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State Transport Authority, Kerala and ors. Vs. Nallappa Transports, Pollachi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberW.A. No. 341 of 1975
Judge
Reported inAIR1978Ker140
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 48 and 48(3); Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 1969
AppellantState Transport Authority, Kerala and ors.
RespondentNallappa Transports, Pollachi
Appellant AdvocateGovt. Pleader
Respondent Advocate V. Sivaraman Nair,; K. Raveendran and; M. Krishnakumar
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredSri Ram Vilas Service Ltd. v. Raman
Excerpt:
.....as so varied or any part thereof; section 48(3) clearly enables the..........shall be used only on the routes or area specified in the permit.21. the conditions of this permit shall be varied or added to by the transport authority which issued the permit at its discretion.** ** **28. this permit shall be subject to 011 the provisions of indian m. v. act iv of 1939 as amended by the act 100/56 and the kerala motor vehicles rules 1961 framed thereunder and in force for the time being. any infringement of the provisions will be considered as a breach of the permit conditions for action under section 60(1)(a) of the m. v. act of 1939 as amended by the act 100/56.'the most important and crucial of these is clause 28; and it is very significant that under this clause the power conferred by the amendment act 56 of 1969 wa9 not adverted to at all, much less incorporated......
Judgment:

Gopalan Nambiyar, C.J.

1. We think the learned Judge was right and his judgment has only to be affirmed. The State Transport Authority, in the first instance, by Ext. P1 order, and the State Transport Appellate Tribunal on revision, by Ext. P4 order, found that the denial of extension of the route from Wadakkancherry to Trichur, in continuation of the existing route Pollachi-Wadakkancheri, was justified, as the proviso to Section 48(3)(xxi) of the Motor Vehicles Act was attracted; and the same did not empower an extension of a route by more than 24 kilometres. It was on this only ground that they refused to sanction the extension. The criterion of public interest was found in favour of the operator. The learned Judge before whom the matter came up on a writ petition by the writ petitioner/ respondent, found on the strength of the decision of the Supreme Court in Sri Ram Vilas Service Ltd. v. Raman & Raman (P) Ltd. (AIR 1968 SC 748) that the power under the proviso to Section 48(3)(xxi) cannot get automatically attracted, but will be available only if the same had been specifically incorporated in the permit granted to the writ petitioner/respondent. In view of the provisions in Ext, P3 permit, which is the relevant permit concerned in this case, the learned Judge was of the view that the said power had not been incorporated in the permit, and therefore the authority wag not within its jurisdiction in refusing sanction for the extension. The writ petition was allowed.

2. Section 48(3) Clauses (i) and (xxi) of the Motor Vehicles Act may conveniently be noticed:

'48. Grant of stage carriage permits.--

XX XX XX(3) The Regional Transport Authority, if it decides to grant a stage carriage permit, may grant the permit for a service of stage carriages of a specified description or for one or more particular stage carriages, and may, subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, attach to the permit any one or more of the following conditions, namely --

(i) that the vehicle or vehicles shall be used only in a specified area, or on a specified route or routes;

** ** **(xxi) that the Regional Transport Authority may, after giving notice of not less than one month,--

(a) vary the conditions of the permit;

(b) attach to the permit further conditions:

Provided that the conditions specified In pursuance of clause (i) shall not be varied so as to alter the distance covered by the original route by more than 24 kilometres, and any variation within such limit shall be made only after the Regional Transport Authority is satisfied that such variation will serve the public convenience and that it is not expedient to grant a separate permit in respect of the original route as so varied or any part thereof;'

Clause (1) and the proviso to Clause (xxi), in the form in which they now appear, are the result of amendment by Act 56 of 1969 with effect from 2-3-1970. On the terms of the Section, the RTA is given a power to attach to the permit any one of the conditions listed in Sub-section (3), Clause (xxi) specifies one such condition which may be added to the permit The question arose as to the nature of the power conferred by the proviso to the said clause, viz., whether it was an independent statutory power available to the Regional Transport Authority or a power gained only by incorporation in the permit. This fell for consideration in the Supreme Court decision in Raman & Raman's case (AIR 1968 SC 748). Clauses (i) and (xxi) of Section 48(3) which were considered in that case read as follows (at p. 750):

'48 (3) The Regional Transport Authority, if it decides to grant a stage carriage permit, may grant the permit for service of stage carriages of a specified description or for one or more particular stage carriages, and may, subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, attach to the permit any one or more of the following conditions, namely;

(i) that the stage carriage or stage carriages shall be used only on a specified route or routes or in a specified area,

** ** ***(xxi) that the Regional Transport Authority, may after giving notice of not less than one month :

(a) vary, extend or curtail the route or routes or the area specified In the permit, Provided that in the case of --

(i) variation, the termini shall not be altered and the distance covered by variation shall not exceed 24 kma

(ii) extension of the distance covered by the extension shall not exceed 24 kms. from the termini.

(aa) vary any other condition of the permit.'

Section 5 of the Madras Act III of 1964 introduced an amendment, by Section 5(1) thereof, which stated as follows :

'5 (1). Notwithstanding anything contained in the principal Act, the route or routes or the area specified in every stage carriage permit granted before the commencement of this Act shall be deemed to be a condition attached to such permit under Sub-section (3) of Section 48 of the principal Act, as if this Act were in force on the date of grant of such permit.

(2) Notwithstanding any judgment or order of any Court all proceedings taken for the grant of, and all orders passed granting any variation, extension or curtailment of the route or routes or the area specified in a stage carriage permit before the commencement of this Act by the State Transport Authority or by a Regional Transport Authority or by an authority or person to whom the powers and functions of the State Transport Authority or a Regional Transport Authority have been delegated, or by an authority exercising the powers of appeal or revision against the orders of the State Transport Authority or a Regional Transport Authority, shall not be deemed to be invalid merely by reason of the fact that the State Transport Authority or the Regional Transport Authority, as the case may be, had no power to grant sucb variation, extension or curtailment and all such proceedings taken or orders passed shall be deemed always to have been validly taken or passed in accordance with law notwithstanding the distance covered by the variation or extension exceeded twentyfour kilometres.' In the light of the provisions thus amended, the relevant discussion of the Supreme Court is contained in paras. 6 to 8 of the judgment, which are as follows:

'(6) The learned counsel for the respondent contends that Section 48(3)(xxi), as amended, operates whether a condition to that effect has been put in a permit or not. But we are unable to read Section 48 in this sense. Section 48(3) clearly enables the R. T. A. to attach to the permit any or one of the twenty one conditions. It may in a particular case put one or two or more of the conditions or it may put all the conditions. It seems to be common ground that if any of the first twenty conditions in Section 48(3) is not attached to a permit it will not have effect. What makes condition (xxi) different is hard to appreciate. If condition (xxi) as amended is not attached to a permit it is difficult to see how the R. T. A. can derive any power from the existence of Section 48(3)(xxi) in the Act. Section 5(1) of Act III of 1964 makes the route or routes or the area specified in every stage carriage permit granted before the commencement of the Amending Act a condition attached to such permit under Sub-section (3) of Section 48 of the principal Act; it does not say that Section 48(3)(xxi) shall be deemed to be a condition attached to every such permit. The learned counsel for the respondent says that this was the intention of the amendment, but if this was so, the intention has not been carried out.

(7) It was argued before us that the history of legislation supports the interpretation placed by the High Court but, in our view, the Act as it stands amended by Act III of 1964 is quite clear and it is not necessary to go into the history of the legislation.

(8) It seems to us that the High Court erred in holding that Section 48(3) (xxi) of tha Act as amended, by itself gave power to the R. T. A. to vary the route within certain limits. This power, in our view, would be exercisable only if a condition to that effect is put in the permit. In tha case of the appellant we saw the permit and what it contained was a condition similar to the condition mentioned in Section 48(3)(xxi) before its amendment by Act III of 1964. Therefore, for the purpose of this appeal we must treat Section 48(3)(xxi), as amended, as non-existent. If Section 48(3)(xxi) as amended, is treated as non-existent, then there can be no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that no limitation had been placed on the powers of the R. T. A. in respect of the grant of applications for variation of the route. The order of the Regional Transport Authority cannot therefore, be challenged as being beyond its jurisdiction.'

3. On the above exposition of the Supreme Court, it is plain that the power conferred by Section 48(3) (xxi) of the Act, even after amendment, is exercisable only if a condition to that effect is incorporated in the permit. It was also stressed by the Supreme Court that the permit in question contained only a condition prior to the amendment of the Act by Act III of 1964. In such circumstances, it was held that there was no limitation on the powers of the R. T. A., in respect of the grant of the application for variation of the route.

4. The reasoning of the Supreme Court seems to apply with full force to the facts on hand, with the only difference which we may notice. The amendments to Section 48(3)(1) and the proviso to Section 48(3)(xxi) were, as stated, by Act 56 of 1969. The authorities in this case found that the variation was actually in public interest, but refused extension on the ground that the extension prayed for was more than 24 kilometres in length. But this limitation on the power will be available only if the proviso to Section 48(3)(xxi) has been incorporated in the permit, Ext. P3, to which we shall now turn. The relevant clauses in Ext. P3 are Clauses (1). (21) and (28). These clauses are as follows:

'1. The Stage Carriage shall be used only on the routes or area specified in the permit.

21. The conditions of this permit shall be varied or added to by the Transport Authority which issued the permit at its discretion.

** ** **28. This permit shall be subject to 011 the provisions of Indian M. V. Act IV of 1939 as amended by the Act 100/56 and the Kerala Motor Vehicles Rules 1961 framed thereunder and in force for the time being. Any infringement of the provisions will be considered as a breach of the permit conditions for action under Section 60(1)(a) of the M. V. Act of 1939 as amended by the Act 100/56.'

The most important and crucial of these is Clause 28; and it is very significant that under this clause the power conferred by the amendment Act 56 of 1969 wa9 not adverted to at all, much less incorporated. The result is, as pointed out by the Supreme Court, there is no limitation on the power of the authorities to sanction an extension of the permit. The learned Judge was right in having 'interfered with Exts. P1 and P4 decisions and allowed the writ petition. We sustain the judgment of the learned Judge and dismiss this appeal with no order as to costs.


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