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Ninan Vs. Secretary, State Transport Authority, Trivandrum and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberO.P. No. 146 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1960Ker359
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 48(3); Motor Vehicles Rules, 1952 - Rule 144
AppellantNinan
RespondentSecretary, State Transport Authority, Trivandrum and anr.
Appellant Advocate V.K.K. Menon and; K.S. Sebastian, Advs.
Respondent Advocate C.M. Muruvilla, Govt. Pleader, for Respondent 1,; P. Govindan Nair,;
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredOommen v. Road Traffic Board
Excerpt:
.....motor vehicles act, 1939 and rule 144 of motor vehicle rules, 1952 - power of secretary to alter time table approved by state transport authority - power of regulation can be delegated to secretary under rule 144 - secretary can alter time table of running of buses - mere alteration of time table for few minutes does not cause personal injury to petitioner. - - 1. the injury complained of by the petitioner, who runs a bus or, to use the technical language of the motor vehicles act, operates a stage carriage, so as to give him the right to approach this court under article 226 of the constitution for quashing an order by the 1st respondent the secretary of the state transport authority, trivandrum, granting a revision of timings to the 2nd respondent a rival operator, ignoring the..........is only the secretary of the state transport authority has no jurisdiction to alter the approved time table since, under the provisions of clauses (iii) and (iv) of sub-section (3) of section 48 of the motor vehicles act as amended by act c of 1956, the time table is one of the conditions of the permit which under clauses 20 and 21 of the same sub-section, can be varied only by the regionaltransport authority. the delegation made to the secretary under rule 144 of the travancore-cochin motor vehicles rules framed in 1952 at a time when, under the provisions of the act as it then stood, this power of regulating timings was governed by section 48 (c)and the time table was not a condition of the permit, cannot operate with regard to the power vested in the regional transport authority.....
Judgment:
ORDER

P.T. Raman Nayar, J.

1. The injury complained of by the petitioner, who runs a bus or, to use the technical language of the Motor Vehicles Act, operates a stage carriage, so as to give him the right to approach this court under Article 226 of the Constitution for quashing an order by the 1st respondent the Secretary of the State Transport Authority, Trivandrum, granting a revision of timings to the 2nd respondent a rival operator, ignoring the objections of the petitioner, is that as a result of this change in timings, the 2nd respondent's bus, KLK 2267 will run from Koyhancheri to Kulathupuzha, a distance of 50 miles, overlapping to that extent the route of the petitioner's bus, K.L.Q. 350 from Mallappally to Kulathupuzha, just a few minutes ahead of the petitioner's bus, thus lapping the fat of thetraffic and leaving for the petitioner's bus only what it cannot swallow.

But, on perusing the Order passed by the 1st respondent, I find that due notice has been taken of this objection of the petitioner and that by his order the 1st respondent has expressly provided that the 2nd respondent's bus, KLT 2267, which reaches Kozhancheri at 7-32 A.M. should wait there for eight minutes and leave that place only at 7-40 so as to enable the petitioner's bus which reaches Kozhancheri at 7-30 A.M. to go ahead of it. If this direction is obeyed, the petitioner can suffer no prejudice by the change in timings for, as pertinently pointed out by the 1st respondent, it matters little to the petitioner if another bus follows his.

But it is said that the 2nd respondent can with impunity disobey the direction and that there is no machinery for enforcing it. I do not think that this theoretical possibility can spell out an actual injury so as to entitle the petitioner to complain to this court, and I should imagine that if the 2nd respondent violates the direction, the petitioner would not be slow to complain of the infringement to the proper authority which I have little doubt is armed with sufficient power to enforce the direction, Jn fact I dismissed an application for a temporary injunction filed along with this petition on this very ground, namely, that the order of the 1st respondent as it stands works no hardship to the petitioner, and that if the direction therein is disobeyed, the petitioner could complain to the proper quarter.

That was 22 months ago, and it does not appear that the petitioner has had occasion to make any complaint of the kind. On the other hand he has filed no rejoinder to the 2nd respondent's counter-affidavit to the effect that his bus never leaves Kozhancheri before the scheduled hour of 7-40 A.M. and that there are check posts on the route to ensure this. On this short ground, namely that there) is nothing to show that the petitioner has been adversely affected by the order complained against, I think this petition must fail.

2. I might add that, although the order complained against revises the timings of two of the 2nd respondent's buses, and what is sought in the petition is a cancellation of the entire order, it is not the petitioner's case that the revision so far as the other bus, TCQ 1271 is concerned, affects him at all.

3. Having heard arguments in full I might briefly touch upon the grounds urged in support of the petition. The main ground is that the 1st respondent who is only the Secretary of the State Transport Authority has no jurisdiction to alter the approved time table since, under the provisions of Clauses (iii) and (iv) of Sub-section (3) of Section 48 of the Motor Vehicles Act as amended by Act C of 1956, the time table is one of the conditions of the permit which under Clauses 20 and 21 of the same sub-section, can be varied only by the RegionalTransport Authority.

The delegation made to the Secretary under Rule 144 of the Travancore-Cochin Motor Vehicles Rules framed in 1952 at a time when, under the provisions of the Act as it then stood, this power of regulating timings was governed by Section 48 (c)and the time table was not a condition of the permit, cannot operate with regard to the power vested in the Regional Transport Authority under the new Clauses 21 and 22 of section 48 (3). In support of this argument reliance is placed on the Division Bench ruling in P. Satyanarayana v. The State of Andhra Pradesh, AIR 1959 Andh Pra 429 and the Single Judge ruling in Thomas v. State Transport Authority, 1960 Ker LT 108: AIR 1960 Kerala 111.

4. The condition that can be attached to a permit under Clause (iv) of Sub-section (3) of Section 48 is 'that the service shall be operated within such margins of deviation from the approved time table as the Regional Transport Authority may from time to time specify'. It seems to me that it is adherence to the approved time table within the specified margins of deviation that is the condition, not the approved time table itself. The condition that can be attached under Clause (iii) is that copies of the time table approved by the Regional Transport Authority shall be exhibited on the vehicles and at specified stands and halts, and while this implies that time tables are to be approved by the Regional Transport Authority, it is the exhibition of the time table and not the time table itself that is enjoined as a condition of the permit.

It is further to be noticed that the word used in Section 48 (3) with regard to the power of the Regional Transport Authority to attach conditions to a permit is 'may' and that 'may' here is not 'shall' is apparent from Section 59 (3) which lays down the conditions which shall be attached to every permit. Therefore, even if a time table can be a condition of a permit, it becomes so only if the Regional Transport Authority decides to make it a condition; and unless he has done so, the time table cannot, in any event, be a condition of the permit.

Neither in this case, nor in the cases relied upon by the petitioner, is there anything to indicate that the Regional Transport Authority had made the time table a condition of the permit. But, as I have already indicated the real point, it seems to me, is that the conditions that can be attached to a permit are that copies of the time table shall be exhibited at the specified places and that the operator shall adhere to the time table, it is not the time table itself that can be made a condition.

5. In my view the position under the newSection 48 with regard to the regulation of timings is not different from that under the old section excepting that, while the old Section 48 (c) expressly empowered the Regional Transport Authority in this behalf, the power is now necessarily implied in Section 48 (3) (iii). Under the old Section 48 it was held in Kali Mudalear v. Vedachala Mudalear, AIR 1952 Mad 545, and in Oommen v. Road Traffic Board, Kottayam, 1958 Ker LT 110: (AIR 1958 Kerala 339), that the time table was not a condition of the permit.

With this view I am in respectful agreement. And, if the time table is not a condition of the permit, an alteration thereof will not fall within Clauses 20 and 21 of Sub-section (3) of Section 48 and is amply covered by the delegation authorised by Rule 144 of the Travancore-Coehm Motor Vehicles Rules, 1952 in pursuance of which, it is not disputed,the State Transport Authority has delegated to its Secretary (the 1st respondent herein) all the powers that can be delegated under that rule, .

6. Had I not held on other grounds that this petition must fail, I would of course, have referred this case to a Division Bench. But, since the difference of opinion with regard to whether or not the time table is a condition of the permit does not materially affect the decision, I see no reason for doing so.

7. It seems unnecessary to consider the remaining contentions of either side excepting to observe that none of them seems to me of any great substance. In particular, I might say that I am not accepting the argument advanced on behalf of the 2nd respondent that, even if the revision in timings granted to him enables him to run his bus just a few minutes ahead of the petitioner's bus and thus skim the cream of the traffic, the petitioner nevertheless suffers no personal injury entitling him to move this court for relief since his own permit remains unaltered.

8. In the result, I dismiss the petition withcosts. Advocate's fee Rs. 100 (one set).


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