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Satya Narayan Vs. State Transport Appellate Tribunal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 2036 of 1980
Judge
Reported in1980WLN571
AppellantSatya Narayan
RespondentState Transport Appellate Tribunal and ors.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredNational Transport Corporation v. State Transport Authority
Excerpt:
.....act, 1939 - section 64--appeal against refusal to grant non-temporary permit--held, powers of appellate authority are not restricted it can reject grant of permit on ground of fraud.;when the ground of 'displaced operator' has been mentioned, and it has been found to be incorrect by the s.t.a.t. and, rightly so then, the order is vitiated.;in the appeal under section 64, clause (1), sub-clause (a) of the motor vehicles act, there are no factors, no limitations, no restrictions and riders on the power of the appellate authority, while considering the appeal against the refusal to grant a non-temporary permit.;the powers under section 64, clause (1), sub-clause (a), the powers of the state transport appellate tribunal are co-extensive with that of the regional transport authority.;the..........3, 1980 (annexure 2). briefly the facts may be now narrated. on march 15, 1980 the regional transport appellate authority by resolution no. 29, item no. 26 dated march 6, 1980 rejected the application of pritam singh and shiv kumar for grant of non-temporary permit on the sangaria indipura route. it was granted to satyanarayan. both pritam singh and shiv kumar filed an appeal before the s.t.a.t. the s.t.a.t. accepted the appeal and by rejecting the application of satyanarayan, ordered that the permit be granted to pritam singh.2. mr. maheshwari, learned counsel for satyanarayan has challenged the order of this tribunal on various grounds. firstly, it was submitted that his client was a displaced operator and no fraud was committed by him in getting the permit. that the r.r.t.a......
Judgment:

G.M. Lodha, J.

1. This writ petition is directed against the order of the State Transport Appellate Tribunal dated November 3, 1980 (Annexure 2). Briefly the facts may be now narrated. On March 15, 1980 the Regional Transport Appellate Authority by resolution No. 29, item No. 26 dated March 6, 1980 rejected the application of Pritam Singh and Shiv Kumar for grant of non-temporary permit on the Sangaria Indipura route. It was granted to Satyanarayan. Both Pritam Singh and Shiv Kumar filed an appeal before the S.T.A.T. The S.T.A.T. accepted the appeal and by rejecting the application of Satyanarayan, ordered that the permit be granted to Pritam Singh.

2. Mr. Maheshwari, learned Counsel for Satyanarayan has challenged the order of this Tribunal on various grounds. Firstly, it was submitted that his client was a displaced operator and no fraud was committed by him in getting the permit. That the R.R.T.A. granted the permit to his client on second import tant consideration that his vehicle was of 1978 model. The vehicle of Pritam Singh was only of 1974 model. In view of this even if the first ground of displaced operator was held to be not sustainable, yet the second ground of a later model was itself sufficient. The S.T.A.T. therefore, should not have reversed the order of R.T.A. It was also submitted that an allegation of fraud could not have been considered in appeal as it may be separate matter of complaint before R.T.A. for cancellation of permit under Section 60, Clause (1), Sub-clause (D) of the Motor Vehicles Act. Mr. Maheshwari placed reliance upon the decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in A.I.R. 1976 S.C. 2333 and A.I.R. 1980 S.C. 800. In support of his contention that a later model should be preferred while granting the permit, he placed reliance upon decision of M.P. High Court in A.I.R. 1959 M.P. 320 and Rajasthan High Court in A.I.R. 1969 Raj. page 173, in respect of his contention that the ground of fraud cannot be considered in appeal by the Tribunal.

3. Mr. Chhangani appeared for the respondent Pritam Singh had vehementally opposed the writ petition. According to him under Article 226 of the Constitution, once the Tribunal on detailed consideration of the relevant factors had decided the appeal, this Court* cannot enter into the controversy as to what was proper or im-proper. Relience was placed on decision of Hon'ble Supreme Court in A.I.R. 1950 S.C. 182. He then referred to Bhag Chand's decision reported in 1976 Weekly Law Notes (un-reported decision page 71) and argued that fraud was enough for vitiating the order of the R.T.A. and this court should not entertain the cases of petitioner of questionable conduct. Reliance was then placed upon judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in A.I.R. 1974 S.C. 1117 and 1174 in which it has been held that when there are number of considerations and it is found that one irrelevant factor was considered while deciding the question of granting permit, the order is vitiated because the irrelevant circumstances or factors may have influenced the mind of the authority. Mr. Chhangani, also invited my attention to judgment of this Court Shanti Devi S.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 1759 decided on July 27/77 in which it was held that if the model condition alongwith other factor are considered by the S.T.A.T. and inspite of a higher model if the prayer for permit is rejected on other grounds, the Tribunal's decision is not vitiated.

4. I have given a thoughtful consideration to the respective contentions on the learned Counsel of the parties. The fact that the application of the petitioner Satyanarayan contained a note of 'Displaced Operator' is not in dispute. Again, the fact that one of the grounds for granting permit to the petitioner by the R.T.A. that he was 'Displaced Operator' is equally patent on record. The finding of the S.T.A.T. that Satyanarayan was not a displaced operator is also correct and cannot be seriously disputed.

5. Even if it is assumed that the petitioner was a dislodged operator as argued by Mr. Maheshwari, the difference between the two terms in the 'Permit procurement race of the Bus operators is patent and not latent. The question whether the word 'displaced' was used bonafide by mistake, without intention of making it the triump-card for obtaining permit cannot be adjudicated by this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution, as the finding of the Tribunal on this aspect of the case is well reasoned and based on the material placed before it.

6. The only question to be considered is whether the S.T.A.T. should not have interfered, because the R.T.A. granted the permit on yet another ground of 1978 model. It would not be out of place to mention here that before the R.T.A., as rightly pointed out by Mr. Chhangani, there was yet another operator on serial No. 11, Sardarilal whose model was 1978. If the R.T.A. would have not mentioned and used the ground of displaced operator for granting permit to the petitioner, then the submission of Mr. Maheshwari might have become argue-able atleast. However, when the ground of 'displaced operator' has been mentioned, and it has been found to be incorrect by the S.T.A.T. and, rightly so then, the order is vitiated. It is established law, that fraud vitiates all transactions, and this Court has also held it to be so, in Munshiram's case aptly relied upon by the Tribunal.

7. The only question which remains now to be considered is whether the appeal should not have been entertained, on the ground of fraud, by the Tribunal as argued by Mr. Maheshwari. So far as the judgment of Rajasthan High Court 1969, Rajasthan page 173 is concerned, it only says that the allegation of fraud and rejection of prayer for permit on this ground, cannot be entertained in appeal because the petitioner can move the R.T.A. for cancellation of permit on the ground of fraud under Section 60(1), Sub-clause (D) of the Motor Vehicles Act. It no where lays down that the S.T.A.T. is not competent to entertain this appeal on the ground of fraud.

8. It is true that the M P. High Court has taken the view in the decision of National Transport Corporation v. State Transport Authority, M.P. reported in A.I.R. 1969 M.P. 320, that the question of fraud can be enquired into by the R.T.A. The R.T.A. in that case granted permit to respondent No. 3, Public Transport Company and rejected the application of National Transport Corporation. The National Transport Corporation filed appeal before the Appellate Authority and urged that the respondent No. 3 in that case obtained the permit by fraud. The fraud alleged was that the Public Transport Company misrepresented to the R.T.A. that it had two spare vehicles of 1957 model. A very anomalous and interesting situation arose when two certified copies were filed by the contesting parties and both of them were different. The High Court expressed surprise at this difference in the certified copies and expressed that undesirable things were prevailing in the office of the R.T.A.

9. The M.P. High Court was considering a writ application against the order of the Appellate Authority refusing to consider the ground of the fraud, under the above circumstances. The reason given was as under:

The question involved enquiry into the facts and the authority to whom the representations was wrongly made and based enquiry into such matter. In view of the express provisions we cannot hold that the State Transport Authority has refused the jurisdiction vested in it.

10. It would be thus seen that the M.P. High Court only confirmed the judgment of the Appellate Authority holding that there was no error of jurisdiction, because the Authority, has refused to enquire into the matter, when the matter was disputed question of fact and it cannot be enquired by the R.T.A. itself. Mr. Maheshwari wants to take a big jump of presumption from this judgment, that the Appellate Authority is debarred under law from enquiring the question of fraud, while considering the appeal against the grant of permit. Such an inference or presumption or interpretation is not possible on a comprehensive reading of judgment of the M.P. High Court.

11. Even if that would have been so, I would have found no difficulty in expressing my respectful dissent with the view. The obvious reason is that in the appeal under Section 64, Clause (1), Sub-clause (A) of the Motor Vehicles Act, there are no factors, no limitations, no restrictions and riders on the power of the Appellate Authority, while considering the appeal against the refusal to grant a non-temporary permit.

Section 64--Clause (1), Sub-clause (a) reads as under:

(1) any person:

(a) aggrieved by the refusal of the State or a Regional Transport Authority to grant a permit, or by any condition attached to a permit granted to him, or

12. I am of the view, that the powers under Section 64, Clause (1), Sub-clause (a), the powers of the State Transport Appellate Tribunal are co-extensive with that of the Regional Transport Authority. Neither the plane language of Section 64 nor any of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, puts any restrictions on such powers, nor is there any such judicial interpretation by which the Transport Appellate Tribunal is required to observe restraint like the one which the High Courts are required to have under Article 226, due to any alternative remedy under other provisions of the Act.

13. Assuming that Section 60, Sub-clause (1), Sub-clause (D) provides a statutory remedy for getting a permit cancelled on the grounds of fraud, even then the Appellate Authority is not debarred from exercising the jurisdiction and rejecting grant of permit on the ground of fraud. All that is required is that it must be relevant consideration, under the law and this aspect matter is not under challenge that it is relevant.

14. In view of the above findings, it is not (necessary to discuss in any details the various other decisions, referred to by the learned Counsel for the parties. Undoubtedly the Appellate Authority had jurisdiction and this Court can interfere only if it finds that either it has acted in excess of jurisdiction or in absence of jurisdiction or there is any error apparent on the face of the record. Even if two views are possible to be taken, this Court would not interfere under Article 226 of the Constitution, simply because the other view, which could have been taken would have been better or more appropriate. That would be reducing the jurisdiction of this Court, by converting it into an appellate forum which the legislature never intended.

15. This writ application therefore, fails and is hereby dismissed without any order as to costs.


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