M. Anantanarayanan, C.J.
1. These writ proceedings involve, in essence, the consideration of the correctness of the view taken by Veeraswami J. in Mettupalayam Coonoor Service v. Nilgiri Motor Transport, (1947) (P) Ltd. : AIR1965Mad91 . We may state, at the outset that the learned Judge addressed himself in this judgment to the interpretation of Section 48 (3) (iii) and (iv) of the Motor Vehicles Act, and rules 134-A (xv) and 269, Motor Vehicles Rules 1940 (amended in 1959). On a consideration of these authorities (provisions-sic), the learned judge held that the Secretary of the Regional Transport authority had no power to revise or modify the timings already fixed or approved in respect of a stage-carriage, since there could be no delegation of such a power by the Transport authority to the Secretary, permissible under the statute and the rules.
2. The particular line of reasoning which led the learned Judge to this conclusion will be found set forth in a paragraph at page 250 of the MLJ :(at p. 92 of AIR); the essential part of this is as follows;
'In the light of these provisions as modified or substituted, the submission of Mr. Chengalvarayan is that the delegation to the Secretary under Rule 134-A (xv) is confined to fixation or approval of timetable with or without modification and does not include power to revise or modify a schedule of timings already fixed or approved. In my opinion this contention is well founded. Rule 269, as it is In force today is in two parts; the first sub-rule conferring power upon the Regional Transport authority to fix and approve a schedule of timings, and the second sub-rule conferring power to revise or modify a schedule of timings already fixed or approved. The implication of the two sub-rules is that the power to fix and approve a schedule of timings does not carry with it power to revise or modify a schedule of timings already fixed or approved. Power to regulate timings was embodied in the body of the Act itself before Section 48 (d) was amended, and no distinction was made therein between the power to fix and approve a schedule of timings on the one hand and power to revise or modify a schedule of timings already fixed or approved on the other. But now, the power to regulate timings as embodied in Rule 269, as amended, has split the power into two, one to fix and approve, and the other to revise or modify, In the light of this distinction made by Rule 269 between the two kinds of power, it is clear that under Rule 131-A what is delegated by the authority to the Secretary is only power to fix or approve time-table with or without modification. When the terms of delegation are in those terms it is not permissible, as I think, to read them as including the power to revise or modify a schedule of timings already fixed or approved. The delegation to the Secretary, in my opinion, is only of the power of the Regional Transport authority under Sub-rule (1) of R. 269, as amended and not of the power under Sub-rule (2) of that rule',
3. For the purpose of elucidating the problem of interpretation that now arises, we may set forth the three relevant provisions of the statute and the statutory rules made thereunder, namely, (1) Section 43 (3) (iii) and (iv) of the Motor Vehicles Act. (2) Rule 134-A (xv) of the Motor Vehicles Rules and (3) Rule 269 Sub-rules (1) and (2) of the Motor Vehicles Rules. It is necessary for the purpose of the discussion to have the precise phraseology of these provisions in mind and hence we are extracting them at this stage. Section 48 (3) (iii) and (iv):
'The Regional Transport authority, if it decides to 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--
(iii) that copies of the tune-table of the service or of particular stage carriages approved by the Regional Transport authority shall be exhibited on the vehicles and at specified stands and halts on the route or within the area;
(iv) that the service shall be operated within such margins of deviation from the approved time-table as the Regional Transport authority may from time to time specify'. Rule 134-A (xv):
'The Regional Transport authority may, for prompt and convenient despatch of business, by general or special resolution, delegate to the Secretary the following powers and functions, namely -- 'Power to fix tune-table or approve time-table with or without modification or refuse to approve time-table in respect of a particular stage carriage or of a service of stage carriages'.
Rule 269 (1) and (2):
'(1) The Transport authority may. If no schedule of timings is already fixed or approved for a stage carriage or a service of stage carriages on any route, either on its own motion or an application made to it in writing by a general or special order, fix and approve a schedule of timings for the particular stage carriage or the service of stage carriages, and while approving a schedule of timings, on an application made to it In writing, it may approve the schedule with such modifications as it deems necessary.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in Sub-rule (1), the transport authority may, at any time either on its own motion or an application made to it in writing if satisfied of the expediency, revise or modify any schedule of timings already fixed or approved for any particular stage carriage or any service of stage carriages on any route or portion thereof after giving an opportunity of being heard to the applicant. If any person likely to be or claiming to be affected by the revision or modification'.
4. It will now be clear that, in the passage In which he has embodied his reasons for his conclusion, the learned Judge appears to have taken a somewhat too restricted and literal a view of the scope of Rule 134-A (xv). Actually, subsequent to the decision of the learned Judge, an amendment was introduced by G. O. Ms. No. 72 Home dated 7-1-1965, adding Rule 134-A (xvii) in the words--
'Power under Rule 269 to regulate timings of stage carriages, whether they belong to a single owner or more owners'.
5. In view of this it is not disputed before us by any of the learned counsel appearing in these matters, that the power to delegate to the Secretary this function of regulating the timings of stage carriages, even under the second part of Rule 269, now does exist, and can be exercised by the Regional Transport authority. But the question Is whether, with respect to the orders in these proceedings which relate to an anterior stage, the State Transport Appellate Tribunal was justified in striking down the exercise of the power by the Secretary, because of the reasoning and decision In : AIR1965Mad91 .
6. We think that It Is sufficient here to make the following observations. Rule 134-A (xv), even apart from the subsequent addition of Rule 134-A (xvii) is in somewhat wide terms. It relates to a power to fix the time-table or approve the time-table 'with or without modification'. In the light of this language, even if Rule 269 Sub-rules (1) and (2) present a dichotomy, as the learned Judge (Veeraswami J.) appears to think. It may be a too strict and literal interpretation of the words employed in Rule 134-A (xv) to construe that rule as not including the delegation of a power to revise or modify any schedule of timings earlier determined. We may point out, further, and this is not in dispute, that Rule 269 (1) even construing it separately, is a power of wider amplitude to fix timings for stage carriages on any route, where no schedule of timings has been already fixed, in any manner which the transport authority may consider expedient Even where the authority approves the schedule of timings on a written application, it may make such modifications as are necessary. Rule 269 (2) relates to a more restricted power, to revise or modify any schedule of timings already fixed or approved, in individual particulars. Under the circumstances with great respect to the learned Judge (Veeraswami J.) we are unable to agree that the delegation to the Secretary even under Rule 134-A (xv) 'Is only of the power of the Regional Transport authority under Sub-rule (I) of Rule 269 as amended and not of the power under Sub-rule (2) of that rule'. The actual language employed is wide enough to cover both kinds of function, and, as we emphasised, the wider function is the power to determine ab initio a schedule of timings for stage carriages on a route. Where that can be delegated, and validly delegated, we think that it is logical to assume that the authority to which the power has been delegated, can also exercise a function of altering or modifying individual timings in respect of a prior time-table, when called upon to do so. After all, the intendment of the rule has to be construed upon the principle of harmonious interpretation, and not in a rigidly semantic manner, which may frustrate the subject of the rule permitting delegation.
7. For these reasons, these writ petitions are allowed and the respective orders of the State Transport Appellate Tribunal are set aside. We may here state that even apart from these grounds, the writ petitions would apparently have to stand allowed, for the simple reason that the Supreme Court has since held that there Is no valid power vested in the State Transport Appellate Tribunal to exercise revisional jurisdiction, in respect of such orders of the Regional Transport Authority. This proposition is not in dispute before us.
8. The petitions will therefore stand allowed and parties will bear their own costs.