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Delux Roadways Vs. State Transport Appellate Tribunal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicle
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.B. Civil Writ Petitions No. 1130 and 1131
Judge
Reported in1980WLN635
AppellantDelux Roadways;choudhary Roadways
RespondentState Transport Appellate Tribunal and ors.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases Referred and Lallu Narain v. The Regional Transport Authority
Excerpt:
motor vehicles act, 1939 - section 62(1) & 58(4)--consideration of renewal application--not obligatory to dispose renewal application, before date of expiry of permit--renewal application not disposed of within 120 days--corporation's applications became ripe for consideration--held, no prejudice is caused to petitioners.;the provisions of section 62(1)(d) and section 58(4) together go to show that an application for renewal can be considered and disposed of even after the date of the expiry of the permit, and it is not obligatory upon the r.t.a in each and every case to dispose of the renewal application before the date of the expiry of the permit. of course, it must at once be observed that normally the r.t.a. should dispose of the application for renewal before the expiry of the.....dwarka prasad, j.1. these two writ petitions raise common questions of law and fact and are, therefore, disposed of by a common order.2. the petitioners are bus operators and they were plying their vehicles on two non-temporary stage carriage permits on the hanumangarh sirsa via sangaria inter-statal route (hereinafter called 'the route'). there was a limit of two permits fixed on the route and both the petitioners were providing stage carriage service on the route. within the statutory period, before the date of expiry of their nontemporary stage carriage permits, both the petitioners applied for renewal of their permit the substance of the renewal applications of both the petitioners was published by the notification dated april 23, 1979 in the rajasthan gazette dated may 10, 1979.....
Judgment:

Dwarka Prasad, J.

1. These two writ petitions raise common questions of law and fact and are, therefore, disposed of by a common order.

2. The petitioners are bus operators and they were plying their vehicles on two non-temporary stage carriage permits on the Hanumangarh Sirsa via Sangaria inter-statal route (hereinafter called 'the route'). There was a limit of two permits fixed on the route and both the petitioners were providing stage carriage service on the route. Within the statutory period, before the date of expiry of their nontemporary stage carriage permits, both the petitioners applied for renewal of their permit The substance of the renewal applications of both the petitioners was published by the notification dated April 23, 1979 in the Rajasthan Gazette dated May 10, 1979 inviting objections in respect of the renewal of the permits of the petitioners within a period of 30 days from the date of the publication of such notification. By another notification dated May 24, 1979 which was published in the Rajasthan Gazette dated May 31, 1979, the Regional Transport Authority, Bikaner (hereinafter referred to as 'the R.T.A') notified that the successive meetings of the R.T.A shall take place on July 3, 1979, September, 4 1979 and November 6, 1979. According to the petitioners, no objections were filed by any person in respect of their renewal applications within the statutory period of 30 days. However, the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation, Jaipur (hereinafter called 'the Corporation') respondent No. 3 in these writ petitions, insists that objections were filed by it, in respect of the renewal applications of the petitioners, on June 1, 1979 in the office of the R.T.A, Bikaner.

3. The R.T.A, Bikaner by another notification dated May 20, 1979 published in the Rajasthan Gazette dated May 31, 1979 notified the agenda of the matters which were to be taken up for consideration in the meeting of the R.T.A fixed for July 3, 1979. The applications of bo!h the petitioners for renewal of their nontemporary stage carriage permits were not included in the aforesaid agenda for the meeting of July 3, 1979, obviously because by the time the said agenda was sent for publication the renewal applications of the petitioners had not become ripe for consideration, inasmuch as a period of 30 days had not elapsed after the publication of the substance of these applications in the Gazette. However, the meeting of the R.T.A did not take place on July 3, 1979 as notified earlier, but it was adiourned to July 31, 1979 though it actually took place on August, 1, 1979. On the last mentioned date, the petitioners submitted representations before the R.T.A urging that their renewal applications should be taken up for consideration as the same had become ripe for hearing on account of the expiry of 30 days from the date of their publication in the official gazette and as no one had filed any objections in respect thereof. However, the R.T.A did not think it proper to consider the renewal applications of the petitioners in the meeting held on July 31, 1979 and August 1, 1979, as it was an adjourned meeting held for the purpose of considering the agenda for the meeting notified for July 3, 1979 and the petitioners' renewal applications were not included in the said agenda.

4. After the renewal applications of the petitioners became ripe for consideration, by a notification dated July 8, 1979 published in the Rajasthan Gazette dated August 2, 1979 it was notified that the said applications shall be taken up for consideration in the meeting of the R.T.A which was to be held on September 4, 1979. The petitioner, M/s Delux Roadways fearing that the renewal application may not be considered by the R.T.A in the aforesaid meeting, fixed for September 4, 1979 approached this court by means of a writ petition being S.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 1151/1979, which was decided on September 3, 1979. This Court issued a direction to the R.T.A, Bikaner to consider the application for the renewal of the petitioner's nontemporary stage carriage permit in its next meeting and ordered that unless there were good grounds for adjourning the said meeting the same should not be adjourned. In the meeting of the R.T.A held on 4/5th September, 1979 the R.T.A considered the matter relating to the renewal of the permits of the petitioners and granted renewal of their permits.

5. In the meanwhile, the Corporation submitted two applications for the grant of fresh nontemporary stage carriage permits on the route, which were sent for publication by the office of the R.T.A, vide notification dated. June 14, 1979 and the same were published in the Rajasthan Gazette dated July 5, 1979, inviting objections in respect thereof within a period of 30 days from the date of such publication. In the notification issued by the R.T.A on July 8, 1979 publishing the agenda of the meeting of the R.T.A fixed for September 4, 1979 besides the renewal applications of the petitioners the applications of the Corporation for grant of fresh permits on the route were also included with a note appended thereto that the said applications had been sent for publication separately. The R.T.A while granting the renewal of the nontemporary stage carriage permits to the petitioners by its resolution dated 4/5th September, 1979 held that the applications of the Corporation for grant of fresh stage carriage permits had not become ripe for consideration and, therefore, the aforesaid applications of the Corporation were not considered along with the renewal applications of the petitioners. Therefore, the Corporation filed an appeal before the State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Rajasthan, Jaipur (hereinafter referred to as 'the Tribunal') praying for the cancellation of the renewal of the permits of the petitioners and also for the grant of two stage carriage permits to the Corporation. The Corporation submitted one appeal, in which both M/s Delux Roadways and Naresh Bhargava, who was the predecessor in-interest of M/s Choudhary Roadways, were made parties. The Tribunal by its order dated May 21, 1980 allowed the appeal of the Corporation and granted two stage carriage persits to it, while the order of renewal of the permits, granted to the two petitioners by the R.T.A, was set aside. The petitioners feeling aggrieved against the aforesaid order passed by the Tribunal, have filed these writ petitions before this Court.

6. The first contention advanced by the learned Counsel appearing for the petitioners is that the applications of the petitioners for renewal of their permits on the route should have been taken up for consideration before the date of expiry of such permits and reliance has been placed upon the decision of their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Mohd. Ashfuq v. State Transport Appellate Tribunal, U.P. and Ors. : [1977]1SCR563 and the Charan Transport Co. Ltd., v. Kanan Lorry Service and Anr. : [1977]2SCR389 in support of their contention. In Mohd. Ashfaq's case : [1977]1SCR563 their Lordships were considering the question as to whether the delay in filing the application for renewal of permits could be condoned and whether the provisions of Section 5 of the Limitation Act could be made applicable to the provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 58 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') which requires that an application for renewal of a permit should be made not less than 120 days before the date of expiry of the permit. Their Lordships held that Sub-section (3) of Section 58 authorises the N.T.A to entertain an application for renewal of a permit even after the last date specified in the proviso to Sub-section (2) of Section 58, provided such application is made not more than 15 days after the said last day and the in view of the express provisions of subsections (3) of Section 58 regarding condonation of delay in making an application for renewal of a permit, the applicability of Section 5 of the Limitation Act in such matters is excluded. In this context, Bhagwati J., speaking for the Court, observed as under:

This provision may seem harsh, but it has been deliberately and advisedly made because the question of renewal of a permit obviously be decided before the expiration of the period of the permit and in view of the elaborate procedure set out in Section 57 for dealing with an application for renewal, and certain minimum period before the expiration of the period of the permit must be provided within which this procedure can be completed so that the renewal can, if at all, be granted well in time before the permit expires. If an application for renewal could be entertained even if made at any stage, it would dislocate the procedural machinery, set out in Section 57 and that is why the Legislature prescribed in Sub-section (3) of Section 58 that the delay in making an application for renewal may be condoned by the 'Regional Transport Authority only if it is of not more than 15 days.

In Charan Transport's case AIR 1977 Supreme Court 1564, their Lordships of the Supreme Court were considering the effect of publication of a draft scheme of nationalisation prior to the expiry of the permits of the existing operators. In that case, the State withdrew the draft scheme and thereafter republished the same after the expiry of the permits of the concerned operators. It was held by their Lordships that the permits of the existing operators should be renewed to the extent contemplated in the proviso to Section 68-F (ID). In the aforesaid case, their Lordships made the following observations:

If a permit holder whose permit is about to expire, diligently does, in the normal course, all that he need and all that he can, that is to say, apply for renewal before 120 days, in the manner laid down in Section 58 of the Act, he sets in motion the legal machinery for the grant of renewal which must ordinarily culminate in renewal within 120 days. The fact that a scheme is published before the actual grant of renewal will not intercept or extinguish the process of law set in motion by the application for renewal. In such conformity with the law it has to consider it and grant or reject according to merit. If, for reasons beyond the control of the applicant, the renewal process gets delayed or prolonged he cannot be penalised. Renewal is a legal process, not the final act.

In both the above mentioned cases, their Lodships have considered the purpose on account of which an application for renewal is required to be submitted at least 120 days before the date of expiry of the permit. The submission of an application for renewal sets into motion the legal machinery for the grant of renewal and the elaborate procedure prescribed in Section 58, for the consideration, of an application for renewal must ordinarily culminate in the decision of the renewal application within the prescribed period of 120 days The intention of the legislature in providing such a long period, before the expiration of the period of the permit, for making an application for renewal clearly is that the procedure set out in Section 58 may be completed within that period, so that the renewal, if it has to be granted, may be granted well in time before the date of expiry of the permit. However, in none of these cases, their Lordships were concerned with a situation as to what should happen if the R.T.A, of its own violation or on account of any inaction or delay in its part or on account of cricumstances beyond its control, is unable to dispose of the application for renewal before the date of expiry of the permit.

7. There can be no dispute with the general proposition that ordinarily an application for renewal should be disposed of within the period of 120 days of the filing of the application for renewal, so that if renewal is granted, it may take effect as soon as the permit expires. It is the bounden duty of the R.T.A to see that ordinarily the renewal applications are disposed of well within time, before the expiry of the permit. But if the renewal application is, for some reason or the other, not disposed of before the expiry of the permit and the renewal process is delayed or prolonged for reasons beyond the control of the applicant then the applicant should draw the attention of the Regional Transport Authority to the fact that the renewal application should be disposed of without further delay or he should approach this Court for issuing a Mandamus directing the R.T.A to dispose of the renewal application before the date of expiry of the permit or as soon as possible. Although the applicant, who had submitted an application for renewal within time, cannot be penalised, yet if the disposal of the renewal application is delayed or prolonged for reasons beyond his control, there is no provision in the Motor Vehicles Act, permitting an automatic renewal of the expired permit or providing for any other consequences on the failure of the R.T.A to dispose of the application for renewal before the date of expiry of the permit. Undoubtedly, a duty has been cast upon the R.T.A to act promptly after receiving the application for renewal, but I am unable to hold that if for some reason or the other, the renewal application is not disposed of before the date of the expiry of the permit, then the permit shall stand automatically renewed. Learned Counsel for the petitioner was also unable to point out any provision of law in this respect, nor he was able to submit that the renewal application should be automatically considered to have been allowed if the same is not considered before the expiry of the date of the permit. But the argument, which is pressed by the learned Counsel, is that in all such cases where consideration of the renewal application is delayed on account of reasons beyond the control of the applicant and if the R.T.A considers the renewal application even subsequently, then it should consider the same as if the same was considered on the date of the expiry of the permit. The result thereof would be that during the intervening period other persons, who may have applied for grant of permits and would have thereby acquired a right for simultaneous consideration of their applications for grant of fresh permits, would be excluded from consideration of their applications for fresh permits if the same become ripe for consideration after the date of the expiry of the permit. As I have already observed above, it cannot be denied that the law casts a duty upon the R.T.A concerned to decide applications for renewal before the date of the expiry of the permit and in Charan Transport's case (supra) their Lordships of the Supreme Court cleary expressed the view that the right of a person who had applied within time for renewal of his existing permit cannot be defeated on account of subsequent events and such a person cannot be penalised if the renewal process is delayed or prolonged for reasons beyond the control of the applicant. However, there is no warrant for the proposition expounded by the learned Counsel for the petitioners. If the renewal application, filed within the time provided in the proviso to Sub-section (2) of Section 58 of the Act, is not considered before the date of the expiry of the permit for no fault of the petitioners but on account of the default of the R.T.A or for other causes beyond the control of the applicant as well as the R.T.A, then it can only be said that such renewal application should be considered as soon as may be possible after the expiry of the permit. It is for the purposes of meeting such contingencies only, in which it is not possible for the R.T.A to decide the renewal application before the expiry of the permit or where renewal application is not decided by the R.T.A before the expiry of the permit, that provision has been made for the grant of a temporary permit under Section 62 of the Act. Sub-section (a)(d) of Section 62 specifically provides for the grant of a temporary permit for a period not exceeding four months, pending the decision of an application for renewal of a permit. If the law makers intended to make it imperative that in each and every case the R.T.A was bound to decide the renewal application before the expiry of the permit and in a case where the consideration of such renewal application was got delayed for any reason, then the R.T.A was required to consider the same in the circumstances which existed on the date of the expiry of the permit, then there would not have been a provision for grant of a temporary permit pending the decision of an application for renewal. The second proviso to Sub-section (1) of Section 62 further lays down that a temporary permit during the pendency of an application for renewal shall in no case be granted more than once. This provision shows that a temporary permit can be granted once for a period of four months. Thus, it appears that the legislature envisaged that ordinarily an application for renewal, should be disposed of before the expiry of the permit, but in case it is not possible to do so for any reason then such renewal application must be disposed of within four months of the expiry of the permit and in order that no inconvenience may be caused to the permit holder in such circumstances on account of the expiry of his permit, Section 62(1)(d) contemplates the granting of a temporary permit for a period of four months, during the pendency of the renewal application. Moreover, Sub-section (4) of Section 58, which provides that the renewal of a permit shall take effect from the date of its expiry, irrespective of whether or not a temporary permit has been granted under Clause (d) of Section 62 also leads to the same conclusion. It is pertinent to point out that Sub-section (4) of Section 58 specifically lays down 'where a permit has been renewed under this section after the expiry of the period thereof.' Thus, the legislature, while enacting Sub-section (4) of Section 58, envisaged soon contingencies in which a permit may not be renewed before the expiry of its period. It is clear that such a course is not prohibited by law that if it is not possible for some reason or the other to dispose of the renewal application before the expiry of the period of the permit, then such application may be disposed of even thereafter and in that event the renewal shall become effective from the date of the expiry of the permit. Thus, the provisions of Section 62(1)(d) and Section 58(4) together go to show that an application for renewal can be considered and disposed of even after the date of the expiry of the permit, and it is not obligatory upon the R.T.A in each and every case to dispose of the renewal application before the date of the expiry of the permit. Of course, it must at once be observed that normally the R.T.A should dispose of the application for renewal before the expiry of the permit. But if for any reason it has not been possible for it to do so, then the application for renewal should be disposed of by the R.T.A at the earliest possible opportunity. However, the contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioners that the subsequent consideration of the application for renewal should be made as if the said application was considered on the date of the expiry of the permit cannot be accepted because there is no basis for such an argument, nor the statute makes any provision in Section 58 or elsewhere.

8. In the instant case, the argument of the learned Counsel is not even plausible. The applications of the petitioners for renewal of their permits were published in the official gazette dated May 10, 1979 and objections were invited in respect thereof within a period of 30 days. The applications could not be included in the agenda published by the R.T.A in the Gazette dated May 31 1979 for the meeting held on July 3, 1979 and as such the application for renewal could not be considered in the meeting of 3rd July, or in the adjourned meeting held on August 1, 1979. Thereafter, the R.T.A. did not hold any other meeting in the month of August 1979 and the first meeting of the R.T.A thereafter was held on September 4, 1979 and the applications of the petitioners for renewal were placed for consideration in that meeting. They were also included in the agenda for the said meeting, which was published in the Gazette dated August 2, 1979. Thus, it is clear that the applications for the renewal of the permits of the petitioners though could not be disposed of within the period of 120 days, yet they were fixed for consideration in the very first meeting of the R.T.A held after the expiry of the period of such permits. Even if the argument of the learned Counsel for the petitioners could have been accepted, then their applications for renewal which were considered in the meeting held on September 4/5, 1979 could at least be considered as if on August 12, 1979. But by then, the applications of the Corporation had also become ripe for consideration and as such the Corporation was entitled to demand a simultaneous consideration of its applications for grant of fresh permits along with the applications of the petitioners for renewal of their permits. Thus, no change in the circumstances had occurred and it is immaterial as to whether the applications of the petitioners for renewal would have been considered on August 12, 1979 or September 4, 1979 and no prejudice was caused to the petitioners on this account.

9. The next contention of the learned Counsel is that the applications of the Corporation were not ripe for consideration and as such they could not have been simultaneously considered along with the renewal applications of the petitioners. This argument has no force, as the applications of the Corporation for grant of fresh permits were published in the Gazette dated July 5, 1979, and objections were invited in respect thereof within a period of 30 days. These applications were, however, included in the agenda issued on July 8, 1979 and which was published on August 2, 1979 for the meeting of the R.T.A which was held on September 4, 1979. Under Section 57(3) of the Act, a combined notification publishing the substance of the application for grant of a permit as also the notice of the date, time and place at which such application or any representation received in respect thereof would be considered could have been lawfully published. The only constraint in this respect, laid down in Section 57(3) is that a period of not less than 30 days should be allowed to elapse from the date of publication of such notification, before such application is taken up for consideration in the meeting of the R.T.A. If, instead of a joint notification, two separate notifications were issued, as in the instant case, then the provisions of Section 57(3) were not violated. The applications of the Corporation as well as the renewal applications of the petitioners were notified in the same agenda published in the Gazette dated August 2, 1979 for consideration and a period of 30 days had intervened before all these applications were considered by the R.T.A in Its meeting held on 4/5th September, 1979. The argument of the learned Counsel is that in the notification Ex. 6 the applications of the Corporation were shown as 'Prakashadhaem' although they had not been published till then. It is immaterial as the description given in the notification was sufficient to identify the applications for grant of fresh permits submitted by the Corporation. It is settled law that all ripe applications for permits on the same route should be considered together whether they may be for fresh grant of permits or may be tor renew of existing permits.

10. The argument which prevailed with the R.T.A was that the appications of the Corporation were not ripe at the time when the agenda for the meeting held on September 4, 1979 was sent for publication. That may be one, but it could not invalidate the notification published on. August 2, 1979, as it was mentioned therein that the applications of the Corporation were under publication. Of course, they could have been considered only if they had become ripe for consideration, i.e., 30 days period from the date of the publication of the substance of the applications had elapsed, during which other persons could have tiled their representations. The cases of this Court in Shivcharan Lal v. Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur 1968 RLW 461 and Lallu Narain v. The Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur and Ors. ILR (1970) 20 Rajasthan 16 laid down that a person, whose application is not ripe for hearing at the time when the agenda for the meeting of the R.T.A is sent for publication, cannot claim a right of simultaneous consideration along with the persons whose applications are included in such agenda. But the aforesaid cases do not lay down that an application which is ripe can be refused consideration merely on the ground that it was not ripe when the agenda was sent for publication, even if the said application was included in the agenda. If the applications of the Corporation in the instant case would not have been included in the agenda which was published on August 2, 1979 for the meeting of the R.T.A held on September 4, 1979 then certainly the Corporation could not have complained regarding the noninclusion of its application nor if could have claimed simultaneous consideration of its applications for grant, of fresh permits. But once the applications of the Corporation were included in the agenda, which was published on August 2, 1979, the requirement of Section 57(3) was complied with which is only to the extent that such applications Should be considered at least 30 days after the date of the publication of the agenda and the application or its substance. I am, therefore, unable to agree with this submission of the learned Counsel that the applications of the Corporation for grant of fresh permits were not ripe for consideration.

11. The next argument was that circumstances which existed on the date of the grant of permits by the R.T.A should be decisive in the matter and the Tribunal should not have looked into the subsequent events or the circumstances which came later into existence, at the time of hearing of the appeal; Learned Counsel argued that merely because at the time of hearing of the appeal by the Tribunal, the Corporation offered to employ 1979 model vehicles, the Tribunal could not give preference to the Corporation, because that circumstance only came into existence at the appellate stage and was not present at the time when the application for the grant of permits or the renewal applications were considered by the original authority. If may be 'pointed out in this connection that the R.T.A did not reject the applications of the Corporation on the ground that the Corporation was inferior in merits as compared with the petitioners, but the R.T.A had refused to consider the merits of the Corportion for grant of fresh permits on the alleged ground that the applications of the Corporation were not ripe for consideration. A perusal of the resolution of the R.T.A itself shows that the Corporation had offered Vehicles of 1979 model even before the R.T.A, for being plied on the route. The Tribunal, therefore, did not take into consideration any new circumstance, which might not have been present at the time of the consideration of the matter by the original authority. The R.T.A. had rejected the claim of the Corporation not on merits but on the simple ground that the applications of the Corporation were not ripe for consideration and on the inference that this Court, in the earlier writ petition, had directed that 'only' the renewal applications of the petitioners should be considered. The R.T.A was certainly labouring under a grave misconception in thinking that this Court, while deciding the earlier writ petition No. 1151 of 1979, had held that 'only' the renewal applications of the petitioners should be taken up for consideration and the applications of the Corporation for grant of fresh permits should not be considered along with the petitioners' renewal applications. What this Court directed, while deciding the earlier writ petition, was that the petitioners' renewal applications should be decided in the meeting of the R.T.A scheduled to take place on September 4, 1979 and their consideration should not be postponed. There was no direction by this court that the applications of the Corporation for grant of fresh permits should not be considered simultaneously along with the renewal applications of the petitioners, even if the Corporation's applications were ripe for hearing. As I have already held above that the applications of the Corporation were ripe for hearing on September 4, 1979 and the R.T.A was labouring under a misconception that the Corporation's applications for grant of fresh permits should not be considered. Because of this reason the merits of the Corporation were not at all adverted to by the R.T.A. although in the order of the R.T.A dated 4/5 September, 1979 it had been mentioned that the Corporation had offered to ply vehicles of 1979 model on the route. As the petitioners were plying earlier model vehicles while the Corporation had offered to ply vehicles of 1979 model, the Tribunal gave preference to the Corporation granting fresh permits to it and rejecting the renewal applications of the petitioners. Thus, it is apparent that the Tribunal did not take into consideration any subsequent circumstance, which did not exist at the time when the matter was considered by the original authority.

12. Then it was argued by the learned Counsel for the petitioners that the amendment of the provisions of Section 47 by the insertion of Sub-section (IN) has been considered by the Tribunal but it has failed to apply the proviso appended thereto. Sub-section (IN) of Section 47 runs as under:

(IN) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, an application for a stage carriage permit from a State Transport Undertaking for operating in any inter-state route shall be given preference over all other applications:

Provided that the authority shall riot grant a permit under this Sub-section unless it is satisfied that the State Transport Undertaking would be able to operate in the inter-State route without detriment to its responsibility for providing efficient and adequate road transport service in any notified, area or notified route as is referred to in Sub-section. (3) of section; 68D where the undertaking operates the service.

13. The Tribunal has considered the argument of the petitioners in this respect and has held that it was satisfied that the State Transport Undertaking, namely, the Corporation would be able to operate on the inter-State route without detriment to its responsibility for providing road transport service on the notified routes, where the Corporation was already operating its services. The Tribunal took note of the fact that the Corporation had furnished the registration number of the vehicles which it was going to ply on the route, in case permits were granted to it and that they were brand new vehicles of 1979 model, which were not withdrawn from any notified route over which the Corporation was presently providing transport services. It was specifically averred on behalf of the Corporation before the Tribunal that the two vehicles, which the Corporation had intended to ply on the route, were RSB 1453 and RSB 1454 and that they were not covered by any other permit so far. Thus, the requirement of the proviso was duly considered by the Tribunal and a finding was recorded by the Tribunal in this respect, which could not be interfered with by this Court in writ proceedings.

14. Moreover, the Rajasthan amendment of the Motor Vehicles Act regarding Section 58 also provides for giving preference to the State Transport Undertaking over applications for renewal from an individual or cooperative society. Sub-section (2) of Section 58, as amended by the Rajasthan Act, is as under:

(2) A permit may be renewed on an application made and disposed of as if it were an application for a permit:

Provided that the application for renewal of a permit shall be made:

(a) in the case of a stage carriage permit or a public carrier's permit, not less than one hundred and twenty days before the date of its expiry, and

(b) in any other case, not less than sixty days before the date of its expiry:

Provided further that, other conditions being equal, an application for renewal shall be given preference over new applications for permits.

Provided further that, other conditions being equal, an application for a stage carriage permit by a State Transport Undertaking, as defined in Section 68A, shall be given preference over applications from individual owners and co-operative societies.

15. Thus, an application for renewal is ordinarily to be given preference over grant of new permits. But the second proviso to Sub-section (2)(b) of Section 58 as added in Rajasthan, enjoins that preference should be given to the State Transport Undertaking for grant of a permit to it over the applications for renewal by individuals and cooperative societies. Thus, the Corporation was rightly allowed preference by the Tribunal over the petitioners, as envisaged the second proviso.

16. It was also argued by the learned Counsel that the R.T.A had deliberately delayed the consideration of the applications of the petitioners. But as I have already pointed out above, there does not appear to me any malafide action on the part of the R.T.A or a deliberate act by which the consideration of the renewal applications, of the petitioners was knowingly delayed. As already noticed above, the renewal applications of the petitioners, which were published in the Gazette dated May 10, 1979 became ripe for consideration on the expiry of 30 days therefrom, on June 10, 1979. As such applications were not ripe for consideration, when the agenda for the meeting fixed for July 3, 1979 was sent for publication on May 30, 1979 even when the same was published on May 31, 1979, the only logical course open to the R.T.A was to consider the renewal applications of the petitioners in its next meeting held on September 4, 1979. It is another thing that the meeting scheduled to take place on July 3, 1979 was adjourned to July 31, 1979 and then to 1st August, 1979, but the agenda for the adjourned meeting remained the same. If the petitioners were anxious that their applications for renewal should be considered in the meeting of the R.T.A dated July 3, 1979 they should have approached the R.T.A soon-after the agenda for such meeting was published in the Gazette on May 31, 1979. No explanation has been furnished why the petitioners did not approach the R.T.A between May 31, 1979 and May 26, 1979, when they filed the first representation. If the petitioners would have approached the R.T.A at the proper time, then it might have included the renewal applications of the petitioners for consideration in the meeting dated July 3, 1979 by issuing a supplementary agenda. In the aforesaid circumstances. I am unable to hold that the R.T.A had deliberately delayed the consideration of the renewal applications of the petitioners.

17. It was lastly argued by the learned Counsel that the Tribunal could not have granted two permits to the Corporation although only one appeal was filed before it. Learned Counsel contended that as the Corporation has filed two applications for grant of fresh permits before the R.T.A and both of which were rejected, two separate appeals should have been preferred by the Corporation before the Tribunal. It is no doubt true that normally the Corporation should have preferred two separate appeals in respect of the rejection of its two applications for grant of fresh permits on the route by the R.T.A. But as there is no specific provision in the Rules in this respect, even if one appeal was preferred by the Corporation in which it was prayed the grant of renewal of the permits of the two petitioners be set aside and two fresh permits may be granted to the Corporation the same may be termed as a mere irregularity. The only ground, which the learned Counsel urged was that separate court fees should have been paid in respect of two appeals. Tribunal has held that neither the provisions of Section 64(a) nor those of Rule 168 have been violated. In my view, it would have been desirable if the Corporation would have preferred two separate appeals in respect of the rejection of its two applications by the R.T.A, but it cannot be said that any prejudice had been caused to the petitioners on account of the Corporation preferring one appeal containing a joint prayer for two permits. So far as the matter of court fees is concerned, it was for the State to take care of fiscal matters and the petitioners cannot be said to be affected or prejudiced on account of non-payment of court fees or short-payment of court-fees by the Corporation, in the absence of any statutory provision, it would not be proper to set aside the order of the Tribunal only on this technical ground that two separate appeals were not preferred. I must, however, emphasise that ordinarily separate appeals should be preferred in such matters, because each application for grant of a permit constitutes a separate, case and on the rejection thereof a separate appeal should normally be preferred. But because no prejudice has been caused to the petitioners on account of this irregularity in procedural matter and there is no express violation of any provision of law, I do not find any justification for interfering with the order passed by the Tribunal.

18. In the result, both the writ petitions are dismissed and the order passed by the State Transport Tribunal, Rajasthan, granting two fresh non-temporary state carriage permits to the Corporation is upheld. The parties are, however, left to bear their own costs.


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