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Aman Khan Vs. Sheo Onkar and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Special Appeal No. 63 of 1966
Judge
Reported inAIR1968Raj161
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 44, 45 and 63
AppellantAman Khan
RespondentSheo Onkar and ors.
Appellant Advocate B.L. Maheshwari, Adv.
Respondent Advocate D.P. Gupta and; H.C. Rastogi, Advs. for Respondent (Nos. 1 and 2)
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases Referred and Raja Ram Chandra Reddy v. Rani Shankaramma and
Excerpt:
- - it was consequently urged that the regional transport authority, bikaner could not have granted any time to the appellant for putting the bus, once the period of 45 days granted to him in the resolution itself had expired 4. the writ petition was opposed by the appellant it was urged that the respondent should not be heard in the exercise of the extraordinary jurisdiction of the court under article 226 of the constitution as he had failed to file any objection against the grant of the permit before the regional transport authority. bikaner, when the application was published in the gazette and secondly, it was urged that the application was filed after a good deal of delay and, therefore, it was fit to be rejected. while countersigning the permit, as contemplated by section 63 of.....kan singh, j.1. this is an appeal under section 18 of the rajasthan high court ordinance, 1949, and is directed against the judgment of a learned single judge of this court dated 6-12-1966 whereby on a writ petition under article 226 of the constitution filed by the respondents the learned judge ordered the cancellation of a permit granted to the appellant aman khan by the regional transport authority, bikaner, on the churu-jhunjhunu route which was an inter-regional route falling in bikaner and jaipur regions the relevant facts may briefly be recounted for appreciating the questions canvassed before us:2. churu-jhunjhunu is an inter-regional route which is 30 miles in length. it is 6 miles in the bikaner region and 24 miles in jaipur region. aman khan applied for a permit over this inter.....
Judgment:

Kan Singh, J.

1. This is an appeal under Section 18 of the Rajasthan High Court Ordinance, 1949, and is directed against the judgment of a learned Single Judge of this Court dated 6-12-1966 whereby on a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution filed by the respondents the learned Judge ordered the cancellation of a permit granted to the appellant Aman Khan by the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner, on the Churu-Jhunjhunu route which was an inter-regional route falling in Bikaner and Jaipur regions The relevant facts may briefly be recounted for appreciating the questions canvassed before us:

2. Churu-Jhunjhunu is an inter-regional route which is 30 miles in length. It is 6 miles in the Bikaner region and 24 miles in Jaipur region. Aman Khan applied for a permit over this inter regional route before the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner. The application was published in accordance with Section 57 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 hereafter to be referred as the 'Act', for inviting objections in the gazette dated 14-6-63. As no objections were received, the Regional Transport Authority by its resolution dated 12-10-63 ordered that permit be granted to Aman Khan over this route subject to the condition that he shall put a vehicle of the model prescribed by the State Transport Authority for the time being and it further ordered that vehicle be put within a period of 45 days, failing which the grant was to be treated as automatically cancelled. Aman Khan, however, found himself unable to put the vehicle of the requisite model and, therefore, a day before the expiry of the period of 45 days he filed an application on 26-11-63 to the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner, for extension of the time by another 15 days.

According to the appellant, the Regional Transport Authority extended the time at its meeting held on 8-2-64, but he did not receive any intimation and, therefore, he could not comply with the order of the Regional Transport Authority. Eventually the minutes of the Regional Transport Authority's meeting held on 8-2-64 came to be received in the office of the Regional Transport Authority on 19-5-65 and on 24-5-65 the Secretary, Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner, Issued him the permit. Aman Khan got this permit countersigned by the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur on 28-5-65. In between it appears that the appellant was informed by some one in the office of the Regional Transport Authority that the Regional Transport Authority had declined to grant the extension of time for putting the bus. He, therefore, lodged an appeal before the Transport Appellate Tribunal thinking that the order for the grant of the permit had been revoked.

When this appeal came up before the Transport Appellate Authority for hearing Aman Khan himself produced a letter No 2411 dated 24-12-64 from the Secretary Regional Transport Authority. Bikaner addressed to him to the effect that the matter regarding the extension of time was put up to the Regional Transport Authority in its meeting dated 8/9th February, 1964, as item No 8 of the supplementary agenda, but the minutes of that meeting had not so far been finalised. From this letter the Transport Appellate Tribunal concluded that the Regional Transport Authority had not taken any decision regarding the extension of time. In these circumstances the appeal was considered to be premature and consequently it was dismissed The Transport Appellate Tribunal, however, observed that the Regional Transport Authority should have taken a decision immediately and should not have taken so much time

3. By the writ petition the respondents questioned the validity of the resolution of the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner, granting permit to the appellant on the ground that the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner, had absolutely no jurisdiction to entertain the application or to grant any permit in pursuance thereof as, according to Section 45 of the Act the application could have been filed only before the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur in whose jurisdiction the major portion of the interregional route lay. It was also urged that the resolution of the Regional Transport Authority granting permit was peremptory and in the event of the appellant not putting the bus within the period of 45 days allowed to him the grant stood revoked automatically. It was consequently urged that the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner could not have granted any time to the appellant for putting the bus, once the period of 45 days granted to him in the resolution itself had expired

4. The writ petition was opposed by the appellant It was urged that the respondent should not be heard in the exercise of the extraordinary jurisdiction of the Court under Article 226 of the Constitution as he had failed to file any objection against the grant of the permit before the Regional Transport Authority. Bikaner, when the application was published in the gazette and secondly, it was urged that the application was filed after a good deal of delay and, therefore, it was fit to be rejected. On the merits it was urged that the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner, had jurisdiction to entertain the application as a portion of the route lay within Bikaner region and then it was urged that inasmuch as the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur, had countersigned the permit there was substantial compliance with the provisions of law and consequently the defect, if any, in the entertaining of the application by the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner, stood cured. As regards the power of the Regional Transport Authority to grant an extension, it was pointed out that according to the provisions of Rule 86(2) of the Rajasthan Motor Vehicles Rules, 1951, hereinafter to be referred as the 'Rules', it was within the discretion of the Regional Transport Authority to revoke the grant and, therefore, it was competent to extend the time, even though the original period given by it had expired

5. Having considered the merits the learned Single Judge came to the conclusion that the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner had no jurisdiction to grant the permit on the inter regional route with the result that the impugned permit was mill and void As regards its power to extend the time beyond the period of 45 days, the learned Judge held that the original order passed by the Regional Transport Authority was peremptory in nature and consequently when the vehicle was not put within the period of 45 days, grant for the permit stood revoked in terms of the order itself and, therefore, time could not have been extended by the Regional Transport Authority

Lastly, the learned Judge examined the order of the Regional Transport Authority granting the time and he found that the extension was only for a period of 15 days from 27-11-63 and, therefore, the Secretary had no jurisdiction to issue the permit on 24-5-65 As regards the preliminary objections, the learned Judge observed that even though the respondents could have filed an objection before the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner and also they had not availed of the statutory remedy of eventual appeal available to them, vet as the order of the Regional Transport Authority suffered from lack of jurisdiction which was patent, the writ petitioner was not disentitled from seeking the aid of the High Court in exercise of its extraordinary jurisdiction. As regards the plea of delay the learned Judge observed that though the writ petition was filed on 14-5-66 there was a satisfactory explanation for the delay in that even though the permit was actually issued on 24-5-65, the writ petitioner was subsequently trying in the meantime to obtain the copies of the relevant papers

6. In this appeal learned counsel for the appellant Aman Khan, in the first instance, tried to resurrect his pleas about the respondent coming to the High Court after on inordinate delay and about the respondent not availing the statutory remedies available to him under Section 57 of the Act, as also under Section 64 of the Act by way of appeal in the event of the dismissal of the objections. As regards the conclusion reached by the learned Single Judge that the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner, had no jurisdiction under Section 45 of the Act to grant the permit, the learned counsel submitted that the defect, if any, in presenting the application was one of form and not of substance. He urged that the underlying purpose of Section 45 of the Act which was to enable the Regional Transport Authority of the larger portion of the route to exercise its regulatroy powers in granting or refusing the permit has been fulfilled, as that authority namely, the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur, was eventually approached for counter signatures. While countersigning the permit, as contemplated by Section 63 of the Act, the Regional Transport Authority had to proceed as if it were dealing with an application for permit and, therefore, the counsel maintains that when ii eventually countersigned the permit it was as good as if it were issuing the permit itself.'

Learned counsel then submitted that the only irregularity that emerged out of Aman Khan's first approaching the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner, and then seeking the countersignatures on his permit from the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur, was that only there was a little deviation in the order in which the two authorities were to be approached but, since ultimately the permit was issued by one authority and countersigned by the other, there was substantial compliance with the provisions of law according to the learned counsel and, therefore, he submits that the learned Judge was in error in laying undue emphasis on the presentation of the application before the Regional Transport Authority Bikaner in the first instance, instead of before the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur. As regards the power of the Regional Transport Authority to extend the time beyond the period of 45 days in the original resolution granting the permit, the learned counsel has reiterated what he urg-ed before the learned Single Judge.

7. At the very ousted we may observe that at the stage of hearing this medal appeal we are not persuaded to go info the question that the learned Single Judge should have declined to entertain the writ petition on the ground of delay or on account of the respondent's not availing his statutory remedies. The main question that in our view falls for our determination is whether the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner had jurisdiction in the matter In other words, whether it was competent to entertain the application for grant of permit over the inter-regional route when only the smaller portion of the route lay in its jurisdiction and secondly whether the countersigning of the permit by the Regional Transport Authority Jaipur, imparted it efficacy.

8. Before referring to the several cases to which our attention was invited by learned counsel on either side and which we propose to notice at appropriate place in our judgment, we find it convenient to refer to the relevant statutory provisions. To our mind, the essence of the matter is whether there was complete lack of jurisdiction in the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner, or it had only committed an error of procedure which was condonable on account of the subsequent countersigning of the permit by the Regional Transport Authority Jaipur.

9. Chapter IV of the Act deals with the control of transport vehicles Section 42 occurring in this Chapter provides that 'no owner of a transport vehicle shall use or permit the use of the vehicle in any public place save in accordance with the conditions of a permit granted or countersigned by a Regional or State Transport Authority authorising the use of the vehicle in that place in the manner in which the vehicle is being used.' Thus, it is the grant of a permit that authorises the owner of a transport vehicle to use it in any public place and the permit has to be obtained from a Regional Transport Authority. Section 43 empowers the State Government to issue from time to time directions to the State Transport Authority in certain matters relating to the grant of permits.

In accordance with Section 44, the Transport Authorities have to be constituted by the State Government. By this section the State Transport Authority has been assigned certain powers and functions about co-ordination and regulation of the activities and policies of the Regional Transport Authorities in the State The State Transport Authority can perform the duties of a Regional Transport Authority where there is no such Regional Transport Authority. So far as the Regional Transport Authorities are concerned, they are to exercise and discharge throughout their respective regions as may be specified in a notification, the powers and functions conferred under this Chapter on a Regional Transport Authority. Section 45 provides for the making of applications for permits to the Regional Transport Authorities and it reads as follows:

'Section 45-- Every application for a permit shall be made to the Regional Transport Authorities region in which it is proposed to use the vehicle or vehicles:

Provided that if it is proposed to use the vehicle or vehicles in two or more regions lying within the same State, the applications shall be made to the Regional Transport Authority of the regions in which the major portion of the proposed route or area lies, and in case the portion of the proposed route or area in each of the regions is approximately equal, to the Regional Transport Authority of the region in which it is proposed to keep the vehicle or vehicles: Provided further that if it is proposed to use the vehicle or vehicles in two or more regions lying in different States, the applications shall he made to the Regional Transport Authority of the region in which the applicant resides or has his principal place of business.'

10. Section 46 lays down as to what particulars an application for a permit shall contain. It inter alia provides that the route or routes of the area or areas to which the application relates has to be mentioned in the application. Section 47 provides as to what principles a Regional Transport Authority shall keep before itself in the consideration of an application for a permit. Section 48 provides for the grant of permit. It lays down that subject to the provisions of Section 47 a Regional Transport Authority may, on an application made to it under Section 45, grant a stage carriage permit in accordance with the application or with such modifications as it deems fit or refuse to grant such a permit. Section 57 lays down the procedure in applying for and granting of permits. This section provides for the publication of application and for the consideration of representations (popularly referred as objections) against the grant of permit and how such representations are to be entertained and dealt with. It also lays down that no representation in connection with an application, if it is not made in writing before the appointed date and without any copy being simultaneously furnished to the applicants by the person making such representation shall be considered. Then Section 63 provides for the validation of permits for use outside the region in which it is granted. This section runs as follows:

'Section 63-- (1) Except as may be otherwise prescribed, a permit granted by the Regional Transport Authority of any one region shall not be valid in any other region, unless the permit has been countersigned by the Regional Transport Authority of that other region, and a permit granted in any one State shall not be valid in any other State unless countersigned by the State Transport Authority concerned: or by the Regional Transport Authority concerned:

Provided that is private carrier's permit, granted by the Regional Transport Authority of any one region with the approval of the State Transport Authority, for any area in any other region or regions within the same State shall be valid in that area without the countersignature of the Regional Transport Authority of the other region or of each of the other regions concerned. (2) A Regional Transport Authority when countersigniging the permit may attach to the permit any condition which it might have imposed if it had granted the permit and may likewise vary and condition attached to the permit by the authority by which the permit was granted.

(3) The provisions of this Chapter relating to the grant, revocation and suspension of permits shall apply to the grant, revocation and suspension of counter-signatures of permits:

Provided that it shall not be necessary to follow the procedure laid down in Section 57 for the grant of countersignatures of permits, where the permits granted in any one State are required to be countersigned by the State Transport Authority of another State or by the Regional Transport Authority concerned as result of any agreement arrived at between the States. (4) Notwithstanding anything contained in Sub-section (1) a Regional Transport Authority of one region may issue a temporary permit under clause (a) or clause (c) of Sub-section (1) of Section 62 to be valid in another region or State with the concurrence, given generally or for particular occasion, of the Regional Transport Authority of that other region or of the State Transport Authority of that other State, as the case may be.

(5) A State Government may, by rules made under Section 68, specify the conditions subject to which a document issued by a competent authority in the State of Jammu and Kashmir authorising the use of a motor vehicle as a transport vehicle may be deemed for the purposes of Sub-section (1) to be a permit granted under this Chapter in the State

(6) Notwithstanding anything contained in Sub-section (1), but subject to any rules that may be made under this Add the Regional Transport Authority of any one region may, for the convenience of the public, grant a special permit in relation to a public service vehicle for carrying a passenger or passengers for hire or reward under a contract, express or implied, for the use of the vehicle as a whole without stopping to pick up or set down along the line of route passengers not included in the contract, and in every case where such special permit is granted, the Regional Transport Authority shall assign to the vehicle, for display thereon, a special distinguishing mark in the form and manner specified by the Central Government and such special permit shall be valid in any other region or State without the countersignature of the Regional Transport Authority of the other region or of the State Transport Authority of the other State, as the case may be '

11. Chapter IV also provides for appeals and revision by aggrieved parties against the orders of the Regional Trans-port Authority granting or refusing permits. Then certain powers have been vested in the Regional Transport Authority for the renewal, extension, suspension or cancellation of permits. Section 57(8) empowers the Regional Transport Authority granting the permit to extend the same. Section 58 provides for renewal of permits and it is the Regional Transport Authority which has granted the permit, who may renew it treating as if the application for renewal is for the grant of a permit. Section 59 provides for transfer and replacement of vehicles and this can be done only with the permission of the Transport authorities which granted the permit and without such permission a transfer shall not operate to confer any right to use the permit. Section 60 provides that the Transport Authority which granted a permit may cancel the permit or may suspend it for such period as it thinks fit.

Then we may refer to Section 134(2) which lays down that no order made by a competent authority under the Act shall be reversed or altered on appeal or revision on account of any, error, omission or irregularity in the proceedings, unless it appears to the prescribed appellate authority or re-visional, as the case may be, that such error, omission or irregularity has, in fact, occasioned a failure of justice. A review of this provision shows that the Act has made a distinction between errors, omissions or irregularities in the proceedings taken by the Regional Transport Authorities and other violations of the statute which may be more serious and may affect its competence to deal with a certain matter.

In other words, we are confronted with the question whether the Regional Transport Authority of Bikaner had committed any error, omission or commission in the proceedings only or there was complete lack of jurisdiction in it so that it could not be said to be a competent body or authority when it entertained and decided the appellant's application for grant of permit over the inter-regional route. In this connection we may take note of an important fact that the Act nowhere provides that a Regional Transport Authority can grant a permit to any person without his application according to the provisions of law. Therefore, what strikes us at the outset is that the making of an application is a necessary foundational condition for the exercise of these powers by the Regional Transport Authority, when Section 44 lays down that the Regional Transport Authorities have to function within their respective areas, then obviously for doing anything in the matter of permits as may project beyond their own regions they have to follow the requirements of law both in letter and spirit. The opening words of Section 45 itself envisage that every application for a permit shall be made to the Regional Transport Authority of the region in which the route or area lies. The proviso lays down that the application for an inter-regional route shall be made to the Regional Transport Authority in which the major portion of the route lies. It also provides for the contingency where the two portions in different regions may be approximately equal and then it is provided that the application has to be made to the Regional Transport Authority of the region in which it is proposed to keep the vehicle or vehicles.

In other words, Section 45 is in the nature of a complete Code so far as the filing of applications over inter-regional routes are concerned. It will be useful to refer to the previous state of law before Section 45 was amended in its present form. Section 45 stood before 1956 as follows:

'Section 45 General provision as to applications for permits.--Every application for a permit shall be made to the Regional Transport Authority of the region or of one of the regions in which it is proposed to use the vehicle and, if the applicant resides or has his principal place of business in any one of those regions, to the Regional Transport Authority of that region.'

12. Under the old Section it was open to an operator to file his application for inter-regional route before any of the Regional Transport Authorities of the regions served by the route. This led to practcial difficulties and it was a source of great inconvenience. It was with a view to making the law more certain that the Legislative change was made. We may refer to the objects and reasons appended to the bill as a result of which Section 45 came to be amended. Regarding the proposed section the following extract from the objects and reasons may be quoted with advantage:

'The existing Section 45 has led to certain practical difficulties in regard to the grant of permits for inter-regional and inter-State routes. The amendment in this clause seeks to remove this lacuna by laying down clearly the authorities to whom applications for permits should be made in such cases.'

The obvious purpose underlying the proviso to Section 45 of the Act, therefore, was to remove uncertainty about the forum which had to be approached and it was, therefore, dearly provided as to before which authority an application for a permit on the inter-regional route was to be made. This proviso, therefore, clearly lays down in unmistakable terms the jurisdiction of the Regional Transport Authority in the matter of entertaining of applications and to our mind if the application which does not lie to it under the proviso has been entertained by the Regional Transport Authority, the latter cannot be said to be acting with jurisdiction. Further it is to be borne in mind that the Regional Transport Authorities are statutory bodies of limited jurisdiction created for certain purposes and they cannot over-step the limits created by the statute within which alone they have to function.

13. Now Section 63 regarding the necessity of counter-signature on a permit by the Regional Transport Authorities other than the one granting the permit was already there even before the amendment of Section 45. Therefore, to hold that in spite of the present frame of the section an application for permit may be presented before any of the Regional Transport Authority and the permit will be unexceptionable as result of countersignature will in effect be nullifying the requirement laid down by the Legislature for making the application before the Regional Transport Authority in whose jurisdiction the larger portion of the route lies. It is true, the various Regional Transport Authorities have identical functions exercisable within their respective regions and, therefore, the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner and that of Jaipur were coordinate authorities. But here the question of jurisdiction arises not on account of the nature of the subject-matter, but on account of non-fulfilment of a necessary preliminary condition for the exercise of that jurisdiction In other words, it is a case of there being want of jurisdiction on account of the non-fulfilment of the preliminary condition for the exercise of its powers under the statute by the Transport Authority. The concept of jurisdiction inter alia implies the conditions on which the power of a tribunal to determine a particular matter depends (vide R. v. Natbell Liquors Ltd. (1922) 2 AC 128).

14. Shri Gupta drew our attention to Craies on Statutes Law. 6th Edition, page 266. wherein it has been observed that as a general rule, statutes which enable persons to take legal proceedings under certain specified circumstances must be accurately obeyed notwithstanding the fact that their provisions may be expressed in merely affirmative language. It was also pointed out that when a statute confers jurisdiction upon a tribunal of limited authority and statutory origin, the conditions and qualifications annexed to the grant must be strictly complied with. He also cited some passages from Judicial Review of Administrative Action by S. A. de Smith. Principles of Statutory Interpretation by G. P. Singh and Judicial Control by A. T. Markose which are much to the same effect and we need not make any detailed reference to them. He also referred to Lachhman Singh v. Natha Singh, AIR 1940 Lah 401 (FB) and Shanti Prasad v. Mt. Bachchi Devi, AIR 1948 Oudh 349.

15. The Lahore case deals with the question of exclusion of jurisdiction of a Civil Court. There is a general observation in that case that 'it is well settled that the powers of a tribunal of special jurisdiction are circumscribed by the statute under which it was constituted. Such tribunal must act within its powers, and so long as it does so, its orders whether right or wrong cannot be challenged except in the manner and to the extent prescribed in the statute, and Courts of ordinary jurisdiction cannot question them.

16. Oudh case, AIR 1948 Oudh 349 to our mind, does not deal with the question pointedly and is not helpful.

17. In Ebrahim Aboobakar v. Custodian General of Evacuee Property, New Delhi, AIR 1952 SC 310 their Lordships were considering the grounds on which a writ of certiorari can be issued. In that connection their Lordships observed as follows:

'It is plain that such a writ cannot be granted to quash the decision of an inferior court within its jurisdiction on the ground that the decision is wrong. Indeed, it must be shown before such a writ is issued that the authority which passed the order acted without jurisdiction or in execess of it or in violation of the principles of natural justice. Want of jurisdiction may arise from the nature of the subject-matter. So that the inferior court might not have authority to enter on the inquiry or upon some part of it. It may also arise from the absence of some essential preliminary or upon the existence of some particular facts collateral to the actual matter which the court has to try and which are conditions precedent to the assumption of jurisdiction by it. But once it is held that the court has jurisdiction but while exerciscing it, it made a mistake, the wronged can only take the course prescribed by law for setting matters right inasmuch as a court has jurisdiction to decide rightly as well as wrongly.'

18. We are, therefore, satisfied in the present case that the Regional Transport Authority had no jurisdiction to entertain or deal with the application.

19. In two case. General Motor Bus Service, Jaipur v. Transport Appellate Tribunal Rajasthan. Jaipur, Civil Writ No. 428 of 1962, D/- 20-11-64 (Raj) and Bishamber Das Sharma v. Choudhary Bus Service. Civil Special Appeal No 24 of 1965, D/- 17-8-1965 (Raj), we had occasion to consider the import of Section 45 of the Act. In the last mentioned case we observed as follows-

'It is next urged by the learned counsel for the appellant that according to Section 45 of the Motor Vehicles Act the application could be decided by the Regional Transport Authority, Kota, even though it was not maintainable by him. He wants to make a distinction between the filing of the application and its disposal. In our opinion, there is no substance in this argument. Section 45 of the Act clearly lays down that every application for a permit must be made to the Regional Transport Authority of the region in which it is proposed to use the vehicle or vehicles. The proviso further lays down that it is proposed to use the vehicle or vehicles in two or more regions lying within the same State, the application shall be made to the R.T.A. of the region in which the major portion of the proposed route or area lies and in case the portion of the proposed route or area in each of the regions is approximately equal to the Regional Transport Authority of the region in which it is proposed to keep the vehicle or vehicles. A bare perusal of the section shows that in case like this where the appellant proposes to use the vehicle in two regions lying within the same State, the application to the Regional Transport Authority of the region in which the major portion of the proposed route or area lay, only that Regional Transport Authority could entertain the application. It follows as a necessary corrolauy that it alone could dispose of the same. It is not contemplated by this Section that the application should be prescribed before one Regional Transport Authority and it would be decided by another Regional Transport Authority.'

20. On mature consideration in the present case we are not persuaded to take a different view of Section 45 of the Act. When for an inter-regional route the proviso to Section 45 of the Act has laid down that for such a route the application shall be made to the Regional Transport Authority in whose area the larger portion of the route lies, then it is clearly implied that the other Regional Transport Authority has no jurisdiction in the matter. That being so, the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner, had obviously no jurisdiction to entertain or decide the application made by the appellant.

21. Learned counsel for the appellant strongly urged that a permit once granted by a Regional Transport Authority is valid till it is set aside and, therefore, the respondent could not have filed the writ petition. Learned counsel relied on Hazari Mal v. Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur, ILR (1956) 6 Raj 44, in support of his submission. In that case the learned Judges agreed with the following passage in a Calcutta case. United Motor Transport Co., Ltd. v. Sree Lakshmi Motor Transport Co. Ltd.. AIR 1945 Cal 260 saying that this was a right view:

'It is quite clear that the procedure laid down in Section 57 must be followed by the transport authority when dealing with applications for permits. If that authority either grants a permit or refuses a permit without following the procedure laid down in Section 57, it would be a case of material irregularity and the order for granting or refusing permit, as the case may be, will be liable to be set aside by appellate authority on an appeal being preferred under Section 64 of the Act by a person aggrieved by the refusal, when the permit had been refused or on an appeal preferred by a local authority or by the police or by a person providing transport, facilities who had opposed the grant of the permit, where the permit has been granted. In our judgment such a permit would not be a void document. It will have to be revoked at the instance of persons mentioned in Clause (f) of Section 64, by the appellate tribunal, and if not revoked or till revoked will be a valid permit'.'

22. The present case is clearly distinguishable because it is not a case of any material irregularity in the exercise of jurisdiction of the Regional Transport Authority.but one of total lack of jurisdiction.

23. Learned counsel then contended that there was no total lack of jurisdiction in the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner as at least for the portion falling within the Bikaner region the permit could be granted. We are unable to agree. The permit will undoubtedly be for the whole route, though it would not be valid for the Jaipur portion of the route without the counter-signature of the Regional Transport Authority concerned. The question in the present case is whether the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner, could have granted a permit for the entire route Churu-Jhunjhunu In our opinion, it was not entitled to do so, Though a route is inter regional, it is one indivisible route. It is true Section 63 which provides for countersignatures of a permit lays down that the provisions of Chapter IV relating to the grant, renewal and suspension of permit shall apply to the grant, revocation and suspension of countersignatures of permit and while counter signing a permit the Regional Transport Authority concerned may also attach to a permit additional conditions which it might have imposed, if it had granted the permit or it may likewise vary any condition attached to the permit, but all the same that will not be tantamount to its granting the permit itself. There is marked difference between the powers of the Regional Transport Authority granting the permit and the authority which countersigns the same. While the latter may pass any order regarding revocation or renewal of the counter-signatures, it cannot take any action regarding the renewal, grant, suspension or revocation of the permit itself. Now for the renewal of the permit the authority which grants the permit has to be approached, notwithstanding the countersignaure thereon and if that authority refuses to grant the renewal, the countersigning authority cannot do anything and the countersignature will automatically come to an end along with the permit likewise, if the Regional Transport Authority granting the permit were to suspend or cancel the permit it will not be usable for the whole route notwithstanding the fact that the countersigning transport authority had not done anything. On the contrary, the mere revocation or suspension of the countersignature will not result in the suspension or cancellation of the permit itself. Thus the powers of the Regional Transport Authority granting the permit are undoubtedly greater in comparison to the Regional Transport Authority which countersigns the permit to make it valid for the portion of the route within its region. (24) Shri Gupta invited our attention to Gajalakshmi Ammal Manonmaniammal Bus Service v. State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Madras, AIR 1962 Mad 173 which lays down that Section 63(3) confers a power on the Authority granting the primary permit to take cognisance of offences in the course of the route, even though such route is outside its jurisdiction and to cancel or suspend the permit if there is breach of any condition relating to the same. The learned Judges pointed out that Section 60 has no regard for the place at which the offence took place, because the permit is one and indivisible and when Section 60 gives authority to the Regional Transport Authority granting the permit to cancel or suspend the permit, what is contemplated is suspension or cancellation of the whole permit and not suspension or cancellation in relation to the part of a route lying within its jurisdiction only. We are in respectful agreement with this view.

25. We may add a word about Shri Tiwari's contention regarding the curing of the defect in the entertainment and determination of the application with the countersignature made on the permit by the Regional Transport Authority of Jaipur. Now, once it is held that the permit itself was a nullity, the counter signatures of the Regional Transport Authority will not be sufficient to validate it and import efficacy to it. In Suraj Narain v. N. W. F. Province, ATR 1942 FC 3 and Raja Ram Chandra Reddy v. Rani Shankaramma and others, which were relied on by Shri Gupta to counter the submission of Shri Tiwari, it was held that where the passing of a particular kind of order is by the statute vested in a specified authority but such an order was passed by a different authority, the fact that the proper appellate authority affirmed the original invalid order will not cure the invalidity thereof. To our mind, the observations made in these cases are applicable to a situation like the present one. If there was complete lack of jurisdiction in the grant of permit by the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner, as we undoubtedly think it was, then the countersignatures thereon by the other Regional Transport Authority will not cure the invalidity of the permit itself.

26. For what we have discussed above, we do not find any merits in the contentions raised by Shri Tiwari. As we have come to the conclusion that the permit granted to the appellant was null and void, we are not called upon to undertake the consideration of the other points raised in the case namely, about the authority of the Regional Transport Authority to extend the time for putting the bus or the jurisdiction of the Secretary. Regional Transport Authority to issue the permit in contravention of the resolution of the Regional Transport Authority extending the time.

27. In the result we hereby dismiss this appeal with costs.


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