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Krishna Kumar Choudhary Vs. Transport Appellate Tribunal, Jaipur and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petn. No. 591 of 1967
Judge
Reported inAIR1968Raj244
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 47, 48 and 64
AppellantKrishna Kumar Choudhary
RespondentTransport Appellate Tribunal, Jaipur and ors.
Appellant Advocate Sagarmal Mehta, Adv.
Respondent Advocate J.P. Jain, Adv. for Respondent No. 3
Cases Referred and Bhagat Raia v. Union of India.
Excerpt:
.....route and it was good reason for the appellant to apply in the same name for grant of permit on iklera-binaganj route. in my opinion he has a better claim than krishna kumar for grant of permit on the inter-statal route, krishna kumar holds another permit on some route near kota and it could not be convenient for him to manage services on the route at a distance. the transport appellate tribunal has refuted the first ground mentioned in the resolution of the regional transport authority by observing that 'there appears little reason to think that shyam sunder sharma had made an application in disguise in the name of sharma transport' it added that sharma transport was providing service on jhalawar-manoharthana route and, therefore, it was good reason for the..........tribunal considered the reasons recorded by the regional transport authority for refusing to grant permit to respondent no. 3 and then observed as follows: --'it may be noted that sharma transport was an existing operator on a portion of the route and this reason appears to be good for grant of a permit to him on iklera-binaganj route as this is likely to help coordinate the services on the route. there appears little reason to think that shvam sunder had made an application in disguise in the name of sharma transport. sharma transport was providing service on jhala-war-manoharthana route and it was good reason for the appellant to apply in the same name for grant of permit on iklera-binaganj route. the r. t. a took this objection against him without merit. in my opinion he has a.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Kan Singh, J.

1. This is a writ petition by one Krishna Kumar Choudhry and bv it he questions the legality of an order of the Transport Appellate Tribunal dated 7-10-67 (Ex. 4 on the record), by which the Transport Appellate Tribunal, on an appeal by non-petitioner no. 3 Messrs. Sharma Transport, set aside an order of the Regional Transport Authority, Kota, and in doing so, cancelled the permit granted in favour of the petitioner and ordered the grant of a permit instead to respondent No. 3 Messrs Sharma Transport on an inter-statal route Eklera in Rajasthan to Beenaganj in Madhya Pradesh. The relevant facts are briefly these.

2. Eklera in Rajasthan and Beenagani in Madhya Pradesh were served by a bus route which was agreed to be opened under a reciprocity arrangement between the States of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The total length of the route is said to be 41 miles, out of which 33 miles lie in Rajasthan territory and 8 miles in the territory of Madhya Pradesh State. After the reciprocity agreement between the two States was entered into, the Regional Transport Authority. Kota, invited applications for grant of permits over this route. The notification of the Regional Transport Authority was published in the gazette dated 9-12-65. In response to the notification, 15 applications were filed before the Regional Transport Authority and they came to be published by a notification dated 16-6-66 in the gazette for inviting objections.

The petitioner Krishna Kumar Choudhry and the respondent Messrs. Sharma Transport were amongst the applicants. According to the petitioner, no objections of any kind were received against the applications of the petitioner. However, for some reasons into which it is not necessary to enter these applications which were for grant of non-temporary permits could not be disposed of and in the meantime for meet-ins the pressing demand nf the travelling public the Regional Transport Authority, Kota, entertained applications for grant of temporary permits. The petitioner and respondent No. 3 had both applied for the grant of temporary permits and they were successful in getting one temporary permit each.

The petitioner proceeds to say that while he was able to avail of his temporary permit, respondent No. 3 could not do so, as he had no bus for availing the permit. According to the petitioner. Messrs. Sharma Transport was only a trade name for Shri Shyam Sunder Sharma of Jhalawar, and h' had obtained some other permits over certain routes under different names. These 15 applications for grant of non-temporary permits for the inter-statal route including the applications of the petitioner and respondent No. 3, were taken up by the Regional Transport Authority at its meeting held on 10/11th January, 1967 After considering the applications the Regional Transport Authority by its resolution of even date (Ex, 3 on the record) decided to grant one permit over the route to the petitioner and it rejected the application of respondent No. 3. The relevant observations made by the Regional Transport Authority were as follows:--

'Shri Shyam Sunder Sharma who has come in disguise of Narain Lal and Bros, and Sharma Transport has already got permits on other routes as such the applications of Narain Lal and Bros and Sharma Transport are rejected ..... .... .Shri Krishna Kumar Chaudhary has offered a ready bus.'

'Resolved therefore a non-temporary stage carriage permit valid for 3 years be granted to Shri Krishna Kumar Chaudhary for his ready bus.'

The respondent No. 3 then went up in appeal to the Transport Appellate Tribunal, Jaipur. The Transport Appellate Tribunal considered the reasons recorded by the Regional Transport Authority for refusing to grant permit to respondent No. 3 and then observed as follows: --

'It may be noted that Sharma Transport was an existing operator on a portion of the route and this reason appears to be good for grant of a permit to him on Iklera-Binaganj route as this is likely to help coordinate the services on the route. There appears little reason to think that Shvam Sunder had made an application in disguise in the name of Sharma Transport. Sharma Transport was providing service on Jhala-war-Manoharthana route and it was good reason for the appellant to apply in the same name for grant of permit on Iklera-Binaganj route. The R. T. A took this objection against him without merit. In my opinion he has a better claim than Krishna Kumar for grant of permit on the inter-statal route, Krishna Kumar holds another permit on some route near Kota and it could not be convenient for him to manage services on the route at a distance.'

3. In questioning the correctness of the order of the Transport Appellate Tribunal, it is contended by the petitioner that the Transport Appellate Tribunal has obviously erred in taking into consideration certain material facts which were not on the record of the case. It is pointed out that the fact that respondent No. 3 was an existing operator on a portion of the route Iklera-Binaganj was neither placed before the Regional Transport Authority, nor was the same relied on by non-petitioner No. 3 before the Regional Transport Authority in any manner. In the circumstances it is urged that it was not open to the Transport Appellate Tribunal to rely on this fact in ordering the grant of a permit to respondent No. 3.

It was next contended that the petitioner who was the respondent before the Transport Appellate Tribunal, did not have sufficient notice of the material facts that the Appellate Tribunal would be taking into consideration. This, according to the petitioner, had violated the principles of natural justice.

Thirdly, it is urged that as required by rule 109 of the Motor Vehicle Rules, it was the duty of the non-petitioner to have filed the list of documents on which he wanted to rely together with copies of such documents in duplicate and consequently it was not open to the Transport Appellate Tribunal to look into the documents which had not been produced bv the respondent No. 3.

Fourthly, it is pointed out that the considerations adumberated in Section 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act for giving preference to one applicant over the other had been disregarded by the Transport Appellate Tribunal.

Finally, it was contended by the petitioner that respondent No. 3 had made misrepresentations in his appeal that he had a bus of a model later than that provided by the petitioner. It is submitted that bus No. RJO 515. the registration certificate of which was shown by the non-petitioner No. 3 to the Transport Appellate Tribunal, was of 1960 model and according to the standing instructions of the State Transport Authority a permit for the route in question which was, according to the petitioner an 'A' class route, could not have been issued as it was of a model older than 5 vears.

4. The writ petition has been opposed by respondent No. 3. It is denied that the Transport Appellate Tribunal has taken into consideration such facts as were not available on the record. It is urged that even according to paragraphs Nos. 5 and 8 of the writ petition, it was clear that the respondent No. 3 was plying a bus from Jhalawar to Manoharthana and also providing service on 4 other routes and this fact, according to the petitioner, was taken into consideration by the Regional Transport Authority itself. On this ground, therefore, it was contended by the non-petitioner that the Transport Appellate Tribunal cannot be said to have taken into consideration any fact which was not before the Regional Transport Authority.

It was next contended that according to the documents produced by the respondent No. 3 along with his reply, it was evident that the non-petitioner had applied time and again for the extension of his route from Manoharthana to Beenaganj. It was thus strenuously urged that the Transport Appellate Tribunal has not taken any new facts into consideration, but has acted only on the material that was available on the record. The respondents also contest the stand taken by the petitioner that he did not have sufficient notice of the material facts that the Appellate Tribunal was to take into consideration. It is also denied that there was any misrepresentation made by respondent No. 3 before the Transport Appellate Tribunal. He denies that he had shown any registration certificate to the Transport Appellate Tribunal. As regards the model of the vehicle the respondent submits that the Transport Appellate Tribunal has not given its decision on the ground that the respondent was in possession of a vehicle of any particular model.

5. When the case came up for hearing before me on 28-11-67 learned counsel for the petitioner made a request for summoning the record of the Transport Appellate Tribunal as also that of the Regional Transport Authority. By referring to the memo of appeal presented by respondent No. 3 before the Transport Appellate Tribunal, which was not produced earlier, he wanted to show that the respondent has specifically averred in his memo of appeal that he was possessed of a vehicle of 1964 model which, according to the petitioner, he never had and has accordingly made a misstatement on a material point before the Transport Appellate Tribunal. Since the writ petition was for issuance of a writ of certiorari, after hearing learned counsel for the parties, I ordered the requisitioning of the relevant records on payment of adjournment costs to learned counsel for respondent No. 3. The relevant record is now before me. Learned counsel for the petitioner referred me to paragraph 3 of the memo of appeal which is as follows:--

'That the appellant has got spare bus of 1964 model with himself and he is prepared to ply his bus on this route. The R. T. A. has issued the permit to respondent No. 2 on 1962 model bus. The appellant is prepared to put a new model bus in comparison to the bus of respondent No. 2 of 1962 model.'

In the light of the above averment learned counsel for the petitioner contended that this was a clear misstatement and in that connection he has also referred me to the petitioner's affidavit which he has filed after seeing the registration number of the vehicle with the financer of respondent No. 3.

It may be mentioned that the averments In the affidavit are controverted by the respondent. Learned counsel for the petitioner has tried to point out on the basis of this averment that the Regional Transport Authority had given preference to the respondent on the ground that he was having a ready vehicle and it was on account of this misstatement made by respondent No. 3 in the memo of appeal which, according to the petitioner, was pursued at the time of hearing that the Transport Appellate Tribunal was persuaded eventually to upset the decision of the Regional Transport Authority. The learned counsel also argued that the judgment of the Transport Appellate Tribunal does not deal with the ground of model of the vehicle and this, according to him, discloses an error of law on the face of the record.

6. Learned counsel for the respondent, at the time arguments were heard again after the record was received, reiterated the stand that he had taken earlier that in the first place, there was no misstatement in the memo of appeal and secondly, that did not weigh with the Transport Appellate Tribunal at all who, according to the learned counsel, had seen the over all effect of all relevant considerations and had come to the conclusion that respondent No. 3 was entitled to a preference over the petitioner. He also contended that no error of law or any error of jurisdiction has been shown by the petitioner and, therefore, no case for interference with the impugned order of the Transport Appellate Tribunal has been made out by the petitioner.

7. Learned counsel for the petitioner invited my attention to Rohini Kumar v. The State, AIR 1959 Assam 183, Narendra Kumar v. Appellate Board, AIR 1960 Assam 100 and Vypeen Transport Corporation v. State Transport Appellate Tribunal, AIR 1961 Ker 77, in support of his contentions. Shri Jain, on the other hand, referred me to Raman and Raman Limited v. Madras State, AIR 1956 SC 463 and Sri Rama Vilas Service v. Chandrasekaran, AIR 1965 SC 107.

8. There is no manner of doubt that Transport Authorities when they deal with applications for grant of permits are required to act quasi judicially and this Court normally does not exercise its extraordinary powers by issuing any writ under Article 226 of the Constitution, unless it has been shown that the Transport Authority has committed any error of jurisdiction, by acting without jurisdiction or by acting in ex cess of jurisdiction, or it has committed any illegality in the exercise of its jurisdiction which may be apparent on the face of the record. The question that presents difficulty at times is one of properly applying the principles to the situation presented in a particular case. I have, therefore, carefully perused the order of the Regional Transport Authority and that of the Transport Appellate Tribunal the relevant portions of which have already been extracted in the earlier part of this judgment.

It is evident that the Regional Transport Authority has taken into consideration two circumstances in disposing of the applications of respondent No. 3 and that of the petitioner. In the first instance, the Regional Transport Authority observed that Shyam Sunder Sharma one of the two applicants had come in disguise of Narainlal and Brothers and Sharma Transport who had already got permits on other routes. The 'econd ground mentioned in the resolution is that Krishna Kumar Choudhary has offered a readv bus I have extracted above the relevant portion of the Transport Appellate Tribunal's order for showing how the matter has been dealt with. The Transport Appellate Tribunal has refuted the first ground mentioned in the resolution of the Regional Transport Authority by observing that 'there appears little reason to think that Shyam Sunder Sharma had made an application in disguise in the name of Sharma Transport' It added that Sharma Transport was providing service on Jhalawar-Manoharthana route and, therefore, it was good reason for the appellant before it (now respondent in the writ petition) to have applied in the same name for grant of a permit on the route in question namely, Iklera-Binaganj route. In the opinion of the Transport Appellate Tribunal the Regional Transport Authority took this objection against the respondent here without merit.

9. Then I may notice what the Transport Appellate Tribunal had said about the so called better claim of respondent in comparison to Krishna Kumar Choudhary. In that connection the Transport Appellate Tribunal observed that Krishna Kumar Choudhary held another permit on some route near Kotah and it could not be convenient for him to manage service on a route at a distance It is also deducible from the observations made by the Transport Appellate Tribunal that it thought that Sharma Transport being an existing operator on a portion of the route there appeared to be a good reason for grant of a permit to him on Eklera-Beenaganj route as this was likely to help coordination of services on the route. The Transport Appellate Tribunal thus thought that respondent had better claim than Krishna Kumar Choudharv for grant of a permit on the interstatal route

10. While administrative tribunals like the Transport Authorities who have to deal with or determine legal rights of parties before them are not like civil courts and are accordingly not inhibited by the rule-of evidence or technicalities of procedure in regular civil courts, a tribunal is required to follow statutory rules, if any. governing its procedure and also to comply with requirements of natural justice They can use the material that they might collect only after bringing it to the notice of the affected party before them. The trend of judicial opinion in the country, however, is to treat these administrative tribunals like courts in certain essential matters They are to have judicial independence and are not ex-pected to be guided or influenced by extraneous considerations, but they have to bring to bear objectivity of approach on matters arising for their consideration. Like the tegular courts they are expected to record reasons for then decisions.

11. I have extracted these principles from a number of cases, such as. New Pra-kash Transport Co. Ltd. v. New Suwarna Transport Co Ltd.. AIR 1957 SC 232, AIR 1956 SC 463. R. Abdulla Rowther v State Transport Appellatt Tribunal, Madras. AIR 1959 SC 896. B. Raiagopala v. S. T A. Tribunal, AIR 1964 SC 1573 and Bhagat Raia v. Union of India. AIR 19B7 SC 1606

12. When an Appellate Authority created by the statute has to deal with an appeal against the order of the inferior authority and 11 decides to reverse the order, then it is expected of the appellate authority that it would deal with the various grounds given by the inferior authority for coming to a particulai decision In the present case the perusal of the two orders nametv. of the Regional Transport Authority and that oi tht Transport Appellate Tribunal, the relevant portions of which I have extracted above, shows that whereas the Regional Transport Authority has given two grounds for granting permit to the petitioner the Transport Appellate Tribunal's attention was directed only to one of the two reasons. The Transport Appellate Authority has observed regarding the first reason given by the Regional Transport Authority that there was little reason to think that Shyam Sunder Sharma has made an application in dis-huise in the name of Sharma Transport snd as Sharma Transport was providing service in Jhalawar-Manoharthana route it was good reason for the appellant to apply in the same name for grant of permit on Eklera-Beenaganj route. It is not. for this court to go into the merits of this reasoning as it was primarily for the appellate authority to decide sucb a matter. It cannot be said here that it has been guided in this connection bv anv extraneous consideration.

Learned counsel for the petitioner endeavoured to show that the Transport Appellate Tribunal has taken into consideration certain material facts in this behalf which were not on the record. Learned counsel contended that the fact that respondent No. 3 was an existing operator on a portion of the route was not on the record. I have considered this matter, but, I am not persuaded to accept it particularly in view of the petitioner's own averments in paragraphs Nos. 5 and 8 of his writ petition. I have also perused the memo of appeal filed by respondenl No. 3 before the Transport Appellate Tribunal which has been called for at the instance of no other than the petitioner himself. Perusal of the memo shows that it was mentioned therein that respondenl No 3 was an existing operator over a portion of the route. It may be that when the matter was argued before the Transport Appellate Tribunal this assertion was not controverted or it may very well have been accepted as correct on behalf of the petitioner

If, in these circumstances, the Transport Appellate Tribunal was persuaded to take note of the relevant facts then it cannot be said that it has taken into consideration certain extraneous matters or has otherwise travelled beyond the record of the proceeding. Therefore, so far as the first ground mentioned in the order of he Regional Transport Authority is concerned, the Transport Appellate Tribunal has dealt with it and I am not inclined to go behind the conclusion reached by the Transport Appellate Tribunal in this behalf

13. It is, however, noteworthy that in granting permit in favour of Krishna Kumar Choudharv the Regional Transport Authority was very much swayed by the consideration ihat he had offered a ready bus. The importance of this ground can be gauged from what respondent No. 3 has himself said in his memo of appeal. He had endeavoured to meet this ground in the order of the Regional Transport Authority in paragraph No. 3 of the memo of appeal which I have already reproduced above. To make a better case for grant of permit for himself respondent No. 3 had clearly stated that he had got a spare bus of 1964 model with himself and he was prepared to ply his bus on this route. While saying so in the same breath respondent No. 3 had said that the petitioner had a bus of only 1962 model and he was prepared to put a new model bus in comparison to the bus of 1962 model. It is not clear from the judgment of the Transport Appellate Tribunal as to how this matter was presented orally before it at the time of hearing, but one thing is quite clear that the Transport Appellate Tribunal has not dealt with this ground in its order. Learned counsel for the petitioner has presented an affidavit in this Court that the bus that the respondent had was of 1960 model and the respondent had thus made a clear mis-statement before the Transport Appellate Tribunal that he had a bus of a later model in comparison to the bus offered by the petitioner.

14. This is a serious controversy about facts and it is not convenient for this Court in exercise of its extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution to decide it. It is primarily a matter which has to be decided by the Tribunal of facts. The outstanding fact, however, remains that the attention of the Transport Appellate Tribunal was not pointedly directed to this aspect of the matter. It cannot be denied that under Section 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act the predominant consideration is the interest of the public generally and with that view the respective claims of the applicants are required to be dealt with. While facility of a proper co-ordination of bus services on a route is a relevant consideration, it cannot be overlooked that the availability of a better bus is also a relevant and material consideration The public will find it more advantageous if they are to travel in a bus of later model in comparison to one of an older model. Where an appellate order omits to deal with a point that may not be imperial, its order may not suffer from any defect, but where it has overlooked a very material consideration that had weighed with the subordinate authority, then it can-not be said that the order does not suffer |from any defect Sometimes there may be more than one considerations for grant or refusal of a permit to a party. One consideration may pull in favour of one party and another may have a pull in favour of another party. In such cases it is primarily for the transport authority concerned to weigh the matter and decide as to in favour of which party the order for grant of permit should be made. It is normally not for this Court to re-scrutinise such matters. In the present case, however, it cannot be said as to what would have been the outcome if the Transport Appellate Tribunal were to properly balance the two considerations that had weighed with the Regional Transport Authority in granting permit to the petitioner. The controversy about there beiir any misrepresentation or mis-statement in the memo of appeal or in the course of oral submissions before the Transport Appellate Tribunal can be better dealt with by the Tribunal itself. As the matter stands this Court is not in a position to say as to what would have been the result of a proper balancing of the two considerations referred in the order of the Regional Transport Authority. As observed by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in AIR 1967 SC 1606, sufficient reasons are to be given when a tribunal decides a matter quasi judicially so that it could be properly examined by the Court which has to exercise powers of superintendence. What will be sufficient reasons) will, however, depend on the facts and circumstances of each case and no rule of thumb can be laid down.

15. In view of what I have said above, I allow this writ petition and quash the order of the Transport Appellate Tribunal dated 7-10-67 (Ex.-4 on the record). The case will go back to the Transport Appellate Tribunal who will deal with the matter afresh in the light of the observations made in this judgment. It will be for the Tribunal to decide the question whether the respondent had made any mis-statement in the memo of appeal or in the oral submissions before it, if any. The parties shall appear before the Transport Appellate Tribunal on 5th February, 1968.

16. The parties are, however, left tobear their own costs of this writ petition.


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