1. The six special appeals before us are directed against the judgments of a learned single Judge of this Court dated 15th and 18th November, 1965 respectively by which the learned Judge issued identical directions restraining certain operators, who had obtained permits from the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur on Jaipur-Malpura-Kekri-Beawar route from plying their buses between Jaipur and Sanganer and further issued consequential directions to the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur to amend the permits of these operators so that their routes terminate at Sanganer instead of at Jaipur. The appeals can conveniently be disposed of together. The history of the matter may briefly be recounted for a proper appreciation of the points canvassed before us.
2. Then contest has arisen between certain existing operators on the route in question and those, who wanted to avail of this route, as a sequel to nationalisation of certain routes in Rajasthan. When the State of Rajasthan embarked on the policy of nationalisation of bus routes, the State Transport Authority, Jaipur issued general directions that permits on 'A' Class routes be not granted and the operators displaced as a result of nationalisation be provided with alternative routes on them. The State Transport Authority also issued certain directions to the Regional Transport Authorities to desist from opening straight and long routes which were to overlap a number of small routes and not to grant permits on such routes without its prior approval, vide its resolution No. 6 dated 29th November, 1958.
3. Jaipur-Tonk-Deoli-Kota route was nationalised in 1962. The final scheme for that route was published in the Rajasthan Gazette of 2nd April, 1962 and it came into operation on 15th May, 1962. Implications of this scheme will have to be examined at the appropriate place in the judgment in considering the question whether the Regional Transport Authority could have issued any permits thereafter so as to embrace Jaipur-Sanganer portion of this nationalised route. The scheme of nationalisation for the Jodhpur-Bilara-Ajmer route was published in the Rajasthan Gazette of 31st August, 1962 and it came into operation from 15th October, 1962. The appellants in Special Appeals Nos 48, 49 and 50 of 1965 were the displaced operators if be Jodhpur Bilara-Ajmer route. Their permits were subsisting when the scheme of nationalisation came into force and stood cancelled only from that 'late. In other words, but for the scheme, their permits would have been current for some time. The significance of this will be considered while discussing the question about the duration of the permits obtained by these persons on the Jaipur-Malpura-Kekri-Beawar route.
4. We may mention here that there is a direct route from Jaipur to Beawar via Ajmer which is about 114 miles and this route is nationalised. From Jaipur, one can also go to Beawar by a road which passes through Sanganer-Diggi-Malpura-Kekri and then goes to Beawar, This distance is about 158 miles. The impugned permits were to be availed of over this route. Formerly between Jaipur and Beawar via this route several operators were plying on smaller routes comprising portions of this route, but there was no direct permit over this route from Jaipur to Beawar One route branched off from Malpura to Deoli but most of the smaller routes falling between Malpura and Jaipur were amalgamated as Jaipur-Diggi-Malpura-Deoli amalgamated route 4ft operators in all were plying on this amalgamated route giving 13 return services per day. Some buses were plying between Malpura and Kekri and others between Kekri and Beawar. Balaram the writ petitioner in writ petition No. 1714 of 1964 was an existing operator on the amalgamated route and Ramniwas the writ petitioner in writ petition No. 167 of 1965 was an existing operator on Kekri-Beawar route. The operators of the amalgamated route were later on authorised to ply their buses upto Kekri. Thus Kekri became the focal point for the operators plying between Kekri and Beawar and others plying between Jaipur and Kekri but there was no direct permit between Jaipur and Beawar prior to the issuance of the impugned permits.
6. In 1963 the displaced operators of Ajmer-Bilara-Jodhpur route filed applications for grant of permits over the Jaipur-Malpura-Kekri-Beawar route to the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur. The existing operators plying on the portions of the proposed route made representations against these applications but the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur vide its resolution No 7 of 7th, 8th and 9th October, 1963 decided to grant four alternative permits to Messrs Automobile Transport Rajputana Private Ltd., Ajmer in exchange for their old permits and one permit each to Ohisalal Joshi, Brijlal Arya. Abhaymal Sand and Govindram Hindumal in exchange for their permits. II was also directed that these permits were to be valid for their unexpired portion. It was further laid down in the resolution that the permit holders will Rive an undertaking in writing that this route has been offered and accepted by them, and that they would not he entitled to compensation for their old permits. Against this resolution Balaram filed an appeal to the Transport Appellate Tribunal and that authority partially accepted the same by its judgment dated 2-9-1964 ordering that one permit given in the name of Shri Abhaymal Sand and one out of the four permits given to Messrs. Automobile Transport Rajputana Private Ltd., Ajmer he set aside, while in other respects it upheld the resolution of the Regional Transport Authority.
Balaram then presented a writ petition challenging the validity of the resolution of the Regional Transport Authority and the judgment of the Transport Appellate Tribunal aforementioned by a writ petition which was writ petition No. 1714 of 1964 and it was heard and decided by the learned Single Judge by his judgment under appeal It was contended on behalf of Balaram before him that the Regional Transport Authority had no jurisdiction to grant, permits on this new route without obtaining the prior approval of the State Transport Authority as required by resolution No. 5 of the State Transport Authority dated 29th November. 1958. It was also urged before the learned Single Judge that it was not in the public interest to open this route. It was further pointed out that as at the time of renewal of their old permits on the Ajmer-Beawar route there was a condition attached to the permits that on the introduction of the nationalisation scheme of that route the permits of the operators shall stand cancelled, the non-petitioners were not entitled to get any alternative permit. A grievance was also made about the duration of the permits granted on the new route, to these displaced operators, and it was submitted that the permits could not enure for a period longer than the one for the old permits and consequently the new permits were bad. Lastly it was argued that the route between Jaipur and Sanganer was a part of the Jaipur-Kola nationalised route, and, therefore, the displaced operators could not be permitted to ply their stage carriages on this route between Jaipur and Sanganer, and consequently their route should terminate at Sanganer instead of at Jaipur. The learned Single Judge disposed of this writ petition by his judgment dated 15th January, 1965 and while he repelled all other contentions raised on behalf of Balaram he accepted the last contention and in the result partly allowed the writ petition and issued a direction against the displaced operators forbidding them from plying their stage carriages between Jaipur and Sanganer. The learned Judge also quashed the order of the Transport Appellate Tribunal by which it upheld the grant of permits to these displaced operators upto Jaipur, and he further ordered that the Regional Transport Authority shall amend the permits of the respondents so that their routes terminate at Sanganer instead of at Jaipur. Both the contesting parties felt aggrieved of this decision. Balaram has filed a special appeal against this judgment which is Special Appeal No. 1 of 1966, while the Special Appeal filed by the displaced operators is No. 48 of 1965.
6. In 1964 some of the displaced operators again filed applications for grant of fresh stage carriage permits on the Jaipur-Malpura-Kekri-Beawar route. These applications were published by the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur in the Gazette for inviting objections and it was directed that the objections or representations may be made within 30 days from the publication of this notification. It was, however, added that the date, time and place of the meeting of the Regional Transport Authority in which these applications along with the representations and objections would be considered will be notified later on. By another notification issued on 6th July, 1964 it was notified that the meeting of the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur Region, Jaipur would be held from 20th July, 1964 to 23rd July, 1964 at 9 a.m. In the notification the cases to be considered were mentioned. Item No. 4 was as follows :--
' Item No. 4 :
Cases for the grant of alternative and fresh stage carriage permits on the following routes :
XX XX XX XX
XX XX XX XX'
We have reproduced this as it will be necessary to discuss it in connection with one of the contentions raised on behalf of the existing operators that they did not have sufficient notice for opposing the grant of permits and according to them this notification did not comply with the requirements of Section 57 (3) of the Motor Vehicles Act By its resolution No. 10 of 29-7-1964 the Regional Transport Authority dismissed the objections and decided to grant permits to Dwarkada's Bhanumal, Diduram Murlidhar. Messrs, Jain Motor Bus Services, Hariram Govind Ram, Arjunlal Cuchera, and Newaldas Murajmal. Balaram and Ramniwas, the two existing operators, filed separate appeals before the Transport Appellate Tribunal, which were appeals Nos. TAT/192 of 1964 and TAT/317 of 1964. The two appeals were disposed of by a common judgment by the Transport Appellate Tribunal on 23rd December, 19.64 and it dismissed them. To challenge the validity of the Regional Transport Authority's resolution and the aforesaid judgment of the Transport Appellate Tribunal both Ramniwas and Balaram presented separate writ petitions, which were Nos. 167 of 1965 and 168 of 1965 respectively. Like Balaram's other writ petition No. 1714 of 1964, both these writ petitions were partly allowed by the learned Single Judge by his judgment dated 18-1-1965, and it was ordered that the new operators be restrained from plying their stage carriages between Jaipur and Sanganer and the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur was directed to modify the permits so that the route of the new operators terminate at Sanganer instead of terminating at Jaipur. Four Special Appeals are directed against this common judgment of the learned Single Judge. Special Appeal No. 59 of 1965 is by Ramniwas; Special Appeal No. 1 of 1966 is by Balarain; Special Appeal No. 49 of 1965 is by Dwarka Dass and others and Special Appeal No. 48 of 1965 is by Messrs., Automobile Transport Rajputana Private Ltd., Ajmer and others.
7. Shri C. M. Lodha has argued the case on behalf of the displaced operators, who were given permits over this route and Mr. D. P. Gupta has argued the case on behalf of the existing operators. Both the learned counsel have revived their respective contentions advanced before the Transport Appellate Tribunal and the learned single Judge, and we now propose to deal with them.
8. Shri D. P. Gupta learned counsel for the existing operators has tried to show that both the resolutions of the Regional Transport Authority granting permits to the displaced operators were illegal, whereas Mr. C. M. Lodha for the displaced operators has tried to support their validity. We may, therefore, deal with the contentions of Shri D. P. Gupta first.
9. The first resolution is Ex. P-1 at page 45 of the paper book in Special Appeal No. 48 of 1965. The Regional Transport Authority therein observed that no bus was running on this route though it was over-lapped by six small routes. It observed that the opening of the route would give to the public a very easy alternative access from Beawar to Jaipur via Badanwara-Kekri-Malpura and the Regional Transport Authority also thought that this new route would act as a feeder route. It then took into consideration the total length of the route which was 158 miles and held that 8 buses could he provided on this route as each one would be having 40 route miles as its share. The Regional Transport Authority also added the following in its resolution:
'All the applicants can therefore be very well provided even by opening if found to be necessary by granting permits to others as well upto 3 return services.'
It was also laid down that the applicants were being issued these permits in lieu of their permits on the route which was nationalised and would be valid only for the unexpired portion of those permits. The Regional Transport Authority made it clear that the new applicants shall give an undertaking that this route had been offered to them by the Regional Transport Authority and accepted by them and they would not accordingly be entitled to claim compensation for the cancelled permits. The second resolution of the Regional Transport Authority No. 190 of 29th July, 1964 (Annexure 6) is available at page 55 of the paper book in Special Appeal No. 49 of 1965. The Regional Transport Authority inter alia observed that the misting operators of Jaipur-Diggi-Malpura route had preferred objections and the objectors and the applicants who were present had been heard. It then referred to the earlier resolution and observed that although eight permits were granted on the route, only live were plying. Then as regards the scope it made the following observations :--
'There is enough traffic on this route. A perusal of resolution No. 7 referred to above would go to show that it had been held there that upto three return services can be run on this route. It means 3 X 316 = 948 giving a scope for 24 vehicles at the rate of 40 miles per vehicle. Under the circumstances even if all the 8 permits granted before are running, more displaced operators can be accommodated here. The fresh permit will not naturally be granted and their applications will be kept pending because of the route being 'A' Class.'
The Regional Transport Authority also noticed that the present operators had no objection to the grant of permits to the 7 applicants provided the existing operators between Jaipur and Malpura were also permitted to ply their buses upto Kekri and the Regional Transport Authority agreed that this would be done if the existing operators were to apply for extension of their permits. As in the previous resolution, it was laid down this lime also that these new permits were being issued to the displaced operators in lieu of compensation and it shall be deemed that the Regional Transport Authority had made the offer which had been accepted by the displaced operators.
10. Now, Mr. Gupta submits as follows against the validity of these resolutions :--
(1) That the Regional Transport Authority could not have granted these permits without the prior approval of the State Transport Authority as laid down in State Transport Authority's resolution No, 5 dated 29th November, 1958 which is available at page 58 of the paper book in Special Appeal No. 48 of 1965.
(2) That the Transport Authorities were in error in granting these permits without properly determining the scope for permits. He points out that the basis for scope disclosed in the resolution was faulty and the Transport Authorities should have examined the question of scope in the light of the principles laid down by this Court in Malik Ram v. Regional Transport Authority Jaipur, ILR (1956) 6 Raj 751 : (AIR 1950 Raj 142 FB).
(3) That the alternative permits were issued in disregard of the requirements of Rule 9 of the Rajasthan Road Transport (Development) Rules, 1960: The learned counsel submits that in the present case the Regional Transport Authority dealt with the matter under Chapter IV of the Motor Vehicles Act and it could not have treated this as a compliance of the provisions of Rule 9.
(4) That the permits that were issued could not have been given for a period beyond the date of the expiry of the original permits.
(5) That for Jaipur-Sanganer portion of the route the permits could not have been given as it was a part of the Jaipur-Kota nationalised route, and the inclusion of this route rendered the permits illegal in their entirety.
(6) That the second resolution was bad as the notice for the hearing of the applications which was published in the Gazette dated 13th July 1964 and which is available at page 54 of the paper book in Special Appeal No. 49 of 1965 did not give sufficient notice to the existing operators. It was pointed out that Shri Balaram happened to be present at the time of hearing by accident as he had other cases to attend but Shri Ramniwas could not be present at all as he did not come to know of the hearing. It was, therefore, urged on behalf of the existing operator Shri Ramniwas that there was violation of the principles of natural justice and that he had no opportunity to have his say before the Regional Transport Authority against the applications for grant of permits by the displaced operators. This according to Shri Gupta went to the root of the matter and invalidated the second resolution in its entirety.
11. We may now deal with the various contentions in order :--
Re--(1) : The learned single Judge agreed with the Transport Appellate Tribunal that the resolution of the State Transport Authority dated 29th November, 1958 was not binding on the Regional Transport Authority as the grant of permits was a quasi judicial matter. The learned Judge relied on B. Rajagopala v. State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Madras, AIR 1964 SC 1673. Shri Gupta submits that this Supreme Court case is distinguishable. According to Shri Gupta there are two distinct matters. One is that of opening a new route and the other of granting permits. According to him while the granting of permits being a quasi judicial matter, the instructions of the State Transport Authority would not be binding on the Regional Transport Authority but when the Regional Transport Authority were to deal with the question of opening a new route then it will be nothing but an administrative matter and there the instructions of the State Transport Authority issued under Section 44 of the Motor Vehicles Act will be binding on the Regional Transport Authority. We have considered the submission of Shri Gupta but are unable to find the distinction as pointed out by him in the present case.
To our knowledge there is no provision in the Motor. Vehicles Act or the Rules which specifically deals with the question of opening of new routes by the Regional Transport Authorities as such. Section 57 of the Motor Vehicles Act enables any person to apply, for grantof permits and then proceedings in accordance with that section have to be taken. Onreceipt of an application for a stage carriagepermit the Regional Transport Authority hasto make the application available for inspectionat its office and it is also required to publishthe application or the substance thereof in theprescribed manner together with a notice ofthe date before which representations in connection therewith may be submitted and thedate, time and place at which the applicationand any representations against it are to beconsidered have to be notified, It is onlywhere the Regional Transport Authority hasfixed a limit for any route under Section 47(8)that an application for permit may be summarily refused but otherwise there is no provision for dispensing with the compliance of Section 57 of the Act. Thus this section doesnot contemplate that there has to be any priordeclaration or determination by the RegionalTransport Authority as to on what routes orareas it shall be entertaining applications.When applications are duly published and representations received against such applications and the stage is set for disposal of suchapplications then at that stage the matter hasto be dealt with quasi judicially. At this stagetherefore, when the Regional Transport Authority is considering the matter whether the applications should or should not be granted itcannot be said to be inhibited by any instructions of the State Transport Authority issuedunder Section 44 of the Motor Vehicles Act. Inour view, therefore, the learned single Judgewas correct in holding that the resolution ofthe State Transport Authority dated 29th November, 1958 did not stand in the way ofthe Regional Transport Authority in orderingthe grant of permits to the displaced operators.
12. Re--(2) : Mr. Gupta points out that according to the principles laid down in ILR (1956) 6 Raj 751 : (AIR 1956 Raj 142), as there were only three return services to be provided on this route at best permits could have been granted for nine buses. Six buses would be utilised on each day and three would stand-by. He, therefore, submits that in the second resolution the Regional Transport Authority was in error in holding that there was scope for 24 buses. He also submits that the Transport Appellate Tribunal had erroneously thought that the scope had been fixed in the first resolution of the Regional Transport Authority. In this connection he points out that taking of 40 route miles per day for a bus was not a proper criterion for determination of the scope for permits over a route.
We agree with Shri Gupta to this extent; that giving a particular bus a certain route mileage is alone not the proper criterion but at the same time we cannot dismiss it as a factor wholly foreign to the consideration of the matter under Section 47 (1) (e) of the Motor Vehicles Act. It cannot be overemphasised that the Transport Authorities will do well to remind themselves of the principles set out in this case -which was decided by a Full Bench. While they should provide for adequate number of buses on a route they should at the same time avoid wastage by keeping more buses idle than what would be justified.
Though we are not in a position to say that the scope over the direct route has been fixed at 24, strictly in accordance with the principles laid down in Malikram's case, ILR (1956) 6 Raj 751 : (AIR 1956 Raj 142), vet at the same time we cannot overlook the fact that in all only eleven permits have been ultimately granted by the Transport Authorities. This result and position cannot be said to be significantly off the mark even according to the principles laid down in Malikram's case, ILR (1956) 6 Raj 751 : (AIR 1956 Raj 142) It was also recognised in that case that it cannot be said that merely because a few more permits are granted on a route on which the existing stage carriages are not running daily but only by, rotation that the order would be erroneous on its face and would be liable to be quashed by a writ of certiorari, nor could it be said in such a case that granting of a few more permits was necessarily repugnant to the condition regarding the adequacy of existing road transport services between the places to be served as laid down by Section 47 (1) (c) of the Motor Vehicles Act. It was also laid down that whether such grant of permits was repugnant to the condition about adequacy of existing services is a question to be considered broadly on the merits of each case, and in coming to a proper conclusion the High Court is to give the greatest weight to the opinion of the Transport Authorities, and should not lightly interfere with it. In the present case, therefore, we agree with the learned single Judge in holding that the Appellate Tribunal was not wrong in coming to the conclusion that there was scope for more permits on this route. While it is true that quite a large number of buses were plying on this route but at the same time it cannot be forgotten that they were mostly plying in two segments. One set of buses were plying between Jaipur and Kekri and the other between Kekri and Ajmer. We are, therefore, not persuaded to accept the second contention as sound.
13. Re--(3) : The relevant portion of Rule 9 about the grant of alternative permits consequent to the nationalisation of a scheme is reproduced below :
'9. Consequences on publication of the scheme.--Upon the publication of the Scheme under Sub-section (3) of Section 68-D of the Act, the consequences as hereinafter stated, shall have effect in respect of the notified route or area or portion thereof;
(a) No person (other than the State Transport Undertaking either singly or in conjunction with Railways) shall be entitled to a permit under Chapter IV of the Act.
(b) The General Manager or an officer authorised by him may specify the number of transport vehicles, if any, forwhich temporary permits may be granted or countersigned in favour of personsother than the State Transport Undertaking to meet a temporary need.
(c) The General Manager shall communicate the Scheme published under Rule 8 to the Regional Authority or to each Regional Transport Authority concerned and the Regional Transport Authority or each such Regional Transport Authority as the case may be, shall give effect to the approved scheme forthwith.
(d) For the purpose of giving effect to the approved scheme, the Regional Transport Authority concerned shall forthwith cancel or modify or refuse to renew or make ineffective the existing permits in respect of the notified route or portion thereof and serve upon the holder of such permits notices to that effect.
(e) Simultaneously with, or subsequently to, the issue of notices under Clause (d), the Regional Transport Authority concerned shall, if it considers it proper and decides to offer to the holders of existing permits an alternative route within the meaning of Sub-section (2) of Section 68-G of the Act, in lieu of compensation payable under Sub-section (1) of the said section, issue another notice to the holders of existing permits specifying the alternative route which is so offered to them and requiring them to convey their acceptance thereof within a period of fortnight of the service of the notices of them.
(f) In the case contemplated by Clause (e) the Regional Transport Authority shall also publish a copy- of the notice in the official Gazette calling upon the holders of existing permits for the proposed alternative routes to make representations in writing within 15 days of its publication, if any, in respect of the proposed offer.
(g) Any representations received by the Regional Transport Authority in pursuance of Clause (f) within the time limit specified thereunder shall be taken into consideration by it and the authority may then pass such orders as ' it may deem fit.
(h) Nothing contained in Chapter IV of the Act or in the Rules thereunder shall apply to the proceedings taken under these rules.
This rule contains three essentials for the grant of alternative permits :--
(1) There has to be an offer by the Regional Transport Authority and acceptance by the operators for alternative permits
(2) Calling upon the holders of existing permits for the proposed routes to make representations in writing within 15 days of the publication of notice to them.
(3) Consideration of the representations of the existing operators, if any, by the Regional Transport Authority, and then passing the final orders.
While the provisions of Chapter IV are in terms inapplicable in matters relating to grant of alternative permits under this rule, it cannot be predicated that the Regional Transport Authority is debarred from considering the question while it is deciding certain applications for grant of permits under Chapter IV of the Motor Vehicles Act. Though we do not approve of the inter-mixing of the procedural provisions in dealing with any case and so far as possible matters about alternative permits should be disposed of according to the provisions of Rule 9 of the Rajasthan Road Transport (Development) Rules, in the present case, we arc satisfied that, as the essential provisions of Rule 9 have been complied with and instead of 15 days' notice the objectors had got 30 days' notice they cannot be said to have been prejudiced on that score. We, therefore, do not find any substance in the third contention.
14. Re--(4) : Consideration of this question involves consideration of two component parts :--
(i) Whether the permits should have at all been granted as alternative permits under Section 68-G of the Motor Vehicles Act, and
(ii) If so, what is to be the duration of the permits.
On the first question we have already held that alternative permits could have been issued and it appears that the objectors were concerned more with the grant of permits than with the duration thereof because if the permits are once granted for howsoever short a period the right of renewal cannot be excluded and thus the new permit holders cannot easily be eliminated from the route thereafter, It has been admitted by Shri Gupta that when the permits were granted some period of the old permits war still there. As to for what period alternative permits could have been granted had not been properly canvassed before the Transport Authorities, nor was it done before the learned single Judge. Now that the question is sought to be argued before us in this form, Mr. Chandmal submitted in reply that Section 68-G of the Motor Vehicles Act does not lay down any period for alternative permits and according to him such permits are fresh permits and as the minimum period for a permit is three years, the new permits should be deemed to be for the minimum period.
We do not consider it necessary for the purposes of the present case to go into the broad question as to whether the permits issued under Section 88-G of the Motor Vehicles Act as alternative permits are altogether new permits or they are only a continuation of the old permits with the variation about the route so as to enure for the unexpired period of the permits only. As already observed the emphasis of the petitioners was on the grant of the permits itself and not about its duration. We decline to d'al with the question in this special appeal.
16. Re (5) : In the draft scheme of the Jaipur-Kota route that was published Jaipur- Sanganer was shown as one of the overlapped route but in the final scheme, as a result of certain objections, the provision relating to Jaipur--Sanganer was dropped. A perusal of the judgment of the Legal Remembrancer dated 2nd February, 1961 by which he decided the objections against the Jaipur-Kota scheme shows that certain operators who were plying their buses between Jaipur and Sanganer represented to him that Jaipur-Sanganer being a part of the Jaipur city route should be excluded. In dealing with this objection which was objection No. 6 the Legal Remembrancer held as follows :--
'Regarding objection No. 6 :--This portion of the route Jaipur to Sanganer covers adistance of about 8 miles and it goes via SawalMansingh Hospital, Ram Bagh, Lal Kothi,Gandhi Nagar and Durgapura. Seven busesundertake about 28 return trips per day. Thereis the special feature of Sanganer. There maybe a separate Panchayat or Tehsil for Sanganer. But it cannot be denied that like Amber,Bani Park, Gandhi Nagar etc. Sanganer is thesuburb of Jaipur and both are so well connected that one must be considered as an integralpart of the other. The position of that Jaipur-Sanganer as a city route has also been admitted by the State Road-ways in their notification,published in the Rajastban Gazette, dated 30thDecember, 1959. When the routes of the cityof Jaipur are nationalised, the route going toSanganer can also well be included thereinBut so long as this is not done, nationalisationof this route will not be practicable. In viewof the very heavy rush of traffic to Sanganerand Sanganer being the Suburb of Jaipur,there is no question of any discrimination between the groups of permit-holders, ifthe Jaipur-Sanganer route is excluded from thescheme for the time being or until Jaipur cityroutes are nationalised. Therefore, it cannotbe validly urged that the provisions of theMotor Vehicles Act in so far as they apply todifferent classes of groups of permit-holdersare in any manner violative of the fundamentalright, embodied in Article 14 of the Constitution. In that view of the matter, I acceptobjection No. 6 and exclude Jaipur-Sanganerroute from the scheme.'
It is thus evident that Jaipur-Sanganer route was excluded from the scheme by the Legal Remembrancer. Mr. Gupta, however, contends that we have to be guided only by the final scheme as published in the Rajasthan Gazette of 2nd April, 1962, and it is not permissible to look to the judgment of the Legal Remembrancer in trying to find out the implications of the scheme. He submits that according to the scheme only the existing operators between Jaipur and Sanganer could ply over the route and no fresh permits could have been granted to embrace this portion of the route, which according to the Jaipur-Kota scheme was the nationalised route. Clause (2) of the Jaipur-Kota scheme runs as follows:--
'(2) State Road Transport Service shall be provided on Jaipur-Tonk-Deoli-Kota route of Jaipur and Kota Regions inclusive of the following over-lapping routes or portions thereof :--
Clause (3) of the scheme provided that the provision of transport services otherwise than under the scheme was prohibited and Clause (4) laid down that no person other than the State Transport Undertaking will be permitted to provide the passenger road transport services on the Jaipur--Tonk--Deoli--Kola route or portions thereof. The learned single Judge on considering the final scheme as also the order of the Legal Remembrancer came to the conclusion that only the operators holding permits on the Jaipur--Sanganer route were excluded from the operation of the scheme and it was not correct to say that the route between Jaipur and Sanganer was not nationalised. In consequence he restrained the plying of such carriages by the displaced operators between Jaipur and Sanganer. We are, however, unable to agree with the learned Judge.
While we do not dispute that the whole of the route from Jaipur to Kola is the nationalised route the question is whether between Jaipur and Sanganer all other bus operators can necessarily be demed to have been excluded and whether the Regional Transport Authority will be incompetent to issue the permits to the operators who would not go over the nationalised route beyond Sanganer.
We are unable to agree with Shri Gupta that it is not permissible to look to the judgment of the Legal Remembrancer for finding out the implications of the scheme. The legal Remembrancer has been constituted by the State as the authority to hear and decide the objections against the scheme under Rule 7 of the Rajasthan Road Transport Service (Development) Rules, 1960 the Legal Remembrancer has been authorised to give a decision whether the scheme should be approved or modified as he may deem proper. Rule 8 of these rules provides that subject to the proviso to Sub-section (8) of Section 68-D of the Act and even (the applicability of the proviso is not called in) the scheme so approved or modified shall be put in the official gazette in form III. Thus the deciding authority about the approval of the scheme is the Legal Remembrancer and it is later published under the signature of the Home Secretary according to the form No. III appended to the rules. This publication only effectuates what has been approved by the Legal Remembrancer. Thus it is permissible to look to the decision of the Legal Remembrancer for understanding the implications of the scheme though we agree with Shri Gupta that the scheme is the law. This approach is not contrary to any principle of interpreting the laws. The principle of interpreting a law is to get at the legislative intent and in order to find out what the Legal Remembrancer intended in approving the scheme we can legitimately look to his decision. The decision of the Legal Rememberancer undoubtedly shows that he excluded Jaipur-Sanganer portion of the route. The exclusion of a route is not the same thing as exclusion of certain existing operators only.
When the Legal Remembrancer has excluded this route as a 'city route' we think within the so-called 'city area' the other operators are not necessarily excluded, nor is the Regional Transport Authority precluded from issuing permits to those who would be touching only the 'city route' Jaipur-Sanganer and not any other portion of the Jaipur-Kota route. The net result of the scheme of Jaipur-Kota is that between Jaipur and Sanganer there is only partial exclusion of private operators. We find that between the city limits there arc more than one route going from the Jaipur city to Sanganer. It will not therefore, be right to hold that the Regional Transport Authority is precluded from issuing permits to enable the operators for taking their buses on any of the routes between Jaipur and Sanganer simply because the route from Jaipur to Kola has been nationalised. The purpose of nationalisation is to enable the State Undertaking to have the business of road transport by eliminating competition from private operators. It is not its purpose to eliminate competition between the private operators inter se. It was in the circumstances for the State Undertaking to have filed objections against the applications for permits and it is not for the other private operators who are themselves plying their buses on the portion of the route to urge that the new permit holders should not star! their buses from any point in the Jaipur City to go to Sanganer and then to places not falling on the nationalised route.
Shri Gupta invited out attention to the judgment of a Division Bench of this Court in Devi Sahai v. Regional Transport Authority, Civil Writ Petn. No. 38 of 1961, D/- 3-5-1961 (Raj). The learned Judges while interpreting Clause (3) and (4) of a scheme the wordings of which according to Shri Gupta were similar to Clause (3) and (4) of the Jaipur-Kota scheme observed that if there was a provision in the scheme for the running of the other transport services they were not affected and the effect of Clause (3) and (4), if read together meant that the running of buses by the existing permit holders was permitted to the extent specified in the scheme and was not in any way affected by Clause (4) which was applicable to other persons, who have not been permitted to run any bus under the scheme. However, the situation brought about as a result of the Legal Remembrancer's decision relating to the Jaipur-Kota scheme is quite different from the one the learned Judges were faced within Devi Sahai's case Civil Writ Petn. No. 38 of 1961, D/- 3-5-1961 (Raj.). As pointed out by us above the Legal Remembrancer excluded the Jaipur-Sanganer portion of the route by treating it as a city route. We cannot hold of the saving of certain specified permits as the same thing as exclusion of a certain portion of the route. It has also to be borne in mind that what is fundamental is the right to have business and in construing any restriction imposed on the exercise of that right we have to consider that restriction strictly in co-relation to the right. In view of the Legal Remembrancer's clear decision and he being the authority competent to approve or modify the scheme according to rules we cannot accept the contention that all other operators will be deemed to have been excluded over the Jaipur Sanganer portion of the Jaipur-Kola route. We are, therefore, unable to agree with the learned Judge that the permits given to the displaced operators should be modified by the Regional Transport Authority so as to terminate their route at Sanganer instead of at Jaipur.
16. We may, however, make it clear that the new permit holders will not he entitled to pick up the passengers between Jaipur and Sanganer like the existing permit holders This Court gave such directions where certain permits were to be given subsequent to a nationalisation scheme, and when the permit holders were to over-lap a portion of a nationalised route. We may cite Civil Misc. Writ Petn. No 484 of 1961 (Raj), Automobile Transport (Rajasthan) Private Ltd. v. State of Rajasthan decided on 30-10-1961, and Sobhraj Odharmal v. Transport Appellate Tribunal Civil Misc. Writ. Petn. No. 242 of 1963, D/- 20-7-1964 (Raj), to which one of us was a party.
17. Re :--(6) : It was urged on behalf of Ramniwas that as in the notice appearing in the Gazette only the route was mentioned as Jaipur-Beawar, and there was no reference to the applications or representations against it as per requirements of Section 57 (3) of the Motor Vehicles Act this notice was not sufficient. It is not a case where there is complete absence of a notice of hearing, and the question whether a particular notice did or did not in fact convey sufficient information to all parties will depend on the facts and circumstances of that case The Transport Appellate Tribunal before whom this question about sufficiency of the notice was raised held against the petitioners, The learned single Judge reject ed the petitioners' contention on the same grounds as was done by the Transport Appellate Tribunal. The learned Judge observed that as the Jaipur-Beawar route was nationalised 'there could be no question of giving alternative permits over that route. In the circumstances it could refer only to the Jaipur-Malpura-Kekri-Beawar route.
Besides what the Transport Appellate Tribunal and the learned single Judge have observed we find that the notice dated 13th July, 1964 is in continuation of notification No. P'RTA/64/7127 dated 15th June, 1964 which was published in the Rajasthan Gazette; Part VII-B, dated 18th June, 1964 at page 234 (56). This previous notification of which the impugned notification makes an express reference stated that it was modified for the information of all concerned that a meeting of the Regional Transport Authority shall be held from 20th to 23rd July, 1964 at 9 a.m., and a copy of the agenda of the meeting would be posted on the notice board of the office of the Secretary, Regional Transport Authority a week before the holding of the meeting and all concerned were to make it convenient to attend the meeting This notification was general and whoever had his business pending before the Regional Transport Authority was clearly put on guard to see that his matter would be coming up before the Regional Transport Authority on these days. Thereafter when the second notification came on 13th July, 1964 normally those who had filed objections against the grant of permits could not have remained in the dark. The petitioners had not staled that the agenda of the meeting was not passed on the notice board of the Regional Transport Authority. In view of all the circumstances we find ourselves unable to interfere with the decision of the learned single Judge regarding sufficiency of the notice, and accordingly we repel the contention raised by Shri Gupta.
18. In view of what we have discussedabove we accept the three Special Appeals Nos.48, 49 and 50 of 1965 and hereby set aside thejudgment of the learned single Judge issuingdirection against the respondent that is thenew operators restraining them from plyirtheir stage carriages between Jaipur and Sanganer and the direction to the Regional Transport Authority to amend their permits so thattheir routes terminate at Sanganer instead ofterminating at Jaipur. We partially acceptthe Special Appeals Nos. 58 and 59 of 1965 and1 of 1966 and allow the writ petitions in partand order that the respondents that is the newoperators shall not pick up the passengers between Jaipur and Sanganer over the nationalised portion of the Jaipur-Kola route thoughthey may run their stage carriages from andto Jaipur. We also direct that in RegionalTransport Authority's resolution No. 190 of20th, 21st, 22nd, 28th and 29th July, 1964 theremarks that there is a scope for 24 vehiclesfor the Jaipur-Malpura-Kekri-Beawar routeshall be quashed. It will, however, be open tothe Regional Transport Authority to increasethe permits, if necessary, in future after determining the scope for permits according to law.In the circumstances of the case we leave theparties to bear their own costs.