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Govind Singh Vs. the State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Rajasthan, Jaipur and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petn. No. 1167 of 1975
Judge
Reported inAIR1977Raj108
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 43, 68F(2) and 68G
AppellantGovind Singh
RespondentThe State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Rajasthan, Jaipur and ors.
Appellant Advocate R.R. Vyas and; N.L. Pareek, Advs.
Respondent Advocate A.K. Mathur, Addl. Govt. Adv. and; B.L. Maheshwari, Adv. for Respondent No. 3
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredHarjeetsingh v. The State Transport Appellate Tribunal
Excerpt:
- - on the aforesaid facts, it clearly emerges that the tribunal was in error in holding that the respondent no, 3 was also a displaced operator and was entitled to a preference on that basis in the matter of grant of a permit on the route......published another nationalisation scheme relating to jaipur-bikaner via sikar, salasar and nokha route, of which nokha-salasar route formed a portion. sometime later, the nationalisation scheme relating to jaipur-bikaner route was also approved by the state government and the same took effect from october 16,1974. as a consequence of the implementation of the aforesaid nationalisation scheme, the r. t. a. by its order dated october 19, 1974 cancelled the aforesaid permit of the petitioner relating to nokha-salasar route and directed him to surrender his permit. thus the case of the petitioner is that his stage carriage permit relating to nokha-salasar route, which was otherwise valid upto june 1,1975. was prematurely cancelled on account of the coming into force of the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

D.P. Gupta, J.

1. This writ petition has been filed by Govind Singh, who was formerly an operator of Bikaner-Salasar route in the following circumstances:--

2. Govind Singh had two non-temporary stage carriage permits on Bika-ner -- Salasar route, one of which was valid upto August 31, 1974, while the other was valid upto June 1, 1975 after their renewal. I am concerned in the present case with the last mentioned permit of the petitioner, which was renewed by the order of the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner (hereinafter referred to as 'the R. T. A.') dated September 5, 1972 upto June 1, 1975 with the condition that the route of the said permit shall be rendered ineffective from Bikaner to Nokha upon the publication of the nationalisation scheme, It is admitted by the petitioner that Bikaner --Nokha portion of the route of the petitioner's aforesaid permit formed part ofthe bus route from Jodhpur to Bikaner, in respect of which a nationalisation scheme was approved by the State Government and was published either towards the end of 1973 or towards the beginning of 1974. The said permit of the petitioner was thus curtailed in respect of Bikaner -- Nokha portion and the route of the said permit thereafter remained only from Nokha to Salasar. Subsequently, the State Transport Undertaking published another nationalisation scheme relating to Jaipur-Bikaner via Sikar, Salasar and Nokha route, of which Nokha-Salasar route formed a portion. Sometime later, the nationalisation scheme relating to Jaipur-Bikaner route was also approved by the State Government and the same took effect from October 16,1974. As a consequence of the implementation of the aforesaid nationalisation scheme, the R. T. A. by its order dated October 19, 1974 cancelled the aforesaid permit of the petitioner relating to Nokha-Salasar route and directed him to surrender his permit. Thus the case of the petitioner is that his stage carriage permit relating to Nokha-Salasar route, which was otherwise valid upto June 1,1975. was prematurely cancelled on account of the coming into force of the nationalisation scheme relating to Jaipur-Bikaner route, including Nokha-Salasar portion thereof.

3. The petitioner submitted an application for the grant of an alternative route permit on Bikaner -- Sinthal route (hereinafter referred to as 'the route'), in lieu of his permit relating to Nokha -- Salasar route. The respondent No. 3 also submitted an application for the grant of a non-temporary stage carriage permit on the route. The applications of the petitioner and the respondent No. 3 for grant of permits on the route, along with other applications, were considered by the R T. A. in its meeting held on November 5, 1974. After considering the merits and demerits of all the applicants, including the respondent No. 3, the R. T. A. granted a permit to the petitioner and assigned three reasons for giving preference to the petitioner over all other applicants for grant of permits on the route, namely,--

(i) the petitioner was a displaced operator of Nokha -- Salasar rouce.

(ii) he had a ready vehicle; and

(iii) he did not possess any other permit on any other route.

4. The respondent No. 3, feeling aggrieved against the aforesaid decisionof the R. T. A., filed an appeal before the State Transport Appellate Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as 'the Tribunal') and prayed that the permit on the route should be granted to him instead of the petitioner. The respondent No. 3 represented before the Tribunal that he was also a displaced operator in the same manner as the petitioner and that he was also possessed of a ready vehicle which was of a later model than that of the petitioner. It was also stated on his behalf before the Tribunal that he was an unemployed Engineer and that he was himself a licensed driver. The Tribunal accepted the contention of the respondent No. 3 and on the aforesaid four grounds held that the respondent No. 3 should have been preferred to the petitioner for the grant of a permit on the route. Consequently, the Tribunal accepted the appeal preferred by the respondent No. 3 before it, set aside the order passed by the R. T. A. and granted a permit on the route to the respondent No. 3 for his ready vehicle No. RJF 3279 of 1971 model. 5. The petitioner has filed the present writ petition against the aforesaid order of the Tribunal and the learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the respondent No. 3 is not at all a displaced operator and as such he should not have been preferred by the Tribunal as against the petitioner. Learned counsel further argued that the selection made by the R. T. A. in the present case was proper and that the Tribunal was not at all right in holding that the respondent No. 3 had a preferential claim in the matter of grant of a permit on the route and that being an unemployed Engineer is not a relevant consideration for the grant of a stage carriage permit.

6. The main bone of contention between the parties in this case is as to whether the respondent No. 3 is a displaced operator or not. While on the one hand the learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the respondent No. 3 could not be considered to be a displaced operator, the learned counsel for the respondent No. 3 emphatically maintained that he was a displaced operator in the same manner as the petitioner himself. A copy of the permit of the respondent No. 3 hag been placed on record as Annexure 6. A perusal of the aforesaid document reveals that the respondent No. 3 was granted a permit by the R. T. A. on December 11, 1970 in respect of Bikener -- Churu route and the same was valid upto December 10, 1973,It is not in dispute that the respondent No. 3 plied his vehicle on Bikaner --Churu route upto December 10, 1973 and his application for renewal of the aforesaid permit was pending before the R. T. A. at the time when a nationalisation scheme in respect of the said route came into force. An application of the respondent No. 3 for the grant of a temporary permit on the aforesaid Bikaner -- Churu route was rejected by the R. T. A. under Section 68-F (1-D) read with Section 68-F (1-A) of the Motor Vehicles Act (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'). When the application of the respondent No. 3 for the renewal of his permit on Bikaner -- Churu route came up for consideration before the R. T. A. on March 6, 1974, the said Authority rejected the same on the ground that the nationalisation scheme in respect of the said route had already come into force. Thus the respondent No. 3 having plied his vehicle for the full term of his permit on Bikaner -- Churu route, he was not entitled to claim any cash compensation on account of any premature cancellation of his permit by a scheme of nationalisation nor he was thus entitled to an alternative route permit in lieu of cash compensation. Sub-section (2) of Section 68-F of the Act authorises the Regional Transport Authority concerned, in order to give effect to an approved scheme of nationalisation in respect of a notified route, to refuse to entertain any application for the grant or renewal of a permit or to reject any such application as may be pending. The aforesaid provision also authorises the Regional Transport Authority concerned to cancel any existing permit or modify the terms thereof so as to give effect to the approved scheme of nationalisation. Section 68-G of the Act provides that if a permit is either cancelled or the terms thereof are modified in exercise of the powers conferred upon a Regional Transport Authority under Clause (b) or Clause (c) of Sub-section (2) of Section 68-F, then in that event the holder of such permit shall be entitled to receive cash compensation from the State Transport Undertaking in accordance with the provisions made in that behalf. It has further been provided in Section 68-G that the holder of such a permit, whose permit has either been prematurely cancelled or the terms thereof are modified, may be granted a permit for alternative route or area in lieu of cash compensation. It is thus ap-parent that Section 68-G, which providesfor the payment of compensation to displaced operators, do not make the holders of such permits entitled to payment of compensation or grant of alternative route permits in lieu thereof who have run their vehicles for the full term of their permits on their respective routes and whose renewal applications are either pending before the Regional Transport Authority at the time of coming into force of the approved scheme of nationalisation or such applications for renewal of permits are submitted thereafter, Although Section 68-F (2) provides for the rejection of a pending application for renewal in order to give effect to a nationalisation scheme in respect of a notified route, yet the holder of a permit in respect of which the renewal application is rejected under the aforesaid provisions is not entitled to any compensation. Thus after a perusal of the aforesaid provisions it is absolutely clear that the respondent No. 3 was not a displaced operator within the terms of the provisions of Section 68-F (2) read with Section 68-G of the Act and as such he was not entitled to claim any cash compensation or an alternative route permit in lieu thereof. It is no doubt true that the respondent No. 3 was a dislodged operator in the sense that his application for the renewal of his permit on Bikaner -- Churu route was rejected on account of the implementation of the approved scheme of nationalisation, yet such a person has to be distinguished from the one known as 'displaced operator'.

7. The Rajasthan State Government issued directions in exercise of its powers under Section 43 (1) of the Act, by its notification dated July 4, 1970 to the effect that permits on 'A' Class routes should be granted to operators other than displaced operators, only when there are no such displaced operators requesting for the grant of permits on such routes or when no displaced operator is prepared to accept a permit on such route on the terms specified by the Regional Trans-port Authority. An explanation appended to the aforesaid directions issued by the State Government has defined the term 'displaced operator' as used therein as:--

'An operator shall be deemed to be a displaced operator only when he expressly chooses to have an alternative route and relinquishes his claim for any compensation for the unexpired period of route permit.'

8. Thus to come within the aforesaid definition of a displaced operator and in order to get benefit of the preference, which has to be given to a displaced operator in accordance with the aforesaid directions issued by the State Government, the person concerned, should have a claim for compensation in respect of the unexpired period of his route permit and he should also expressly relinquish such claim and choose to have an alternative route permit in lieu of such compensation. The claim for such compensation under Section 68-G of the Act arises on account of the premature cancellation of the permit of such an operator, in order to give effect to the scheme of nationalisation in respect of a notified route and on his relinquishing his claim for compensation for the unexpired period of his permit. However, on account of the deeming provisions of the aforesaid explanation, such claim may also arise in case an operator voluntarily surrenders his existing non-temporary permit on the publication of a draft scheme of nationalisation and expressly indicates his option for availing of an alternative route permit at that stage, relinquishing his claim for the unexpired period of his permit.

9. While interpreting the aforesaid directions issued by the State Government under Section 43 of the Act, this Court in Ratan Lal v. R. T. A., (S. B. Civil Writ Petition No. 2354 of 1974, decided on October 7, 1974) (Raj) held as under:--

'From these directions it will appear that in order to rehabilitate the displaced operators the R, T. A. has been authorised to offer an alternative route to displaced operators. Displaced operator has been defined in the explanation as an operator who expressly chooses to have an alternative route and relinquishes his claim for any compensation for unexpired period of the permit. The explanation indicates that the directions are to apply to those operators whose permits were subsisting at the time of the approval of the scheme and the same have been cancelled. Obviously in the case before me the dislodged operators are not entitled to any compensation as their permits expired long before the approval of the scheme.'

In that case also holders of permits, in respect of which renewal applications were pending at the time when the nationalisation scheme came into force and whose renewal applications were subsequently rejected due to the publication of the nationalisation scheme relating tothe notified route, claimed alternative route permits as displaced operators, but it was held by this Court that such dislodged operators could not claim benefit of the offer of an alternative route permit until the State Government issued fresh directions under the amended provisions of Section 43 (1) (iii) of the Act, which authorises the State Government to issue directions for the grant of permits on alternative routes to persons in whose cases the existing permits are not renewed in pursuance of the provisions of Section 68-F (1-D) of the Act, As no such directions have been issued so far by the State Government under the amended provisions of the Act, the respondent No. 3 cannot be given any benefit under the existing directions, as he is merely a dislodged operator and cannot be termed as a displaced operator. It cannot be held that the respondent No. 3 had a claim for any compensation for the unexpired period of his route permit, because his permit in respect of Bikaner --Churu route had already expired on December 10, 1973 and thereafter only his application for renewal of the aforesaid, permit was pending for consideration before the R. T. A., which was ultimately rejected in accordance with the provisions of Section 68-F (2) of the Act, The question of relinquishment of any claim for Compensation or opting in favour of an alternative route permit did not arise in the case of respondent No. 3, as he had no claim for any compensation for unexpired period of his route permit, nor his permit was prematurely cancelled or the terms thereof were modified in accordance with the provisions of any nationalisation scheme relating to the notified route, nor he surrendered his permit on the publication of the draft scheme of nationalisation and relinquished any claim for compensation. On the aforesaid facts, it clearly emerges that the Tribunal was in error in holding that the respondent No, 3 was also a displaced operator and was entitled to a preference on that basis in the matter of grant of a permit on the route.

10. Learned counsel for the respondent No- 3 however, submitted that the petitioner was also sailing in the same boat and he was also a dislodged operator in the same manner as the respondent No. 3, Learned counsel drew my attention to the endorsement made on the permit of the petitioner Annexure R/6, wherein it was mentioned that the said permit was renewed upto June 1, 1975with the condition that it would be rendered ineffective on Bikaner -- Nokha portion on the implementation of Bikaner -- Jodhpur nationalisation scheme. It is not the case of the petitioner that he became a displaced operator because of the implementation of the Jodhpur -- Bikaner route nationalisation scheme, as a result whereof Bikaner -- Nokha portion of the route of the petitioner's permit was curtailed. The petitioner was not entitled to claim any compensation for the aforesaid curtailment of the route of his permit from Bikaner to Nokha. Section 68-F (1-D) of the Act provides that no permit shall be granted or renewed during the period intervening between the date of publication of the draft scheme of nationalisation and the date of publication of the approved or modified scheme of nationalisation in respect of any class of road transport service, in relation to an area or route or portion thereof covered by such scheme. However, the proviso appended to the aforesaid subsection authorises the Regional Transport Authority to renew the permit of an existing operator in relation to any area, route or portion thereof, specified in the draft scheme of nationalisation, for a limited period with the condition that the permit so renewed shall cease to be effective on the publication of the approved scheme of nationalisation under Section 68-D (3) of the Act, Thus the renewal of the permit of the petitioner, effected by the order dated September 5, 1972 having been made subject to the condition that the said permit would become ineffective in respect of Bikaner --Nokha portion thereof on the coming into force of the nationalisation scheme, must be considered to have been made in accordance with the provisions of Section 68-F (1-D) of the Act. The result thereof was that as soon as the Jodhpur -- Bikaner route nationalisation scheme came into force, the route of the permit of the petitioner was curtailed in respect of Bikaner -- Nokha portion thereof, which also formed part of Jodhpur-Bikaner notified route.

11. However, the petitioner claims himself to be a displaced operator not on account of the curtailment of the route of his permit from Bikaner to Nokha by the Jodhpur -- Bikaner route nationalisation scheme, but on account of the subsequent premature cancellation of the permit for Nokha -- Salasar route pursuant to the coming into force of the Jaipur -- Bikaner route nationalisationscheme. But, learned counsel for the respondent No. 3 contended that the effect of the provisions of Section 68-F (1-D) would be that the entire permit of the petitioner ceased to be effective on the publication of the approved scheme of nationalisation relating to Jodhpur-Bikaner route. I am unable to agree with this submission, because only Bikaner-Nokha portion of the route of the petitioner's permit formed part of Jodhpur-Bikaner nationalisation scheme route and the proviso to Section 68-F (l-D) of the Act could affect only that portion of the route of the petitioner's permit which formed part of the route specified in the draft scheme of nationalisation. The R. T. A. had renewed the permit of the petitioner on the condition that Bikaner-Nokha portion of the route thereof would be curtailed on the coming into force of the aforesaid nationalisation scheme and it was never contemplated that the entire permit of the petitioner would become ineffective on the coming into force of the Jodhpur-Bikaner route nationalisation scheme. As a matter of fact, the route of the petitioner's permit, after the coming into force of Jodhpur-Bikaner route nationalisation scheme, was reduced to Nokha --Salasar route and the petitioner was entitled to and did actually continue to ply his vehicle on Nokha-Salasar route without any impediment upto October 19. 1974, If another approved scheme of nationalisation relating to a different route altogether, namely Jaipur-Bikaner route was published by the State Government under Section 68-D (3) of the Act before the expiry of the permit of the petitioner relating to Nokha-Salasar route and in order to give effect to the later scheme of nationalisation, the permit of the petitioner was cancelled by the R. T. A. in accordance with the pro-visions of Clause (b) of Sub-section (2) of Section 68-F of the Act. then the petitioner was certainly entitled to compensation as provided under Section 68-G of the Act for the premature cancellation of his permit relating to the remaining route from Nokha to Salasar. Learned counsel drew my attention to the decision of this Court in Harjeetsingh v. The State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Rajasthan, Jaipur, (Civil Writ Petition No. 617 of 1975, decided on November 13. 1975) (Raj). It appears that the same view was also taken in that case. It was held in the aforesaid case that the portions of the routes of the petitioners inthat case, which also formed portions of the routes covered by the nationalisation scheme, could only be considered to have been renewed under the proviso to Section 68-F (1-D) of the Act subject to the condition that the same would cease to be effective on the publication of final scheme of nationalisation under Section 68-B (3) of the Act.

12. It may also be observed here that the fact that the respondent No. 3 was a diploma holder in Civil Engineering was an irrelevant consideration and had no relation to the question of grant of a non-temporary stage carriage permit. The considerations which are relevant for the grant of a bus permit have been enumerated in Sub-section (1) of Section 47 of the Act. As the Tribunal has committed an error in holding that the respondent No. 3 was a displaced operator and was entitled to preference on that basis, the order of the Tribunal suffers from an apparent error on its face and deserves to be set aside. However, it will be for the Tribunal now to decide afresh the question about the grant of the permit on Bikaner-Sinthal route.

13. The result is that the writ petition is allowed. The order passed by the State Transport Appellate Tribunal dated June 16, 1975 granting a permit on Bikaner-Sinthal route to respondent No. 3 is quashed. The permit issued to the respondent No. 3 in pursuance of the aforesaid order is also set aside. The matter is remanded back to the State Transport Appellate Tribunal with the direction to re-decide the appeal of the respondent No. 3 in the light of the observations made above. The parties are left to bear their own costs.


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