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Bhanwarlal Vs. the Appellate Tribunal of the State Transport Authority and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Case No. 163 of 1957
Judge
Reported inAIR1958Raj176
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 64; Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 1956 - Sections 62
AppellantBhanwarlal
RespondentThe Appellate Tribunal of the State Transport Authority and ors.
Appellant Advocate Ratanlal, Adv.
Respondent Advocate Deputy G.A. (for No. 1) and; Jai Gopal Chhangani, Adv. (for No. 3)
Cases ReferredC. W. M. Service v. S. T. A. Tribunal
Excerpt:
.....under section 62 shall hold good for not less than three years and not more than five years as the regional transport authority may specify in the permit. 24. then we have to see whether the other conditions laid down in the clause are satisfied in the present case. according to the well established principles governing the interpretation of statutes, we feel it is our duty to put the meaning on the words which they bear in their plain and natural connotation, and where such an interpretation does not lead to any absurdity or illogicality, and we see nothing of the kind in the interpretation which we are persuaded to put on the plain language of the section, it is not for us to narrow down the meaning of the words and deprive a person of his right of appeal where in law he seems entitled..........easily understandable because the object of the legislature appears to be that where the need to grant temporary permits may really be there, such permits should be granted with speed and without the usual trammels ot procedure. what is further important to point out in this connection is that two provisos have been enacted to this section by the motor vehicles act as amended by act 100 of 1956, and the first proviso of these will require consideration in connection with the second contention which has been raised for our determination and which has been indicated in the foregoing part of this judgment. suffice it to say for the present that the gist of this proviso is that a temporary permit under this section shall, in no case, be granted in respect of any route or area specified in.....
Judgment:

I.N. Modi, J.

1. This is a writ application by Bhanwarlal under Articles 226 and 227 ot the Constitution and arises Mnder the following circumstances.

2. The petitioner was granted a temporary permit for plying a stage carriage on the Pokaran Phalsoond route via Ujlan Bhaniyana by the Regional Transport Authority, Jodhpur, on 25-9-1957. Accordingly the petitioner put one bus on the route on 19-11-1957. Opposite party No. 3 Laxminarain Gandhi is the holder of one stage carriage permit on this very route. He opposed the grant of the temporary permit in question to the petitioner but the Regional Transport Authority overruled the objection and granted the permit. It appears from the resolution of the Regional Transport Authority dated 25, 26, and 27-9-1957, that the said authority had been of the opinion that the Pokaran Phalsoond route and the Phalsoond-Shergarh route should be amalgamated into one and permits may be granted for the extended route from Pokaran to Shergarh and to that end it invited fresh applications for the extended route. It further appears that on this view, the Regional Transport Authority rejected certain applications for the grant of additional permanent permits on the Pokaran Phalsoond route and also rejected the petitioner's application for a temporary permit. This happened in May, 1957. It is admitted that the Opposite party Laxminarain Gandhi went in appeal to the Appellate Tribunal of the State Transport Authority and was successful in securing a stay order in connection with the consideration of the application for the extended route. Thereupon the present petitioner again applied for a temporary permit to the Regional Transport Authority on 21-7-1957. On the 29th July, the opposite party Laxminarain and another person Kartaram Chowdhari also filed two applications for permanent permits on the Pokaran Phalsoond route. All these applications came up for consideration before the Regional Transport Authority, Jodhpur, on 25 to 27-9-1957, and it ordered that a temporary permit valid for four months be granted to the petitioner and another similar permit to one Hamirsingh with whom we are not concerned in the present application. The opposite party Laxminarain thereupon went in appeal to the Appellate Tribunal of the State Transport Authority. That tribunal by its order dated the 20th November 1957 directed stay of the operation of the resolution of the Regional Transport Authority No. 53 dated the 25th to 27th September, 1957, and it further directed that if any of the grantees had been issued a permit before the stay order was passed by the Appellate Authority, the grantee or grantees as the case may be, be stopped from plying their vehicles on the said route. The petitioner challenges the aforesaid order by this writ application.

3. The petitioner's contention, briefly stated, is that the Appellate Tribunal had acted without jurisdiction inasmuch as no appeal to that authority was competent against the grant of a temporary permit. It is also contended that the stay order passed by the Appellate Tribunal virtually amounted to the cancellation or suspension of the temporary permit and that no such cancellation or suspension could be ordered and in any case without hearing the petitioner.

4. This application is opposed by the Appellate Tribunal and Laxminarain Gandhi. Their contention is two-fold. In the first place it is urged that the order passed by the Regional Transport Authority for the grant of a temporary permit to the petitioner was appealable under Clause (f) of Section 64 of the Motor Vehicles Act (No. IV) of 1939. In the second place, it is also contended that the grant of a temporary permit to the petitioner by the Regional Transport Authority in the present case was violative of the proviso to Section 62 (as amended) inasmuch as applications for new permanent permits in connection with the Pokaran Phalsoond route were pending before the Regional Transport Authority at the time it granted the temporary permit to the petitioner. It was further contended that in any event, if the order of the Regional Transport Authority in question could be appealed from in law to the Appellate Tribunal, this Court need not interfere with the stay order passed by the Appellate Tribunal, which was, after all a matter which lay in the discretion of the Appellate Tribunal.

5. The first question which arises for determination in these circumstances is whether the order of the Regional Transport Authority by which it granted a temporary permit to the petitioner was appealable under Section 64 of the Motor Vehicles Act. Learned counsel for the petitioner invited our attention to the decision in C. W. M. Service v. S. T. A. Tribunal, AIR 1958 Kerala 19 (A) wherein a learned single Judge held that no appeal lies under Section 64 of the Motor Vehicles Act against the grant of a temporary permit under Clause (a) or under Clause (f) of that section.

6. Now, one of the questions in that case was whether the respondent therein who objected to the grant of a temporary permit to the petitioner had a right of appeal and, therefore, his revision to the Appellate Tribunal under Sub-section (2) of Section 64 of the Motor Vehicles Act. 1939, as amended by the Madras Act (No. 39) of 1954 was incompetent. It was held that the revision petition was against the grant of a temporary permit to the petitioner and not against the refusal of a permit to the respondent, and, therefore, the matter did not fall within Clause (a) of Section 64. It was further held that Clause (f) of Section 64 was also not attracted into application because the second respondent had not opposed the grant of the permit or could have opposed the grant thereof. We have no doubt that a right of appeal under Clause (f) of Section 64 cannot possibly arise where a party seeking to appeal has not opposed the grant of a permit, and to that extent with all respect the judgment aforesaid is perfectly correct.

7. Learned counsel for the petitioner, before us, however, lays stress on the words 'or could have opposed the grant of a permit,' in the aforesaid decision and argues that the view taken in the case under reference is also authority for holding that a right of appeal will not lie under this clause against the grant of a temporary permit because the respondent in any case could not have opposed the grant of a permit.

8. Now, so far as the latter expression of opinion is concerned, we are clearly of opinion that it was obiter, inasmuch as the respondent in that case did not as a matter of fact oppose the grant of the permit to the petitioner, and so it was entirely unnecessary for the learned Judge to say anything in deciding the case before him as to what would be the position in law where the respondent might have actually oppsed the grant of a temporary permit. This case, in our opinion, is, therefore, no authority for holding that Clause (f) of Section 64 would not be attracted even where a rival permit-holder is aggrieved by the grant of a temporary permit to another person and has actually opposed the grant thereof to him before the Regional Transport Authority.

9. We next proceed to consider whether a right of appeal against the grant of a temporary permit is available under the Act to a permit-holder who opposed the grant of such a permit and feels aggrieved by the grant of it. We may state at the very outset that a right of appeal is always a creation of the statute and never a matter of inherent right and, therefore, in order to determine whether such a right of appeal has been provided for or not under the law in case of the grant of a temporary permit, we must examine the statute itself in so far as it bears on and governs the right of appeal.

10. Section 64 of the Motor Vehicles Act provides for appeals. Clause (f) of that section runs as follows :

'Any person being a local authority or police authority or an association which, or a person providing transport facilities who, having opposed the grant of a permit is aggrieved by the grant thereof or by any condition attached thereto, may ..... appeal.....'

The important point to consider in this connection is whether the use of the word 'permit' in this clause is all embracing so as to include a temporary permit also.

11. Now, the word 'permit' has been defined by the Motor Vehicles Act in the 20th clause of Section 2. This definition runs as follows :

' 'permit' means the document issued by the Commissioner or State or Regional Transport Authority authorising the use of a Transport Vehicle as a contract carriage, or stage carriage, or authorising the owner as a private carrier or public carrier to use such vehicle.'

12. Section 42 then 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 or the Commissioner authorising the use of the vehicle in that place in the manner in which the vehicle is being used.

13. It follows that a transport vehicle can, in no case be used in any public place except under a permit whether temporary or permanent.

14. The next important section is 45 which lays down that every application for a permit shall be made to the Regional Transport Authority of the region in which it is proposed to use the vehicle or vehicles. It is obvious that the word 'permit' here covers the case of a temporary permit also.

15. The use of the word 'permit' in Section 46 also, points in the same direction.

16. Section 47 then lays down the considerations which a Regional Transport Authority should bear in mind while disposing of applications for stage carriage permit such as the interest of the public generally, the adequacy of other passenger transport services operating or likely to operate in the near future between the places to be served, the condition of the roads included in the proposed route and so on and so forth, and it is also provided that the Regional Transport Authority shall take into consideration any representation made by persons already providing passenger transport facilities by any means along or near the proposed route or area.

17. Section 48 then lays down that subject to the provisions of Section 47, a Regional Transport Authority may grant a stage carriage permit or may refuse to grant such a permit, and where it decides to grant a permit it may grant it in accordance with the application or with such modifications as it may deem fit. Speaking generally, there is nothing in the language of these two sections also to warrant that execution of their operation in the case of temporary permits.

18. The next important section is Section 57 which lays down the procedure in applying for and granting permits. It appears to us that Clause (8) of this section for the first time makes use of the expression 'temporary permit', and it provides, among other things, that an application to vary the conditions of any permit, other than a temporary permit, by the inclusion of a new route or routes or a new area must be treated as an application for grant of a new permit. We wish to pause here for a moment and point out that the expression 'permit' as used in the various sections of the Act also includes a temporary permit unless the use of this word is sought to be limited to permits other than temporary and in such cases the Act seeks clearly to lay down that a given provision does not apply to temporary permits. Thus we find that Section 58 lays, down that a stage carriage permit or a contract carriage permit other than a temporary permit issued under Section 62 shall hold good for not less than three years and not more than five years as the Regional Transport Authority may specify in the permit.

19. Section 59 then specifies certain general conditions attaching to all permits, and we have no doubt that these conditions apply as much to temporary permits issued under Section 62 as to the other permits.

20. Section 60 relates to cancellation and suspension of permits, and in our opinion, governs temporary permits also.

21. Then comes Section 62 which specifically deals with the grant of temporary permits. It sets down four circumstances under which a temporary permit may be granted for a period in no case to exceed four months, and we need not set out those circumstances for the purposes of the present application. This section further provides that the Regional Transport Authority may grant such permits without following the procedure laid down in Section 57. This, in our opinion, indicates that an application for temporary permit may not be published as in the case of other applications, and that the other matters of procedure which are laid down in that section may be dispensed with. All this is easily understandable because the object of the Legislature appears to be that where the need to grant temporary permits may really be there, such permits should be granted with speed and without the usual trammels ot procedure. What is further important to point out in this connection is that two provisos have been enacted to this section by the Motor Vehicles Act as amended by Act 100 of 1956, and the first proviso of these will require consideration in connection with the second contention which has been raised for our determination and which has been indicated in the foregoing part of this judgment. Suffice it to say for the present that the gist of this proviso is 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 such application.

22. Then we come to Section 64 which provides for appeals. There are in all nine clauses to this section under which appeals are competent. The clause with which we are concerned is Clause (f), and we have already set it out above.

23. From the foregoing discussion, it is clear that the use of the word 'permit' in Section 64 cannot on its plain language be interpreted so as to exclude a temporary permit. A temporary permit, according to the definition of the expression 'permit' as given in Section 2 (20) of the Act is plainly a document issued by a competent transport authority authorising the use of a transport vehicle in a public place. Again, there is nothing in this section which would exclude temporary permits from the scope of the word 'permit' as used in this section or in this particular clause. We, therefore, see no valid reason to hold that this clause does not apply to cases of the grant of a temporary permit, and we hold accordingly.

24. Then we have to see whether the other conditions laid down in the clause are satisfied in the present case. This is not a case of a local authority or a police authority or an association but is a case of a rival permit-holder who is undoubtedly a person providing transport facilities within the meaning of this clause. It is also a fact which is not denied before us and which indeed cannot be denied, that this rival permit-holder opposed the grant of a temporary permit to the petitioner. It does not need any argument that he was certainly aggrieved (whether rightly or wrongly is a different matter) by the grant of a temporary permit to the petitioner. In these circumstances, the conclusion, in our opinion, is irresistible that all the conditions laid down in Clause (f) are fulfilled in the present case. We may also point out in this connection that it is not relevant to see in order to determine the application of this clause whether the applicant 'had the right' to oppose the grant ot the permit because the section itself does not say anything of that kind, and all it says is that he should have opposed the grant of a permit. We also wish to point out in this connection that it will not be right for us to introduce words into the section which are not there. If the intention of the Legislature was that a person who would have a right of appeal under this clause must have had the right to oppose, all that we need say is that in that case, there was nothing to prevent the Legislature from saying so. Again, if the intention of the Legislature was that no appeals were to be permitted against the grant or refusal of temporary permits, it was the simplest thing for the Legislature to say so, and it is not for us to speculate why it has left it unsaid. According to the well established principles governing the interpretation of statutes, we feel it is our duty to put the meaning on the words which they bear in their plain and natural connotation, and where such an interpretation does not lead to any absurdity or illogicality, and we see nothing of the kind in the interpretation which we are persuaded to put on the plain language of the section, it is not for us to narrow down the meaning of the words and deprive a person of his right of appeal where in law he seems entitled to possess it. We are, therefore, clearly of opinion that the opposite party Laxminarain had a right of appeal against the grant of a temporary permit to the petitioner, and therefore, the appeal which was filed by him to the appellate tribunal of the State Transport Authority was competent. On this view of the matter, the principal contention raised by the petition must fail, and we hold accordingly.

25. The next point for determination is whether the Regional Transport Authority was within its jurisdiction in granting a temporary permit in the present case when applications for the grant of new (permanent) permits under Section 46 were pending before it. What the Regional Transport Authority said in its resolution No. 53 of 25th to 27th September was that the proviso in question was not attracted into application because there was 'no application for pucca permits' from those very persons who had applied for temporary permits. We regret we cannot accept this view to be correct because it is opposed to the plain language of the proviso. The proviso is in these terms :

'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.'

All that the proviso clearly means is that where an application for the grant of a new stage carriage permit or for a public carrier's permit have 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 w'here 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 is not denied before us that at the time the petitioner applied for a temporary permit, applications for permit under Section 46 from other persons, namely Laxminarain Gandhi and some others were undoubtedly pending before the Regional Transport Authority. That such applications were pending before the Regional Transport Authority at the time it granted the temporary permit to the petitioner is clear from the manner in which that authority disposed of this contention by its resolution No. 53 of 25th to 27th September, 1957. We are, therefore, of opinion that there is nothing in the proviso to warrant the construction that the pending application for a regular permit must be by the very person to whom the grant of a temporary permit was made, to attract the operation of the proviso and we also reject this construction as opposed to its plain language. Consequently, we hold that the grant of the temporary permit in this case falls within the mischief of the proviso to. Section 62 of the Act as amended in 1956.

26. In this state of affairs, we have arrived at the conclusion that no case has been made out for our interference in this case and we hereby dismiss this application. In all the circumstances of the case, we direct that the parties will bear their own costs.


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