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Jagan Singh Vs. State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Rajasthan and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petn. No. 144 of 1979
Judge
Reported inAIR1980Raj1
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 57, 57(3), (4), (5), 64 and 64(1)
AppellantJagan Singh
RespondentState Transport Appellate Tribunal, Rajasthan and anr.
Appellant Advocate Shyam Arya and; Hanuman Chowdhary, Advs.
Respondent Advocate K.C. Sharma and; H.N. Sharma, Advs.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredG. Venkateswara Rao v. Govt. of Andhra Pradesh
Excerpt:
.....be treated as an application for grant of a new permit under section 57 (8) of the act and the regional transport authority had not ignore the provisions of section 57 sub-sections (3), (4) and (5). this position is clearly borne out by the wordings of sections 48 (3) (xxi) and 57 (8) of the act, which read as under: (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 limits shall be made only after theregional 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 anypart thereof. consequently, the order dated may 27, 1958, passed by the regional transport..........a condition of the permit, such condition being as respects the route, was appealable to the state transport appellate tribunal by the rival permit-holder who was aggrieved by such variation. however, it appears that a contrary view was taken by the madhya pradesh high court, air 1961 madh pra 81, patna highcourt air 1961 pat 313, kerala high court air 1960 ker 18, andhra pradesh high court air 1965 andh pra 115 and allahabad high court air 1967 all 336 and air 1970 all 182.2. after hearing the learned counsel for the parties, we are satisfied that the point which has been referred to us need not be decided in this case as the case can be disposed of on other points.3. the facts of the case lie within a narrow compass. the petitioner jagan singh was granted permit on chirawa to.....
Judgment:

Lodha, C.J.

1. This reference wasmade by one of us for decision of the question whether the view taken by the Full Bench of this Court in Jai Ramdas v. Regional Transport Authority AIR 1957 Raj 312 is correct in the light of subsequent decisions on the point by a number of other High Courts. It was held in Jai Ramdas's case (supra) that on the interpretation of Section 64(1) (b) read with Section 48 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (which will hereinafter be referred to as 'the Act'), the order passed by the Regional Transport Authority varying a condition of the permit, such condition being as respects the route, was appealable to the State Transport Appellate Tribunal by the rival permit-holder who was aggrieved by such variation. However, it appears that a contrary view was taken by the Madhya Pradesh High Court, AIR 1961 Madh Pra 81, Patna HighCourt AIR 1961 Pat 313, Kerala High Court AIR 1960 Ker 18, Andhra Pradesh High Court AIR 1965 Andh Pra 115 and Allahabad High Court AIR 1967 All 336 and AIR 1970 All 182.

2. After hearing the learned counsel for the parties, we are satisfied that the point which has been referred to us need not be decided in this case as the case can be disposed of on other points.

3. The facts of the case lie within a narrow compass. The petitioner Jagan Singh was granted permit on Chirawa to Udika route via Devroad-Surajgarh-Jakhod on September 10, 1971, for a period of three years. The route was extended from Chirawa to Sultana by the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur, by its order dated April 10, 1972. Subsequently, a portion of the route, Chirawa to Devroad, came under the scheme of nationalisation from June 5, 1974. Consequently, that portion of the route i.e., Chirawa to Devroad, was curtailed and the petitioner's remaining route was divided in two portions, namely, Sultana to Chirawa and Devroad to Udika. It further appears that from June 5, 1974 to July 23, 1978, the petitioner plied on one portion of the route only viz., Udika to Devroad and did not ply on the other portion of the route i.e., Chirawa to Sultana. However, he made an application before the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur, on March 28, 1978, for diversion of his route - Udika to Sultana via Surajgarh, Raghunathpura and Shyamlu. After obtaining report from the District Transport Officer, Jhunjhunu, the Regional Transport Authority allowed diversion of the petitioner's route via Surajgarh, Raghunathpura-Shyamlu by its order dated October 25, 1978.

4. At this stage, it may be mentioned that the Non-petitioner No. 2, Sagruddin, was an operator on the Chirawa-Sultana-Jhunjhunu route. Being aggrieved by the grant of diversion of the petitioner's route, Sagruddin filed an appeal before the State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Rajasthan, for setting aside the order of the Regional Transport Authority dated October 25, 1978. The State Transport Appellate Tribunal, by its order dated January 11, 1979, allowed the appeal and set aside the order of the Regional Transport Authority dated October 25, 1978.

5. The petitioner has challenged the validity and correctness of the order of the State Transport Appellate Tribunalby this writ petition and has contended that the State Transport Appellate Tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain Sagruddin's appeal under Section 64 (1) (b) of the Act as he cannot be said to be a person aggrieved by variation of the, conditions of the permit held by the petitioner. But we shall presently show that it is not necessary to decide this point as this petition is liable to be dismissed on other grounds.

6. It may be pointed out that the Regional Transport Authority could not varied the conditions of the petitioner's permit of its own accord under Section 48 (3) (xxi), but an application was made by the petitioner for variation of the conditions of the permit by allowing him to divert his route through new vias. Such an application must be treated as an application for grant of a new permit under Section 57 (8) of the Act and the Regional Transport Authority had not ignore the provisions of Section 57 sub-sections (3), (4) and (5). This position is clearly borne out by the wordings of Sections 48 (3) (xxi) and 57 (8) of the Act, which read as under:-

'48. Grant of stage carriage permits- (1) Subject to the provisions of Section 47, a Regional Transport Authority may, on an application made to it under Section 46, grant a stage carriage permit in accordance with the application or with such modifications as it deems fit or refuse to grant such a permit:

Provided that no such permit shall be granted in respect of any route or area not specified in the application.

(2)'

(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) to (xx) ...

(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 cl. (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 limits shall be made only after theRegional 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 anypart thereof.

'57. Procedure in applying for and granting permits:- (1) An application for a contract carriage permit or a private carrier's permit may be made at any time,

(2) to (7) ...

(8) An application to vary the conditions of any permit, other than a temporary permit, by the inclusion of a new route or routes or a new area or, in the case of a stage carriage permit, by increasing the number of trips above the specified maximum, or by altering the route covered by it, or in the case of a contract carriage permit or a public carrier's permit, by increasing the number of vehicles covered by the permit, shall be treated as an application for the grant of a new permit;

Provided that it shall not be necessaryso to treat an application made by the holder of a stage carriage permit who provides the only service on any route or in any area to increase the frequency of the service so provided, without any increase in the number of vehicles.'

7. In support of the proposition stated above, reference may be made to Delhi Transport Undertaking v. Zamindar Motor Transport Co. (P.) Ltd., AIR 1970 SC 466, wherein the Supreme Court observed as follows.-

'By Section 48 (3) (xxi) it is open to the Regional Transport Authority, after giving notice of not less than one month, (a) to vary the conditions of the permit, and (b) to attach to the permit further conditions. But an application was made by the D.T.U. for variation of the conditions of the permit including a new route or routes or a new area had to be treated as an application for the grant of a new permit under Section 57 (8) of the Act and the State Transport Authority could not ignore the provisions of Section 57 Sub-sections (3), (4) and (5).'

8. Admittedly, in the present case, the petitioner made an application for variation of the conditions of his permit including new route and therefore his application ought to have been treated as an application for grant of a new permit under Section 57 (8), and the procedure prescribed under Sub-sections (3),(4) and (5) of Section 57 of the Act should have been followed. But, in fact, the petitioner's application was neither treated as one under Section 57 (8) nor did the Regional Transport Authority follow the procedure prescribed under Sub-sections (3), (4) and (5) of Section 57 of the Act before allowing it. Consequently, the order dated May 27, 1958, passed by the Regional Transport Authority allowing the petitioner 'to ply via Shyamlu and Raghunathpura in place of Devroad between Chirawa to Suraj-garh' is bad and cannot be sustained in law.

9. Learned counsel for the petitioner, however, contended that the State Transport Appellate Tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal by Sagruddin, non-petitioner No. 2, as he cannot be said to be a person aggrieved by the order of the Regional Transport Authority by variation of the conditions of the permit for two reasons; firstly, that the variation cannot be said to have been allowed to the detriment of Sagruddm, non-petitioner No. 2, as even prior to the variation the petitioner did hold the permit to ply between Chirawa to Sultana; and secondly, a rival permit holder has no locus standi to file appeal against the variation of conditions of permit granted to another permit holder. To this contention, the reply on behalf of the non-petitioner is that, assuming for argument's sake, that even if no appeal lay by the non-petitioner, he could file revision under Section 64-A of the Act and, therefore, the order of the State Transport Appellate Tribunal may be held to be justified as having been passed in exercise of its revisional jurisdiction under Section 64-A of the Act.

10. We may here point out that for upholding the impugned order by the Slate Transport Appellate Tribunal under Section 64-A, the non-petitioner must show that he is a person aggrieved by the order of the Regional Transport Authority inasmuch as under the first proviso to Section 64-A, the State Transport Appellate Tribunal cannot entertain any application from the person aggrieved by an order of the Regional Transport Authority unless the application is made within 30 days of the date of order. The contention of the non-petitioner is that in the circumstances of the case, the non-petitioner No. 2, Sagruddin cannot be held to be a person aggrieved by the order of the Regional Transport Authority because a person aggrieved incase of variation of the conditions of a permit can only be the permit holder of the permit, the conditions of which have been varied and not any other rival permit holder.

11. As we have already stated above, we do not feel inclined to decide this question in the facts and circumstances of this case; whether Sagruddin, non-petitioner No. 2, can be considered as a person aggrieved by the variation in the conditions of the petitioner's permit. We have already held above that the order of the Regional Transport Authority, whereby the variation in the conditions of the permit of the petitioner was allowed, was not legal and proper as it had been passed without following the procedure prescribed under Section 57, Subsections (3), (4) and (5). Assuming for argument's sake, that the non-petitioner No- 2, Sagruddin, had no locus standi to file an appeal or revision before the State Transport Appellate Tribunal against the order of the Regional Transport Authority dated May 27, 1978, the fact remains that the said order of the Regional Transport Authority is illegal and if we were to allow this writ petition and set aside the impugned order by the State Transport Appellate Tribunal, the result would be that the illegal order of the Regional Transport Authority would be restored. It may be noted that there has been no failure of justice in the present case and we would be justified in refusing to interfere unless we are satisfied that the justice of the case requires it. We are of opinion, that having regard to the facts of the case and the law bearing on the subject, we should decline to interfere.

12. In Gani Mohammed v. State Transport Appellate Tribunal, 1976 Raj LW 201, it was observed that while granting a writ of certiorari, this court would not exercise its discretion in such a manner which would have the effect of restoring an illegal order passed by the Regional Transport Authority. As we have already pointed out above, the effect of setting aside the impugned order passed by the Tribunal by a writ of certiorari would be restoring an invalid and illegal order passed by the Regional Transport Authority. Reference may also be made to G. Venkateswara Rao v. Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, AIR 1966 SC 828 wherein the Supreme Court came to the conclusion that the State Government had no power under Section 72 of the Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Samitis &Zila; Parishads Act to review its previous order, yet their Lordships refused to interfere with the order passed by the State Government upon such a review on the ground that quashing of that order would lead to restoration of an illegal order passed earlier by the State Government. In this connection, their Lordships further observed that the High Court rightly refused to exercise its extraordinary discretionary power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. In this view of the matter, this writ petition deserves to be dismissed.

13. Before parting with the case, we may observe that even though the State Transport Appellate Tribunal set aside the order of the Regional Transport Authority dated May 27, 1978, yet it has given no further direction to the Regional Transport Authority in the matter. We are, however, of opinion that it will be open to the Regional Transport Authority to treat the petitioner's application for variation of the route as an application for the grant of a new permit under Section 57 (8) of the Act and decide it afresh after following the procedure prescribed in Sub-sections (3), (4) and (5) of Section 57 of the Act.

14. With these observations, the writ petition is dismissed. But in the circumstances of the case, the parties are left to bear their own costs.


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