Kan Singh, J.
1. This is a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution by one Mohammad Safi and by it he questions the validity of a resolution of the Regional Transport Authority. Udaipur, dated 8/11-5-1967 granting permits one each to respondents Nos. 2 to 15 on Chitorgarh-Bundi via Bijolia-Mandalgarh route. The petitioner has prayed for an appropriate writ, directions or order against the respondents.
2. The relevant facts appearing in the writ petition are briefly these. The petitioner is an existing operator over the route in question which is 123 miles long A class route. It is an inter-regional route. A part of this route lies in Udaipur Region while another part lies in the Kota Region The petitioner is plying his vehicle on this route in rotation with other permit-holders. This route was overlapped by several other routes. In November 1984, the R.T.A. decided to revise the scope of permits over this route under 47(1)(c) of the Motor Vehicles Act (Hereinafter to be referred to as the Act) and published a notification in the Gazette dated the 12th November, 1964. inviting objections from the existing operators regarding the proposed revision of scope. It was stated in the notification that the R.T A. proposed to raised the scope from 6 to 18. The existing operators submitted their objections against the proposed increase of scope and this matter; came up for consideration at the meeting of the R.T.A. held on the 31st May and 1st June, 1965. The R.T.A. after hearing the objections of the existing operators decided to raise the maximum number of permits on the route to 12 on the footing that each vehicle should get 40 miles of operational milage on an average each day, Against, this resolution, the petitioner made a revision application before the State Transport Authority; but unfortunately for him, the State Transport Authority did not decide the revision application even upto the date of the filing of the present writ petition. Indeed, according to the petitioner, no meeting of the S.T.A. had taken place and at the time the writ petition was filed, the S.T.A. was not functioning for want of a Chairman. In the mean-time, the S.T.A. had revised the basis for fixation of the scope from 40 miles route milage per day to 80 miles route milage per day and all the Regional Transport Authorities were directed to bear this in mind while determining the scope of any route. Some applications for grant of permits over the route had been filed and by its notification dated the 5th November, 1966, published in the Rajasthan Gazette of the 14rh November, 1966, the R.T.A. had notified that these applications would be considered at the R.T.A.'s. meeting to be held on 15/16/17-12-1966. The petitioner in the circumstances felt that the remedy if revision under Section 64A of the Act was not being made available to him and yet the R.T.A. was determined to grant more ; permits over the route and therefore he filed a writ petition in this Court which was No. 42 of 1967 praying that that the resolution of the R.T.A. Udaipur dated the 31st May/1st June, 1965 (Annexure 1) be quashed and the R.T.A. be restrained J from granting fresh permits on the route till the final determination of the scope in the light of the latest directions of the S.T.A. regarding the minimum operational route milage. The writ petition was admitted, and the stay application that was also moved along with it came up for orders on the 21st January 1967, and this Court after hearing learned Counsel observed in its order of that date that he should move the R.T.A. itself to refix the scope in the light of the S.T.A.'s revised instructions of the 8th September 1966 and that it should not act on the scope fixed on 31st May/1st June, 1965. After this order was passed by this Court, the petitioner approached the R.T.A. Udaipur and made an application on 23-1-1967 praying that the scope of permits on the route be fixed under Section 47(3) of the Act in the light of the revised instructions of the S.T.A. before granting any more-permits on the route. On the 17th March, 1967 a meeting of the R.T.A. Udaipur had taken place and the matter relating to the grant of fresh permits on the route was included in the agenda; but the petitioner's application for refixlng the scope was not included in the agenda. However, the R.T.A. did not grant any fresh permits on the route. The petitioner proceeds to say that thereafter there was no notification for holding the next meeting of the R.T.A. published in gazette nor was the petitioner or the other existing operators of the route were intimated of any date of the next meeting of the R.T.A. But in spite of it, on the 12ih April, 1967, the meeting of the R.T.A. was held at Udaipur. As the petitioner and some others had come to know of that meeting, they appeared at the meeting and the version of the petitioner regarding the events at the meeting was that some accusations were made against the Chairman himself and there was an uproar at the meeting which caused disturbance and confusion, and, therefore, the meeting was abandoned. The petitioner states that after that date, no notice of any fresh meeting was issued in the Rajasthan Gazette but unfortunately for him, the petitioner found that between 8th and 12th May, 1967, a meeting of the RT.A purported to have been held at Jaipur and at that meeting the impugned resolution (annexure 5) is said to have: been passed By this resolution, 14 fresh per nits on the route had been granted and this was done without consideration of the 'petitioner's application dated the 23rd Jaunary 1967, praying for refixatioh of scope in the light of the revised directions of the S.T.A. This resolution is attacked on a number of grounds.
3. In the first place, it is submitted that there were several misstatements in the impugned resolution. The route had b.-en in existence since the year 1956, and by its notification dated the 12th November, 1964, the R.T.A. was only proposing to revise the maximum number of permits by raising them from 6 to 18, and, therefore, the R.T.A. was wholly in the wrong in thinking that any new route was going to be opened to connect Chittor with Bundi. On, this basis, it is submitted that the several considerations mentioned in the resolution for the opening of this route and for granting of permits was without any foundation. It was next urged that whereas in the resolution of 31st May/1st June, 1965, the number of trips was not raised and was allowed to remain at 2, as it was, and its consideration had been deferred for future in the impugned resolution, the R.T.A had wrongly stated that the number of trips had been revised to 12. On this basis it is argued, that the R.T.A. had mis-directed itself in calculating the route milage, of each bus on that footing. The petitioner maintains that the very foundation of the resolution is, therefore, knocked out on a mere perusal of the previous resolution. Thirdly it was submitted that for revising the number of trips of service on the route, provisions of Section 57(8) of the Act were to bf. complied with and if it was desired by the R.T.A. to revise the number of trips, then this should have been first notified so that the existing operations could have had their say against the increase in the number of trips It was next urged that the R.T.A. was altogether wrong in thinking that the petitioner had not made any application as envisaged in the order of this Court disposing of the stay application The petitioner maintains that he had: made the application annexure 3 on the 23rd January, 1967, and the same was,. available on the record of the R.T.A. Then the holding of the meetings at Udaipur and at Jaipur are challenged, and it is urged that there was no proper notice for such meetings, and, therefore, whatever proceedings purported to have been taken at such meetings were altogether null and void. As regards the procedure adopted at the meetings, it is submitted that a perusal of the impugned resolution show that in revising the scope for permits, the R.T.A. had by the same resolution proceeded to dispose of the applications for grant of fresh permits, and this, according to the petitioner, was illegal as held in Abdul Mateen v. Ram Kailash A.I.R. 1953 S.C. 64. The, malafides have been attributed to the learned Chairman.
4. The writ petition has been opposed by respondents Nos. 4 and 12. Shri Jaigopal Chhangani has appeared at the hearing on behalf of respondents Nos. 9 & 10 though no written reply has been filed on their behalf. He has however, adopted the reply filed by Shri R.R. Vyas. The respondents deny that the impugned resolution of the R.T.A. was bad on any of the grounds mentioned by the petitioner. It is maintained that the R.T.A. had properly determined the scope for permits over the route and then had granted the permits to the contesting respondents. Then, besides supporting the impugned resolution of the R.T.A. on merits, it was contended by Shri Jaigopal Chhangani that the writ petition has now become infructuous as an appeal was filed against the impugned resolution by certain other applicants to whom permits were not granted by the R.T.A. and accepting their appeals, the T.A.T. has set aside the impugned resolution Annexure 5 and has remanded the matter to the S.T.A. now on account of S.T.A. exercising powers for granting permits over all inter-regional route in Rajasthan in place of the various Regional Transport Authorities. Shri R.R. Vyas, however, has not fallen in line with Shri Chhangani. His stand is that the impugned resolution will hold good against the petitioner and so far as two of the respondents represented by Shri Vyas are concerned, they would still be entitled to ply their buses. With this difference in their postures over this question, both Shri R.R. Vyas and Shri Chhangani have taken other common points It was argued by them that the impugned resolution of the R.A.T. was appealable and in fact once Shri Shambhoo Dayal acting for and on behalf of the Bus Operators Association of which the petitioner is a member had died an appeal before the T.A.T. as that appeal had been filed, the petitioner should not be allowed to pursue this remedy of the writ petition in exercise of the extraordinary jurisdiction of this Court. Then it was urged that the petitioner could have also filed a revision application to the S.T.A. and in fact he has filed such a revision application, which, on his own showing, was still pending. It was next urged that the petitioner should have filed objections against the applications of the contesting respondents when they were published for inviting objections and as he has not done so, he should not be heard in this writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution It is pointed out that it was for the petitioner to have raised objections against the applications of the contesting respondents and if his objections were to be overruled, then he would be having a right of appeal to the T.A.T. Finally it was urged that against the order of the T.A.T. setting aside the impugned resolution of the R.T.A. four writ petitions have been filed by some of the contesting respondents, and the petitioner had applied for being impleaded in those writ petitions and on his application, he has been allowed to intervene in those cases It is therefore, argued that the petitioner should not now be heard in the present writ, petition.
5. Before I come to deal with the merits of the impugned resolution, I may briefly deal with the other points raised by learned Counsel which are more or less of a preliminary nature. Shri Chhangani, as already observed, has taken the stand that the writ petition has become infructuos and there should be no quashing of the resolution which has already been quashed. Shri Vyas, however, does not subscribe to this contention. His stand is so far as his clients are concerned, the impugned resolution would stand qua the petitioner.
6. I have considered this matter. The appeal before the T.A.T. was filed by the applicants to whom the R.T.A. had refused the permits. The petitioner was not a party in that appeal. A judgment of a Tribunal will normally stand merged in the judgment of an appellate authority where such appeal is taken to that authority and it disposes of the same. But I am far from satisfied that the merger doctrine would be invoked in proceedings before the Transport authorities under the Motor Vehicles Act even qua the parties who are not before the appellate authority. So far as the parties who do not choose to go in appeal or against whom no appeal is field are concerned, they are to be governed by the original order and not by the appellate order. In other words, the appellate order will be displaying the order of the original authority only in respect of the parties who are before the appellate authority in appeal and so far as the parties who are not before the appellate authority are concerned to my mind, the original order of the lower authority must stand. On account of this consideration, the matter cannot be taken to have become infructuous so far as the petitioner and the contesting respondents are concerned. In the circumstances, the writ petition cannot be given a short-shift and the points raised will have to be examined.
7. Now, it is thus, one Shri Shambhoo Dayal purporting to act on b half of the operators association over this and other routes had filed an appeal before the T.A.T. challenging the impugned resolution granting permits to the contesting respondents. However, a persual of the order of the T.A.T. dated the 25th July 1967 (Annexure A/7) shows that the maintainability of the appeal was questioned on the ground that the Association in question was not a recognised one within the meaning oi Section 47 of the Act, and, consequently, the appeal lodged by Shri Shambhu Dayal was not competent. A perusal of Section 47 of the Act shows that an association could file representations on behalf of the operators plying over a route but the condition is that the association must be one which is recognised by the Government. In the present case, it has not been asserted by the respondents that this association of which Shambhoo Dayal claims to be a manager had been recognised by the Government so as to impart efficacy to what Shambhoo Dayal was doing for or on behalf of that association so that the petitioner could be held bound by Shambhoo Dayal's action. In view of this, I am not satisfied that the appeal lodged by Shambhoo Dayal could be taken to be a bar against the maintainability of the present writ petition.
8. Apart from this, as I will be showing hereinafter the impugned resolution is a composite one fixing a limit for permits under Section 47(3) of the Act as well as granting certain permits to the applicants before the R.T.A. while the T.A.T. would be competent to go into the question of grant or refusal of permits on the basis of the applications or objections, the T.A.T. will not be able to deal with the fixation of scope under Section 47(3) of the Act. An order under Section 47(3) of the Act is not appealable under Section 64 of the Act the only remedy of a party aggrieved against an order of the R.T.A. fixing the scope for permits is to approach the S.T.A. in revision under Section 64(A) of the Act. Therefore, I am not impressed by this contention of learned Counsel for the respondent.
9. I may next turn to the question whether any revision was filed by the petitioner and whether this Court should entertain the writ petition in view of the petitioner having a remady under Section 64(A) of the Act when he is either not at all availing the same or not pursuing the revision application if one were filed If the position were that a litigant would be able to get a remedy from the authority provided by the statute, then this Court ordinarlty does not entertain a writ petition. However, the petitioner has explained his difficulty in para 13 of the writ petition. It was averred by him that he had no adequate remedy in respect of the impugned resolution of the R.T.A. increasing the number of daily services and fixing the scope of permits thereon. The T.A.T., according lo him, cannot decide the question of scope and the S.T.A. to which a revision lay under Section 64(A) of the Act was not functioning at all in Rajasthan at the time. In paragraph 4, the petitioner has further stated that as regards the revision filed by him against an earlier order of the R.T.A. that the S.T.A. was not functioning for want of a Chairman and the petitioner was not able to get any relief it is not disputed that on 28-9-1967 when the writ petition was filed, the S.T.A. was not functioning as at that time there was no chairman of the S.T.A. A number of writ petitions were admitted by this Court in those days when the S.T.A. was not functioning. In view of this incontrovertible position, I am satisfied that the petitioner was not in a position to challenge that part of the resolution of the R.T.A. by which the scope for permits over the route was fixed. Even if he were to file a revision in the office of the S.T.A. the same would have remained without any orders. If in these circumstances the writ petition has been filed by the petitioner, then in my view, it will not be just and proper to dismiss it now after almost a period of two years, on the ground of existence of an alternative remedy which could not have been conveniently obtained at the relevant time.
10. As regards the petitioner's filing of objections, it is enough to say that he has filed an objection against the proposed increase of permits over the route and that is evident from the copy of his application (Annexure 3). It is true that the petitioner has not filed any objection against the applications of the contesting respondents for the grant of permits; but it is obvious that the petitioner has no quarrel against the respondents as such so far as the grant of permits to them on their applications is concerned. The main complaint is against the increase of permits over the route and his stand is that no fresh permits should be granted at all. In view of the nature of the case, therefore, I am satisfied that the non-filing of objections against the applications of the respondents for grant of permits will not stand in the way of the petitioner approaching this Court by a writ petition.
11. Coming now to the last preiminary objection, it is sufficient to say that what I have said just now about the filing of objections applies to the last point as well. The contesting respondents have come against the order of the T.A.T. by which the T.A.T. has set aside the grant of permits by the R.T.A and has sent the case back to the S.T.A. As already observed, the main complaint of the petitioner, is about the increase of the scope itself and for that he has to be heard in this writ petition.
12. I may now turn to the impugned resolution. It opens with the sentence that; the R.T.A. had heard the merits of the applications who were present and also objectors in the last meeting but the decision was reserved. (By last meeting of the R.T.A. is meant Annexure 4). It has given the history of the matter and then stated that on the 12th November, 1964, a proposal was published in the Rajasthan by which the R.T.A. had proposed to revise the existing scope of 18 buses and objections were invited in connection therewith. It is further stated that the objections were heard by the authority at its meeting held on 30th/1st June, 1065, and it was resolved that the scope of trips on the route Bundi-Chhitor having four permits be raised on the basis of the existing milage to 12 leaving further revision on the basis of increase in return trips to future, when necessary. As the language of this part of the resolution will have to be carefully considered, I reproduse this portion here under:
there are 4 permits in existence with 2 Up and 2 Down services, in view of the immense increase in the traffic potentiality since the fixation of the scope in the year 1956, it was considered necessary to revise the scope of this route as well and a proposal was published in the Rajpatra dated 12-11-1964 in which it was proposed to revise the existing scope of 18 buses and objections were invited in connection therewith The objections were heard by this Authority and by their resolution No 3 Item No. 3 in the meeting held on 30th May and 1st June, 196i, resolved that the scope of trips on the route Bundi Chhitor having 4 permits be raised on the basis of the existing milage to 12 leaving further revision on the basis of increase in return trips to future when necessary.
Then the R.T.A further observed that several applications had been filed for this route and they were in all 69, and the R.T.A. had heard the merits of all the applications as also the objections. It was then noticed that by its order dated the 24rh January, 1067, a direction was given to the application (the writ petitioner) that he should move the R.T.A. to fix the daily minimum route-milage at 80 according to the revised instructions of the S.T.A. and the R.T.A should not act on the scope fixed vide its resolution dated 31st May/1st June, 1965. As regards this, it was observed by the R.T.A. that no application had been filed in pursuance of the; High Court's directions. Inspite of this, the R.T.A. preceded to consider the number of permits that may be granted on this route in the light of the revision instructions given by the S.T.A. in respect of the daily milage of 80. As this will also be important for consideration, I may reproduce the relevant portion of the resolution. It is as follows:
No separate applications have been made by the applicants in compliance with the directions of the Hon'ble High Court. However, we have considered the number of permits that may be granted on this route in the light of the revised instructions given by the S.T.A. in revised of the daily milage of 80. The route is 122 miles in length and the scope of trips has been raised to 12 in the R.T.A.'s. resolution dated 30-5-1965 and 1-6-1965, mentioned above. By multiplying the number of trips with the mileage and dividing it by 80, we get the number of permits that can be sanctioned i.e. 18 permits. Since 4 permits already exist on this route, we can safely grant 14 more permits on this route in confirmity with the directions of the S.T.A. as also the Hon'ble High Court. Having said thus, the R.T.A. took up the pending applications for consideration and decided to grant permits one each to the contesting respondents.
13. As perusal of this resolution Annexure 5 unmistakeably shows that the R.T.A. thought that by its resolution Annexure 1 the scope of trips on the route Bundi-Chittor was raised to 12. Acting on that basis, the R.T.A, calculated the route milage available to an operator at 80 miles per day which was according to the revised instructions of the S.T.A. After so calculating the route-milage, it thought that there was scope for 18 permits over the route. Having decided the scope at 18, by the same resolution, it proceeded to grant the permits to the contesting respondent.
14. The question arises whether the R.T.A. has acted on a correct basis. If the very basis is found to be wrong, then the foundation for the decision of the R.T.A. fixing the scope will be completely lacking.
15. Let me, therefore, turn to what the R.T.A. has said in its resolution annexure 1.
16. To begin with, in the title of the resolution, it is mentioned that it was for the revision of scope on Bundi Chittor via Bijolia Mandalgarh Begun route as published in the Rajpatra dated 12-11-1961. The resolution opens with a reference lo the nature of the route and it's length. It was stated that the proposal was to raise the scope over the route from 6 to 18 and notice was issued for inviting objections. It was noted that five persons had filed objections against the proposed revision of scope. It was further mentioned that the objections had laid emphasis on the fact that existing services were adequate and the number of permits should not he increased Then the R.T.A. further observed that a perusal of the Rajasthan Goods and Passenger Tax records showed that each of the operators was paying Rs. 700/- to Rs. 850/- per month as passenger and goods tax. Then the R.T.A. examined the number of permits and gave the following results. In the words of the R.T A. they were:
(1) On Bundi Chittorgarh route, there are 4 permits with two return trips. The route is 114 miles long, but it gave 21 miles extra because of the vehicles touching villages Mandalgaph and Begun on the way. It means 135 miles per trip per day. With two return trips the total milage would 135 X 4: 540. This milage should be also to cater for, at the rate of 40 miles per vehicle per day 13 vehicles in the minimum.
(2) Begun Chittorgarh route is 46 miles long having one return trip per day and one permit. It gives 92 miles in a vehicle by itself alone every day.
(3) Chhonchi Chittorgarh route 44 miles long with one vehicle and one return trip giving 80 miles to this vehicle per day.
(4) Bhainsrodgarh Chittorgarh route with four vehicles and two return trips giving 40 miles per vehicle per day.
(5) Bijolia Chittorgarh route (part of Kotah Chittorgarh route) 69 miles long with two vehicles and one return trip giving 69 miles per vehiper day.
On this basis, the R.T.A. thought that not only the whole route but even parts of the route were getting milage in much larger quantity than the minimum needed. Then it observed that with the revision of trips, this milage would increase all the more. Having made this observation, the R.T.A. noted as follows:
There is a scope for revision of trips also. But this Authority thinks that this should be deferred for the time being to be taken up after a few months having found out full potentiality of traffic.
For the time being, the scope is revised, subject to further revision whenever necessary, only on the basis of the existing number of trips.
Resolved, therefore, that the scope of trips on the existing Bundi Chittorgarh route having four permits be raised on the basis of the existing mileage along to 12, leaving further revision on the basis of increase in return trips to further, when necessary.
17. A perusal of this resolution shows that though the R.T.A. thought that there was a scope for revision of trips also, the authority thought that this should be deferred for the time being to be taken up after a few months having found the full potentiality of the traffic. Having deferred this question of revision the trips, it observed that for the time being, the scope was to be revised on the basis of the existing number of trips though a further revision could be considered when never necessary. Then the last para of the resolution mentions that the scope of trips on the existing Bundi Chittorgarh route having four permits be raised to 12, leaving further revision on the basis of return trips when necessary. Herein the concluding portion, the word 'trips' is certainly a topographical error for the word 'permits.' So far as the revision of trips was concerned, the R.T.A. had left that question of permits was concerned, it fixed it on the basis of the existing trips. This was the effect of the resolution annexure 1. If annexure 1 and 5 are read together; as they are required to be, then it is obvious that the R.T.A. had thoroughly gone wrong and has wholly misread its own decision vide annexure 1. When it had not decided the question of revising the trips and had kept the number as it was, it had wrongly thought while laying down the resolution annexure 5 that the trips had been revised to 12. None of the parties before me had the courage to say if even to day 12 trips are being provided by the operators. It is admitted that the number of trips is still two. Therefore, the R.T.A. had fallen into a serious error in thinking the number, of trips to be 12 and then on that basis calculating the route milage that would be available to each operator and on that footing fixing the scope of permits. What it was really doing was that vide annexure 1, it had fixed the scope or permits at 12. Second time it was about to revise the scope on the basis of revised instructions of the S.T.A. but while doing so, it has fallen into the error of calculation that the available trips were 12 and not 2. It is on this basis that instead of reducing the scope in light of the revised instructions of the S.T.A. it committed the mistake of increasing the scope almost three-fold in comparison to what it was at six prior to the passing of the resolution annexure 1. As the fixation of scope vide annexure 5 suffers from a fundamental error, it goes to the root of the matter. The resolution annexure 5 in so far as the scope was fixed at 18 cannot be allowed to stand.
18. The R.T.A. has further acted contrary to law when, while filling the scope by its resolution annexure 5, by the same resolution it had proceeded to grant permits to the applicants before it. To fix a scope and then to grant permits by the same resolution is against what their Lordships of the Supreme Court were pleased to lay down in Abdul Mateen v. Ram Kailash A.I.R. 1953 S.C. 64. Therefore, for this reason also, the impugned resolution annexure 5 was bad.
19. It was lastly urged in the alternative that vide annexure 1, the scope of permits should be taken as 12 and on the general considerations, the contesting respondents Nos. 12 and 15 should be allowed to have the permits granted by the R.T.A. I have considered the matter. It was not for this Court to assess the merits of individual applicants. The R.T.A. had granted 14 new permits and taking four existing permits into account, the total number of permits granted by it was 18. It is very difficult to dissect the resolution of the R.T.A. When it had granted permits illegally to a number of persons, it cannot be said who is to be preferred in comparison to whom. The resolution has to be struck down as a whole.
20. Now this is an inter-regional route and it will be for the Transport Authority to first fix the scope for permits over the route under Section 47(3) of the Act and then to divide the applications for grant of permit in the light of such scope This should be by a separate resolution and not by the same resolution by which the scope is fixed.
21. With these observations I allow this petition and quash the resolution of the R.T.A. Udaipur annexure 5. The S.T.A. shall be free to deal with the matter according to law, in the light of the observations made above. The parties are left to bear their own costs.