1. The petitioner and the first respondent are engaged in the business of transport service, operating motor buses, or stage carriages in the par lance of the Motor Vehicles Act, in and around Chingleput Dt. The first respondent is a limited company holding two stage carriage permits on the route Madras to Kancheepuram. In respect of two of its buses on that route it applied for an extension of that route to a place in North Arcot Dt. called Nemili. The application was made to the Regional Transport authority, Chingleput, and it purported to be an application for variation of the route Madras-Kancheepuram as Madras-Kancheepuram-Nemili. In other words, the applicant-operator desired to shift the terminus of Kancheepuram to Nemili-a place which is at a distance of 15 miles from Kancheepuram. The application was duly notified by the transport authority Under Section 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act, hereinafter referred to as the Act, and objections were made by various persons, including the petitioner.
It appears that the authority was inclined to take the view that the variation asked for should not be granted and that the proposal should be dropped. The order to this effect passed by the Regional Transport authority was as follows:
'This Regional Transport authority while it agrees that Kancheepuram should be connected to Nemili, which is in North Arcot Dt. limits, and which is also a Panchayat Union headquarters, does not agree with this proposal, because Nemili will not be a better terminus than Kancheepuram. The variation is also large, viz., 15 miles. This Regional transport authority will therefore bring a. proposal to open a new route Kancheepuram to Nemili. The proposal is dropped.'
There was a further notification Under Section 57(3) of the Act of the respondent's application and again objections were preferred by the petitioner amongst other. The objectors submitted that there was no necessity to grant the variation as direct transport facilities were available for passengers between Madras and Nemili, that the area in respect of which the extension of service was sought was already well served by buses running between Madras and Sholinghur and that it would not be in public interest to add more buses on the route.
We may mention that these objections are of a familiar type raised by operators in opposition to applications for variation of route preferred by another rival operator. The Regional Transport authority consistent with its earlier order held that no variation was called for and accordingly rejected the application. The first respondent filed an appeal from this decision of the Regional Transport authority to the State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Madras. The petitioner who no doubt objected to the grant of the variation before the first authority, failed to participate in the hearing of the appeal by the tribunal. The Tribunal considered the question in the light of the contentions put forward by the first respondent and reached the conclusion that the application should be granted as in its view it would be conducive to public interests. It is this order of the tribunal which is now challenged before us under Article 226 of the Constitution. The petitioner prays for the issue of a writ of certiorari to quash the order of the Tribunal mainly on the ground that the route was not a condition of the permit and a variation thereof would fall outside the limits of the power of the Regional Transport authority which extends only to, so the argument runs, matters relating to conditions of permit.
2. The writ petition was heard by Veeraswami, J. in the first instance. A decision of a Bench of this Court in W. A. No. 15 of 1962 (since reported in ILR (1963) Mad 627), Kuppuswamy v. Ramachandran, was cited before the learned Judge by the petitioner in support of the contention that the regional Transport authority had no jurisdiction in the matter. The learned Judge was not inclined to agree with the view taken by the Division Bench and he thought it desirable that the question should be decided by a Full Bench. In making the reference, the learned Judge observed as follows:
'But that, to my mind, does not mean that, having regard to the other provisions, there can be no other condition in a permit, as for instance, a route Under Section 48(2). If a route is not condition of a permit, I do not see how Section 42 can be enforced read with Section 123. Sub-section (8) of Section 57 itself visualises a route being a condition of a permit. It is on that basis, the sub-section speaks of an application to vary the conditions of a permit by the inclusion of a new route. Variation involving omission of a part of a route for which a permit has already been issued is another matter with which, or course, the writ appeal (15 of 1962) was directly concerned.'
It is true that in W. A. No. 15 of 1962, (Since reported in ILR (1963) Mad 627) the variation that was asked for by the operator in that case involved a curtailment of the existing route and an extension or addition to the original route. The view taken by the Division Bench was that the Regional transport authority had no power to effect an alteration of a route as the route is not a mere condition attached to the permit in pursuance of the relevant provisions of the Act. which we shall refer to immediately. This writ petition thereafter came up before a Division Bench consisting of my Lord, the Chief Justice and Ramamurti, J. and it has been placed before a Full Bench as the correctness of a previous decision of a Bench of this Court was called in question.
3. The only question that calls for decision is whether the Regional Transport authority. Chingleput, was competent to grant an application for the variation of the route Madras-Kancheepuram as Madras-Kancheepuram-Nemili. The authority no doubt dismissed the application. But the State Transport Appellate Tribunal has granted it and in so granting has really exercised the jurisdiction of the Regional Transport Authority. If it were to be held that the application was within the scope of the jurisdiction of the transport authorities, this writ petition must fail as it is fairly clear and a well accepted position, that this Court would not go into the question whether the variation was properly granted or not having regard to the interests of the public, within its limited jurisdiction under Article 226. A writ would lie to set right errors of law, manifest on the record, and to correct errors of jurisdiction, to keep the subordinate tribunals within the bounds of the authority. It cannot be availed of to interfere with errors of fact simplicitor. However wide the language of the Constitutional provisions, the view that the controlling or supervisory jurisdiction in Article 226 or Article 227 is species of appellate power has not so far been upheld. If, however, we were to reach the contrary conclusion, and hold that the application was incompetent being outside the purview of the Regional authority the order of the State Transport Appellate Tribunal should inevitably be quashed.
4. At the very outset, we have to pose ourselves the question what is the route of a stage carriage in. the context of the Act. A stage carriage is defined in Section 2 clause (29) as follows:
' 'Stage carriage' means a motor vehicle carrying or adapted to carry more than six persons excluding the driver which carries passengers for hire or reward at separate fares paid by or for individual passengers, either for the whole journey or for stages of the journey.'
The Act does not define a 'route'. Permit is defined as
'the document issued by ......... the 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 a public carrier to use such vehicle.'
Necessarily, therefore, we must have regard to the meaning of the word 'route' as given in dictionaries. Route means 'a course or way which is travelled or to be followed', 'way taken in getting from starting point to destination'; 'A way, course that is or may be traversed.' A route is inherent in every stage carriage permit. The permit is granted in respect of a stage carriage to authorise its user from one place to another. The authority does not, merely fix the two termini, the starting point and the destination. It prescribes the course which the bus has to take in its journey from one place to the other. The prescribed course of journey of a stage carriage is the route. The major and an essential content of the permit is the route. It is something definite, and is marked and ordained by the transport authority. The word variation has also to be understood only in its ordinary meaning. Variation means a departure from the former or a normal condition or from a standard or type. Any deflection of the route whether it be by way of curtailment and engrafting of another area of whether it be a mere extension of the pre-existing route by a few miles, or whether it be by way of a change of the two termini, would amount to a variation. A variation of a route is not the less so because of the change being on a small scale. For example, if an operator plying on the route Madras to Chingleput desires an extension of this route to Madurantakam and another operator on the same route desires to have the route extended upto Nagarcoil, they are both aspiring only for variation of the route. If it is competent for the Regional Transport authority to grant a variation upto Madurnatakam, it must equally be competent to grant the variation upto Nagarcoil. The problem now before us is therefore whether the provisions in the statute, viz., the Motor Vehicles Act would warrant any alteration, change or deflection of the route in respect of a stage carriage permit by purporting to add to or vary the conditions of the permit.
5. We shall now examine the relevant provisions of the Act. The present Act which is applicable to the case is the Act as it stands after the amendment by the Central Act 100 of 1956. When we are referring to the Act, we are only referring to the amended Act. Section 42 of the Act 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 by a Regional transport authority. The State Government has got power to issue such orders and directions of a general character, as it may consider necessary in respect of any matter relating to road transport, to the Regional transport authority. The State Government may direct any Regional Transport authority to open a new route or to extend an existing route or to permit additional stage carriages to be put or to reduce the number of stage carriages on any specified route. An application for a permit in respect of a service of stage carriages should specify the route or routes or the area or areas to which the application relates. The Regional transport authority should have regard to the interests of the public generally, to the adequacy of other transport services operating or likely to operate between the places to be served, the benefit of any particular locality likely to be afforded by the service and the condition of the roads in the proposed route in considering an application for a stage carriage permit.
The authority is bound to take into consideration any representations that may be made by, persons already providing passenger transport facilities along or near the proposed route or the area and also the representations of the local authority or police authority within whose jurisdiction any part of the proposed route or area lies. The power to grant a stage carriage permit is contained in Section 48 of the Act and that is important. It reads as follows:
'(1) Subject to the provisions of Section 47, a Regional Transport authority may, on an application made to it Under Section 46, grant a stage carriage permit in accordance with the application or with such modifications as it deems fit or refuse to grant such a permit;
Provided that no such permit shall be granted in respect of any route or area not specified in the application.
(2) Every stage carriage permit shall be expressed to be valid only for a specified route or routes or for a specified area.
(3) The Regional Transport authority, if it decides t0 grant a stage carriage permit, may grant the permit for a service of stage carriages of a specified description or for one or more particular stage carriages, and may, subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, attach to the permit any one or more of the following conditions, namely:
(clauses (i) to (xx) are omitted as they are not relevant for the decision of this present issue).
(xxi) that the Regional Transport authority, may, after giving notice of not less than one month-(a) vary the conditions of the permit; (b) attach to the permit further conditions;' (clauses (xxii) and (xxiii) are omitted).
Pausing here, we might observe that not one of the enumerated conditions contained incla, uses (i) to (xxiii) makes any reference to the route. Clause (xxi) provides that one of the conditions of the permit may be that the Regional Transport authority would be entitled to vary the conditions contained in the permit after giving due notice to the operator. Section 48 sub-section (2) however categorically provides that every stage carriage permit shall be expressed to be valid only for a specified route. Section 51 of the Act relates to grant of contract carriage permits. That provides that the Regional Transport authority if it decides to grant a contract carriage permit, may attach to the permit any one or more of the several conditions mentioned one such condition being that the vehicle or vehicles shall' be used only in a specified area or on a specified route or routes. The authority may also include as one of the conditions of the permit that after giving notice of not less than one month it may vary the conditions of the permit. Significantly enough, the statute provides that one of the conditions of a contract carriage permit would be that the vehicle should be used in a specified area or route. Similarly, Section 56 which deals with grant of public carrier permits provides that the Regional Transport authority may, if it decides to grant a public carrier's permit, grant the permit for one or more goods vehicles of a specified description and attach to the permit the condition that the vehicle or vehicles shall be used only in a specified area or on a specified route or routes. A mere comparison of the provisions relating to the grant of permit of a stage carriage, contract carriage and a public carrier reveals that while in respect of a stage carriage permit, the route is not a condition of the permit, in respect of the other two types of vehicles, contract carriage and public carrier, the route is one of the conditions of the permit.
6. Two more provisions of the Act may be referred to, though they have no direct bearing as regards the question whether the route is a condition of a stage carriage permit. Section 59(3) enacts that certain conditions specified in clauses (a) to (f) of that sub-section shall be condition of every permit. These conditions do not actually relate to the route to be operated upon. One of the conditions is that the vehicle shall not be driven at a speed exceeding the limit fixed under the Act. Another is that any prohibition or restriction imposed and any maximum or minimum fares or freights fixed by modification should be observed. It is sufficient to point out that the Act lays down certain conditions relating to permit some of which are merely directory and others mandatory. Section 48(3) enacts that certain conditions may at the option of the authority be included and incorporated as conditions in the permit. There is no duty cast upon such authority to include the conditions mentioned in Section 48(3) in the permit. How many of the conditions should be attached to the permit would be a matter of discretion for the authority. But the provisions of Section 59(3) are mandatory. The statutory conditions mentioned therein operate proprio vigore and the authority has no power to relax permits from the operation of such conditions.
Section 60 of the Act enables the transport authority to cancel or suspend a permit on the breach of any conditions specified in sub-section (3) of Section 59 or of any condition contained in the permit fixed presumably Under Section 48(3). A permit is liable to be cancelled or suspended if the holder uses or causes or allows a vehicle to be used in any manner not authorised by the permit. This as a penal provision intended to check the operators for misusing the permit and to make them conform to the conditions under which the permit is granted. Section 60, sub-section (1) clauses (a) and (b) reads:
'Section 60 (1). The Transport authority which granted a permit may cancel the permit or may suspend it for such period as it thinks fit-(a) on the breach of any condition specified in subsection (3) of Section 59, or of any condition contained in the permit, or (b) if the bolder of the permit uses or causes or allows a vehicle to be used in any manner not authorised by the permit, or......'
Taking Section 60 (1) (a) or (b), there is nothing to indicate that a route is a condition of a stage carriage permit. To assume from the generality of the language 'any condition specified in the permit' that a route is a condition as regards a stage carriage permit would be merely begging the question. If the permit is granted only for a particular route or area its use in another route 01 area would be unauthorised.
Reference may also be made to Section 123(1) and Section 129-A of the Act.
'Section 123(1). Whoever drives a motor vehicle or causes or allows a motor vehicle to be used in contravention of the provisions of Section 22 or without the permit required by sub-section (1) of Section 42 or in contravention of any condition of such permit relating to the route on which or the area in which or the purpose for which the vehicle may be used, shall be punishable for a first offence with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.........'
'129-A. Any police officer authorised in this behalf or other person authorised in this behalf by the State Government may, if he has reason to believe that a motor vehicle has been or is being used in contravention of the provisions of Section 22 or without the permit required by subsection (1) of Section 42 or in contravention of any condition of such permit relating to the route on which or the area in which or the purpose for which the vehicle may be used, seize, and detain the vehicle.........'
These provisions, Section 123(1) and Section 129-A also do not, in our opinion, import the idea of route beings a condition of permit. It would be plain misreading of the section to derive that meaning from it. We see no substance in the contention that the machinery of vigilance and control created by the statute on stage carriage operators will break down by not recognising the route as a condition of the permit qua stage carriages. Such a view seems to be needlessly alarming and more imaginary than real. If a stage carriage operator plies the vehicle outside the limits of the route he comes within the mischief of operating the vehicle without a permit. The words to be marked in Section 123(1) and Section 129-A are 'without the permit required by sub-section (1) of Section 42'. In fact these sections make it clear that permit is one thing and the conditions imposed constitute a different thing.
7. There is intrinsic evidence in the provisions of the Act themselves to show that the legislature intended not to make the route a condition of a stage carriage permit. The marked distinction between the content of a stage carriage permit and the content of the permits of a contract carriage and a public carrier indicates in a fair measure the legislative mind. The phraseology of Section 48 is in our opinion quite explicit and leaves no room for doubt that the route is not a condition of the permit. None of the enumerated conditions in Section 48(3) refer to the route. The object and purpose of Section 48 sub-section (2) would seem to be to dispel any misapprehension in the matter. That provision emphasises that the route is part of the permit itself and not its mere appendage. It seems to us that as regards the stage carriage permit the route is of its essence and a permit without a route would be a mere husk without grain.
8. We shall now refer to the provisions of the Act relating to stage carriage permit as they stood prior to the amendment by the Central Act 100 of 1956. The old Section 48 was in these terms:
'A Regional Transport authority may, after consideration of the matters set forth in sub-section (1) of Section 47-(a) limit the number of stage carriages or stage carriages of any specified type for which stage carriage permits may be granted in the region or in any specified area or on any specified route within the region; (b) issue a stage carriage permit in respect of a particular stage carriage or a particular service of stage carriages; (c) regulate timings of arrival or departure of stage carriages whether they belong to a single or more owners; or (d) attach to a stage carriage permit any prescribed condition or any one or more of the following conditions, namely-(i) that the service specified in the permit shall be commenced not later than a specified date and be continued for a specified period; (ii) that the service may be varied only in accordance with special conditions; (ii-a) that the stage carriage or stage carriages shall be used only on specified routes or in a specified area;' (clauses (iii) to (vi) omitted).
This provision is so clear that it cannot be misread. One of the conditions of the permit which the Transport authority was empowered to attach to a stage carriage permit was, certainly, that the carriage shall be used on specified routes or in a specified area. Section 48-A which was placed upon the statute book by an amendment of Madras Legislature (Madras Act 30 of 1948) reads:
'Any conditions attached to a stage carriage permit in pursuance of clause (d) of Section 48 may, at any time, be varied, cancelled or added to by the State authority, provided that this power shall not be exercised to the prejudice of the holder of the permit without giving not less than 3 months' notice to him.'
Reading Section 48 and Section 48-A together it is obvious that not merely the route was a condition of a stage carriage permit but also that the authority which granted the permit could vary, cancel or add to the route. Rule 2o8(a) prescribed the procedure for granting the variation. That rule was as follows;
'Upon application made in writing by the holder of any permit, the transport authority may, at any time, in its discretion, vary the permit or any of the conditions thereof subject to the provisions of Sub-rule (b).
(b) If the application is for the variation of the permit by the inclusion of an additional vehicle or vehicles or if the grant of variation would authorise transport facilities materially different from those authorised by the original permit the Transport authority shall deal with the application as if it were an application for a permit.'
It is very curious that even after the amendment by the Centre in 1956, the Madras amendment Under Section 48-A still retains its original form. Except for the fact that the word 'State authority' has been substituted for 'provincial authority' all the other parts of the provision remain unchanged. This has led to some argument to which we shall advert to a little later. There can however be no question that the old Section 48(d) (ii) (a) no longer subsists, and instead the Parliament has introduced Section 48. sub-section (2), as it now stands. That there has been a departure from the provisions of the old Act cannot admit of any serious doubt. We have therefore to ascertain the intention of the Parliament and the object sought to be achieved by it by reason of the new structure of the present provision of Section 48.
9. A legislative amendment of an enactment' using a different phraseology from what is contained in the old Act naturally gives room to the inference that the law was intended to be changed. The rule is thus stated by Crawford in his book 'On Statutory Constructions' at page 618:
'A change in the phraseology creates a presumption that the legislature intended a change of meaning. Indeed, the mere fact that the legislature enacts an amendment is of itself an indication of an intention, as a general rule, to alter the pre-existing law.'
Whether a change of language in an amended Act departing from the previous unlamented Act is intended to effect an alteration of the law does not, in our opinion, depend upon any presumption one way or the other, though it would be a sound rule of construction to hold that the change cannot be disregarded as a mere freak of the legislature. In Dickinson v. Fletcher, (1873) 9 CP 1, Bret, J. stated that when two statutes dealing with the same subject-matter use different language, it is generally a fair presumption that the alteration in the language used in the subsequent statute was intentional. But as the Judicial Committee said in Casement v. Fulton, (1845) 5 Moo PC 130, there are many . instances to be found of the legislature departing from language previously used for the purpose of conveying a certain meaning without intending to depart from that meaning. Cases of either description, those in which the legislature was imputed with the design of enacting a different measure by adopting a different language from that previously employed and those in which the law was held to be the same before and after amendment in spite of dissimilar words abound in the Law Reports and the task of analysing them and evolving a settled rule of construction would be well nigh impossible.
It may however be stated that if the phraseology past and present is strikingly dissimilar and the requirements of the language demand a change of meaning, and the sense of the section requires it, the Court must give effect to it. (See Lord Howard v. I. R. C, 1948 2 All E. R. 825)
'When an amending Act alters the language of the principal statute, the alteration must be taken to have been made deliberately. D. R. Fraser and Co., Ltd. v. Minister of National Revenue, 1949 AC 24 (PC).
In the words of Cockburn, C. J., in R. v. Price, (1870) 6 QB 411,
'When the legislature in legislating in pari materia and substituting certain provisions for those which existed in an earlier statute, has entirely changed the language of the enactment, it must be taken to have done so with some intention and motive.'
10. In Halsbury the rule is seated thus (Vol. 36, Simonds Edn. page 406) :
'The distinction to be drawn between statutes which codify and those which consolidate the law, is that in construing the latter there is a presumption that the law was not intended to be altered even if the words used are not identical; but this presumption must yield to plain words to the contrary. Where statutes are replaced by others which consolidate them with amendments, however, the same rules do not apply............'
It is not necessary that before a change of law is attributed to an amendment, the doctrine of 'advancing the remedy and suppressing the evil' should be resorted to. To speculate upon the objects and purposes of an amending enactment is not the province of Court. If the amendment makes it indubitably clear that a change of law has resulted, it would not be proper for the Court not to give effect to it on some suppositional reasoning. By so doing the Court will be stepping out of its jurisdiction.
11. A comparison of the material provision in the old Act with that in the present Act, that is Section 48, discloses a striking dissimilarity in the two provisions. The structure of the old provision has been departed from in a manner which is so unmistakable that it cannot remain unnoticed. In our opinion the alteration is not merely verbal and has not been indulged in by Parliament to improve the diction. Indeed, the change is profound and it would be to miss the obvious if we were to hold that despite all the changes the Parliament still intended that there should be no alteration in the substance of the legislation. We are inclined to take the view that the Parliament deliberately, without using the expression in any sinister sense, intended to bring about an alteration of the law and wanted to lay down that so far as the stage carriage permits are concerned routes would not be a mere condition or a string attached to the permit.
12. The learned Advocate-General appearing for the first respondent contended relying upon the provisions of Section 48-A (the Madras amendment) that so far as the Madras State is concerned, notwithstanding the provisions of the present Section 48, a route should be held to be a condition of the permit. This section provides that conditions attached to a stage carriage permit in pursuance of clause (d) may at any time be varied, cancelled or added to by the Transport authority. Clause (d) itself has disappeared and along with it clause (d) (ii) (a) has also ceased to exist. But for Section 48 (d) (ii) (a) the contention that the route was a condition of a permit would not have been open even under the old Act. It is true that conditions of a permit can yet, even under the present Act, be varied, cancelled or added to by the Transport authority by virtue of Section 48-A. But this provision cannot have the effect of retaining what has ceased to be a condition as a condition merely because the State legislature has not been quick in its pace to follow the footsteps of the amendment in Central Act, 100 of 1956.
Further, having regard to Section 8 of the General Clauses Act (Central Act of 1897) it is clear that the power given to the State authority to vary conditions attached to a permit should be read as relating to such conditions as are enumerated in Section 48 (3) and as are included in the permit at the discretion of the authority. That section reads-
'Where this Act, or any (Central Act) or Regulation made after the commencement of this Act, repeals and re-enacts, with or without modification, any provision of a former enactment, then references in any other enactment or in any instrument to the provision so repealed shall, unless a different intention appears, be construed as references to the provision so re-enacted.'
The Madras General Clauses Act contains a similar provision. It is therefore not possible to hold that by reason of the operation of Section 48-A, a route should be deemed to be a condition of the permit ignoring the material and substantive alterations brought about by the Central enactment which came upon the statute book long subsequent to Section 48-A.
13. The learned Advocate-General further contended that Section 48-A should prevail and that the old Section 48 (2) (d) (ii) (a) should be deemed to exist even if it were to be held on a construction of the provisions of Section 48 of the Act, that a route cannot be a condition of the permit. He raised a constitutional question. The topic of legislation in regard to Motor Vehicles is contained in entry 35 list III, Concurrent List Sch. 7 of the Constitution. That reads:
'Mechanically propelled vehicles including the principles on which taxes on such vehicles are to be levied.'
It would be competent both for the Union and the State to enact laws in respect of the subject matter of the entries in the Concurrent list. Article 254(1) of the Constitution provides that repugnant laws, in respect of the same subject-matter in the Concurrent list, of the Parliament and: the State legislature cannot stand together and' that the State legislation should stand down and' give way to the parliamentary measure and should to the extent of the repugnancy be treated avoid. The supremacy of the Parliament over the State legislative bodies in regard to competing laws covering the same field of legislation in the Concurrent list is clearly recognised. To this there is an exception. A State law if it has been reserved for the consideration of the President and. has received his assent shall prevail in the State notwithstanding its being repugnant to the provisions of an 'earlier law made by Parliament or an existing law'. Then there is a proviso to this exception which reads-
'Provided that nothing in this clause shall prevent Parliament from enacting at any time with respect to the same matter including a law adding to, amending, varying or repealing the law so made by the legislature of the State.'
The effect of this constitutional provision is that normally a law made by Parliament in regard' to a subject in the concurrent list would override the law of the State legislature. If the State legislature makes a law after reserving it for consideration of the President and after getting his assent then the State law would override the parliamentary provision contained in an earlier law made by parliament or in an existing law. Existing law is defined under Article 366, as-
'...... any law, ordinance, order, bye-law, rule or regulation passed or made before the commencement: of this Constitution by any Legislature, authority or person having power to make such a law......'
The overriding nature of a State legislation over' the law of the Parliament as provided for in cl. (2) of Article 254 is subject to the proviso that the Parliament may at any time repeal that law. This proviso is different from the proviso in Section 107(2) of the Government of India Act 1935. Under that Act, the Federal Legislature, could not without the previous sanction of the Governor-General affect a repugnant provincial law enacted with the assent of the Governor-Genera). But under the Constitution the Parliament can directly legislate and overcome the repugnant State law, without the President's assent. In short, the State legislatures cannot withstand the Parliament's powers of legislation and protect their laws from being whittled down by Union laws as regards subjects in the concurrent list.
14. Section 48-A is not now pitted against an earlier law made by Parliament. As stated already, the Central Act 100 of 1956 was passed after the Madras Amendment which came into existence in 1948. Nor can it be said that Section 48-A is repugnant to any existing law. It is true that the old Act was of the year 1939 and was therefore an existing law within the meaning of Article 366 clause (10). But then, there was no repugnancy between Section 48-A of the Madras Amendment and the earlier Section 48 of the Central enactment. If the Parliament amended old Section 48 and recast it in the present form presumably with the knowledge and awareness of the Madras Amendment under Section 48-A, it must 'be deemed to have impliedly repealed the Madras provision to the extent of repugnancy, if any, against present Section 48. It is not necessary that there should be an express repeal even for the proviso to operate. This has been pointed out by the Supreme Court in Zayerbhai Amardas v. State of Bombay, : 1SCR799 . Venkatarama Aiyar, J., delivering the judgment of the Bench observed as follows at p. 806 (of SCR) : (at p. 757 of AIR) -
'Now, by the proviso to Article 254(2) the Constitution has enlarged the powers of Parliament, and under that proviso, Parliament can do what the Central legislature could not under Section 107(2) of the Government of India Act, and enact a law adding to, amending, varying or repealing a law of the State, when it relates to a matter mentioned in the Concurrent list. The position then is that under the Constitution Parliament can, acting under the proviso to Article 254(2) repeal a State law. But where it does not expressly do so, even then, the State law will be void under that provision if it conflicts with a later law with respect of the same matter that may be enacted by Parliament.'
If it is necessary to refer to Article 254 of the Constitution, and to decide the question of constitutional validity of Section 48-A we would be inclined to take the view that it would fall within Article 254(1) and become infirm as against Section 48 of the Central Act 100 of 1956. This is also the view taken by a learned Judge of the Andhra High Court in Narayana Reddy v. Secy. R. T. A., : AIR1959AP476 . We have expressed our respectful dissent from that decision on the question whether route is a condition of the permit. As between the two extreme views, one being that Section 48-A has been struck down by Central Act 100 of 1956 and the other being that it maintains its full force and vigour and subsists side by side with the Central Act, we prefer to adopt the golden mean and to hold that Section 1 48-A operates to the extent to which it can operate as regards conditions of permit recognised and provided for under the Central Act. In our opinion, the power of the Transport authority to vary the conditions of the permit contained in Section 48-A of the Act would enable the authority only to alter the enumerated conditions specified in Section 48 (3) and which may be embodied in the permit; but this power should be correlated only to such conditions as the authority can validly include under the present enactment and should not be construed as a power to vary the route as if it is a condition of a permit.
15. The next contention that was urged on behalf of the first respondent was one based upon Section 43-A of the Act. This is also a Madras amendment. This was inserted by Section 2 of Madras Act 39 of 1954. Now Section 43-A subsection (2) is the relevant provision relied upon. That runs as follows:
'The State Government may, on a consideration of the matters set forth in sub-section (1) of Section 47, direct any Regional Transport authority or the State Transport authority to open any new route or to extend an existing route or to permit additional stage carriages to be put, or to reduce the number of stage carriages, on any specified route.'
This is a power vesting in the State Government to issue general directions to the subordinate transport authorities even in respect of opening a new route or extending an existing route. It cannot be disputed that the appropriate transport authority can under some special circumstances abolish an existing route and open a new route or extend an existing route. But can the authority do it purporting to exercise its powers of variation of a condition of a permit is the question now before us. We do not think that this provision should be read as vesting the transport authority with the power to extend an existing route on the footing that the route is a condition of the permit.
16. Considerable reliance has however been placed on behalf of the first respondent on Section 57 sub-section (8). That provision reads:
'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 or, in the case of a stage carriage permit, by increasing the number of services above the specified maximum, or in the case of a contract carriage permit or a public carrier's permit by increasing the number of vehicles covered by the permit, shall be treated as an application for the grant of a new permit;
Provided that it shall not be necessary so to treat an application made by the holder of a stage carriage permit who provides the only service on any route or in any area to increase the frequency of the service so provided, without any increase in the number of vehicles.'
This is only a procedural provision and is practically a substitute of the old Rule 208 (a), which we have already extracted above. This sub-section consists of three parts and provides what application should be treated as an application for the grant of a new permit. The first category comprises applications to vary the conditions of any permit other than a temporary permit by the inclusion of a new route or routes in a new area. The second group comprises applications in regard to stage carriage permit for increasing the number of services above the specified maximum. The third class comprises applications in the case of a contract carriage permit or a public carriage permit for increasing the number of vehicles covered by the permit. The first category uses the expression 'any permit'. Necessarily even a stage carriage permit would fall within its ambit. But if the route is not a condition of the permit relating to a stage carriage then obviously that group should have regard only to permits in regard to other kinds of transport vehicles like contract carriage or public carrier. It would not be proper to assume that because a provision is made for treating an application to vary the condition of any permit by including a new route what is not prescribed as a condition of permit should be attributed to have that character. As we have said, this is not a substantive provision enacting the conditions of a stage carriage permit, but is only a rule of procedure which obliges the transport authority to treat certain applications as if they are applications for a grant of a new permit. We are . therefore unable to agree with any of the contentions urged on behalf of the first respondent.
17. We shall now refer to the decisions cited at the Bar. In Heeralal v. State of Rajasthan, , a Division Bench of the Rajasthan High Court held that the variation of a permit by inclusion of a new route or area would be a condition of the permit. The learned Judges were considering the question whether cases involving a variation of a permit after the amendment of 1956 would fall within the scope of clause (b) of Section 64 of the Act, which confers a right of appeal in regard to certain matters. This decision has been followed by the Kerala High Court by a single Judge of that Court in the decision in Devaraja Iyer v. R. T. A. Trichur, : AIR1961Ker53 . Velu Pillai, J., observed thus at p. 54-
'Whatever arguments might have been open before, since the passing of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 100 of 1956, there is no room for any doubt, as by sub-section (8) of Section 57, the inclusion of a new route is treated as a variation of the condition of the permit .........'
There is no discussion of the provisions of the enactment and the case itself seems to have proceeded upon some concession made by the learned advocate who appeared in the case. With respect, we are unable to agree with this view. The Andhra High Court held in : AIR1959AP476 that the provision in Section 48 (d) (2) (a) (old Act) that the stage carriage or stage carriages shall be used only on specified routes in a specified area is a condition of a permit. From this provision a single Judge of the Andhra Pradesh. High Court reached the conclusion that the Regional Transport Authority has power under Section 48 (3) (xxi) (present Act) to vary the conditions of the permit, one of which was assumed to he that relating to variation of the route.
This decision was approved by a Division Bench of the Andhra High Court in Narayana Reddi v. Secy. R. T. A. Cuddapah, 1960 2 Andh WR 91. The facts in that case are somewhat peculiar. One Narayana Reddi was a transport operator having three stage carriage permits, two of them on the route Rajapalam to Simhadripuram via Prodatur. The other permit was on the route Prodatur to Pulivendla. On this route (Prodatur to Pulivendla) there were altogether 4 buses running on a monthly rotation basis. The Secretary, Regional Transport Authority, proposed to vary the existing route, Prodattur to Pulivendla, as Rajupalam to Pulivendla via Prodattur and invited representations from persons interested in the proposal. Narayana Reddi objected to the proposal. It was however approved by the Regional Transport Authority, Cuddapah. The Chairman, State Transport Authority, also approved the proposal. Then there was a notification under Section 57 (2) of the Motor Vehicles Act calling for applications for the grant of the variation of the route. Narayana Reddi filed a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh to prohibit the Secretary, Regional Transport Authority, Cuddapah from giving effect to the notification. It was this petition which was dismissed by Satyanarayana Raju, J. The decision of the learned Judge was approved by the Division Bench (Chandra Reddy, C. J. and Narasimham, J.). The contention urged on behalf of Narayana Reddi was that Section 48 (3) of the Motor Vehicles Act as amended, did not clothe the Regional Transport Authority with power to vary the route. This contention was repelled.
18. The point to be noted is that in the Andhra case, there was no application for variation of the route by the permit holder. This is made clear by the following observation of the learned Chief Justice at p. 93-
'It should be borne in mind that the route of the appellant (Narayana Reddi) is not varied.' That was a case where there was a general proposal for the variation of the route and the question raised was whether the Transport Authority had power to vary the route. In substance, that case dealt with only the introduction of a new route, a sector of which was however already designated as a route. It was called variation of the route, but, in fact it was not. It was only the introduction of a new route Rajupalam to Pulivendla via Prodattur. This is one aspect of the matter which, in our opinion, sufficiently distinguishes the present case from the case decided by the Andhra High Court. We are however unable to agree, with great respect to the learned Chief Justice, with his following observations at p. 92:
'Section 48 (d) (ii-a) re-appears in the shape of Section 48 (2) in the Central Act of 1956. It is specifically provided therein that the permit shall be valid only for a specific route or routes or for a specified area ...... the fact that the condition that a particular stage carriage should be used only for a specified route is not included in the conditions of the permit to be attached under Section 48 (3), does not make any material difference. On the other hand, Section 48 (2) makes it abundantly clear that this is a condition of permit which is applicable to every stage carriage and the change in the language has not in any way altered the situation.'
19. We find ourselves completely in agreement with the decision of a Division Bench of this Court in W. A. No. 15 of 1962 .- Kuppusamy v. Ramachandran, ILK (1963) Mad 627, and we are not inclined to take a different view in spite of the learned arguments adduced on behalf of the first respondent before us.
20. The learned Advocate-General relied on the following observation in ILR (1963) Mad 627 in support of the contention that a mere extension of the route, without abandonment of any of the two termini, and without curtailment of the old route would be a permissible variation falling within the power to alter the conditions of the permit:
'Learned counsel for the respondent has referred in this connection to certain decisions of this Court when extension to existing routes were regarded as variation of the conditions in the permit. It is unnecessary for us in the present case to consider whether these decisions correctly lay down the principles. Further, in all those cases there was no question of abandoning one of the termini on the route fixed in the permit. In a case where a person applies for an extension of his route, he serves not only that route but wants something more. That is different from a case where the operator haying a permit for a particular route wants to cut the route, take a portion of it, only to reach a different destination. In our opinion, it will not amount to variation of the original permit, for the reason that the integrity of the permit had been broken, one of the termini having been abandoned. In saying this we want to make it clear that a variation of a permit need not necessarily keep to the road connecting the two places. Cases may arise where there should be a deviation or a detour might be necessary to reach a particular place. There can be a variation to reach the same terminus by an altered route as the word 'route' does not always mean usual or recognised way connecting the two places. In such cases the power to permit such deviation will come under Section 48 (3) (xxi) (b).'
Actually that case was concerned with an abandonment of a portion of the route and substitution of a fresh sector. Whether an extension of a route would amount to variation did not arise for decision. What was emphasised by the Division Bench was that a curtailment and an addition in respect of a route could not be appropriately designated or described as a variation. 'Variation' is not a term of art; nor has it any technical meaning in the Act. We respectfully agree with the Bench decision to this extent. We do not think that the ratio of that decision was that an extension of a route would amount to variation of a condition of the permit.
21. We have also examined the position from the point of view of the citizen's fundamental right to ply vehicles on the highway to carry on business or as a convenient mode of personal transport. The decision of this Court in C. S. S. Motor Service, Tenkasi v. State of Madras, : AIR1953Mad279 lays down the following propositions. At p. 914 (of Mad L|): (at p. 294 of AIR), Venkatarama Aiyar, J., observed as follows-
'To sum up (1) the citizens have a right to ply motor vehicles on public pathways and that is a business which is protected by Article 19(1)(g). (2) Any infringement of that right can be justified only if it falls within the scope of Article 19(6) ......
(5) The Provincial Government should frame rules laying down the principles on which the selection from among the applicants is to be made and such rules must be, as required by Article 19(6), reasonable and in the interests of the public.........' The Supreme Court has also taken the same view in Saghir Ahmed v. State of U. P., : 1SCR707 . The following passage may be usefully quoted:
'The right of the public to use motor vehicles on the public road cannot, in any sense, be regarded as a right created by the Motor Vehicles Act. The right exists anterior to any legislation on this subject as an incident of public rights over a highway. The State only controls and regulates it for the purpose of ensuring safety, peace, health and good morals of the public.'
The introduction of compulsory permits without which no transport operator can carry on his business, undoubtedly operates as a fetter on the fundamental right to carry on business at any place and in any manner. But such restrictions have been held to be reasonable and within the limits of Article 19(6) of the Constitution. It does not matter how the restriction is called 'licence' or 'permit'. Once the system of regulated transport is recognised as not being repugnant to or violative of the fundamental right, the restriction can be relaxed only in the manner indicated by the statute imposing the restrictions. It cannot be seriously contended that to the extent of the limits of the permit or its conditions the restrictions would be reasonable and that outside such limits the fundamental right would enable the operator to run his vehicle as he likes or as it suits him. It is implicit in the very system of permits that the fundamental right is abridged and that there is no right to carry on the business except in the manner clearly indicated by the Motor Vehicles Act.
22. On an examination of the relevant provisions of the Act, we are of opinion that a route in regard to a stage carriage permit is not one of the conditions attached to it, but is part of the permit itself. There is no power in the Regional Transport Authority to vary the route in exercise of its powers of variation regarding the alteration or change of the conditions in the permit. The application of the first respondent before the Regional Transport Authority was therefore incompetent.
23. In the result, the writ petition is allowed and the rule nisi is made absolute. The petitioner does not appear to have been quite diligent in vindicating his rights. He failed to appear before the State Transport Appellate Tribunal and did not raise this question before it. He would therefore not be entitled to costs in this writ petition. We may also point out that the question has not been free from difficulty, particularly in view of the divergent judicial opinions referred to above. There will be no order as to costs.
24. I have used the expression 'we' in this judgment and in the context it has to be understood as referring to myself and my Lord, the Chief Justice.
Ramachandra Iyer, C.J.
25. I entirely agree with the judgment just now delivered by Jagadisan, J.
26. I have perused the judgment of Jagadisan, J., with great respect, I am unable to agree with his view.
27. The facts of the case have been fully set out in the judgment of Jagadisan, J. The question that arises for determination is whether the Regional Transport Authority has power to permit a variation of the route from Madras to Kancheepuram as Madras-Kancheepuram-Nemili. The main argument of the learned counsel for the petitioner Mr. Mohan Kumaramangalam was that there has been a complete change in the Motor Vehicles Act (hereinafter called the Act) as a result of the amendment introduced by Central Act 100 of 1956 and that under the frame work of the Act as , amended, a route can no longer be regarded as a condition of the permit and that it is only such conditions of the permit as are specified in Section 48 (3) that can be varied by the authority concerned. On the other hand, the learned Advocate-General for the respondent contended that no such change was either intended or had been brought about by the amending Act 100 of 1956. He urged that on a proper interpretation of the present Sections 48, 51, 54, 55 and 56, which have taken the place of the corresponding old sections, would show that the only change is, that in the matter of other vehicles, a condition relating to the route may be inserted in the permit at the option of the authority concerned, while in the case of a stage carriage, the section makes it compulsory for the authorities concerned to insert a condition in the permit that it will be valid only for the specific route or area. To put it in a nutshell, the learned counsel for the petitioner rested his contention mainly upon Section 48, its language, structure and the arrangement of the several sub-sections and sub-clauses therein, while the learned Advocate-General relied upon the wide language in Section 57 (8) , besides Sections 60, 123 and 129-A. On a careful consideration of all the aspects of the matter, I am of the opinion that there is no substance in the points urged by the learned counsel for the petitioner.
28. Before I deal with the main points bearing upon the interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Act, I think it necessary to make some general observations about certain; well settled rules of interpretation which have to be borne in mind in the instant case. In the case of an alteration of an existing statutory law by an amendment, it is presumed that the legislature does not intend to make any substantial alteration in the law, beyond what it declares either in express words or by clear implication, or in other words, beyond the immediate scope and object of the statute. Statutes by way of amendment should not be construed as to alter completely the existing scheme and the principles of the law, contained in the statutes, which they merely amend, unless the legislature has expressed its intentions with irresistible clearness. Reference can be made to what Sir John Romilly Master of the Rolls observed in the leading case in Minet v. Leman, (1855) 20 Beav 268 : 52 ER 606-
'The general words of the statute are not to be construed as to alter the previous policy of the law, unless no sense or meaning can be put upon those words consistently with the intention of preserving the existing policy untouched.'
29. It must be mentioned at the outset that even though the Act uses the expression 'permit' it is really a licence which is issued to the applicant by the authorities concerned and the correct legal conception of the system of the Act is a 'system of licensing'. In : AIR1953Mad279 , the precise nature and legal character of the right of a owner of a bus to ply in public highways, came up for direct consideration. Venkatarama Aiyar, J., delivering judgment of the Bench held that
'The business or trade of plying a bus, by its very nature could be carried on only in a public place, and it was to be carried on for gain, as indeed all businesses must be.' It was pointed out that the right of a citizen to carry on business in motor transport on public streets cannot in law be different from his right to sell vegetables on a public market and was clearly protected by Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. Reference can be usefully made to the following observations in the same judgment at p. 906 (of Mad LJ) : (at pp. 288-289 of AIR):
'The true position then is that all public streets and roads vest in the State but that the State holds them as trustees on behalf of the public. The members of the public are entitled as beneficiaries to use them as a matter of right and this right is limited only by the similar rights possessed by every other citizen to use the pathways. The State as trustees on behalf of the public is entitled to impose all such limitations on the character and extent of the user as may be requisite for protecting the rights of the public generally ...... These observations do not negative the existence of the right to ply buses but suggest that it is liable to be controlled.'
The exposition of the law of Venkatarama Aiyar, J., has been completely approved by the Supreme Court in : 1SCR707 . The Supreme Court while holding that the licensing system in the Motor Vehicles Act is protected and guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution, observed as follows:
'The right of the public to use motor vehicles on the public road cannot, in any sense, be regarded as a right created by the Motor Vehicles Act. The right exists anterior to any legislation on this subject as an incident of public rights over a highway. The State only controls it for the purpose of ensuring safety, peace, health and good morals of the public. Once the position is accepted that a member of the public is entitled to ply motor vehicles on a public road as an incident of his right of passage over a highway, the question is really immaterial whether he plies vehicles for pleasure or pastime or for the purpose of trade or business. The nature of the right in respect of the highway is not in any way affected thereby and it cannot be said that the user of a public road for purposes of trade is an extraordinary or special use of the high way which can be acquired only under special sanction from the State.
The doctrine of 'franchise' recognised in America has no place in our Constitution. Under the Indian Constitution the contract carriers as well as the common carriers would occupy the same position so far as the guaranteed right under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India is concerned and both are liable to be controlled by appropriate regulation under clause (6) of that Article.'
30. The Supreme Court has also held that the American Doctrine of 'franchise' has no place in our Constitution and that subject to the limits imposed in the licensing system prescribed in the Act, any member of the public can ply motor vehicles in a public road and carry on the business of transporting passengers with the aid of vehicles. The relevancy of the reference to the concept of fundamental right to carry on a trade or business of plying a bus will become apparent as I proceed further.
31. It is necessary to have a precise idea of the state of the law and the jurisdiction and powers of the Transport Authority before the amendment of 1956.
32. It may be mentioned that the condition that the stage carriage or stage carriages shall be used only on the specified routes or in specified area was not to be found in original Act (Central Act IV of 1939) and it was introduced only in 1940 by an amendment. Till the amendment of 1956, the scheme of the Act in regard to the variation of the route appears to have been the same, whether of a stage carriage or a contract carriage or a public carrier.
33. I shall now consider the provisions of the Act before 1956 putting aside the Madras amendments, Sections 48-A, 51-A and 56-A. Section 42 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 the permit granted by the authority concerned, authorising the use of the vehicle in that place. Giving these words their plain and natural meaning, taken along with the other provisions, it is clear that the route or area in which the permit is required in Section 42 is regarded as one of the conditions of the permit. Section 46 provides the particulars which should be furnished in the application for a permit, one of such particulars being the route or routes, or the area within which the vehicle is intended to be used. Section 47 prescribes the procedure to be followed by the Regional Transport Authority while disposing of the application for the grant of a permit. Section 48 deals with the power and the jurisdiction of the Regional Transport Authority to grant the permit and impose necessary conditions. Section 48 (d) empowers the Regional Transport Authority to attach any prescribed condition or any one or more of the conditions specified in sub-section (d) els. (i) to (vi). One such condition is 'stage carriage or stage carriages shall be used only in specified routes or in a specified area'. It must be noticed that Section 48 which confers the jurisdiction or authority upon the Transport Authority to grant a permit, does not confer any power to vary any of the conditions of the permit. The power to vary the conditions of the permit whether in relation to a route or any other matter has to be found otherwise than in Section 48.
An examination of the nature of the various conditions mentioned in Section 48 would show that they are intended for the convenience of the travelling public and that the Regional Transport Authority must have a power to vary such conditions. If they were to be unalterable, it will be impossible for the authorities concerned to perform their statutory duties in the interests of the travelling public. One view to take will be, as mentioned earlier, that essentially it is a licence and the authority which issues the licence subject to certain conditions has the power to vary the conditions of the licence from time to time. The power to alter the conditions of the licence is implicit in the power to issue the licence. The licensing authorities can in one sense be regarded as ' having a continuing and supervising jurisdiction over the licence and the operation thereunder and may limit, restrict or modify or vary the conditions of the licence, if public convenience or necessity or the operator himself, so requires. The discussion of the law on Motor Vehicles in Corpus Juris Secundum Vol. 60 lends considerable support to this view. Or, the other view, may be, that the transport authorities while granting or refusing permits really exercise quasi-judicial functions, thereby attracting the principle underlying Section 21 of the General Clauses Act, in the sense that the power of the Regional Transport Authority to issue orders includes a power to add to, amend or vary, so long as there is nothing contrary or repugnant thereto in the context. There may be difficulty in applying Section 21 of the General Clauses Act as the grant of permit may not amount to the 'issue of an order' within the meaning of Section 21 - Vide Bachchulal v. State, : AIR1951All836 , and Ramnath Prasad v. State Transport Appellate Authority, Bihar, Patna, : AIR1957Pat117 . To reiterate, a glance at Section 48 (d) and the various conditions would show that the Authority must have the power to vary the conditions and there is no distinction between one condition and another.
34. The language of Section 63 which deals with the validation of permits for use outside the region in which the particular permit was granted indicates that the Regional Transport Authority has got power to vary the conditions of the permit relating to the route. Section 63 (2) clearly provides that the Regional Transport Authority has such a power.
35. Section 64 (b) which provides a right of appeal against the orders of the Regional Transport Authority emphasises again that the authority has power to vary the conditions of the permit.
36. Sections 49, 50 and 51 deal with a permit for a contract carriage. Section 51 which deals with the powers of the Regional Transport Authority to grant a contract carriage permit, does not itself contain any provision for the variation in the conditions of the permit. What applies to a stage carriage applies to a contract carriage. It cannot be denied, having regard to the scheme of the Act that the authorities concerned will and must have undoubted jurisdiction to vary the conditions of the permit of a contract carriage including the route. Sections 52 and 53 deal with the permit for a private carrier. Sections 54 to 56 deal with the permit for public carriers. Section 54 specifics the particulars to be mentioned in the permit; one such being the route or routes on which or the area in which a public carrier is intended to be used. Section 55 deals with the procedure to be followed by the authority in dealing with an application for a public carrier's permit. Section 56 deals with, the powers and jurisdiction of the Regional Transport Authority while granting the permit. Under Section 56 (b), the Regional Transport Authority can attach to the permit all or any of the conditions mentioned therein which includes the condition that the vehicle shall be used only on a specified area or a specified route. Regarding the variation of the conditions of the permit, the same considerations as in the case of a stage carriage permit will apply. Section 59(3) amongst other things specifies certain features relating to the vehicle and the user thereof and that they shall be regarded as conditions of every permit. Section 60 specifies the circumstances under which the permit can be cancelled or suspended and it applies to all vehicles.
While Section 60 confers the power to cancel or suspend the permit, Section 123 at the same time makes it an offence if a vehicle is used in contravention of the provisions of Section 42: Section 129-A empowers any police officer authorised in this behalf to seize and detain any vehicle which, he has reason to believe, has been or is being used in contravention of the provisions of sub-section (1) to Section 22 or without the permit required by Section 42 (1), or in contravention of any conditions of such permit relating to the route on which or the area in which or the purpose for which the vehicle may be used. To sum up therefore the legislative history immediately preceding the amendment is - (a) the route is regarded as a condition of the permit of the motor vehicle, (b) The authority concerned has got power and jurisdiction to vary the conditions of the permit including that relating to the route from time to time. (c) there is no distinction between one kind of vehicle and another, touching these aspects.
37. It is in this background that the precise scope of the amendment and the changes or modifications which the legislature has introduced should be determined. Under Central Act 100 of 1956, amongst other things, the following sections have been substituted in the place of the corresponding old Sections: Sections 48, 51, 54, 55, 56 and 123. The rest of the Sections are omitted as of no relevancy for the instant case. In Section 57 sub-sections (8), (9) and (10), have been added as additional provisions.
38. A harmonious reading of Sections 48, 57 (8), 60 (1), 63, 64, 123 and 129-A leaves no room for doubt that under the scheme of the Act as amended, the Transport Authority continues to have the same power and jurisdiction to vary the route whether regarded as a condition of the permit or otherwise and that there is no distinction between a stage carriage or any other vehicle in the matter of the power of variation. If one may say so, the legislature has not placed the route of a stage carriage in any special or exalted position or high pedestal. The only change that has been introduced is that in the case of other vehicles the authority has got the option to impose a condition relating to the route as one of the conditions to be inserted in the permit while in the case of a stage carriage, the section makes it compulsory for the authorities concerned to insert the condition in the permit, that it shall be valid only for specific route and leaves no discretion in the matter. I am clearly of the opinion that such change as has been employed in the language has been solely with a view to emphasise the mandatory or peremptory character of this aspect, and not for any other purpose. If the other provisions of the Act show that the route is regarded as a condition of the permit and the authority has power to vary the same, I see no insuperable difficulty in interpreting Section 48 in that manner.
39. If regard is had to certain well settled rules of interpretation of statutes, as well as presumptions in regard thereto, the answer becomes obvious. I have carefully perused the statement of objects and reasons when the Bill in connection with the amendment Act 100 of 1956 was introduced in the Parliament. It is elementary and well settled that statement of objects and reasons cannot be used or looked into as an aid for interpretation of the provisions of statute or for the purpose of construing any part of the Act or for ascertaining the meaning of any words used in the Act. But, at the same time, they can be referred to for the limited purpose of ascertaining the precise extent and urgency of the evil or the mischief which was sought to be remedied by introducing the amendment, as is often called the 'surrounding circumstances' of a statute as in the case of a deed. Vide (S) : 2SCR374 , M. K. Ranganathan v. Govt. of Madras and : 1SCR587 , State of West Bengal v. Subodh Gopal. Statement of objects and reasons do not reveal that the sponsors of the Bill regarded the power of variation of the route, till then inhering in and continuously exercised by the transport authority, was an evil or mischief calling for particular amendment. Nor do the judicial decisions upto that time, indicate any peculiar or special significance about the power of variation exercised by the Transport Authorities in regard to the route of a stage carriage. In other words, there is no basis for saying that this was regarded as any evil or mischief requiring urgent remedy in the hands of the legislature.
40. It is legitimate to presume that the legislature was aware of the fact that in almost all the States, invariably, rules had been framed on the basic assumption that under the Act as unamended, the Regional Transport Authority had the power to vary the route. The rules aforesaid prescribe the procedure for the variation of a route and it is unnecessary to burden this judgment by a reference to the rules framed by the various States. It is enough to refer to the Commentary of Mr. B. N. Chowdhary on Motor Vehicles Act, 5th Edn. pages 516 to 830.
41. Before coming to the actual interpretation of new Section 48, with a view to ascertain its precise scope and ambit, I shall first consider the other relevant provisions of the Act, to see what light they throw upon the matter. If, as observed earlier, the other provisions of the Act lead to the inference, that even after the amendment of 1956, the route is still regarded as a condition of the permit and the authority has got the power to vary the route, it is obvious that every effort should be made to interpret Section 48 in harmony with the rest of the provisions.
42. Every statute should be construed as a whole and as far as possible every effort should be made to avoid any inconsistency or repugnancy either in the section to be construed or as between one section and the other parts of the statute. This rule of interpretation is well settled and may briefly be stated. It is a cardinal and elementary rule of statutory construction that if possible within the ambit of reason, full force, meaning, significance, and effect must be accorded to every word, clause, section, and provision of a statute so that no part of it becomes inoperative or superfluous or insignificant; this is desirable in the interest of harmony and consistence and to make the entire statutory scheme effectual. For the purpose of a harmonious construction of the statute as a whole, it may be necessary that the literal meaning of a particular section may have to be ascertained by reference, to other sections and to the general purview of the statute. Vide 36 Halsbury Simonds Edn. pp. 395-396 Section 594. The correct rule of interpretation is to place a consistent rational and probable meaning on the whole of the sections by reading them together. I shall first consider what light Section 57(8) throws on the matter. It runs as follows:
'An application to vary the conditions of any permit, other than a temporary permit, by the inclusion of a new route or routes of a new area, or, in the case of a stage carriage permit, by increasing the number of services above the specified maximum, or in the case of a contract carriage permit or a public carrier's permit, by increasing the number of vehicles covered by the permit, shall be treated as an application for the grant of a new permit;
Provided that it shall not be necessary so as to treat an application made by the holder of a stage carriage permit who provides the only service on any route or in any area to increase the frequency of the service so provided, without any increase in the number of vehicles.'
43. If I may say so, this clause is unambiguous, explicit, and very clear and does not admit scope for any argument or difficulty in the rules of interpretation. The word 'any' is of genera] import and excludes limitation or qualification and is 'all inclusive'. 'The words used negative qualification and affirm generality.' Vide Per Fry L. J. Duck v. Bates, (1884) 13 QBD 843. In construing statutes the word 'any' is equivalent to and has force of 'every' and 'all'. I see absolutely nothing in the context of the sub-section to control or restrict the generality that is connoted by the deliberate use of the expression 'any'. On the other hand, such context as is manifested in Section 57(8) leads to the same inference. The controlling context 'excepting a temporary permit' shows that the legislature is fully aware of the implications of the import of the word 'any' and exempts only a temporary permit and no other. It is impossible to brush aside or slur over the three component parts of Section 57(8); the first part deals with all the vehicles, the second part deals with a stage carriage permit with regard to the increase of the number of vehicles and the third part deals with the increase in. the number of vehicles of a contract carriage or a public carrier. The proviso to the section further emphasises the same view and its importance should not be overlooked.
44. I am wholly unable to countenance any argument involving an assumption that there is any looseness or inaccuracy in the language employed in Section 57(8). I have no doubt in my mind that the legislature has used the words 'any permit' in the opening words of sub-section (8) , deliberately, with a view to take in all vehicles without any distinction and that whenever the legislature wants to make a distinction and restrict the scope, it has taken particular care to do so by employing necessary, precise, apt, language. If I may say so, I cannot even visualise what clearer language the legislature could have employed to manifest its legislative intent. There is no justification whatsoever for reading the words 'any permit' as 'any permit other than a stage carriage permit', as contended by learned counsel for the petitioner, especially when the legislature designedly excepts a temporary permit only.
45. I have so far dealt with sub-section (8) of Section 57. I shall now consider what light is thrown by the other sub-sections of Section 57. Section 57 (1) refers to a permit for contract carriage and private carrier. Section 57(2) refers to a permit for a stage carriage and a public carrier. Section 57 (3) (4) and (5) refers to a permit for a stage carrier and a public carrier. Section 57(7) refers to a permit of all vehicles. The meticulous care and the precision with which varying and different references are made to particular category of vehicles in the several sub-sections is in my opinion decisive of the question. The acceptance of the argument of the learned counsel for the petitioner that the words 'any permit' should be read as 'other than a stage carriage' with great respect, in my opinion, is not interpretation but a clear case of legislation.
46. I shall now consider what light Section 60 throws on the matter. Section 60(1) (a) and (b) which remains unchanged and are alone relevant for our purpose run as follows:
'Section 60(1): The transport authority which granted a permit may cancel the permit or may suspend it for such period as it thinks fit-(a) on the breach of any condition specified in subsection (3) of Section 59, or any condition contained in the permit, or (b) if the holder of the permit uses or causes or allows a vehicle to be used in any manner not authorised by the permit......'
In the case of a stage carriage, if an operator uses the vehicles in any area not covered by the permit or in breach of the conditions of the permit relating to that area, his permit is liable to be cancelled or suspended Under Section 60(1)(a). Section 60(1) (b) is directed against the vehicle and particular purposes for which it can be used as per the conditions of the permit. The scope of Section 6o(1)(b) came up for consideration in, Puran Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, : AIR1959All489 and reference may be made to the following observations at p. 492:
'to illustrate the point further a stage carriage may be used for purposes of carrying of passengers for hire or reward. Likewise a public carrier may be used for transport of goods. It is these different manners in which a transport vehicle may be used which are controlled by permits granted under Ch. IV. The reference in clause (to) of sub-section (i) of Section 60 to the use of a vehicle in any manner not authorised by the permit is to this aspect of the use of the vehicle as is abundantly borne out by the repetition also in it of the words 'used in any manner not authorised by the permit'. This provision as not with respect to the use as such of a vehicle o which is governed by Section 22 but to the manner in which it may be used in pursuance of the permit held in respect of it. In order, therefore, that the provisions of clause (b) aforesaid are attracted what is material is not the use of the vehicle in contravention of Section 22, but its use in the manner not authorised by it, namely, the use of a stage carriage as a public carrier etc. etc.
In this connection, reference may also be made to the judgment in Newell v. Cross, 1936 2 All ER 203 in which the corresponding provision in the English Act Section 72(10) was considered viz.,
'If any person uses a vehicle or causes or permits it to be used in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence.'
It was held that it was an offence to use hackney carriage as an express carriage. Section 60(1) (b) deals with contraventions other than those covered by Section 6o(1)(a), as otherwise it would be meaningless surplusage and obvious redundancy. Thus it is clear that it is only Under Section 60(1)(a) that a contravention relating to a route action can be taken and not Under Section 6o(1)(b). Prior to 1956, administrative control and check would be exercised by the Transport Authority with regard to the route used by an operator of a stage carriage. If the contention of the petitioner were to be accepted Section 60(1) (a) cannot after 1956 (on his reasoning) apply to the route of a stage carriage for the simple reason that the condition mentioned in sub-section (3) of Section 59 or of any conditions contained in the permit, cannot apply to a stage carriage. It will lead to startling and anomalous results if such an interpretation were to be accepted. It would therefore be obvious that Section 60 (1) (a) clearly proceeds on the basis that the route is a condition of the permit in the case of a stage carriage as well.
47. I have already adverted to Section 63(2) to show that in the case of stage carriage, a route was regarded as a condition and there was power to vary. In a recent judgment in V. G. K. Bus Service Ltd. v. Kerala State Transport Appellate Tribunal, : AIR1960Ker18 the scope Of Section 63 (2) as sanctioning a variation of the route was upheld. If the contention of the petitioner were to be accepted a stage carriage will have to be excluded from the purview of Section 63, for which there is not the slightest warrant.
48. Next in order comes Section 123 (1). In my opinion it is enough to compare the language in the old Section 123(1) and the new section as substituted in 1956 to show that, far from the legislature not regarding a route of a stage carriage as a condition of the permit, it has unambiguously and in clearest terms manifested the legislative intent just the other way round. Section 123(1) before the amendment ran as follows:
'Whoever drives a motor vehicle or causes or allows a motor vehicle to be used or lets out a motor vehicle for use in contravention of the provisions of sub-section (1) of Section 42 shall be punishable for a first offence with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, and for a subsequent offence if committed within 3 years of the commission of a previous similar offence with a fine which shall not be less than one hundred rupees and may extend to one thousand rupees.' The section as amended reads thus:
(1) Whoever drives a motor vehicle or causes or allows a motor vehicle to be used in contravention of the provisions of Section 22 or without the permit required by sub-section (1) of Section 42 or in contravention of any condition of such permit relating to the route on which or the area in which or the purpose for which the vehicle may be used, shall be punishable for a first offence with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees and for a subsequent offence if committed within 3 years of the commission of a previous similar offence, with imprisonment which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees or with both;
Provided that, no Court shall, except for reasons to be stated in writing, impose a fine of less than five hundred rupees for any such subsequent offence.'
The same reasoning has to be repeated, hers too. The language in Section 123(1) is general and applies to any vehicle (including a stage carriage) and a condition relating to the route there too. The argument of the petitioner should logically be that stage carriage should be excluded from the scope of Section 123(1). If such a contention were to be accepted, it will lead to the anomalous and strange result that in the case of a stage carriage, the authority concerned will have no jurisdiction to exercise control and impose the punishment prescribed in Section 123. It is hardly necessary to state that there is no foundation for any such assumption that the operators of stage carriages are to enjoy any such absolute immunity.
49. The only provision that remains to be considered is Section 129-A, which runs as follows:
'Any police officer authorised in this behalf or other person authorised in this behalf by the State Government, may, if he has reason to believe that a motor vehicle has been or is being used in contravention of the provisions of Section 22 or without the permit required by sub-section (1) of Section 4.2 or in contravention of any condition of such permit relating to the route on which or the area in which or the purpose for which the vehicle may be used, seize and detain the vehicle, and for this purpose take or cause to be taken any steps he may consider proper for the temporary safe custody of the vehicle.'
The language therein also is similar and emphatic to show that a route is regarded as a condition of the permit. Section 129-A applies to all vehicles including a stage carriage. The obvious object and purpose of this provision leaves no room for doubt that the police officer must have the same undoubted power to detain as stage carriage if there is a contravention of the conditions of the permit relating to the route. At the risk of repetition it has got to be stated that the same considerations would apply to this provision. It will be impossible to argue that Section 129-A should be construed as not applicable to a stage carriage. Such an argument is to be stated, merely to be rejected.
50. If so much follows from the analysis of the Sections 57 to 129-A, it is the duty of the Court to make every effort to interpret Section 48 in such manner that it does not result in conflict with or run counter to the other sections. Let us now take Section 48 of the Act as amended. The question is whether the structure, arrangement and the language employed in Section 48 is so unambiguous, clear and explicit, as not to admit of an interpretation which the other sections warrant. After all, the division of the statute into separate sections is an arbitrary matter of convenience which ought not to affect its proper construction, Vide 36 Halsbury (Lord Simonds 3rd Edn.) page 398.
51. I have already adverted to the fact that the legislative history of the statute to show that variation of a route was not regarded as a mischief or evil for legislative intervention, as bearing upon the object of the amendment. Coming to the interpretation of the section itself, there is nothing in Section 48(2) to rule out the theory that the route is still regarded as a condition of the permit and that it is now made a compulsory obligatory condition as opposed to an optional one. I do not regard Section 48(3) as in any way advancing the contention of the petitioner. The fact that in Section 48(3) the transport authority may attach to the permit any one or more of the conditions specified in sub-sections (1) to (xx) does not necessarily lead to the inference that what is specified in Section 48(2), is not a condition. Nor does a comparison of the language employed in Sections 51 or 56, with the language in Section 48 help the contention of the petitioner. The difference in language in Sections 51 and 56 is easily explicable as indicative of the option and the discretion of the authority to impose the conditions in the permit in the case of those vehicles. The difference in language, in my opinion, has no other or further significance.
52. Learned counsel for the petitioner in his arguments has simply reversed the position and readily assumed that the very enactment of Section 48 (2) carries with it the result that in the case of a stage carriage permit, variation of the route is no longer a condition of the permit. Following upon that, he argued that Section 48(3) does not refer to the variation of the route as one of the conditions and therefore there is no power of variation. This, in my opinion, is an entirely erroneous approach to the solution of the question. The correct perspective would be to pose the problem in the form of a question and see what the answer could be. Suppose, the object of the amendment was merely to make the route a compulsory condition of the permit in the case of a stage carriage-while in the matter of other vehicles such a condition is merely optional -could Section 48 be interpreted consistent with that view? Or is that language in Section 48 such that it cannot possibly admit of such an interpretation? Surely, there can be no doubt about the answer that Section 48 can certainly be interpreted in the former manner without doing any violence to the language employed in the section. Parliament could not have intended to have effected such a radical change by a side wind as it were. In my opinion, Section 48 (2) has to be interpreted on its own language, and not in the view that; apart from what is mentioned in Section 48 (3)' no other feature or incident of a permit can be regarded as a condition of the permit. It must not be forgotten that Section 48 (3) is not exhaustive of the conditions which can be imposed in a permit.
53. In my opinion, the argument of the petitioner that there is a difference between Section 48 (3) and Section 56 (2) and that in the case of a public carrier there is power to vary the route is based upon an incorrect appreciation of the several sub-clauses in Section 48 (3) and Section 56 (2) sub-clauses (i) to (ix). If an operator obtains a permit for a public carrier, say for instance, for the route Madras to Coimbatore, it will be valid for the period of five years and for that route. Because Section 56 (2) (vii) provides that after giving one month's notice the conditions of the permit may be varied or further conditions may be attached, it is certainly not open to the authority to issue a notice to the operator and impose upon him a variation of the condition of the route to ply the vehicle in a different route, say instead of Madras to Coimbatore alter it as Madras to Renigunta, on the ground that in that latter area public carrier service is necessary in the interests of the public.
It is clear that the authority can have no such jurisdiction to impose such a variation under Section 56 (2) (i) or (vii) or (ix). Against the wish of the operator the route cannot be varied nor the duration of the permit after its issue, because it is essentially his right to carry on: his business of plying the public carrier. If, however, the operator desires and if he files an application for that purpose (provided of course other considerations regarding the interests of the public are satisfied) variation of the route may be permitted by the authority. Conditions which are mentioned in Section 56 (2) and which can be varied are totally different conditions of a routine nature. The same considerations apply to the conditions mentioned in Section 48 (3) sub-clauses (i) to (xx). I have said enough to emphasise the significant difference between variations of a route which cant be done only at the request of an operator whether a stage carriage or a public carrier and other miscellaneous conditions. The argument, therefore that in the case of a public carrier power to vary the route exists as opposed to a stage carriage fails.
54. With respect, I agree with the view taken by a Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in (1960) 2 AWE 91, affirming the judgment of a single Judge of the same Court in : AIR1959AP476 . While comparing the provisions of the old and the new sections, Chandra Reddy, C. J., delivering the judgment of the Bench observes as follows:
'According to the learned counsel, the omission of this provision in the Act as amended by Act 100 of 1956 indicates the intention of the legislature that the use of the vehicle on a specified route should not be a condition of the permit. The learned counsel further urges that the conditions that could be attached to a permit are only those that are set out either in Section 48 (3) or Section 59 of the Act, or Rules 160-A to 160-H of the Motor Vehicles Rules. We do not think we can give effect to this contention. Section 48 (d) (ii-a) reappears in the shape of Section 48 (2) in Act 100 of 1956. It is specifically provided therein that the permit shall be valid only for a specified route or routes or for a specified area. It should be borne in mind that while Section 48 (2) makes it compulsory for the authorities concerned to make the permit valid only for a specified route. Section 48 (3) confers a discretion on them to attach any of the conditions enumerated therein. It is not obligatory on the part of the Regional Transport Authority to attach any of those conditions specified in Section 48 (3), while sub-section (2) is peremptory in its language and the permit must be issued only for a particular route. Therefore, the fact that the condition that a particular stage carriage should be used only for a specified route is not included in the conditions of the permit to be attached under Section 48 (3) does not make any material difference. On the other hand, Section 48 (2) makes it abundantly clear that this is a condition of permit which is applicable to every stage carriage and the change in the language has not in any way altered the situation. This view of ours is shared by the Rajasthan High Court in . Our opinion also gains support from the provisions of Section 57 (8) (omitted). This sub-section reveals the intention of the legislature that the route on which a particular stage carriage should ply is a condition of the permit and a variation of such a route is also a variation of the condition of the permit.'
While repelling the argument that the opening words of Section 57 (8) should be restricted as excluding and not applying to stage carriages, the learned Chief Justice observed as follows:
'Sri Babula Reddi invites us to hold that the first part of Section 57 (8) applies only to contract carriage permits or public carriers' permits and is inapplicable to stage carriage permits and that it is only the clause which deals with 'increasing the number of services above the specified maximum' that governs the stage carriage permits. We think this argument is unsubstantial. The first part of Section 57 (8) is general in its terms and governs not only contract carriages or public carriers but stage carriages also. It should be remembered that Chapter IV is headed 'Control of transport vehicles' which includes stage carriages ...... If really the intendment of the section was that the first part of it should be confined only to contract carriages and public carriers, it would have been made specific by restricting its scope only to the two types of carriages. In our opinion, this sub-section enables us to solve the problem before us without much difficulty.'
With great respect I have no hesitation in adopting, this as a correct statement of the legal position.
55. The Rajasthan High Court has been consistently taking the view that the variation of the route is a variation of one of the conditions of the permit. In the Full Bench judgment in Jairamdas v. Reg. Transport Authority, (S) , it was held that any variation in the route was undobtedly a change in the conditions and that this view was not in any way affected by the subsequent amendment of Section 48 in 1956. In that case, the learned Judges did not accept the view that the amended Section 48 makes it impossible for the Transport Authority to vary the route or routes applicable to stage carriage permit.
56. Again in , a Bench of the Rajasthan High Court consisting of Wanchoo, C. J., and Modi, J., have taken the same view of the scope of the amendment of 1956. At p. 43, they say as follows:
'The question, therefore, is whether it can be said that the variation in a case like the present where the area of the permit objected to is altered is a variation of one of its conditions. It was not argued before us that a variation of this kind is not a variation of one of the conditions of the permit but as such a contention might well be advanced in view of the altered arrangement adopted by the Legislature in enacting Section 48, we have ourselves considered that question. Any doubts that we might have had in this connection are, however, resolved by the wording of sub-section (8) of Section 57 itself (omitted). This sub-section clearly contemplates that the conditions of a permit may be varied by the inclusion of a new route or routes or a new area. Having regard to this language it is impossible, in our opinion, to hold' that a provision as to a specific route or area in the permit is not one of its conditions, because if it was not, sub-section (8) need not have referred to the inclusion of a new route or routes or a new area as something to amounting to or falling within the scope of the variation of the conditions of the permit.
In this view of the matter, the inclusion of a new area in a permit cannot but be held to be a. condition of the permit under Section 48 even as amended; and once that conclusion is reached, it seems to us clear that where a person is adversely affected by such variation and complains against it must be held that he satisfies clause (b) of Section 64, and will have a right to appeal from such variation.'
57. The Kerala High Court has also taken the same view in : AIR1961Ker53 . While rejecting the rival contention, the law has been stated in these terms-
'According to the learned counsel for the petitioner Section 48 of the Act is exhaustive of the conditions of a permit, a variation of any of which, will come within the scope of Section 64 (b), and that the variation of a route or routes covered by a permit being not specifically mentioned in Section 48, cannot be deemed to be a condition of the permit.
The question in the last analysis is, therefore, whether a route or routes covered by a permit is a condition of the permit. Whatever arguments might have been open before, since the passing of She Motor Vehicles Act, 100 of 1956, there is no room for any doubt as by sub-section (8) of Section 57, inclusion of a new route or routes is treated as a variation of the condition of the permit for it reads: 'An application to vary the conditions of any permit other than a temporary permit, by the inclusion of a new route or routes ...... shall be treated as an application for the grant of a new permit'.'
58. In Bhumarg Yatayat v. R. T. Authority, : AIR1962All145 , when the matter came up for discussion in a different context, the learned Judges seem to be inclined to take a similar view about the scope of Section 57 (8).
59. The Punjab High Court had to consider the scope of Section 57 (8) with reference to a right of appeal under Section 64 (h) in the decision in N. T. Engineering Co., Ltd. v. State of Punjab, . A reading of that judgment shows that the learned Judge was inclined to take the view that a variation of a route is a condition of the permit and the authority had power to vary even after the amendment of 1956.
60. I have very carefully considered the judgment of my Lord the Chief Justice sitting with. Anantanarayanan, J., in ILR (1963) Mad 627. I however have been unable, with utmost respect, to my Lord the Chief Justice, to persuade myself to agree with the view taken by him of the scope of Section 48 (2) and Section 48 (3). In that case the Bench had to consider the question on the merits, whether a particular alteration would amount to a variation within the meaning of Section 57 (8), or the integrity of the route by the proposed alteration would be so completely broken as not to be regarded as a variation at all. It is in that context my Lord the Chief Justice took the view that the decision of the other Courts regarding extension of existing routes need not be considered in the context of a variation. The following observations at p. 636 make the position clear-
'Learned counsel for the respondent has refer red in this connection to certain decisions of this Court where extension to existing routes were (sic) regarded as variation of the conditions of the permit'.
It must also be noticed that the Bench did not hold that the authority has no power to vary the route in any manner whatsoever. Reference can be made to the following observation lower down at p. 636:-
'In our opinion, it will not amount to a variation of the original permit for the reason that the integrity of the permit had been broken, one of two termini having been abandoned. In saying this we want to make it clear that a variation of permit need not necessarily keep to the road connecting the two places. Cases may arise where there should be a deviation or a detour might be necessary to reach a particular place. There can be a variation to reach the same terminus by an altered route as the word 'route' does not always mean usual or recognised way connecting the two places. In such cases the power to permit such deviation will come Under Section 48 (3) (xxi) (b).'
With great respect, I am unable to regard this decision as deciding the question against contention of the respondent. I may however refer to the decision of the Privy Council in K. V. Motor Transit Co., Ltd. v. C. R. Omnibus Co., Ltd., AIR 1946 PC 137, which arose in connection with the provisions of the Ceylon Motor Car legislation in which Sir John Beaumont delivering the judgment of the Privy Council has expressed the same idea of the concept of 'a route' as my Lord the Chief Justice expressed in ILR (1963) Mad 627. In explaining that high way and route are not synonymous the following observations occur at p. 140.
'If 'route' has the same meaning as 'highway' in the Ordinance this argument must prevail, since admittedly an omnibus running on the highway from Panadura to Badullah will pass over the whole of the highway between Colombo and Ratnapura, but in their Lordships' opinion it is impossible to say that 'route' and 'highway' in the two Ordinances are synonymous terms. In both Ordinances, particularly in Section 54 of the original Ordinance and Section 7 of the Amending Ordinance, the two words are used, and certainly not interchangeably. A 'highway' is the physical track along which an omnibus runs, whilst a 'route' appears to their Lordships to be an abstract conception of a line or travel between one terminus and another and to be something distinct from the highway traversed.'
61. From the foregoing it will be clear that the legislature has carried out a clear, defined and well-indicated policy throughout the entire scheme of the Act making no distinction between one vehicle and another in conferring jurisdiction on the Transport authority to vary the same. This view will become clearer still, if what I observed in the opening of the judgment is borne in mind viz., the legal conception of the system is 'a system of licensing'.
62. It is in this background that the importance of the provision in the concluding provision of Section 57 (8), that the application for a variation of the route shall be treated as an application for the grant of a new permit becomes quite apparent. The right of an operator who is running the bus in the route A B to ply the bus in the route ABC cannot be denied under Article 19 of the Constitution if he makes a fresh application for that purpose, and if he satisfies the authorities concerned about his qualification and of the needs of the travelling public. In the instant case itself it cannot be denied that the operator is entitled to make an application for the issue of a new permit for the route, Madras-Kancheepuram-Nemili. That is one way of securing the requisite licence under the statute. But because the applicant is already operating his bus service in the route A B the legislature expressly provides that in relation to stage carriages there is no need for the operator to make a fresh application, but that his application shall 'be treated' as an application for the grant of a new permit.
The attention of learned counsel for the petitioner was drawn to the significance of this 'deeming provision' in the course of the arguments. This deeming clause, the words 'shall be treated' are used to connote, that it is not really an application for a new permit but it will only be 'deemed to be so'. Whenever the word 'as' is used in a statute it means 'as if something was, that which is it is not'. Vide Stroud's Judicial Dictionary p. 122. The inference is therefore irresistible that She legislature designedly does not regard the application for variation either factually or legally as an application for a new permit. But then, the question arises, when the operator has got an undoubted right to ask for a permit for Madras-Kancheepuram-Nemili provided he otherwise satisfies the other conditions of the statute, and when the Legislature says that such an application is not an application for a new permit, in what manner is the licence or permit to be granted to the operator? It is sheer logic that it can be only on the basis of a variation of the route. In other words, the legislature regards it only as a variation but as regards the procedure to be followed the procedure is the one relating to an application for the issue of a new permit. I am wholly unable to conceive any insuperable obstacle, legal, procedural or factual or anything cutting at the root of the scheme of the Act in recognising the right of an operator to extend or vary the route from A B to A B C if he is already having a permit to ply in the route A B, and is willing that for the rest of the unexpired portion of the permit he may be permitted to ply the bus in the extended route B C. This, of course, is subject to the paramount considerations of the interests of the travelling public in relation to the particular sector and the proposed extension.
In the actual disposal of the application, the applicant has to compete with the rest of the applicants and he will get an extension only if he snakes out a case, in corformity with Section 57 and the relevant rules. I see absolutely nothing in the Act which renders such a view impossible. The correct juristic conception is not really a question of the power or jurisdiction of the authority to vary the route, but really the right of the operator to ply the bus in a varied route, which is guaranteed to him under the Constitution. In the face of an express specific provision in Section 57 (8), I am reluctant to deny such a right to the subject.
63. In this view the question whether there is any repugnancy between the Madras amendment, Section 48-A and Section 48 of the Central Act as amended in 1956, does not present any difficulty at all. As observed earlier my conclusion is that there is nothing in the Central Act which prohibits the authority from permitting a variation, and therefore the provision under the Madras Amendment, Section 48-A permitting a variation will be perfectly valid. The same reasoning applies to Madras Amendments, Sections 51-A and 56-A.
64. Before concluding I may observe that the Motor Vehicles Act of 1939, as amended in 1940, mainly adopts the scheme and structure of the English Act, Road Traffic Act, 1930, 20 and 21 George V, Ch. 43; the present Act being 1960 Act, 8 and 9 Elizabeth, Ch. 6. The substance of the relevant portion of the law regarding control by licensing of Motor Vehicles in England is contained in 33 Halsbury, Simonds 3rd Edn. pages 690 to 698. It is unnecessary in this judgment to refer to a comparison of the provisions of the English statute even though many of the provisions in Ch. IV under the Indian Act are mainly modelled upon the provisions of the English Act, Road Traffic Act of 1930. But one thing is clear. In England also there is a conception of the right of an operator to obtain a variation of the route specified in the permit as opposed to his right to apply for a fresh permit. In America too the same conception exists. I think a discussion of the cases in America may not be of much use as the decisions turned upon the particular provisions of the statutes in the various States there.
65. To sum up, I am clearly of the opinion that the Transport Authority has power and jurisdiction to vary the route specified in a stage carriage permit. The acceptance of the rival theory will make Chapter IV dealing with control of transport vehicles and Chapter IX dealing with offences, penalties, and procedure, ineffective, resulting in a truncated operation of the important provisions of the Act, cutting at file very root of its scheme and. policy.
66. I am therefore, of the opinion that the petition should be dismissed.