1. These are 3 writ applications under Article 226 of the Constitution of India challenging the validity of temporary permits granted by the Regional Transport Authority Jaipur by its resolutions Nos. 222 and 223 dated the 25th June, 1960. Although the temporary permits have been granted on different routes to different persons, common questions of law are involved! in these applications and therefore they are disposed of together.
2. In order to appreciate the points canvassed before us, it would be proper to state briefly the foots which have given rise to these applications:
3. Writ Applications Nos. 216 and 217 are in respect of the permits granted for Jaipur Kishangarh route. The petitioners in writ application No. 216 are bus operators holding non-temporary permits and they are plying their buses on Jaipur Kishangarh Ajmer route. The Jaipur Kishangarh route overlaps Jaipur Ajmer route upto Kishangarh. These petitioners were granted permits by the Regional Transport Authority Jaipur by resolution No. 380 of 1958 on 16-12-1958.
There were several appeals against that resolution and so the Appellate Authority set aside the said resolution on 7-12-1959. The petitioners filed writ applications Nos. 27 and 50 of 1960 and it was urged by them that the Appellate authority had decided the matter against them without giving them any notice of appeal and a chance of hearing.
Learned Government Advocate appearing on behalf of the appellate authority gave an undertaking not the appellate authority would give an opportunity of hearing to the petitioners and therefore they withdrew their writ applications. The appeals filed against them were therefore still pending when the present application was filed. The petitioners were allowed to ply their buses during the pendency as the appeals against them and therefore their buses are running on the Jaipur Ajmer route.
4. Non-petitioners Nos. 3 to 22 had non-temporary permits to ply buses from Jaipur to Kishangarh and the period of their permits expired on 30-9-1959. Before that date, they had applied for renewal of their permits. Those renewal applications could not be decided early and therefore they were given temporary permits for 4 months from 30-9-1959 to 30-1-1960.
On 1-2-1960, the Regional Transport Authority gave them Certificates for plying their buses. On 26th/27th Febuary, 1960, their applications for renewal of permits were rejected by resolution No, 40 by the Regional Transport Authority on the ground that the State Transport Undertaking was likely to run its buses in the near future. But since the Regional Transport Authority was not certain about the date from which the State Roadways buses were to run on that route, the non-petitioners were granted temporary permits for 4 months subject to the condition that they would become ineffective from the date the Rajasthan State Roadways buses would begin to operate on that route.
Aggrieved by the said resolution, the non-petitioners filed a writ application No. 134 of 1960 which was decided on 26-5-1960. It was found that the Rajasthan Transport Authority had not given an opportunity of hearing to the non-petitioners before rejecting their applications for renewal of permits. The resolution No. 49 was set aside and the Regional Transport Authority was directed to reconsider their applications after giving them an opportunity of hearing in connection with the scheme relating to the nationalisation of the Traas-port services by the State.
Thereafter the non-petitioners presented fresh applications for temporary permits. Before considering these applications, the non-petitioners were permitted to ply their buses on what was called 'temporary authorisation'. These applications were allowed on 25-6-60 by resolution No. 223 for a period of 3 months or till the disposal of their applications for renewal whichever was earlier. It is the validity of this resolution which is challenged by the petitioners.
5. It is urged by them that the Regional Transport Authority which granted the temporary permits was constituted by Notification dated 21st Juno, 1960, that it consisted of only 4 officials, namely, the Divisional Commissioner, the D. I. G. Police the Superintending Engineer, Buildings and Roads and the Regional Transport Officer, that no non-official was included, that this constitution of the Regional Transport Authority was against the express provisions of Section 44(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act and therefore its resolution was without jurisdiction and hence illegal.
It is next contended that the grant of the temporary permits to the non-petitioners who had filed applications for renewal of permits beyond a period of 4 months, was illegal. It is pointed out that in the second proviso of Section 62 of the Motor Vehicles Act, the maximum period for which temporary permits could be granted to the non-petitioners was 4 months and therefore only the temporary permits from 1-10-1959 to 31-1-1960 were valid. It is contended that the certificates, the temporary authorisation and the temporary permits given thereafter were all against the provisions of law.
Lastly, it is contended that Shri Prabhu Narain Mahesh Chand had filed an application for grant of a permanent permit on Jaipur Kishangarh route, that his application was published by the Regional Transport Authority in the Rajasthan Gazette on 14th August, 1959 along with the applications for renewals made by the non-petitioners and that temporary permits could not be granted during the pendency of that application according to proviso (1) of Section 62 of the Motor Vehicles Act.
It is also contended by the petitioners that 49 vehicles were running on Jaipur Ajmer route which completely covered Jaipur Kishangarh route, that only 18 out of 49 buses were allowed to ply daily, that there was thus no temporary need and the grant of temporary permits was not justified.
6. The petitioner in writ application No. 217, is one Atmaram. It is stated by him that he had filed an application for grant of a permanent permit for stage carriage on Jaipur Kishangarh route on 6-5-60. Other persons had also filed similar applications for permanent permits on the same route. He has filed their copies which are marked as Ex. 2, Ex. 3 and Ex. 4. He has also challenged the validity of resolution No. 223 on the same grounds as are stated in writ application No. 216.
7. In writ application No. 208, the petitioner is Janta Transport Co-operative Society Ltd., which is running motor bus on non-temporary permits on Jaipur Bharatpur route. This petitioner's permit is still valid but there were 13 other bus operators whose permanent permits expired on 31-10-1959. They had applied for renewal of their permits and during the pendency of their applications, they were given temporary permits which were valid upto 31-1-1960.
From 1-2-1960 to 28-2-1960, they were again allowed to ply their vehicles on the basis of certificates. On 26th and 27th February, 1960, the Regional Transport Authority dismissed their applications for renewal but granted them temporary permits for 4 months which were to become ineffective from the date of the nationalisation of that route. They bad also approached this Court by way of writ which was decided by a learned Judge of this Court on 26th May, 1960 by the same judgment which is referred to above.
The Regional Transport Authority was directed to reconsider their applications after giving them a hearing. Thereafter, the Regional Transport Authority allowed them to ply buses from 1-6-60 to 22-6-60 on temporary authorisation. Meanwhile, on 13th May 1960, the Regional Manager of Rajasthan Roadways Jaipur also presented applications for grant of temporary permit on the same route. His applications as also the renewal applications were considered by the Regional Transport Authority on 25th June, 1960 and by resolution No. 222 it granted 13 temporary permits to the 13 bus operators who had filed applications for renewal of their permits and 13 temporary permits to the Rajasthan State Roadways for a period of 3 months.
It would appear that the facts giving rise to this writ application are very similar to those mentioned in writ applications Nos. 216 and 217. The main feature distinguishing this writ application with others is that 13 temporary permits were granted to the Rajasthan State Roadways for the first time. The validity of this resolution No. 222 is also challenged on the same grounds as have been set out about resolution No. 223 and therefore need not be repeated.
8. It would appear from the above narration of facts that the following 8 questions arise for our determination:
1. Whether the constitution of the Regional Transport Authority which passed resolutions Nos. 222 and 223 was not in accordance with law?
2. Whether the grant of temporary permits to those who had applied for renewal of their permanent permits, was illegal beyond the period of 4 months?
3. Whether the grant of temporary permits for any period whatsoever, was illegal during the pendency of applications for a permanent permit on the same route?
9. It would be proper to take up the points set out above in seriatim:
10. To begin with the first point, it is common ground between the parties that the Regional Transport Authority which passed resolutions Nos. 222 and 223 on 25th June, 1960 was reconstituted by the Rajasthan Government Home Department Notification No. 1/F.1(3)/1/HB/59 dated the 21st June, 1960. It consisted of the Divisional Commissioner, the D. I. G. Police, Ajmer Range, the Superintending Engineer Buildings and Roads, Jaipur, and the Regional Transport Officer.
The Divisional Commissioner was to function as a Chairman and the Regional Transport Officer as member-cum-secretary. Thus all the members of that body including the Chairman were officers in the employ of the State Government. The petitioner's contention is that according to Section 44 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1939 as amended by Act No. 100 of 1956, the Regional Transport Authority ought to have consisted of at least two officials and two non-officials besides the Chairman and since no non-official was appointed, the constitution of that body was not at all according to law.
It is also urged that the body ought to have consisted of at least 5 persons including the Chairman and since only 4 were appointed, its constitution was invalid for that reason as well. The non-petitioners have contested the correctness of this argument. Since the decision of the question depends upon the interpretation of Section 44(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act which will hereinafter be inferred to as the Act, it will be proper to reproduce here the relevant part thereof.
'44(2). A State Transport Authority on a Regional Transport Authority shall consist of a Chairman who has had judicial experience and such other officials and non-officials, not being less than two, as the State Government may think it to appoint.'
11. It is contended by learned counsel for the petitioners that the perusal of the said section shows that there should be one Chairman with judicial experience and there should be at least two officials and two non-officials to constitute a proper Regional Transport Authority. He has also referred to Rule 77 of the Rajasthan Motor 'Vehicles' Rules, 1951 which will hereinafter be referred to as the 'Rules'. It is pointed out that according to Rule 77(c), the number of members whose presence would constitute a quoram must be four and that this Rule also indirectly supports that the total number of members should not be less than 5 because a quoram is generally less than the total strength of the body.
If the total number of members is 4, then, in order to constitute the quoram, all of them would have to attend every meeting, in reply, it is urged on behalf of the non-petitioners that the words 'officials and non-officials' should be read conjunctively so as to form one unit and not disjunctively. According to the learned Government Advocate and other counsel appearing for the non-petitioners, the Legislature only meant to stress that besides the Chairman, the number of other members should not be less than two.
It was left open to the State Government to choose the other members either from amongst the officials or from the non-officials and it was not necessary to choose them from both the groups separately. Thus, according to their interpretation, the minimum number of members including the Chairman ought to be three and not five, and out of them, all may be officials or all may be non-officials or some of them may be officials and others non-officials. In support of their argument they have referred to Amaravathi Motor Transport Co., Amaravathi v. State of Andhra, AIR 1956 Andh 232. In that case, it was observed as follows:
'If the entire section along with the proviso is read together, any ambiguity that might otherwise appear in the section is dispelled. Briefly, the construction may be stated thus: The field of selection for appointment to the Provincial Transport Authority is 'officials and non-officials' treated as one unit. The Government may appoint from both the groups or exclusively from either of the two groups. It may, if it chooses, appoint only a single official. So construed, in the present case, the Regional Transport Authority consisting of three officials was validly constituted.''
12. This observation no doubt supports the eontention of the non-petitioners but it may be pointed out that under Section 44 (2) as it was reproduced in the above case there was a proviso which ran as follows:
'Provided that if the Provincial Government thinks fit, a Provincial Transport Authority or a Regional Transport Authority may consist of a single official.'
13. The perusal of the entire judgment shows that the learned Judges were led to express the opinion noted above because of the language of the proviso. It is clear that according to the proviso; it was left to the Provincial Government to constitute a Provincial Transport Authority or a Regional Transport Authority of one single official. The observation of the learned Judges shows that they had construed the remaining provisions of section 44(2) along with the proviso and it was on that account, that they thought that the Legislature had contemplated 'officials and non-officials' as one unit.
It may be pointed out that under section 44(2) as it stands at present, there is no such proviso. The question of reading Sub-section (2) along with the proviso therefore does not arise. The section read in its present form, means that a State Transport Authority or a Regional Transport Authority should consist atleast of three persons of whom one should be a Chairman with judicial experience and out of the other two, one should be an official and the other one should be a non-official.
We do not agree with the contention of t petitioners to the effect that there should be least two officials and two non-officials because the words used by the Legislature are 'not being less than two'. If the Legislature thought that there should be atleast two officials and two non-officials then, the word 'each' would have been used after 'two'. The section however does not say 'not being less than two each'.
We must interpret the section as it stands and we cannot import the word 'each' when it has not been used by the Legislature. We, therefore, do not see any force in the argument that there should be at least two officials and two non-officials. At the same time, we find it difficult to accept the view that the Legislature meant to use the words 'officials and non-officials' as one unit. If that were so, it would not have wasted two words, i.e., (1) officials and (2) non-officials.
It would have been sufficient to use one word 'persons' instead of 'official and non-official'. The use of these two words clearly indicates the intention of the Legislature to the effect that it wanted to enjoin upon the State Government to appoint members both from the official and from the non-official groups. It was not considered proper to lay down the exact number of officials and of the non-officials or a ratio between the two; but it certainly appears to be the intention of the Legislature that whatever may be the number of the members of the body which the Government may think fit to appoint the said number must not be less than two besides the Chairman and that out Of them, atleast one must be an official and one must be a non-official.
It is left to the discretion of the State Government to vary the number of the non-officials and the officials but it is not left to it to drop out one of two groups altogether. In short, the Legislature has in its wisdom, laid down that the Regional Transport Authority must be representative both of the official group and the non-official group of persons and if one of them is left out, the constitution of the body would not be according to law.
13a. As regards Section 77 of the Rules, it would suffice to say that the Rules were framed in 1951. Moreover, it need hardly be stressed that the Rules cannot govern the Act and the Act cannot be interpreted wrongly in order to adjust it with the Rules. If any Rule is inconsistent with the provisions of the Act, it has to give way to the latter. In our opinion, the Regional Transport Authority as it existed on 25-6-60 was not properly constituted as it did not consist of even a single non-official. Since the constitution of the Regional Transport Authority was defective, both the resolutions passed by it were illegal.
14. Now coming to the second point, it is not controverted by the non-petitioners in writ applications Nos. 216 and 217 that the period of their permanent permits expired 011 30-9-59 and that they had filed applications for renewal of their permits prior to that date. They were given temporary permits for 4 months from 1-10-1959 to 31-1-60. Thereafter, they were given certificates to ply their buses from 1-2-60 onwards. Then they were given temporary permits with retrospective effect from 1-2-60 to 31-5-60. From 1st June 1960 to 22nd June 1960, they were allowed to ply their buses on 'temporary authorisation'. From 25-6-60, they were again given temporary permits for 3 months. The same was true of 13 bus operators referred in resolution No. 222. It is urged by the petitioners that Regional Transport Authority had committed a flagrant breach of the second proviso appearing in Section 62 of the Act and that it had no authority to grant temporary permits after 31-1-60. Before examining this argument, it would be proper to reproduce here Section 62 of the Act because the contention proceeds on its interpretation. It runs as follows:
'Section 62. A Regional Transport Authority may without following the procedure laid down in sec-tion 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, or
(d) pending decision on an application for the renewal of a permit;
and may attach to any such permit any condition it thinks fit:
Provided that a temporary pennit under this section shall, in no case, be granted in respect of any route or area specified in an application for the grant of a new permit under Section 46 or section 54 during the pendency of the application:
Provided further that a temporary permit under this section shall, in no case, be granted more than once in respect of any route or area specified in an application for the renewal of a permit during the pendency of such application for renewal.'
15. It may be pointed out that Clause (d) which now allows the Regional Transport Authority to grant temporary permits pending decision on an application for the renewal of a permit was introduced by Act No. 100 of 1956 along with the next two provisos. Before that the section ended with Clause (c). A plain leading of the second proviso clearly shows that although it was left to the discretion of a Regional Transport Authority to grant a temporary permit pending its decision on an application for the tenewal of a permit, its authority was restricted at the same time and it was expressly laid down that a temporary pennit in such a case should, under no circumstances, be granted more than once in respect of the route or area specified in the application for the renewal of the pennit.
The opening part oE Section 62 says that a temporary permit may be granted for a limited period not in any case to exceed 4 months. It is thus clear that the maximum period for which a temporary permit may by granted is 4 months and it it can be granted only once and no more, then the Regional Transport Authority has absolutely no discretion left, to grant a temporary permit for a period exceeding 4 months pending decision on an application for the renewal of a non-temporary permit.
The correctness of this position was contested on behalf of the non-petitioners during the earlier part of their arguments but later on, the challenge was given up. Learned counsel for the non-petitioners could not point out any authority in law to justify the grant of certificates from 1-2-60 or the grant of further temporary permits from 1-2-60 to 31-5-60. They could not also point out any authority to justify the issue of what was called as 'temporary authorisation' by the Regional Transport Authority in order to enable the non-petitioners to ply their buses from 1-6-60 to 22-6-60.
The grant of temporary permits by the two resolutions dated 25-6-60 was however sought to be justified by an argument which follows immediately. It was pointed out that the applications for the renewal of permits were rejected by the resolution passed on 26/27th February, 1960. Thereafter, the resolution of Regional Transport Authority was set aside by an order of this Court on 26th May, 1960, in writ petitions Nos. 83, 122, 123, 125, 126, 128, 134 and 143 of 1950.
According to learned counsel, there was a fresh pendency of the applications for renewal from 26th May, 1960 onwards, and therefore the temporary permits could be granted again for a period of 4 months. We have given due consideration to this argument and in our opinion, it is not tenable. It is incorrect to suggest that the applications of the non-petitioners should be deemed to have been made afresh after the decision of the above writ applications on 26th May, 1960.
The Regional Transport Authority had no doubt rejected the renewal applications of the non-petitioners on 27th February, 1960 a'nd that order was set aside by this Court on 26th May, 1960; but since the case was remanded, the same old applications became pending before the Regional Transport Authority. It may be pointed out that if a certain case is decided by a judicial tribunal or a quasi-judicial tribunal and if its decision is set aside by this Court in appeal or by way of a writ and if the case is remanded back to the said tribunal, it cannot be urged that a new case is instituted before the tribunal after the order of remand.
It is the same old case which goes back to the tribunal and which it is required to decide afresh. It may be further pointed out that an application for renewal of a stage carriage permit has to be made under Section 53(2) atleast 60 days before the date of the expiry of the non-temporary permit and this period could not be extended even by an order of this Court. Therefore, to say that a fresh application became pending after the date of this Court's order is not correct.
Since the non-petitioners were already allowed temporary permits for the maximum period of 4 months from 1-10-59 onwards, a further grant of temporary permits by resolutions Nos. 222 and 223 to those whose applications for renewal were pending, was wrong. The Legislature in its wisdom thought that 6 months' time was more than sufficient for the Regional Transport Authority to decide whether an application for renewal should be allowed or not. This is why it was laid down that application for renewal should be made at least 2 months before the expiry of the period of the permit.
It further allowed the Regional Transport Authority to grant temporary permits for 4 months during the pendency of the renewal applications. The Regional Transport Authority having used its authority to its fullest extent, it had no power left thereafter to grant any 'certificate' or 'temporary authorisation' or temporary permit after 31-1-1960. The contention of the petitioners is therefore fit to be allowed and the resolutions Nos. 222 and 223 should be quashed so far as they grant temporary permits to those whose renewal applications were pending.
16. We now come to the last and the most difficult question which relates to the interpretation of the first proviso under Section 62 of the Act. It is contended on behalf of the petitioners that applications for new permits under Section 46 of the Act were pending in respect of both the routes and that during their pendency, a temporary permit could not be granted according to the first proviso of Section 62.
It is urged on behalf of the non-petitioners that the proviso only means that a temporary permit should not be granted in respect of any route or area specified in an application for the grant of the new permit under Section 46 or Section 54 during the pendency of that application, but this applies only to the person who presents an application for the grant of a new permanent permit. This argument is sought to be supported by a decision of this Court in Bhoor Singh v. R. T. A., Jaipur, ILR (1958) 8 Raj 946.
In that case, it was held that:
'the first proviso only means that a temporary permit shall not be granted to a person whose application for a permanent permit is pending. It does not mean that if a single person makes an application for a permanent permit, everybody else is barred from obtaining a temporary permit. If this were so, the grant of a temporary permit on the occasion of fairs would be ruled out, if one of the operators or anybody else takes it into his head to make an application for a permanent permit. Learned counsel for the petitioners have doubted the correctness of this view and referred to Bhanwarlal v. Appellate Tribunal of the State Transport Authority, ILR (1958) 8 Raj 624: (AIR 1958 Raj 176). In that case, it was observed as follows: 'All that the proviso clearly means is that where an application for the grant of a new stage carriage permit or for a public carriers permit has been made before a Regional Transport Authority and is pending before it with respect to a certain route or area specified in such application, then a temporary permit under Section 62 shall, in no case, be granted in respect of such route or area. The proviso nowhere says that in order to attract this proviso, the applications for temporary permits as well as the applications for new permits under section 46 and Section 54 must be by the same person; and, in our opinion, the application of this proviso cannot be resisted even in those cases where a temporary permit has been applied for say by A, and there are already applications for regular permits by other persons say B and C pending before the Regional Transport Authority.'
17. It is apparent that there is a conflict of views in the cases cited above. It appears that Bhanwarlal's case, ILR (1958) 8 Raj 624: (AIR 1958 Raj 176), was not brought to the notice of the learned Judge who decided Bhoor Singh's case. ILR (1958) 8 Raj 946. We have given our anxious consideration to this vexed question and we agree with the view expressed in Bhanwarlal's case, ILR (1958) 8 Raj 624: (AIR 1958 Raj 176), to the extent that the proviso nowhere says that in order to attract it, the applications for temporary permits as well as the applications for new permits under Sections 46 and 54, must be by the same person.
If this view expressed in Bhoor Singh's case, ILR (1958) 8 Raj 946, is upheld, then, the person applying for a permanent permit gets into a position worse than that of a person applying for a temporary permit. If the Authority is favourably inclined towards the person applying for a temporary permit, it may oblige him by delaying the decision of the application for permanent permit. This interpretation would defeat the very purpose on account of which the proviso was added. The proviso seeks to put a check upon the Regional Transport Authority in the exercise of its discretion in granting a temporary permit when an application for a permanent permit is already pending.
The interpretation put upon the proviso in Bhoor Singh's case, ILR (1958) 8 Raj 946, would enable the Authority to make a greater misuse of its powers. There is nothing in the wording ot the proviso to warrant the construction that it seeks to prohibit the grant of a temporary permit only to that person who has presented an application for the grant of a permanent permit under Section 46 or Section 54. The same view was held in Calicut Wynad Motor Service (Private) Ltd. v. State Transport Appellate Tribunal Trichur, AIR 195S Kerala 19.
18. Learned counsel for the non-petitioners have urged that if this view is upheld, then, the grant of a temporary permit on the occasions ot fairs or religious gatherings or a seasonal business would be ruled out if any one of the operators or a third person takes it into his head to present an application for a permanent permit. It is contended that interested persons would be able to paralyse the hands of the Regional Transport Authority in granting temporary permits where they are absolutely necessary and that it would cause great inconvenience to the travelling public.
According to them it could not have been the intention of the Legislature to create a greater malady while providing a small remedy in another respect and therefore the proviso should be construed in harmony with the foregoing provisions of the sections.
18a. Learned counsel for the petitioners have urged on the contrary that the proviso covers the grant of the temporary permit under all the three clauses (a), (b) and (c) and that this Court should interpret the proviso as it is and not as it should be.
In support of his argument, he has referred to Jairam Das v. Regional Transport Authority, Jodhpur, ILR (1957) 7 Raj 806: ((S) AIR 1957 Raj 312; (FB). If that case it was observed after referring to Salomon v. Salomon and Co., 1897 A.C. 22 and Cox v. Hakes, (1890) 15 AC 506 that even though a court may be satisfied that the Legislature had not contemplated a particular consequence while enacting a law, the court is still bound to give effect to its clear language. I was also a party to that judgment and I have no hesitation in endorsing that observation again.
It is certainly one of the cardinal principles of the rules of interpretation that if the words of the statute are themselves precise and unambiguous, no more is necessary than to expound those words in their natural and ordinary sense, the words themselves in such case best declaring the intention of the legislature. But the above rule of interpretation cannot be applied to the present case because, as I will show presently, the language of provisos (1) and (2) is not so precise and unambiguous as it is said to be.
If the language were very plain and unequivocal, a difference of opinion in its interpretation would have hardly arisen between the learned Judges of this Court constituting two different Division Benches. It may be further observed that although a literal construction is one of the most elementary rules of construction, yet, it is not the only rule which must be applied in every case without any other consideration.
In other words, the mere paraphrasing of the language of a particular provision of law is not the only or the universal rule of interpretation. When the language of a particular statute is not very precise and clear, then certain other rules have also got to be kept in view, because while interpreting a certain provision of law, it is one of the primary duties of a Court to interpret it in such a way as to bring out the real intention of the legislature.
According to Crowford, 'ascertaining the meaning of the Legislature forms the very heart of the interpretative process'. It may be pointed out that the very first sentence, which appears in Maxwell's well known treatise on the Interpretation of Statutes (10th Edn.) and which view is based on numerous cases, is as follows:
'A Statute is the will of the legislature and the fundamental rule of interpretation, to which all others are subordinate, is, that a statute is to be expounded 'according to the intent of them that made it''.
The learned author goes on to say (at page 4) that 'when the language is not only plain but admits of but one meaning, the task of interpretation can hardly be said to arise.'
'The underlying principle is that the meaning and intention of the statute must be collected from the plain and unambiguous expressions used therein rather than from any notions which may be entertained by the court as to what is just or expedient' (see page 5).
But, adds the author, 'judges are not always prepared to concede as plain language that which involves absurdity and inconsistency.' Thus another rule of interpretation is, that if the language of the statute is not plain, it should be so interpreted as to avoid the absurdity and inconsistency. At page 17, he points out that
'where alternative constructions are not equally open, that alternative is to be chosen which will be consistent with the smooth working of the system which the statute purports to be regulating; and that alternative is to be rejected which will introduce uncertainty, friction or confusion into the working, of the system.'
Then at page 19, he has summarized certain criterions suggested by Lord Coke for finding out the intention of the legislature. He writes that
'to arrive at the real meaning, it is always necessary to get an exact conception of the aim, scope, and object of the whole Act; to consider, according to Lord Coke: (1) What was the law before the Act was passed; (2) What was the mischief or defect for which the law had not provided; (3) What remedy Parliament has appointed; and (4) The reason of the remedy.'
Another useful way of arriving at the meaning of the legislature as suggested by him at page 29 is that 'construction is to be made of all the parts together, and not of one part only by itself.' Thus harmonious construction of the various parts of a statute is also one of the important rules of interpretation. Further, he has pointed out that it is the duty of the judge to make such construction of a statute as shall suppress the mischief and advance the remedy. Regarding the interpretation of provisos in particular, the following may be reproduced here usefully from the 'Construction of Statutes'' by Crawford:
'Even though the primary purpose of the proviso is to limit or restrain the general language of a statute, the legislature, unfortunately, does not always use it with technical correctness. Consequently, where its use Creates an ambiguity, it is the duty of the court to ascertain the legislative intention, through resort to the usual rules of construction applicable to statutes generally, and give it effect even though the statute is thereby enlarged, or the proviso made to assume the force of an independent enactment, and although a proviso as such has no existence apart from the provision which it is designed to limit or to qualify. It should also-be construed in harmony with the rest of the statute.'
19. In Abdul Jaibar Butt v. State of Jammu and Kashmir, (S) AIR 1957 SC 281, it was observed by their Lordships of the Supreme Court that:
'It is a fundamental rule of construction that a proviso must be considered with relation to the principal matter to which it stands as a proviso'..... and that 'the proviso is to be construed harmoniously with the provisions to which it is a proviso.'
20. It would now be proper to examine both the provisos and interpret them in the light of the above noted rules of construction. Let us first of all see whether the language of one or both the provisos is precise and whether it can stand a literal interpretation. It would appear that the following clause is common to both the provisos:
'Provided that a temporary permit under this section shall in no case be granted.'
The question at once arises what was meant by 'in mo case' and 'under this section'' used therein. It was suggested that the words 'in no case' refer to clauses (a), (b), (c) and (d), but this interpretation should not be accepted, in my opinion, because it is not borne out by the language of the second proviso. The second proviso governs only Clause (d) because a temporary permit pending decision on an application for the renewal of a permit can be granted only under Clause (d).
The plain meaning of the second proviso therefore is, that temporary permit under Clause (d) of the section shall not be granted in any circumstance, more than once, in respect of an area which is specified in the application for the renewal of a permit, so long as such an application for the renewal of the permit remains pending. The word 'case' used in 'in no case' cannot thus possibly mean a case referred in clauses (a), (b) and (c). To my mind, the words 'in no case' only mean 'in no circumstance'. They have been used only to emphasise the negative duty and it would not be proper to stretch their meaning in any other sense.
21. As regards the words 'under this section'', they are, to my mind, of great importance in this case, since the applications of the provisos depend upon their interpretation. Ordinarily the words 'under this section' should mean 'under the whole of the section' and yet they cannot possibly be given that meaning in the context of the subject matter of the second proviso. As pointed out above, the second proviso only relates to the grant of a temporary permit during the pendency of an application for renewal of a non-temporary permit.
So, these words refer to Clause (d), alone and mean 'under the relevant part of this section' and not the whole section. If the language of the second proviso were precise, the words 'Clause (d) of' should have been added after 'under' and before 'this section'. In other words, the precise language should have been 'under Clause (d) of this section' instead of 'under this section''. It is thus clear that the language of the second proviso is not very precise and the argument of the petitioner's learned counsel for applying the rule of literal interpretation cannot stand.
22. Now, it would be proper to take up the first proviso and see whether the words 'under this section' have been used there in the same sense as in the second proviso, that is meaning 'under the relevant part of the section' or 'the whole section'. It is one of the rules of interpretation that if there is any difficulty in finding out the real meaning of any word or term and the intention of those who have used it, then it should be seen whether the same word or term has been used elsewhere in the same document, and, if so, in what sense. 'Unless the subject or context necessarily requires that the same words must be given different meaning, they should be taken to have been used in the same sense. Still, it would be proper to see first if the said words can stand the literal interpretation without any difficulty.
23. Now, if the first proviso is literally interpreted, and the words 'under this section' are held to apply to the entire foregoing section, then it would be as much applicable to Clauses (a), (b) and (c) as to Clause (d). But, if it is applied to Clause (d), then it would create a very anomalous and difficult situation and the very purpose for which Clause (d) has been introduced will be defeated.
It need hardly be pointed out that an application for renewal of a stage carriage or a public carrier's permit under Section 58(2) of the Act has to be made not less than sixty days before the date of its expiry. This application has to be disposed of according to the same sub-section as if it were an application for new permit. As held in Messrs. Vijaysingh Kalyansingh v. R. T. A. Jaipur, ILR (1957) 7 Raj 727, applications for renewal have to be advertised in the same way as applications for now permits under Section 57 of the Act.
Ordinarily, it is expected that applications for the renewal of permits should be disposed of before the expiry of their period. It was, however, found that because of the above procedure, the H. T. A. could not, in certain cases, dispose of such applications within the prescribed period. In order to avoid the break-down of the bus services immediately after the expiry of the period of non-temporary permits, and also to provide interim relief to the bus operators plying their buses on non-temporary permits, the Legislature thought it proper to empower the R. T. A. to grant temporary permits without following the procedure under Section 57 of the Act, pending the decision of the applications for renewals of permits.
Now, if any application for a permanent permit is pending before the date of the expiry of the permits for which applications for renewals have been filed and if it is held that temporary permits cannot be granted on account of the pendency of that application, then this view would cause a stalemate on that route and the provision of Clause (d) would become nugatory. It is very common for people to file applications for new (sic-renewal of ?) permits prior to the date on which the term of the existing permits expires. Such applications are considered along with the applications for a new permit.
To my mind, it could not have been the intention of the Legislature that applications for new permits should be considered and disposed of, even before the applications for the renewal of existing permits are decided. To illustrate the difficulty, we need not go to a hypothetical case but let us see the facts of writ application No. 216 of 1960 itself. As pointed out above, the period of permanent permits of the non-petitioners was to expire on 30th September, 1959.
Their applications for renewal could not be decided before that date and therefore under Clause (d) they were given temporary permits from 1st October, 1959 to 31st January, 1960. If proviso (1) is held to govern Clause (d) also, then the grant of temporary permits from 1-10-59 to 31-1-60 would also be illegal because one bus operator Prabhunarain Maheshchandra had already presented an application for a new permanent permit.
His application was published in the notification of 14th August, 1959 (Ex. 3) along with 20 applications for renewal of permits and it was also lying undecided on 1st October, 1959. If 20 buses were to stop plying on 1st October, 1959 at once, it would have caused very serious inconvenience to the travelling public. It is to provide for such contingencies that Clause (d) has been provided and it me first proviso is held applicable to it, then the power given under Clause (d) would be almost nugatory.
It could not have been the intention of the Legislature to give to the R. T. A. power to grant temporary permit under Clause (d) with one hand and take it away with another hand. The check on the powers under Clause (d) was laid down in proviso (2) alone and, in my opinion, proviso (1) was not provided to cover Clause (d). Thus the words 'under this section' appearing in the first proviso do no.t apply to Clause (d) and so, here also the use of these words lack in precision.
24. The next question, which then arises is, whether all the three Clauses (a), (b) and (c) or only one or more of them is gpverned by this proviso. I have given my earnest consideration to this difficult question and, to my mind, the Legislature meant to introduce the first proviso only for governing Clause (c). This would be clear if we apply Lord Coke's formula in Heydon's case, ((1584) 3 Co Rep 7a) and see what was the law before the amendment was made and what was the mischief or defect for which the proviso was introduced.
So far as I have been able to find out from the cases decided in various High Courts, there was no controversy about the meaning and application of Clauses (a) and (b). The controversy was only about Clause (c) and the decisions of the various Courts were conflicting about the meaning and scope of the term 'particular temporary need'. For instance in the case of Sri Rama Vilas Service Ltd. v. The Road Traffic Board, Madras, AIR 1948 Mad 400, Gentle, C. J. expressed his views on the applicability of Clause (c) in the following terms:
'The sole authority for grant of such permits is Section 62 and only when a circumstance, therein specified, exists and for no longer than four months. No attempt was made to justify the grant by virtue of Clauses (a) and (b) of the section but it was argued that Clause (c) has application. That Clause enables a temporary permit to be granted 'to meet a particular temporary need.' It was suggested that the 'particular temporary need' was the non-availability of the Government buses at the date when the appellant's three year permit expired on 1-5-1947 and that need was met by granting a temporary permit for the appellant's buses to ply for hire during the period preceding the date when the Government hoped to obtain its vehicles and put them into use. Incidentally it was stated, during the course of argument, that the Government's buses had not materialised within four months of the grant of the temporary permits which have been renewed once and may be they will again be renewed. If some private enterprise, instead of the Government, had been making preparations to place buses on the road but the necessary vehicles were not expected to be ready when the appellant's three years permit expired, it is beyond doubt that the same course would not have been taken by the Board, nor, indeed, by the Government, as occurred in the present instance. There was not a particular temporary need within the meaning of the Act which empowered the grant of temporary permits. The grant of temporary permits was misusing the provisions of the Act solely for the benefit of the Government and to prevent criticism and objection by the travelling public. The whole circumstance of the grant was improper in the extreme.'
This view was, however, not followed in Chandi Prosad v. R. T. A. Gauhati, AIR 1953 Assam 74 in which it was observed by Thadani C. J. that the inability of the Government to provide immediate transport for the conveyance of the public will create a particular temporary need within the meaning of Clause (c) of Section 62 and in order to meet that particular need the Regional Transport Authority is competent to authorise the use of transport vehicles temporarily. A different view was held by the learned Judges of the same Court in Madhab Chandra Das v. Regional Transport, Authority, Gauhati Region, AIR 1954 Assam 212 wherein Ram Labhaya, J., with whom the other Judge agreed, followed the view expressed in AIR 1948 Mad 400, referred to above.
25. In Khandari Babu v. The Regional Transport Authority, Udaipur, ILR (1953) 3 Raj 250: (AIR 1954 Raj 78) the R. T. A. had granted a temporary permit under Section 62(c) on the ground that the bus of the temporary permit holder was not sufficient to meet the traffic demand of the public on that route and grant of a permit was required till the necessary formalities for increasing the non-temporary permits were gone through. It was held that there was no case for interference with the order.
It was also observed that a permanent need may also, under certain given circumstances, give rise to the existence of a particular temporary need. In Kotah Transport Ltd. v. The Regional Transport Authority, Udaipur, ILR (1953) 3 Raj 215: (AIR 1954 Raj 33) the R. T. A had granted temporary permits on certain routes for a temporary period on the ground that there was persistent demand on the part of the general public for plying more stage carriages.
It was held that the persistent demand of the people did not justify grant of temporary permits and that the R. T. A. had virtually tried to circumvent the provisions of law for grant of non-temporary permits. It was thought that there was a conflict ot views in the said two decisions, but it was explained in Jairam Das v. The Regional Transport Authority, Jodhpur, AIR 1957 Raj 162, I need not multiply the cases.
It would suffice to say that there were numerous cases in which the R. T. A. granted temporary permits under Clause (c) in the name of a particular temporary need even when applications for permanent permits were pending. It was in order to put a check on the grant of temporary permits in cases where there was really need for permanent permits and where the R. T. A. had somehow tried to circumvent the grant of permanent permits that the first proviso seems to have been added by Amendment Act No. 100 of 1956.
The main purpose of this proviso, to my mind, is to direct those who are responsible for granting a permit and say 'please dont grant a temporary permit in the name of or under the guise of a particular temporary need when an application for a non-temporary permit for the same route is already pending before you'. There seems no apparent reason -- and no reason has been suggested -- to show why the Legislature might have thought of governing Clauses (a) and (b) also by the first proviso.
Clauses (a) and (b) clearly refer to special temporary needs, i.e. to permit the R. T. A. to grant temporary permits for conveyance of passengers on special occasions, such as (a) to and from fairs and religious gatherings or (b) for the purpose of a seasonal business. Now, it is common knowledge that fairs and religious gatherings are held only for a few days and seasonal business is also carried out during a particular season which cannot in any case last for a period longer than four months.
No reasonable explanation has been given on behalf of the petitioners as to why the Legislature might have thought it proper that the R. T. A. should refuse the grant of temporary permits under these clauses simply because some application for one or more permits on those routes as pending. The temporary needs in such cases would terminate with the end of the fairs, religious gatherings or seasonal business and if such temporary needs are met by the grant of too many permanent permits, there would be a glut of buses on the route.
26. Moreover, if temporary permits are refused for the conveyance of passengers to and from the fairs etc. simply because an application for a permanent permit on that route is pending, the people would be put to great hardship and inconvenience. It was argued that if somebody wants to create a mischief by presenting an application for permanent permit in order to stay the grant of temporary permits for religious fairs etc., that contingency may be met by the dismissal of the application.
It was also suggested that under Section 47(3), a R. T. A. must limit the number of stage carriages on specified routes so that if somebody puts in an application for a permanent permit just to prevent the grant of temporary permits under clauses (a) and (b), the application may be dismissed at once. It may be pointed out that Section 47(3) only enables the R. T. A. to limit the number of stage carriages on specified routes within the region, but it cannot be said that it is bound to do so in every case.
The sub-section, as framed is only an enabling one. It is true that in certain cases the R. T. A. may be able to dismiss frivolous applications at once, but in certain cases, it is also possible for the bus operators to make out a strong case for the grant of, say, one or two more permanent! permits on a particular route. If such an application is honestly made but it is presented a short time before a particular fair such that the R. T. A. is unable to decide that application, then the result would be that it would not be able to grant any temporary permit for the purpose of the fair during the pendency of that application.
27-28. Learned Government Advocate cited at the time of the arguments the instance of Ramdeora fair which was held only a few months back. It was pointed out that there were quite a number of buses (about 28) running on non-temporary permits on the route on which Ram Deora is situated. Yet, there was such a tremendous rush of pilgrims at the time of the fair that about one hundred temporary permits had to be granted to carry the pilgrims to and back from the fair.
It was argued that if in such a case somebody presents an application for a non-temporary permit a month before the fair, the R. T. A. would be helpless in granting temporary permits and people would be put to great inconvenience. To my mind, there is great force in this argument. In this State and also in other part of this country, there are numerous places where fairs and religious gatherings are held. The need for non-temporary permits for such places may be a small one while at the time of the fairs or gatherings, thousands of persons may flock to that place.
It is difficult to understand that by inserting the first proviso, the Legislature meant to direct the R. T. A. that he should not grant permit under Clause (a) if an application for even a single non-temporary permit is lying undecided at the time of the fair or the religious gathering. Clause (b) also relates to the grant of temporary permits and more particularly for public-carriers for the purposes of a seasonal business. The arguments given by me with regard to Clause (a) equally apply to Clause (b) and therefore they need not be repeated.
29. Learned counsel for the petitioner has referred to Harinarain Roy v. Regional Transport Authority, AIR 1959 Pat 248 and urged that the said case supports him in his argument to the effect that the proviso has been added only with a view to direct the R. T. A. to dispose of the applications for permanent permits as expeditiously as possible. In that case the R. T. A. had invited applications for grant of a permanent permit and, therefore, some applications were filed before him.
During the pendency of those applications, it granted a temporary permit to opposite party No. 2 for a period of four months. Shri Harinarain Roy, petitioner, filed an application to the State Transport Authority to revise this order. The said authority took no action. In the meantime the period of the temporary permit in favour of opposite party No. 2 was extended in spite of the petitioner's objection. The petitioner, therefore, filed a writ application and it was allowed.
It is obvious that it was a case in which the temporary permit was granted under Clause (c) and I respectfully agree with the view that it was hit by the first proviso. It appears that in that case it was not specifically urged before the learned Judges whether the first proviso was also applicable to clauses (a) and (b). The only argument raised was that the first proviso had put unreasonable restrictions on the power of the Regional Transport Authority.
This argument was repelled with the observations that 'there is undoubted power in the R. T. A. to grant temporary permits to meet special situation or any special circumstances.' It is not clear which provision of the law was in view of the learned Judges while making this observation. On the other hand, it shows that in the view of the learned Judges also, the first proviso did not render the R. T. A. so helpless as learned counsel for the petitioner seek to make him by a narrow interpretation ot that proviso.
I respectfully agree with the learned Judges that the first proviso was made in order to put a chick on nepotism and favouritism and to exhort the R. T. A. to dispose of the applications for permanent permits expeditiously, but there is nothing in this judgment to suggest that the learned Judges held the first proviso applicable to Clauses (a) and (b) as well.
30. To conclude, both the provisos should be construed harmoniously with the foregoing provisions of Section 62 and if so interpreted, the words 'under this section' in both the provisos would not mean 'under the whole section' but 'under the relevant part of the section'. The first proviso relates to Clause (c) only, while the second proviso governs Clause (d) alone.
31. The meaning and purpose of the first proviso is to direct the R. T. A. that if an application for a non-temporary permit under Section 46 or Section 54 of the Act is presented for any route or area, then it should be decided expeditiously according to law, and so long as it remains pending, no temporary permit should be given under any circumstances to the applicant for non-temporary permit or to any other person in respect of the said route or area, in the name of, or under the guise of, meeting a particular temporary need under Clause (c).
32. Similarly, the second proviso read with Clause (d) to which alone it relates, means that the R, T. A. should ordinarily decide the applications for renewals of permits before the expiry of the period of the said permits, and if, for any reason, such applications cannot be decided by that time, then it may grant temporary permits pending the decision of the applications, but the temporary permit should under no circumstances be given more than once. In other words, it is left to the discretion of the R. T. A. to grant the permit for the maximum period of four months, but if it grants the permit for a shorter period -- say for a month or two, -- it cannot thereafter grant another temporary permit by saying that it had authority to grant the permit for four months.
33. In the present case the temporary permits to the Rajasthan Roadways and other non-petitioners were not granted under Clauses (a) and (b), but they seem to have been granted under Clause (c) and since applications for permanent permits on those routes were pending by the time the permits were granted, they are hit by proviso (1).
34. Resolutions Nos. 222 and 223 are invalid on all the three grounds narrated above and, therefore, in my opinion, all the three writ applications should be allowed and both the resolutions and the permits granted thereunder should be quashed.
35. I have had the benefit of going into the judgment of my learned brother Dave, J, with which my Lord the Chief Justice has expressed his substantial agreement. I regret very much that I have not found it possible to agree with the conclusion reached on the main point in controversy in these references or the process of reasoning adopted in coming to that conclusion, though I should have very much liked to do so, and, therefore, it has become necessary for me to deliver a separate judgment.
36. These references to the Full Bench principally raise the question of the true interpretation of the first proviso to Section 62 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (No. IV of 1939) as amended by the Amending Act of 1956. The facts leading up to these references have been set out in the judgment prepared by my learned brother Dave, J. and I consider it unnecessary to recapitulate them. Suffice it to state that the references have been occasioned on account of two conflicting bench decisions ot this Court.
In Bhoor Singh's case, ILR (1958) 8 Raj 946 in which the judgment of the Court was delivered by Bapna, J. (no longer a member of this Court) it was held that the first proviso to Section 62 prohibits the grant of a temporary permit to an applicant only where an application for a regular permit by the very same individual may have been made and is pending at the relevant time, and it does not debar other persons from obtaining such a permit.
The same question had come up earlier for consideration and was answered differently in ILR (1958) 8 Raj 624: (AIR 1958 Raj 176) to which I was a party; and it is only fair to point out in passing that this case was not brought to the notice of the Bench which decided Bhoor Singh's case, ILR (1958) 8 Raj 946.
It was held in this other case that there was nothing in the proviso to warrant the construction that to make it applicable the pending application for a regular permit must be by the very person to whom the grant of a temporary permit is intended to be made, and that the application of this proviso could not be resisted even in those cases where a temporary permit has been applied for, say, by A, and there are already applications for regular permits by other persons, say, B and C, pending before the Regional Transport Authority.
It was further observed that the plain meaning of the proviso was that where an application for the grant of a new stage carriage permit or a public carrier's permit has been made before a Regional Transport Authority with respect to a certain route or area specified in such application and is pending before it, then a temporary permit under Section 62 shall in no case be granted in respect of such route or area.
37. It was strenuously contended before the Full Bench by the learned Government Advocate and Mr. D. P. Gupta that the view adopted in Bhoor Singh's case, ILR (1958) 8 Raj 946 (supra) should be preferred by us as being more in consonance with common sense and the equities of the matter, as otherwise a mischievously-inclined person by applying for a regular permit may, as it were, choke the entire machinery for grant of temporary permits, and render the whole provision contained in Section 62 nugatory, and that this could hardly have been contemplated by the Legislature. It clearly seems to me that my learned brother Dave, J. has not felt persuaded to accept the reasoning adopted in Bhoor Singh's case, ILR (1958) 8 Raj 946 (supra) as the following extract from his judgment goes to show:
'If the view expressed in Bhoor Singh's case, ILR (1958) 8 Raj 946 is upheld, then the person applying for a permanent permit gets into a position worse than that of a person applying for a temporary permit. If the authority is favourably inclined towards the person applying for a temporary permit, it may oblige him by delaying the decision of the application for a permanent permit. This interpretation would defeat the very purpose on account of which the proviso was added.'
Having so premised, the judgment, however, goes on to point out, to start with, that the language of the second proviso is not very precise and clear, and, so also that of the first proviso, having regard to the words used therein, to wit, 'provided that a temporary permit under this section shall in no case be granted', and that being so, it is laid down that the court should interpret the provisos in such a manner that the body of the section and the provisos receive a harmonious construction.
It is further pointed out that a literal interpretation of the first proviso would govern applications for renewal even under Clause (d), but temporary permits in case of renewal applications are obviously governed by the second proviso of Section 62, and therefore it is concluded that the language of the second proviso is defective. From this background, the reasoning is further developed to reach the conclusion that the first proviso only governs Clause (c).
Strong support is sought to be found for this view on the factor that there was considerable divergence of judicial opinion about the true import of Clause (c) -- namely, 'to meet a particular temporary need'. It has been further observed in this connection that there were numerous cases in which the Regional Transport Authority granted temporary permits under Clause (c) in the name of a particular temporary need, when applications for permanent permits were pending, and that the intention of the Legislature was, to use the words of the majority judgment,
'to put a check on the grant of temporary permits in cases where there was really need for permanent permits, and where the R. T. A. had somehow tried to circumvent the grant of permanent permits.'
The conclusion is thus reached that in both the provisos the words 'under this section' properly mean 'under the relevant part of the section' and that the first proviso relates to Clause (c) only just as the second governs Clause (d) and nothing else.
38. I have given this matter my very careful and anxious consideration, and, with utmost respect, I have experienced very considerable difficulty in accepting the aforesaid conclusions as unexceptionable. The entire theme of the majority judgment, so far as I have been able to understand, is that the language of the two provisos to Section 62 is not clear and precise, and, therefore, a serious and difficult case for a proper interpretation of these provisos arises.
39. Now let us examine this position a little closely. Beginning with the second proviso first, the question is whether it can be premised with any cogent justification that it is bad on account of ambiguity or obscurity because of the use of the words 'under this section' therein, and that it calls for a serious interpretative process at all. I am prepared to concede that perhaps the language of this proviso might have been cast in a more felicitous mould, but that is not and cannot be the same thing as to say that its language as it exists suffers from any ambiguity or obscurity.
It is elementary that in properly interpreting a provision in a statute the language thereof must be considered as a whole, and due meaning should be assigned to every word used therein, for the Legislature does not waste any words, nor uses them meaninglessly. Consequently, I have no doubt that the phrase used in this proviso namely, 'a temporary permit under this section' cannot be read in isolation from the words following namely 'in respect of any route or area specified in an application for the renewal of a permit'.
When these words are read in their proper juxtaposition, the meaning and effect of the proviso namely that it refers to Clause (d) and (d) only is and must be obvious to even a casual reader of this section. The proviso means in plain language that where an application for the renewal of a permit is pending before the authority concerned, then, pending the decision of such an application, a temporary permit may be granted once under this section -- but just once only, and that the authority concerned, having granted it once, is exhausted of this power and must not grant it a second time -- be the consequences what they may. With all respect, I fail to see that there is any the slightest ambiguity or obscurity about this proviso. Nor can this reasoning, in my judgment, be of any help in properly interpreting the first proviso.
40. Let us now turn our attention to the first proviso itself in order to see if there is any ambiguity or vagueness about it. In the first place, it has been objected that this proviso, as it stands by itself, if literally interpreted and having regard to the phrase 'under this section' used therein, would seem to govern Clause (d) also, apart from Clauses (a), (b) and (c) of Section 82.
I regret, I cannot accept this position as correct for reasons which are fairly simple. Firstly, Clause (d) specifically relates to the pendency of an application for the renewal of a permit which is not the same thing as the pendency of an application for the grant of a new permit under Section 48 01 Section 54 of the Act to which the first proviso refers. I am fully conscious that under section 58(2) of the Act, an application for the renewal of a permit falls to be decided by the same procedure as is applicable to a new permit.
But all that notwithstanding the two cannot be held to be identical with each other. Section 57 deals with the procedure governing the grant of new permits, while Section 58 deals with applications for renewals of permits. Even if this argument were left out of account, there is a still stronger argument which seems to me to exclude application of the first proviso to the subject-matter of Clause (d) of Section 82, and that is furnished by the second proviso itself which carves out the territory of the second proviso from that of the first.
The second proviso is not only a proviso to the main section but to the first proviso also. As already stated, I need scarcely repeat that the proper method of finding out the true meaning of a provision in a statute is to read that provision in its entirety and not in watertight compartments, and to give every word thereof the meaning it naturally bears. That is the fundamental rule of interpretation. I am, therefore, unable to hold that there is any ambiguity in the first proviso on this score.
41. Now let us see if there is any other ambiguity in the wording of this proviso read with the main body of the section. Section 62 is an enabling provision and governs the grant of temporary permits under certain contingencies. It sets out four such contingencies for which temporary permits may be granted. I pause here to point out that no one has an indefeasible right to obtain a permit, much less a temporary permit, for plying a motor vehicle under the Act. Section 62 further provides that the authority granting the permit may attach to any such permit any condition Or conditions it thinks fit.
Having so provided, the Legislature then thought fit to add two provisos, to the section. The second proviso which I have already discussed above, ordains that, where an application for the renewal of a permit is pending, a temporary permit (which can enure for only four months) shall not be granted more than once. This refers unmistakably to Clause (d) of Section 62. Now remain Clauses (a), (b) and (c) of the main section, and the first proviso naturally falls to be considered in relation to them. The language of this proviso is as follows:
'Provided that a temporary permit under this section shall in no case be granted in respect of any route or area 'specified in an application for the grant of a new permit under Section 46 or Section 54 during the pendency of the application.'' The underlining here in ' 'is mine -- Ed).
I have tried hard to see if the language of this proviso is obscure or ambiguous and must confess that I have not been able to find any of these infirmities in this provision. The language of the proviso is simplicity itself. It says in plain, unambiguous words that, notwithstanding the provision contained in the main body of the section, a temporary permit under no circumstances shall be granted with respect to any route for which an application for the grant of a new permit under Section 46 (that is, for stage carriage permit) or under Section 54 (that is, for a public carrier's permit) has been made in accordance with law and has not been disposed of.
It seems to me rather far-fetched to say that this language is involved, obscure or ambiguous. With all respect, I have no hesitation in saying that this provision is direct, specific, emphatic and docs not mince matters. One may not approve of this provision for a variety of considerations. But that is an altogether different matter. Matters of policy are no concern of law-courts. They are a Legislature's proper and exclusive preserve, and there we must allow them to rest.
For aught one knows, the Legislature had become so much cognisant of, and been so adversely impressed by, the evils attendant on the grant of temporary permits -- not under a particular head of Section 62 as it stood before the amendment, but, by and large, and it is not difficult to visualise the corruption which this practice in all probability entailed -- that it decided to come down with a thumping foot to rigorously control the grant of temporary permits and felt justified in issuing the peremptory command that temporary permits in no case, i.e. under no circumstances, shall be granted under the aforementioned provisions of the section where an applies tion for a permanent permit had already been made but was allowed to languish and had not been disposed of,
I repeat that if this is what the Parliament thought, in its wisdom, fit to enact, as I think it did, then I submit that it is not for the courts to question that wisdom by a priori methods of reasoning. It is suggested that if this is what the proviso means, then it would lead to difficulties and hardships in some cases.
Now a good deal was, in this connection, said during the course of arguments before us about the Ramdeora fair which is held in the village of Ramdeora, Tehsil Phalodi, District Jodhpur, (and let me point out, it is held every year at a fixed time) and, it was submitted that very considerable inconvenience would result, if the power to grant temporary permits on an occasion like this is held to be circumscribed on the plain meaning of the proviso which I am inclined to accept as the only sound. meaning thereof.
But, with profound respect I desire to point out that this fair is an age-old institution and is nothing new, though movement by motor vehicles to this fair is a comparatively recent innovation which cannot date earlier than about the fifties of this century. This place of worship is connected by rail as well, and it is common knowledge that special trains are at the relevant time run to meet the exigencies of the travelling public, apart from other methods of travelling which are also freely seen in use.
Again, it has also been ruled in at least one decision of this Court that, while fixing the number of stage carriages for a specific area or route, the regional authority should also take into consideration the exigencies of a fair etc. See ILR (1957) 7 Raj 727. The following observations made by the learned Judges who decided this case are apposite and may be quoted with advantage;
'It was next contended that no provision need have been kept for increased traffic on account of fairs, marriages or reserve parties, for Section 62 of the Motor Vehicles Act permitted grant of temporary permits. Section 62 is an enabling provision authorising the R. T. A. to grant temporary permits without following the elaborate procedure laid down in Section 57 but that does not enable the R. T. A. to produce a bus or stage carriage when ft may be required for this extra traffic. The R. T, A. could not remain content with the hops that some bus owner would immediately turn up and ask for a temporary permit when there was extra need for traffic on account of marriages or reserve parties or other occasion. Taking into consideration that marriage parties are a common phenomenon, and that reserve parties also require bus service now and then, and that the fairs also do come up, these needs of extra traffic have to be taken into consideration in order to fix the number of stage carriages to be run on any particular line. But, these buses by themselves are sometimes insufficient on occasions of fairs and it is then that if somebody wants a temporary permit the R. T. A. has authority to grant it.'
If, therefore, the Regional Transport Authority does its work properly and conscientiously and intelligently, I dare say, much of the so-called difficulties would be minimised even in cases of this type, and at the same time the mandate of the Legislature could be given effect to, and the evils of corruption and nepotism, which have been known to be rampant on this score in our country could be rigorously and effectively eschewed.
Even so, as I look at the question of interpretation which has been posed before us, all this is perhaps not to the point. The question of questions before us is whether the provision contained in the first proviso quoted above is obscure or absurd or out of harmony with the main provision contained in the body of the section. I have analysed the meaning and effect of this proviso according to the natural meaning of the words used and entirely fail to see any obscurity or ambiguity about it.
Again, I fail to see that there is any lack ot harmony between the main body of the section and this proviso. The main body of the section embodies an enabling provision and enumerates the circumstances under which a temporary permit could be allowed, and then the first (as well as the second) proviso further narrows down the scope of the grant of such permits which but for them would be allowable.
The utmost that can be said against this interpretation of the proviso is that it may lead to hardship in stray cases, e.g., where there is a real, palpable temporary need, and it would be in the interest of the travelling public to grant temporary permits, and yet such permits could not be granted because some busy-body has taken it into his head to make an application for a regular permit, and thus certain difficulties may conceivably be created in the way of the grant of the temporary permits until and unless the application for a regular permit is disposed of. This is about the only real difficulty we are asked to avoid, even though this endeavour may entail in its process the putting of a construction on the proviso which may be strained and artificial to a degree.
42. It seems to me, however, that this difficulty is not as formidable as it is made out to be, it everybody concerned acts properly, conscientiously and diligently. Thus, much of the difficulty can be avoided if the Regional Transport Authority fixes at the very start the required number of buses for every area or route having regard to all reasonable, foreseeable requirements under Section 47(3) so that an application for a regular permit if made mischievously to thwart the grant of temporary permits where such are really called for to meet a particular temporary need can always be nipped in the bud under the proviso to Sub-section (3) of Section 57.
It is contended that it is not obligatory on the Regional Transport Authority to fix the limit beforehand under the last mentioned proviso. As to this, I consider it enough to say for our present purposes that whether it is obligatory for the Authority concerned to do so or not, it is highly desirable that it should do so in public interest and in the interests of efficient and smooth working. If this is done having regard to the practical requirements of a route or an area -- including a provision for fairs or seasonal business or the like -- then even if an application for a regular permit happens to be made deliberately to defeat applications for temporary permits to meet a real temporary need, these can always be granted after the application for regular permit is disposed of by summary dismissal as pointed out above.
Secondly, an application for a regular permitis always required to be made not less than sixweeks before the date on which it is desired thatthe permit shall take effect. (See Section 57(2)). Noweither such an application is made before sixweeks, say, of an occasion of a fair or any otheroccasion of temporary need, or it is not so made. Itit is not so made, I think the application can herejected outright under Section 57.
If it is so made, then there should be time enough for the applications for the regular permit to be disposed finally, and once such applications are disposed of, there can be no objection to the grant of temporary permits if such are still required to be given in public interest. Difficulties may and will arise where the Regional Transport Authority acts in a leisurely manner, but that can be no argument for permitting a circumvention of the law.
43. There is one more point which strikes me in this connection, and I desire to make a pointed mention of it. That point is this: Normally speaking, no one except an insensate person should feel the necessity of applying for a regular permit in connection with a temporary need, and an application for a regular permit would almost invariably be made to meet non-temporary requirements only.
That in my view should be the normal course of rational human conduct, and if this be the general rule, as it should be no difficulties need arise at all of which so much has been said in this case. That is how the proviso seems to me to have been fashioned in the mould in which it has been, the underlying idea being that an application for a regular permit would in the vast majority of cases be made to meet requirements of a permanent character only.
Therefore, I do not wonder if the Legislature did not perhaps visualise that an application for a temporary permit to meet a temporary need may in rare cases fall to be thwarted by a mischief-monger filing an application for a regular permit, ever: in relation to an occasion of temporary need. But, assuming that in remote casts an application for a regular permit may fall to be made where the need is only of a temporary character, the only consequence of this would be that in such cases temporary permits could not he granted during the pendency of the application for a regular permit and the latter must first be disposed of.
I have shown above that such a contingency could be largely avoided by a rigid, timely and expeditious enforcement of the procedure governing the grant of regular permits with respect to a given area, in which case the application for a regular permit would fall to be dismissed summarily or finally disposed of as discussed above. be that as it may, I, for myself, am disposed to hold that the Regional Transport Authority should not be permitted to extend its powers to grant temporary permits by a leisurely or slipshod performance of its statutory duties and grant temporary permits where the law does not permit that to be done.
44. To revert to the main point, however, all that this argument taken, at its best, amounts to is no more than this that, by a literal interpretation of this proviso, a certain amount of hardship will be experienced in a particular type of case which as I have tried to show above is a remote contingency but one which may nevertheless occur.
45. The question then arises whether this can or should constitute an adequate justification in law for putting what, with very great respect, seems to me a strained meaning upon the language of a provision which is plain and unattended by obscurity or vagueness. To obviate the aforesaid difficulties, my learned brother Dave, J., would have the first proviso read thus:
'Provided that a temporary permit 'under the relevant part of the section' shall in no case be granted in respect of any route or area specified in an application for the grant of a new permit under Section 46 or Section 54 during the pendency of the application.'
(The underlining (here into ' '--Ed.) is mine).
With very great respect, I find it impossible for me to accept this substitution as a sound proposition. In the first place, speaking broadly, I can see no warrant for introducing words into the proviso which are not there. The rules of interpretation do not permit this except in the rarest of cases. Secondly, the addition of the words in question seem to me to make, if I may say so, without meaning any disrespect whatsoever, rather inelegant English. Thirdly and lastly, the proviso after this addition is made would become definitely vague and obscure, and the question still begs an answer as to which is the relevant part of the section to which the proviso refers.
46. Now let us suppose that, instead of the phrase 'under the relevant part of the section' one substitutes the phrase 'under Clause (c) of the section'. The sentence would become certainly more readable, but all the same, one is confronted with a further difficulty that, if this is what the Legislature had intended, then what could have possibly prevented it from saying such a simple thing.
It would have been the easiest thing for the Legislature to limit the application of the proviso to cases falling under Clause (c) by saying so, and yet it did not do so. To my mind, this has tremendous significance and provides the correct! key for the proper interpretation of this proviso. The difficulty does not even end here as I will presently show.
47. Let us assume that this proviso is relatable to Clause (c) only, and that the two clauses preceding it are outside its ambit, though the plain language of the proviso does not admit of this differentiation. Then I beg to ask whether all the difficulties which have been made so much of and are sought to be guarded against by putting clauses (a) and (b) out of the operation of the proviso, will not arise in relation to cases covered by Clause (c)
They must Speaking for myself, I can see no answer to this insuperable contradiction on the reasoning which has found favour with my learned brother Dave, J. After all is said and done, Clause (c) is a general one and is intended to embrace all those occasions of, what I may call, real practical temporary need such as may not fall Under Clauses (a) and (b) and the scope whereof is obviously limited.
One wants and is entitled to know with what logic the application of this proviso can be allowed in cases falling under Clause (c) while its operation is strenuously sought to be refused in cases exemplified by Clauses (a) and (b). The expression 'to meet a particular temporary need' belongs, in my judgment, to the same genus to which the contents of Clauses (a) and (b) belong and embraces thereunder all those nameless occasions where the need for temporary permit may be as great as under the cases falling under Clauses (a) and (b), if not greater, and to take a glaring example would cite the instance of a situation arising Out of the outbreak of an epidemic.
Yet according to the view which has found favour with my learned brother Dave, J., temporary permits in the type of such a case which can only be covered by Clause (c) would rightly not be permissible under this proviso where an application for a permanent permit may have been made, even though malignantly, so as to work as a terrible weapon of oppression; though, according to this very view, such temporary permits would be allowable under the section read with this proviso where the temporary permits may have been applied for under Clauses (a) and (b) of the section which are just other instances of temporary need.
If I may submit with the greatest deference, I fail absolutely to see any justification for such a differential treatment between the three Clauses (a), (b) and (c) of Section 62 --a differentiation which shrikes me as wholly arbitrary and is not and cannot be founded on any sound principle of logic or interpretation of statutes. As I look at the matter, according to my humble lights, either the first proviso as it stands applies to all the three clauses, or it applies to none, if it be legitimate to find a way to tide over the difficulties which are perhaps inherent and deliberately so in the proviso as it has been fashioned.
A halfway house does not seem possible, nor logical, nor, if I may say so, lawful. This aspect of the matter, in my opinion, clinches the whole issue once and for all so far as I am concerned, and I do not feel persuaded to put a meaning on the proviso which it does not bear without unnecessary straining of the language and imposing upon it a construction which is highly artificial and is unworkable.
48. If I may sum up my view, it is this. The language of this proviso is plain and simple to a degree. It is capable of a definite and a rational meaning and involves no obscurity or ambiguity; much less any disharmony between itself and the main body of the section; though that meaning perhaps has its own rigour. It may be true that the proviso may work some amount of hardship in the grant of temporary permits in a remote type of case, where, for the mere cussedness of it, a person may apply for a regular permit to choke the grant of temporary permits on a particular occasion.
But if that is so, the Courts can afford no help. Again, for aught one knows, the Legislature in its supreme wisdom may have considered this to be a lesser evil than the grant of temporary permits without disposing of applications for regular permits with all the attendant evils of favouritism, corruption and the like, and it is not for the courts to question the wisdom of this mandate or scan the policy underlying it.
As has been aptly said, this Court should not allow itself to be converted into a Third House Of Legislature, and, therefore, putting the natural meaning On the words used in the proviso, I would hold that this proviso governs all the Clauses (a), (b) and (c) of Section 62 and not merely (c) and would have governed Clause (d) also but for the further proviso to this proviso.
49. It only remains for me to add that, in coming to the conclusion to which I have, I have not departed in any manner whatsoever from the well established canons of interpretation of statutes. As I understand these, the one rule which is more well established than any other, both according to the text-books and decisions of our High Court as of others, though I agree that this is not a rule of universal application, it is this that Court in discovering the true intent of the Legislature must gather that intent from the words used and as a rule should not introduce therein words which are not there or import its own notions of logic, public interest, expediency or ethics of the matter in finding out that intent.
I may be permitted to point out further that the words used in a provision coming up for interpretation must be given their plain, natural, grammatical sense (In the matter of Part Cargo ex-Steamship 'Antilla', AIR 1919 PC 192) which they bear and cannot be controlled by what Judges may suppose to have been the reasons for enacting it, and it is not as a rule the business of the Courts to speculate upon the supposed intentions of the Legislature (See Narayana Swami v. Emperor AIR 1939 PC 47).
In Sutters v. Briggs, (1922) 1 AC 1, Lord Birkenhead observed that the consequences of the view held by him of Section 2 of the Gaming Act, 1835, would no doubt be extremely inconvenient to many persons, but that was not a matter proper to influence the house unless in a doubtful case affording foothold for balanced speculation as to the probable intention of the Legislature. Again, in Mersey Docks and Harbour Board v. Hender son Bros., (1888) 13 AC 595, Lord Halsbury held that:
'no case can be found to authorise the construction ................ altering a word so as to produce a causus omissus'.
In Crawford v. Spooner, (1846) 6 Moo PCC 1, the Privy Council observed:
'we cannot aid the Legislature's defective phrasing of an Act; we cannot add and mend, and by construction, make up deficiencies which are left there.'
Again in Whiteley v. Chappell, (1868) 4 QB 147, Hennen, J., said that it would be wrong to strain words to meet the justice of an individual case because it might make a precedent, and lead to dangerous consequences in other cases. In Gwynne v. Bumell, (1840) 7 a and F 572, Lord Brougham observed:
'If we depart from the plain and obvious, meaning .............we cannot in truth construe the Act, but alter it. We add words to it, or vary the words in which its provisions are couched. We supply a defect which the Legislature could easily have supplied, and are making the law not interpreting it. This becomes peculiarly improper in dealing with a modern statute .......The prolixity of modern statutes, so very remarkable of late, affords no grounds to justify such a sort of interpretation.'
To cite a case of our own Court, Kishen Lal v. Sohan Lal, ILR (1954) 4 Raj 597: (AIR 1954 Raj 138) (FB), to which I was a party, the following observations made there may be quoted here with advantage:
'We desire to say that we have no doubt that the language of the Exception set out above is perfectly clear and intelligible, and its meaning is, as we have pointed out above, and that being so we see no occasion 'to busy ourselves with the supposed intention of the Legislature' in the words of their Lordships of the Privy Council in AIR 1939 PC 47. For the law is well settled that in interpreting a statute, we must not add anything which is not in the statute itself nor subtract something which is to be found therein, and we must place due meaning upon every word thereof without straining the language in any way. To be able to depart from this rule which has sometimes been characterised as the golden rule of interpretation, we can only do so in rare and exceptional cases where the plain meaning of the words used would lead to absurd conclusions or would be destructive of the very purpose for which the legislation sought to be interpreted happens to be enacted.'
Speaking for myself, I am not at all satisfied that the present case is taken out of the ambit of this fundamental rule of interpretation. For as I have discussed above, there is no ambiguity or obscurity in the language of this proviso, and, properly read, it admits of only one meaning.
The only ground on which it can be and has been assailed, to put the matter bluntly, is that a literal interpretation of the proviso would lead to hardship in certain stray cases but no more. Granted that there is some force in this grievance, I think, with utmost respect, that that can furnish, no ground for putting an artificial construction on the proviso which it does not seem to me to bear according to the natural meaning of the words used therein, and the more so when the suggested alternative interpretation, apart from other objections, which I have discussed above, can be but a weak palliative and not an effective remedy for the supposed defects.
It is indeed a firmly settled rule of interpretation that when a provision of law admits of but one meaning, it is not the province of Courts to scan its wisdom or policy. Their duty is to expound the law as it stands and not to try and make the law reasonable according to their own notions of what is just and expedient and such meaning must be adopted irrespective of the inconvenience which such construction may produce. See State of Punjab v. Ajaib Singh, AIR 1953 SC 10 Jugal Kishore v. Raw Cotton Co., Ltd., (S) AIR 1955 SC 376 and Y. V. Srinivasamurthy v. State of Mysore, AIR 1959 SC 894.
50. In Emperor v. Benoari Lal Sarma, 72 Ind App 57: (AIR 1945 PC 48), Viscount Simon strong-ly expressed himself as follows:
'Again and again this Board has insisted that in construing enacted words we are not concerned with the policy involved or with the results, injurious Or otherwise, which may follow from giving effect to the language used.'
In this connection there is one more case to which I wish to refer because it admirably brings out what I have in mind. In Grundt v. Great Boulder Proprietary Gold Mines, 1948 Ch 145, Lord Green, M. R., said:
'Although the absurdity or the non-absurdity of one conclusion as compared with another may be of assistance and very often is of assistance to the Court in choosing between two possible meanings of ambiguous words, it is a doctrine which has to be applied with great care, remembering that Judges may be fallible on the question of an absurdity and in any event must not be applied so as to result in twisting language into a meaning which it cannot bear. It is a doctrine which must not be relied upon and must not be used to re-write the language in a way different from that in which it was originally framed.' In this very case Cohen, L. J., aptly observed that
'what may appear to one Judge as sensible and legitimate may appear to some other Judge ..............as neither sensible nor legitimate. I do not think that on a ground of that kind we are justified in disregarding what seems to me to be the plain meaning of the English language even though in a particular case it does appear to produce an inequitable result.' Indeed, there is overwhelming authority for the view that the argument from inconvenience and hardship is a dangerous one, it has been sometimes called a snare, and has been stigmatised as one which is apt to lead to erroneous interpretation of statutes; that Courts ought not to be influenced or governed by this consideration; and that they must look hardships in the face rather than help in their violation; and that where the language is reasonably explicit its consequences are for the Legislature and not for the Courts to consider, (See Ford v. Kettle, (1882) 9 QBD 139 and Kirk v. Todd, (1882) 21 Ch D 484).
51. Summing up the whole position from this standpoint, all I mean to say is that the language of the proviso in question is reasonably plain, has really but one meaning which I have already analysed above, and the duty of the Courts is to expound that meaning and leave the task, if I may say so, of making the law on the subject more reasonable, or, perhaps as I should prefer to put it, less drastic than it is at present, to the proper authority which is the Legislature and Legislature alone.
51a. For these reasons, therefore, I would, with all respect, prefer to adhere to the view propounded in Bhanwarlal's case, ILK (1958) 8 Raj 624: (AIR 1958 Raj 176) (supra) and have been unable to discover any valid justification to change it. I may also point out here that the conclusion at which I have arrived receives support from a decision of the Kerala High Court in AIR 1958 Kerala 19 and of the Patna High Court in AIR 1959 Pat 248. I hold accordingly.
52. Two other points were canvassed before the Full Bench, and I shall briefly address myself to them now.
53. The first of these points relates to the constitution of the Regional Transport Authority which had passed resolution No. 222 dated the 25th June, 1960 (in Writ Application No. 208 of 1960) as well as the other resolution No. 223 of the same date (in Writ Applications Nos. 216 and 217 of 1959) which are both impugned before us. For the reasons given by my learned brother Dave, J., and with which I am in general agreement, I concur in his conclusion that the constitution of the Regional Transport Authority in question was illegal having regard to the provisions of Section 44 of the Act. These resolutions therefore have to be quashed. I understand, however, that the State has already reconstituted the Regional Transport Authority concerned in accordance with law, and so I would leave the matter at that.
I further agree that the procedure followed by the Regional Transport Authority in these cases and by which it directed the grant of temporary permits under one guise or another more than once and for more than four months pending renewal applications was altogether unauthorised and illegal being in violation of the clear provisions of the second proviso to S, 62.
54. The last and the only other point which was debated at the Bar of this Court was as to the meaning of the phrase 'to meet a particular temporary need' covered by Clause (c) of Section 62. To put the matter specifically, the question is whether the grant of temporary permits to the Rajasthan Roadways or to others pending the nationalisation of the routes in question can be said to satisfy the requirements of Clause (c) of Section 62. Now what is the meaning of the phrase 'particular temporary need'? The two preceding clauses read as follows:
(a) for the conveyance of passengers on special occasions such as to and from fairs and religious gatherings.
(b) for the purpose of a seasonal business. It seems to me that the word 'particular' in the phrase 'particular temporary need' has been used In Opposition to the word 'general'. Then, the phrase 'temporary need' connotes 'need of a transitory character' as contra-distinguished from that of a permanent nature. In other words, a particular temporary need seems to me a need which is relatable to a special occasion and one which must be of a temporary duration.
I do not think that it is possible to lay down any hard and fast rule to determine whether the need in a particular case is a particular temporary need, nor is it possible, if I may say so with all respect, to reconcile all the decisions on the point, and the matter must fall to be decided on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. This question arose for decision in at least four decisions ot this Court. In ILR (1953) 3 Raj 215: (AIR 1954 Raj 33), it was held (by Ranawat and Dave, JJ.) that a persistent demand of the general public for plying more stage carriages did not amount to a particular temporary need.
In ILR (1953) 5 Raj 250: (AIR 1954 Raj 78), it was held by the same Bench that where the existing permits on a route were not adequate to meet the needs of the travelling public, and some time was bound to be taken before some more regular permits could be issued, and one or more temporary permits were granted in the meantime, such a need would be a particular temporary need, and it was further laid down that 'a permanent need may also give rise to the existence of a particular temporary need'.
The two decisions seem to be somewhat self-contradictory, but Wanchoo, C. J., as he then was, in ILR (1956) 6 Raj 1053: (AIR 1957 Raj 162) tried to reconcile both of them pointing out that in the first case it did not appear that the Regional Transport Authority had decided to increase the number of regular permits, while, in the second case, it had so decided. With all respect, however, it seems to me that the learned Judges in deciding the first case did not base their decision on any such narrow ground. In fact what the learned Judges said in the first case was this:
'The other circumstance was that there was more traffic on the routes than could be met by the stage carriage of the existing permit-holders.' Besides, the mere circumstance whether the Regional Transport Authority had taken a decision to increase the permits Or not can hardly make the land of difference it is thought it should make, for, if so, the Authority concerned can always circumvent the salutary provisions of Section 62 by first passing a resolution to the desired effect and then grant temporary permits.
The substance of the matter, and that alone is important is, whether resolution or no resolution, there is a particular temporary need. Be that as it may, the Bench decision in ILR (1953) 3 Raj 250: (AIR 1954 Raj 78) (supra) was later followed by another Bench in ILR (1957) 7 Raj 727 (supra). These are the only decisions of our Court which were brought to our notice.
55. Let us now turn to the decisions of some other Courts in this connection.
56. In AIR 1948 Mad 400, the facts were that the appellants applied for fresh permits or renewal of existing permits. The respondents who were the Road Traffic Board of the State of Madras, were back that only temporary permits Could be issued as at that time the Government intended to put its own buses on hire, but these were not just available, and so temporary permits were granted to the appellants up to the period preceding the date by which the Government expected to put their own buses on the route.
Gentle, C. J., strongly criticised the grant of temporary permits under these circumstances and held that there was no particular temporary need within the meaning of Clause (c) of Section 62, and that this was nothing but a downright misuse of the provisions of the Act solely for the benefit of the Government and the grant of the permits was absolutely wrong.
57. This view was referred to with approval by Sapru, J., in Motilal v. Govt. of State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1951 All 257 (FB).
58. A discordant note was however struck on this point in AIR 1953 Assam 74 by Thadani, C. J., and the learned Chief Justice thought that there was no justification for the assumption made by Gentle C. J., in AIR 1948 Mad 400 (supra) that:
'If some private enterprise, instead of the Government had been making preparations to place buses on the road but the necessary vehicles were not expected to be ready, when the appellant's three years' permit expired, it is beyond doubt that the same course would not have been taken by the Board nor, indeed, by the Government as occurred in the present instance.'
But with every respect for the learned Chief Justice of Assam, the assumption on which Gentle, C. J., proceeded was so obviously well founded that it hardly stood in need of any independent justification to support it. In the Assam case, therefore, it was held that the inability of the Government to immediately provide transport for the convenience of the public would create a temporary need within the meaning of Clause (c) to Section 62 and justify grant of temporary permits. Of these rival views, with all respect, I find myself in respectful agreement with the view adopted in the Madras and Allahabad cases referred to above.
59. To sum up my finding on this point, the phrase 'particular temporary need' properly coa-notes not a general need, nor a need of a permanent character, but it means a special need referable to a particular occasion and being one of a transitory or short-lived character. I consider it unnecessary to probe the matter further as a good deal of the edge from this controversy appears to me to have been taken away because of the rigour of the restrictions which the Legislature thought fit to impose on the grant of temporary permits by the provisions contained in the two provisos which were attached to the main body of Section 62 under the amending Act of 1956.
Having regard, however, to the proper meaning of the phrase in question as discussed above, I am definitely of the opinion that the Regional Transport Authority acted without jurisdiction or with material irregularity in the exercise of its jurisdiction in granting temporary permits in these cases to the Rajasthan Roadways or the various other persons concerned to enable the State to put its own buses on the routes in question. I hold accordingly.
60. Subject then to the fndings at which I have arrived, for the reasons mentioned above, I agree that these writ applications be allowed and the Impugned resolutions be quashed and consequential action do follow. I would also allow one set of costs to the petitioners in each case against the State.
Sarjoo Prosad, C.J.
61. I have had the benefit of reading the judgments prepared by my brothers Dave and Modi. We appear to be unanimous in our decision on the other points canvassed before the Full Bench, except about the interpretation of the first proviso to Section 62 of the Motor Vehicles Act. Dave, J. has taTcen the view that the proviso applies only to Clause (c) of the section, whereas Modi, J., adheres to the view which he took in his earlier decision in ILR (1958) 8 Raj 624: (AIR 1958 Raj 176), where he held in effect that the proviso applies in all its rigour to all the first three clauses of the section.
Indeed one of the main reasons necessitating the reference to the Full Bench was the conflict of views which prevailed in this Court between the above decision of Modi, J., and another Bench decision in ILR (1958) 8 Raj 946. While I find myself unable to subscribe to the view that the proviso would not apply where the application for a temporary permit is made by a person other than the one who has applied for a permit in respect of that route or area, I feel at the same time that if the proviso is applied indiscriminately to all the Clauses (a), (b) and (c) of Section 62, it would defeat the very purpose of that section and create a stalemate in the business of transport even on special occasions of fair and religious gatherings or for purposes of seasonal business. Such a construction, as far as it is reasonably possible has to be avoided.
62. If the first proviso has to be construed in its isolation then no difficulty arises and the pure grammatical construction which has appealed to Modi, J., must be adopted; but obviously the provise has to be construed in the context of the whole section so as not to render otiose or ineffectual some vital parts of the section itself. It is agreed on all hands that in spite of the general words 'under this section' which occur in the second proviso as they do also in the fiist, the application of the second proviso is coufined only to Clause (d) of that section.
The second proviso does not specifically refer to Clause (d) of Section 62, yet the conclusion is inevitable. Why should it then be necessarily assumed that the use of those very words 'under this section' in the first proviso must of necessity refer to all the other clauses of the section when the context excludes such a possibility? If the same standard is adopted in judging the language of the first proviso with reference to the other provisions of the section, the conclusion would naturally be that it was not intended at least to apply to Clauses (a) and (b) of the section but to Clause (c) only, because otherwise the effect largely and obviously would be to stultify the operation of these clauses.
It would not be straining the language of the Statute if the words 'under this section' as used in both the provisos to section 62 are properly read to rei'er to only the relevant parts of the section. The whole includes the part. In either case the application of the provisos though not specifically so mentioned therein is confined only to particular clauses. Such an interpretation appears to be both cogent and harmonious and not forced or artificial.
63. Speaking for myself I was inclined to think that the first proviso would apply even to Clause (c) in a restricted sense. A particular temporary need is certainly quite different in its essence from the general and day to day need of carrying passengers and goods on a particular route or area to serve the interest of traffic.
In the application form for grant of a temporary permit under Clauses (a), (b) and (c) of Section 62 one has to mention the purpose for which the permit is required and the period or duration for which the permit is claimed; whereas generally speaking for the grant of a permit for general routine traffic there is no such requirement. I was inclined to the above view because I felt that a particular temporary need was the genus of which the needs contemplated by Clauses (a) and (b) were the species.
Thus where there SB a genume temporary need and the particularity of it is self-evident, a temporary permit may be granted notwithstanding the first proviso. My brother Modi has expatiated upon this aspect of the matter with his usual skill and ability, if only to fortify his own line of reasoning. I felt almost tempted to borrow his forceful phraseology to express my own reactions on the subject.
I am, however, conscious of the fact that such an interpretation might again lead to those very abuses which the Legislature intended to prevent by introducing Clause (d) and the two provisos by an amendment under Act 100 of 1956. It is quite notorious as it is manifest even in these cases, that the provision as to a 'particular temporary need' in the section has largely been abused as a cover to perpetuate inordinate delays in disposal of regular applications for grant or renewal of permits by issuing temporary permits instead, where in the normal course of events no such temporary permits were permissible under the law.
I am, therefore, content to accept the interpretation which has been given to the proviso by my brother Dave. It affords a sensible via media between the rigour of the one and the liberalism of the other line of thinking. I have always maintained that even in matters of interpretation rules of grammar must yield to rules of common-sense.
I do not ignore the well established position that the policy of the Legislature is none of our concern; but the rule of construction requires that as far as it is permissible, we should give effect to the real intention of the Legislature and not put upon the language of the Statute a meaning which may tend to stultify the very object for which the provision of law has been devised.
I need hardly add that the main object of Section 62 was to provide for temporary needs and the two provisos were evidently introduced at a later stage to check any abuse of power conferred by the Statute to meet those temporary needs; and not to destroy those very powers which were vouchsafed in the main body of the section.
64. The above difference, however, does not affect the net result of our decision. We hold that the constitution of the Regional Transport Authority was illegal, that the pertinent resolutions as also the grant of temporary permits were all invalid and that these writ petitions must be accordingly allowed and the resolutions and permits quashed. Our writs, however, will not affect the permits which have already expired. The petitioners will get one set of costs in each case from the State.
BY THE COURT
65. The writ petitions are allowed and Resolutions Nos. 222 and 223 dated 25th June, 1960, and the permits granted thereunder are quashed. Our writs, however, will not affect the permits which have already expired. The petitioners will get one set of costs in each case from the State.