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Kotah Transport Ltd. Vs. Regional Transport Authority and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. Nos. 591 to 593 and 595 to 598 of 1952
Judge
Reported inAIR1954Raj33
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 62; Constitution of India - Article 226 and 226(1)
AppellantKotah Transport Ltd.
RespondentRegional Transport Authority and ors.
Appellant Advocate N.L. Jain and; B.S. Sharma, Advs.
Respondent Advocate R.A. Gupta, Govt. Adv. and; P.D. Matri, Adv.
DispositionPetitions allowed
Cases ReferredThe King v. London County Council
Excerpt:
.....necessary conditions have to be satisfied before the authority can proceed to exercise its discretion under section 62. in considering the representations and in granting permits whether temporary or non-temporary in accordance with the provisions of law the authority has to act quasi-judicially. it is true that discretion has been given to the regional transport authority to issue temporary permits and this court would not ordinarily like to interfere in the exercise of the discretion by that authority but where the authority proceeds to act in total disregard of the provisions of law it becomes the duty of this court to issue an appropriate writ to correct the mischief created by illegal action of the regional transport authority......has no force.14. the petitions are, therefore, allowed andthe temporary permits granted by the regionaltransport authority, udaipur, to siraj ahmad,messrs. rampratap manakchand, messrs. awatram ratansingh, national motors, kotah, messrs.naair ahmad abdul majid, mohammad buxmistri, messrs. anandilal badrilal, messrs.mohammadali munnabhai, messrs. ujagarsinghsethi and brothers, and mr. kewal ram sindhi,are set aside and they are restrained fromplying their stage carriages under those permits.the petitioner has also claimed compensation, butwe are not prepared to make any order regardingpayment of compensation to the petitioner. thepetitioner shall get costs of these petitions fromthe opposite sides except the regional transportauthority, udaipur. the counsel's fee in eachcase is fixed.....
Judgment:

Ranawat, J.

1. These are seven applications under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. In all these cases the facts are similar and the points raised are also the same. They are therefore being dealt with together. The petitioner in all these cases is Kotah Transport Limited, Kotah, and they are all directed against the Regional Transport Authority but there are some other persons also who have been impleaded as the opposite parties and they are different in each case. In Writ Application No. 591 Siraj Ahrnad has been made opposite party 2. In Writ Application No. 592 National Motors, Kotah, has been impleaded as opposite party 2. In Writ Application No. 593 'Messrs. Nazir Ahmad Abdul Majid are opposite party 2. In Writ Petition No. 595 Mohammad Bux Mistri has been impleaded as, opp: party 2. In Writ Application No. 596 Messrs. Rampratap Manakchand, & Messrs. Awatram Ratansingh are opposite parties 2 & 3, In Writ Petition No. 597 Messrs. Anandilal Badrilal are opposite party 2. In Writ Application No. 598 Messrs. Mohammad All Munnabhai, Messrs. Ujagarsingh Sethi & Bros, and Mr. Kewalram Sindhi are opposite Parties 2, 3 and 4, respectively.

2. The allegations of the petitioner which are common to all these cases are that the petitioner is a public limited company holding valid permits for certain buses plying on the following routes:

1. Kotah-Mangrol,

2. Kotah-Ramganjmadi,

3. Kotah-Chechat.

4. Kotah-Khatoli,

5. Kotah-Bakani,

6. Baran-Jhalrapatan via Khanpur,

7. Baran-Thana via Shahabad, that the Regional Transport Authority, Udaipur, who is opposite party 1 in utter disregard of the provisions of Section 62, Indian Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, granted temporary permits on 30th and 31st May 1952 for a period of four months to the persons who have been impleaded opposite parties, for certain routes which are the routes covered by the permits of the petitioner or which coincide for some distance with the routes of the petitioner's permits; that the temporary permits so granted were to be effective up to 30-9-1952 but the Regional Transport Authority extended the temporary permits for a further period of three months; that the circumstances mentioned in Section 62, Indian Motor Vehicles Act did not exist at the time the temporary permits were issued by the Regional Transport Authority; that the petitioner was suffering heavy losses on account of the action of the Regional Transport Authority in issuing the aforesaid temporary permits; that the petitioner from time to time made representations to the Regional Transport Authority against their action of issuing temporary permits but to no avail.

The petitioner, therefore, prayed that a writ or a direction or order under Article 226 of the Constitution of India be issued to set aside the orders of the Regional Transport Authority granting temporary permits, that the petitioner may be awarded compensation for the losses suffered by him to the extent of Rs. 50/- per day in each case and lastly to restrain the opposite parties from plying their buses under the permits so granted.

3. In the reply filed by the Regional Transport Authority, Udaipur, it has been admitted that the petitioner is a limited company and that it holds valid permits for plying stage carriages on the routes mentioned in the petitions and further it has also been admitted that temporary permits were granted to certain persons who have been impleaded as opposite parties to these writ applications for the routes which are in some cases the same as are covered by the permits of the petitioner or in other cases the routes for some distance of the temporary permits coincide with the routes of the petitioner's permits. It is further pleaded that at first the temporary permits were issued on 30th and 31st May 1952 but it is contested that those very permits were not renewed.

The stand taken up by the Regional Transport Authority is that fresh temporary permits were issued after the expiry of the first permits. The reason why the temporary permits were issued is stated to be heavy traffic and inability of the existing buses to cope with the need. In short, the case of the Regional Transport Authority is that the temporary permits were issued in accor--dance with the provisions of law and that the Regional Transport Authority had absolute discretion to act in the way in which they have acted. In addition to the aforesaid points a new point was raised in the written statement filed by the Regional Transport Authority that there was no legal right in the petitioner to come to the Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and the petitions, it was prayed, should therefore be rejected. Delay in the filing of these petitions is also made a point by the Regional Transport Authority against the petitioner.

The replies filed by the opposite parties other than the Regional Transport Authority are similar to the replies filed by the Regional Transport Authority, but in their reply in Writ Petition No. 596 Messrs. Awatram Ratansingh and Messrs, Rampratap Manakchand have stated that temporary permits in their favour had been issued by the Regional Transport Authority on 28-8-1952 as one of the permit holders had stopped plying his bus on the route for which a temporary permit had been issued in their favour. This was a particular temporary need in the meaning of Section 62 (C), Motor Vehicles Act for which the Regional Transport Authority had jurisdiction to act under the provisions of Section 62.

4. Copies of the Resolutions of Regional Transport Authority, Udaipur, dated 30th May and 28th August 1952 have been filed by the petitioner and a copy of the resolution of the Regional Transport Authority dated 28-10-1952 has been filed by the Regional Transport Authority, two of which that are relevant for our purpose are as follows:

'Copy of Resolution No. 5 of the meeting of the Regional Transport Authority dated the 28th August 1952.

RESOLUTION NO. 5.

For long there is a persistent demand on the part of the general public for plying more stage carriages on the routes mentioned below, as the existing ones are not enough to carry passengers. The Transport Sub-Inspectors have also reported that there is a great rush of passengers on these routes.

After having heard and discussed with the applicants and operators it was resolved in public interest to meet the temporary need that under Section 62, Motor Vehicles Act 1939, temporary permits to be effective for a period of two months-be granted, to the following on the routes mentioned against their names:

Name of the routes.

Name of the operator.

No. of permit.

1. Kotah-Deoli.

M/s Bundi Electric Supply Co.

4

2. Bundi-Deoli..

do do

2

3. Kotah- Bundi.

do do

7

14. Kotah-Sangod.

Shri Ramgopal Bhandari,

1

20. Chechat -Eklera

' Rampratap.

1

21. Baran-Patan.

(1) Shri Awatram. (2) Rikhabchand.

2

22. Baran Shababad.

(1) ' Beharilal (2) Mohammadbux.

2

23. Kotah-Khatoli.

(1) ' Sirajahmad(2) Anandilal Badrinarain.

2

24. Kotah-Kaithon.

'Gurmukhdas Dayaram.

1

25. Ba ran Siswali.

' Gopilal Ramchander.

1

26. Kotah-Bakani

' Kewalram Karamchand.

1

27. Kotah- Ramganjmandi

' Abdul Mazid Nasir Md.

1

28. Baran Shivpuri.

M/s Chand Bros., M/s National Moters,Kotah.

1

30. Baran-Chechat.

M/s Manchanda Transport.

1

Copy of Resolution No. 10 (a) of the meeting of the Regional Transport Authority dated the 28th October 1952.

RESOLUTION NO. 10.

The following resolution passed by circulation be confirmed: (a) Resolved that the period of temporary stage carriage permits granted vide resolution of the 12th R. T. A. meeting be increased from two to three months in the public interest.'

5. We need not here discuss resolution of the Regional Transport Authority of 30-5-1952 as the permits issued thereunder have run their periods and it is no use now discussing the propriety of the action taken by the Regional Transport Authority under that Resolution. We are here concerned with the temporary permits issued by the Regional Transport Authority by their resolution of 28-8-1952. It would be noticed that the resolution No. 5 dated 28-8-1952 of the Regional Transport Authority, Udaipur, contains the following two points:

(1) For long there was persistent demand on the part of the general public for plying more stage carriages on the routes mentioned in the resolution.

(2) The transport Sub-Inspectors had reported that there was a great rush of passengers on those routes. The Regional Transport Authority on these facts proceeded to take an action under Section 62, Motor Vehicles Act for issuing temporary permits to meet the demand of the bus holders and the traffic.

6. Section 62, Indian Motor Vehicles Act provides that --

'A Regional Transport Authority may at its discretion, and without following the procedure laid down in Section 57, grant permits, to be effective for a limited period not in any case to exceed four months, to authorise the use of a transport vehicle temporarily---

(a) for the conveyance of passengers on special occasions such as to and from fairs and religious gatherings, or

(b) for the purposes of a seasonal business, or (c) to meet a particular temporary need, and may attach to any such permit any condition it thinks fit.'

7. None of the circumstances mentioned in Section 62 were before the Regional Transport Authority. Udaipur, at the time it resolved to grant temporary permits by its resolution No. 5 dated 28-8-1952. The first circumstance which was considered by the Regional Transport Authority was the existence of a persistent demand on the part of the general public for plying more stage carriages on certain routes. The demand of the bus owners to ply their buses is not the demand of the public, this circumstance, therefore, does not come within the scope of Section 62, Indian Motor Vehicles Act. The other circumstance was that there was more traffic on the routes than could be met by the stage carriages of the existing permit holders. This again was a need which cannot be said to be temporary in its character.

There was, under these circumstances, no occasion for the Regional Transport Authority, Udaipur, to have proceeded to take action under Section 62, Indian Motor Vehicles Act for issuing temporary permits. In the case of Writ Application No. 596 it has been pleaded that one of the permit holders stopped plying his bus and this fact was responsible for granting a temporary permit, in the first place the Regional Transport Authority in its reply has not said that in view of this special circumstance a temporary permit had been issued. Secondly, this circumstance may have been present but unless the Regional Transport Authority applied its mind to this circumstance in granting temporary permits it cannot be said that the Regional Transport Authority acted because of the existence of the particular circumstance specified by Messrs. Awatram Ratansingh.

It is, therefore, not true to say that because of the existence of this particular circumstance the Regional Transport Authority proceeded to act under Section 62, Indian Motor Vehicles Act in granting temporary permits to Messrs. Awatram Ratansingh. Virtually by issuing temporary permits from time to time and by extending their period, the authority has tried to circumvent the provisions of law regarding issue of non-temporary permits and thus the action of the R. T. A. cannot be considered to be bona fide.

8. It has been argued on behalf of the Regional Transport Authority that as there was increased traffic on the routes mentioned in the petition of the petitioner and as it would nave taken some time before the permits under Section 57 would have been issued the Regional Transport Authority proceeded to act under Section 62. In this connection, we are told that the Regional Transport Authority, Udaipur, by its resolution of 28-10-1952 resolved to invite applications for grant of permits, under Section 57, Indian Motor Vehicles Act. In view of the fact that it was on 28-10-1952 that the Regional Transport Authority conceived the idea of inviting applications for grant of stage carriage permits, it cannot be believed that the authority at the time it granted temporary permits was thinking to take action for making arrangement for the grant of permits under Section 57, Indian Motor Vehicles Act. Prom 28th August to 28th October 1952 it is nearly two months and the life of the permits was also initially fixed at two months but subsequently by its resolution No. 10- dated 28-10-1952 the Regional Transport Authority extended the duration of the period from two months to three months. The aforesaid argument of the learned Government Advocate, therefore, has no basis. It does not seem that the Authority wanted to make any arrangement for the issue of non-temporary permits and issued the temporary permits in the meantime.

9. An objection has been raised by the opposite side that the petitioner has no legal right to entitle him to approach this Court under Article 223 of the Constitution of India. On behalf of the petitioner it is contended in this connection that the petitioner is a person interested in the question of the grant of temporary permits by the Regional Transport Authority relating to the routes which were covered by the permits of the petitioner. If other persons plied their buses as stage carriages on the routes covered by the permits of the petitioner the petitioner would be put to a loss and the right of the petitioner to ply his stage carriages would be infringed.

In addition to this argument it has also been urged that a Regional Transport Authority is a quasi-judicial Authority and a writ of 'certiorari' would issue if such an authority acted illegally or with material irregularity or in excess of its jurisdiction, or failed to exercise the Jurisdiction vested in it by law. This argument is again met by the opposite side by saying that even though the Regional Transport Authority may be a quasi-judicial authority, yet it is not a quasi-judicial authority when it exercises its powers under Section 62, Indian Motor Vehicles Act. The functions under Section 62, Indian Motor Vehicles Act, it is said, are purely executive or administrative and they are left to the discretion of the Regional Transport Authority under the provisions of the law.

10. In -- 'Province of Bombay v. Khushaldas S. Advani', AIR 1950 SO 222 (A), the observations of Slesser L. J. in his judgment in -- 'The King v. London County Council', (1931) 2 KB 215 at p. 243, (B) have been quoted with approval regarding the question as to what is a judicial or a quasi-judicial act. The conditions given by Slesser L. J. for the issue of a writ of 'certiorari' are as follows:

'Wherever any body of persons (1) having legal authority, (2) to determine questions affecting rights of subjects and (3) having the duty to act judicially, (4) act in excess of their legal authority -- a writ of 'certiorari' may issue.'

11. In order to find out whether an act of a Regional Transport Authority of issuing temporary permits under Section 62 is or is not a quasi-judicial act, it is necessary to ascertain the intention of the law whether the authority was intended to act judicially in this matter. On behalf of the petitioner a reference has been made to Sections 45, 46, 47, 48, 54, 55, 58, 59, 60 and 61, Indian Motor Vehicles Act. Section 45 relates to the question of inviting applications for issue of permits. The word used in this section is 'permit' only which, it is urged, includes both a temporary and a non-temporary permit. Section 46 gives the particulars which an application for a permit should contain. Section 47 gives the procedure of the Regional Transport Authority in considering applications for stage carriages.

In this section it has specifically been provided that the Regional Transport Authority shall also take into consideration any representations made by persons already providing road transport facilities along or near the proposed route or routes or by any local authority or police authority within whose jurisdiction any part of the proposed route or routes lie or by any association interested in the provision of road transport facilities. Section 48 gives power to restrict the number of stage carriages and to impose conditions on stage carriage permits. Section 54 gives the particulars which should be given in an application for a public earner's permit. Section 55 gives the procedure of the Regional Transport Authority in considering application for public carrier's permits.

Section 56 gives the power of the Regional Transport Authority to restrict the number of and attach conditions to public carrier's permits. Section 59 gives general conditions attached to all permits. Section 60 gives the power to the Regional Transport Authority to cancel or suspend a permit. Section 61 deals with the power to allow transfer of a permit on death of its holder. The provisions of all these sections enumerated above would apply also to the cases of the issue of temporary permits unless the context otherwise requires.

The Regional Transport Authority has to consider representations, if any, of interested persons. Applications have got to be invited and the necessary conditions have to be satisfied before the authority can proceed to exercise its discretion under Section 62. In considering the representations and in granting permits whether temporary or non-temporary in accordance with the provisions of law the authority has to act quasi-judicially. The decision of the Regional Transport Authority affects the rights of the permit holders and the Authority has also to act in accordance with certain procedure laid down by the law.

Under these circumstances, it is not right to say that the action of the Regional Transport Authority is purely executive or administrative, in issuing temporary permits under Section 62. In our opinion, the function under Section 62 is a quasi-judicial function and it has got to be exercised in accordance with the provisions of the procedure laid down in the Act itself. If an authority which, is to act judicially or quasi-judicially acts illegally or with material irregularity a writ of 'certiorari' would lie. In the present case, the Regional Transport Authority has acted in total disregard of the provisions of Section 62, Motor Vehicles Act and it has misused its powers which it had to exercise in its discretion in accordance with the provisions of law. The requirements of Section 62 did not exist to enable the authority to issue temporary permits.

Under these circumstances, because the petitioner is an interested person, he has got a right to invoke the Jurisdiction of this Court under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India for the issue of a writ of 'certiorari' against the Regional Transport Authority. It is true that discretion has been given to the Regional Transport Authority to issue temporary permits and this Court would not ordinarily like to interfere in the exercise of the discretion by that authority but where the Authority proceeds to act in total disregard of the provisions of law it becomes the duty of this Court to issue an appropriate writ to correct the mischief created by illegal action of the Regional Transport Authority.

12. It is also contended on behalf of some of the opposite parties that some of the routes for which temporary permits have been granted are not exactly the same routes which are covered by the permits of the petitioner and as such it is argued that the petitioner has no case for coming to the Court. It may be pointed out that the routes for which temporary permits nave been issued by the Regional Transport Authority in these cases are the routes which are either covered by the permits of the petitioner or for some distance they coincide with the routes of the petitioner's permits. The temporary permits, therefore, in the present case have a bearing on the permits of the petitioner and the petitioner is cerfiainly interested in seeing that nobody is allowed to ply his stage carriages on the routes covered by his permits without a valid permit.

13. The petitioner has come to this Court shortly after the grant of fresh temporary permits, which have given rise to a fresh cause of action. The objection, therefore, of delay has no force.

14. The petitions are, therefore, allowed andthe temporary permits granted by the RegionalTransport Authority, Udaipur, to Siraj Ahmad,Messrs. Rampratap Manakchand, Messrs. Awatram Ratansingh, National Motors, Kotah, Messrs.Naair Ahmad Abdul Majid, Mohammad BuxMistri, Messrs. Anandilal Badrilal, Messrs.Mohammadali Munnabhai, Messrs. UjagarsinghSethi and Brothers, and Mr. Kewal Ram Sindhi,are set aside and they are restrained fromplying their stage carriages under those permits.The petitioner has also claimed compensation, butwe are not prepared to make any order regardingpayment of compensation to the petitioner. Thepetitioner shall get costs of these petitions fromthe opposite sides except the Regional TransportAuthority, Udaipur. The counsel's fee in eachcase is fixed at Rs. 30/-.


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