1. Heard learned Counsel for the appellant.
2. The Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner, issued a notification inviting applications for one vacancy from the stage carriage operators within 30 days from the date of the notification. The notification was published in the Government Gazette dated 9th Dec. 1976. It is not disputed that the application of the appellant was not within the time prescribed i.e., within 30 days, as mentioned in the said notification. In the said notification it was specifically stated that applications received beyond the appointed day, shall not be considered at all.
3. In response to the said notification three applications were received by the R. T. A. within the prescribed time, whereas two applications, including that of the appellant, were received beyond the appointed day. When these applications came before the R. T. A. on 14th April, 1977, the R. T. A. dealt with the cases of the three applicants whose applications were within time, but the remaining two applications, including that of the appellant, were held to be barred by time and there is no mention of the merits of those applications in the said resolution of the R. T. A. dated 14th April, 1977. The order on the three applications was, however, reserved. The R. T. A. however passed an order on 11th May, 1977, granting permit to the appellant on the ground that the appellant has got ready stage carriage of 1974 model. The R. T. A. however, did not consider the cases of the remaining three applicants, whose applications were within time The matter was taken up by way of appeal before the S. T. A. T. by the aggrieved operators and the S. T. A. T. accepted the appeal of the respondent No. 3 M/s. Matoria Bus Service and granted permit to it. The appellant being aggrieved, moved the High Court by 4 writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The matter came up before Hon'ble the Chief Justice Shri Tyagi, who rejected the petition inter alia holding that the application of the appellant was barred by time and, therefore, no permit could be granted on such time-barred application. Being aggrieved against that order, the appellant has come up before us by way of special appeal,
4. The learned Counsel for the appellant has raised the following contentions before us :--
(1) The appellant's application although not presented within the time fixed in the notification, it could not have been summarily rejected and the R. T. A. was right in considering his application and granting him a permit. The S. T. A. T, therefore, committed manifest error of law in setting aside the order of the R. T. A.
(2). The R. T. A., while considering the applications, could not have simultaneously revised the scope and reduced it from 4 to 3.
5. Taking up the first contention it may be stated that Sub-section (2) of Section 57 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (herein-after called 'the Act') prescribes two dates for the presentation of application for permit, (1) the date, at least six weeks prior to the date on which it is desired that the permit shall take effect, and (2) the date which the R. T. A. fixes for the presentation of such applications. The R. T. A., admittedly, had fixed the time in its notification and it is not disputed that the appellant's application was not presented within the prescribed time. The R. T. A. himself in its resolution dated 14th April, 1977, has clearly stated that the appellant's application was barred by time. In these circumstances the R. T. A. could not have considered the appellant's application along with the applications, which were presented within the time prescribed. The notification specifically made it clear that the applications made in response to the said notification, which are presented beyond the time prescribed, would not be considered at all. Now, Sub-section (2) of Section 57 of the Act has been enacted by the legislature with some meaning end purpose. The legislature has authorised the R. T. A. to fix the time within which the applications for grant of permit are to be presented. The provision in this regard cannot be said to be without any meaning, If the R. T. A. fixes the time for presentation of applications and makes it clear that the applications submitted beyond the time shall not be considered, then such a direction has compulsive force and cannot be ignored. It implies that the R. T. A. will not consider the applications presented beyond the appointed date, in terms of the notification.
6. Mr. Maheshwari, learned Counsel for the appellant, has, however, placed heavy reliance on Manjeri Public Conveyance v. R. T. A. Malappuram (AIR 1977 Ker 64) and has urged that even theapplications, which are made beyond the appointed date, cannot be rejected summarily under Section 57. He has invited our attention to the proviso to Sub-section (3) of Section 57 of the Act, which has dealt with the question as to in what circumstances the applications for grant of permit can be summarily rejected. That proviso, in our opinion, is of no assistance to the appellant, as it has no relevance on the point raised before us. The point before us is simple and that is, whether the applications made in response to the notification, which were beyond the time appointed in the notification, can be considered along with the applications which were made within time prescribed in the notification. The authority cited by Mr. Maheshwari, viz., Manjeri Public Conveyance v. R. T. A. Malappuram (supra) clearly answers the point raised before us. It has been held in this case that a belated application cannot be clubbed with the applications, which have been presented within time and cannot be considered along with those applications. Even according to the decision of Kerala High Court it was not within the competence of the R. T. A. to have considered the application of the appellant, which was belated one, along with the other applications, which were admittedly presented in time. Therefore, the R. T. A. was obviously in error when it considered the belated application of the appellant along with the rest of the applications which were presented in time and granted permit to him. The S. T. A. T. has, therefore, rightly quashed the order of the R. T. A. granting permit to the appellant on his belated application. The learned Single Judge was, therefore, right when he upheld the judgment of the S. T. A. T.
7. The second contention that the R. T. A. could not reduce the scope of the permits simultaneously while considering the applications, hardly calls for our decision, as the first point which we have decided, completely negatives the claim of the appellant for grant of permit to him.
8. As stated earlier the appellant's application being belated one, could not bo considered along with the applications which were presented in time. The grant of permit to him on his belated application being invalid cannot be sustained in law. It may be stated here that there was only one vacancy, which was ultimately considered by the S. T. A. T. and the appellant cannot raise anylegitimate grievance against the Order of the S. T. A. T.
9. In view of the foregoing discussions there is no substance in this appeal and the same is rejected summarily.