanarayana Rao, J., also held in Ramayya v. State of Andhra, AIR 1956 Andhra 217, that the fact the applicant is an existing operator in respect of a part of the route in question is a relevant consideration for the grant of a permit over the route. If experience in a part of the route is relevant, it follows that the plying of buses in the entire length of the route would certainly be a matter for serious consideration in the grant of additional permits for stage carriage on the same route.

10. In comparing the facilities for operation of the applicants for Stage Carriage services, the most important factor to be considered is whether the applicant owns a vehicle that may well be put in service on the route. This has been accepted and provided for in the amendment of the Motor Vehicles Act, by Act 100 of 1956. Section 60(1)(c) of the Act before the amendment, directed that, on the holder of the permit ceasing to possess the vehicle covered by the permit, the transport authority might cancel the permit Or might suspend it for such period as it thought fit. Adverting to this old provision, the Supreme Court held in Veerappa Pillai v. Raman and Raman Ltd., AIR 1952 SC 192.

'An examination of the relevant sections of the Motor Vehicles Act does not support the view that the issue of a permit for a bus--which falls within the definition of a 'stage carriage'--is necessarily, dependent on the ownership of the vehicles. All that is required for obtaining a permit is possession of the bus.'

Section 60(1)(c) has now been amended by Act 100 of 1956 by the substitution of the word 'own' in the stead of 'possess'. As a necessary consequence of this amendment in the Act, we must now read the dictum of the Supreme Court quoted above as:

'An examination of the relevant sections of the Motor Vehicles Act does not support the view that the issue of a permit for a bus--which falls within the definition of a stage carriage--is necessarily dependent on the possession of the vehicle. What is required for obtaining a permit is the ownership of the bus.'

11. In Dholpur Co-operative Transport and Multipurpose Union Ltd. v. Appellate Authority, AIR 1955 Raj 19 at p. 27, Wanchoo, C. J., with whom Ranawat, J., concurred, held :

'If there are two applicants and only one permit is to be granted, and one of the applicants was an old operator while the other applicant is a new operator, the Transport Authority may well take into account the fact that one of the applicants is an old experienced operator and as such better entitled to the permit. Or, there are two persons applying for a permit, and one of them has better buses than the other, the transport authority may well take that into consideration also in granting the permit.'

This was followed in Yagsen Ram Prashad v. Chief Commissioner, AIR 1956 Ajmer 41, where Nigam, J. C., observed :

'The fact that one of the applicants is an old operator and the fact that one of the applicants has better buses than the other and similar other matters can be taken into consideration as they are all in the Interest of the public.'

12. Section 2(20) of the Act defines 'permit' as the document authorising the use of a transport vehicle or a carrier vehicle. Rule 175 of the Motor Vehicles Rules insists that the registration mark of the vehicle be copied in the permit from the certificate of registration itself. The Form prescribed for an application for 'permit' also shows that the details of the vehicle concerned should be furnished in the application. If one has not the vehicle at the time of his making the application, it cannot be understood how he would be able to give the details of the vehicle in his application.

The provisions of the Act and the Rules thus indicate clearly that the applicant is expected to own the vehicle for whose use as a stage carriage he wants the permit in question. It follows therefore that an applicant who owns a bus has a better claim for permit than one who intends to acquire a vehicle. Needless to say that applicants who intend to purchase a vehicle after getting the permit deserve little consideration.

13. In the Law of Inland Transport by Otto Kahn-Freund, (3rd Edn. page 180) it is stated :

'The object of the Public Service Vehicle Licence is to protect the public against dangers involved in the operating of motor coaches and buses by unreliable persons and in the use of vehicles which are not fit for such particular use. Therefore, the licensing authority must be satisfied that, according to his previous conduct, the applicant if a person fit to hold a Public Service Vehicle Licenceand they must further be satisfied that the vehicle itself is fit.'

14. Another factor to be considered with regard to the operational facilities of an applicant is his financial position. He must have the capacity to maintain the service in a good order and to mete out all risks attendant on the venture.

15. Under the English Road Traffic Act, Section 76, a person applying for a Road Service Licence has to submit very detailed statements of his financial position, and of all arrangements and agreements entered into by him with others with regard to the provision of transport facilities. Though such a specific provision is not incorporated in our Act, the matter has to be considered as an item involved in 'the interest of the public generally.'

16. Still another factor that may be considered in regard to operational facilities is the provision the applicant has for maintenance and repairs of the vehicles. Possession of a workshop may be considered in this respect; but it cannot be taken as the solo criterion for determining the operational facilities of the several applicants for the permit as the transport authorities seems to have taken in this case.

17. The seating capacity of the bus, the rate of fare the applicant proposes to charge, the conveniences provided for passengers in the bus, the type of the vehicle particularly the power of its engine and the efficiency of its mechanical system are all matters that have a material relevancy in the assessment of operational facilities of the several applicants for the permit.

18. These aspects of the question, viz., the experience of transport service on the route, the facilities for operation of the service, financial capacities and the ownership of a vehicle, the type of the vehicle, the accommodation and conveniences extended to the passengers in it and have other relevant matters do not appear to have been considered as material factors in the grant of permits by the State Transport Appellate Tribunal in the impugned order.

19. On the other hand the transport authorities in this case seem to have been considerably influenced by the fact that a particular applicant was an Ex, Havildar in the army and that another applicant is a Co-operative Society composed of ex-service men. There cannot be any room for complaint if they were preferred over others whose qualifications for obtaining the permit are only equal to those of these ex-military men. But, if the qualifications of these ex-service men are not on a par with those of the other applicants 'who have superior qualifications to their credit, the services that were rendered by them in the military cannot be taken to cover up that deficiency.

20. Sinha, J., observed in Onkarrnal Mistri v. Regional Transport Authority, Darjeeling, AIR 1956 Cal 490 at 495 :

'In Sri Rama Vilas Service Ltd. v. Road Traffic Board, Madras, AIR 1948 Mad 400, Gentle. C. J., held that the words 'interests of the public which are found in the Act, relate to the interests of the travelling public for whose convenience and need stage carriages are provided. I respectfullyagree with the learned Judge. The 'interests of the public', as mentioned in the Act, cannot include matters which have nothing to do with the interests of the public which was going to use the Motoi Vehicles in question, or such as are wholly unconnected with the user of the roads or the transport system which was under consideration of the R, T. A. in the given case. It seems to me quite obvious that in considering whether to grant per mils or not in a particular route, the R. T. A. cannot be permitted to take into consideration matters which are totally unconnected with the particular subject-matter which is under consideration., Supposing the R. T. A. said that permits would be granted only to those who contributed to the Assam Flood Relief Fund, or to the All India Tuberculosis Fund, then, however commendable the object may be, I do not think that such a decision could be maintained for a moment. These are matters which have nothing to do with the interests of the public that are going to use the transport system between Siliguri and Kalimpong. Here, the R. T. A. has given consideration to refugees, scheduled tribes, political sufferers and backward hillmen. It is not said that there is any' connection between these classes of persons and the public that use the particular, route. It is not at all clear how the interests of such a public could be served by preferring refugees or political sufferers who are most likely to lack resources, or by granting permits to scheduled tribes or backward hillmen who would be most likely to lack in efficiency. The R. T. A. Is a statutory body whose duty is to ensure that the public is provided with a system of public carriers, stage carriages, etc., of the maximum efficiency. I do not think it would be permissible to import wider considerations of politics or philanthrophy and the like, which, while highly commendable from other points of view, have nothing to do with the efficient running of such services. These considerations ere relevant in directing the policy of the State, but would be irrelevant and inappropriate considerations for a body like the R. T. A.'

Likewise, Bose, J., held in Satya Narayan Transport Co. Ltd. v. Secretary, State Transport Authority, (S) AIR 1957 Cal 638:

'The next question is whether the fact that the Respondent No. 5 is a political sufferer and is badly in need of some provisions can be said to be a consideration which is germane to the question to be decided. I am unable to see how it can be so regarded. In my view, such matters are quite foreign to the subject under consideration and is a totally extraneous and irrelevant consideration. It has been held by the English Courts, and the same view is also shared by the Courts in India that if a statutory body is actuated by any extraneous and irrelevant consideration in giving effect to the provisions of the statute under which such statutory body is created, then such an act will be regarded as one done in excess of jurisdiction. Reference may be made to the case of Rex v. Board of Education, (1910) 2 KB 165 at p. 179. Farwell, L. J., observed as follows : 'If the tribunal has exercised the discretion entrusted to it bona fide, not influenced by extranous or irrelevant consideration; and not arbitrarilyor illegally, the Courts cannot interfere; they are not a Court of appeal from the tribunal but they have power, to prevent the intentional usurpation or mistaken assumption of a jurisdiction beyond that given to the tribunal by law and also the refusal ot their true jurisdiction by the adoption of extraneous considerations in arriving at their conclusion or deciding a point other than that brought before them, in which cases the Courts have regarded them as declining jurisdiction. Such tribunal is not an autocrat free to act as it pleases but is an inferior tribunal subject to the jurisdiction which the Court of King's Bench for centuries and the High Courts since the Judicature Acts have exercised over such tribunals.'

21. We express our respectful agreement with the observations quoted above. The S. T. A. T. Is a quasi-judicial tribunal which has to consider the applications for Stage Carriage permits in accordance with the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act and the rules framed under it. The duty cast on the Transport Authorities by S. 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act are of a mandatory nature as the word: 'shall' in the section indicates. The section leavesno residuary powers to the authorities. It' is not therefore open to the transport authorities to allow themselves to be influenced by any extraneous considerations.

The law is clear that if persons who are under a statutory duty to exercise a public duty, in exercising their discretion, take into account matters which are not germane to the question at hand, then in the eye of law they have not exercised their duty. They must act in a fair and just manner, and exercise their discretion in accordance with the spirit of the statute, and must not take into account extraneous matters and allow themselves to be influenced by any reason, which is not a legal reason.

22. The next question is how far the convictions enlisted by the Nharakkal Police would govern the considerations for the issue of permits in this case. The S. T. A. T. in the earlier part of para 9-of its order found, rightly, that the list of convictions of drivers and conductors of the existing and past operators provided by the Police does not give any reliable date to judge the conduct of these operators in their plying motor buses on the route.

One thing is certain, that if there was any serious fault on the part of the conductors, the R. T. A. would have taken action against them under Section 21(1) of the Act; and if there was any serious fault on the part of the drivers, the R. T. A. would have likewise taken action under Section 16 or moved for an order of court under Section 17 of the Motor Vehicles Act. No disqualification is even alleged to have been made under any of those provisions on any of the drivers or conductors who are said to have been convicted in the list supplied by the Police.

In view of that, we are in agreement with the observation of the S. T. A. T. that the R. T. A. was riot justified in screening and disqualifying the existing and past operators on the basis of the list of convictions furnished by the Police. But, we hold that this observation of the S. T. A. T. binds that Tribunal 33 well; and S. T. A, T. itself wouldnot be justified in disqualifying those operators on the basis of the same list of convictions supplied by the Police.

23. What the Appellate Tribunal did in this case was to confirm the grant of permits in favour of applicants Nos. 48 and 64 who had admittedly no bus, neither:- possessed nor owned, and had no experience of any transport operation on the route concerned, and who happened to be chosen for the grant of permit by the R. T. A. merely because the R, T. A. refused to consider the cases of all the existing and past operators, viz., applicants Nos. 1 to 5, 17, 30 and 31, on the basis of the list of convictions supplied by the Police.

Fairness requires that the case of these non-disqualified operators who alone among all the applicants have got present or recent experience in plying buses on the route, and are said to have operational facilities, and financial position, ought to have been considered before new operators, who had little or no experience in the matter and who had no bus to their credit, were introduced on the line. We may also observe in this connection that the so-called experience of applicant No. 64 for operating a bus service prior to 1937 can hardly be stated at this distance of time after a lapse of 22 years, to be on a par with the experience of operators who have been and are running services on the line.

So also is the case of applicant No. 48 who is said to have had 'control and supervision over heavy motor vehicles while he was in the Army'. We are constrained to say that in comparing with the experience of existing operators or recent operators on the route, the past experience of this applicant, at what period we are not taken into confidence, cannot be put on a par with that of the former.

24. Neither was it correct on the part of the State Transport Appellate Tribunal to have chosen applicant Nos. 4 and 31 merely on the ground that the convictions of the drivers and conductors under those operators were the least in number in the list supplied by the Nharakkal Police. Cases of over loading, or of irregular running, or of non-maintenance of trip sheets in the buses may be technical offences, where mens rea may have little relevance and entail punishment on the drivers or conductors concerned.

But, without knowing the gravity of the blame involved in the particular cases, nobody can judge to what extent they may vicariously disqualify the operator himself for having engaged those drivers and conductors. If those convictions cannot be considered as disqualifications for the respective drivers and conductors themselves as may be inferred from the fact that no action was taken against them by the R. T. A. under Sections 16, 17 or 21 F of the Act, it is needless to say that they cannot be taken into any account in the matter of screening and disqualifying the operators who are not in any way personally responsible thereto.

This would at once show that the S. T. A. T.'s remarks quoted at the end of paragraph 4 supra, cannot be lightly supported, especially in view of its own finding that those convictions cannot be relied on to disqualify the existing operators arid applicants Nos. 38 and 31. The interests of thepublic, within the meaning of Section 47, would take in the operational facilities and the financial capacity of the applicant for permit. It follows at once that the S. T. A. T. based its decision on considerations which were not relevant to the matter in issue and this would amount to a gross error apparent on the face of the record.

25. In the circumstances detailed above the complaint that the order of the State Transport Appellate Tribunal in this case is vitiated by gross errors apparent on the face of the record seems to be well substantiated. As observed in Sri Rama Vilas Service (Private) Ltd. v. Raman & Raman (Private) Ltd., AIR 1959 Mad. 492, though it is not for the court to substitute its own discretion over the discretion exercised by the transport authorities In such a matter, still the High Court 'would' be ready to interfere with an obviously perverse exercise of such discretion' by the statutory authorities concerned.

26. In AIR 1936 Madh B. 231, it is observed:

'The appellate authority, like the Regional Transport Authority is a quasi-judicial body and has to consider the applications for permits on merits bearing in mind the relevant provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. Any reasons which are not valid reasons under the Act cannot be taken into account by that body ............ The Regional Transport Authority and the Appellate Authority under the Motor Vehicles Act are administrative bodies exercising quasi-judicial functions in matters of granting permits. They are statutory bodies and have, in considering the questions of granting permits, to act according to the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. An error on the face of the proceeding has been recognised as one of the grounds for the issue of writ of certiorari'.

We adopt these observations as pertinent to the case before us.

27. In AIR 1956 Cal, 490, Sinha, J., observed: 'The granting of permits is discretionary and it was held in AIR 1952 SC 192 that even if a person was duly qualified, the Regional Transport Authority was not bound to grant a permit. But this does not mean that it can exercise its discretion arbitrarily. With regard to the eight of the successful applicants, the Regional Transport Authority took into consideration matters which were utterly irrelevant or beyond the scope of Section 55 (now Section 47) .........

The power of this Court to interfere by a writ of certiorari is not limited absolutely to cases where there is no alternative remedy. That remedy must be adequate and likely to grant relief to the aggrieved person. Further, where there is an error on the face of the proceedings this Court has ample jurisdiction to interfere. The order is a 'speaking order' and as I shall presently point out, the Regional Transport Authority has taken into consideration materials which it is not entitled to do. In several cases that have come up before me I have found that very little regard is being given to the provision of Section 55(Section 47) of the Act and that orders are being made by taking into consideration extraneous and irrelevant matters. It is therefore necessary to intervene so that it might become known as to what are the limitations for statutory body like the RegionalTransport Authority in the matter of considering applications for permits and in granting or rejecting them. I hold that this application is competent'.

Even though in that case the matter was appealable and no appeal was preferred to the Appellate Tribunal, Sinha J., issued a Writ in the nature of Certiorari quashing the order of the R. T. A.

28. As we have found that the order of theState Transport Appellate Tribunal is vitiated bygross errors apparent on the face of the order, therule is to be made absolute and the order dated2-4-1959 of the State Transport Appellate Tribunalimpugned in these writ petitions is to be quashed.A Writ in the nature of Certiorari quashing thesaid order will be issued. The State Transport Appellate Tribunal will pass a fresh order in the MotorVehicles Act appeals concerned. There will, however, be no order as to costs in these petitions.


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