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M. Kali Mudaliar Vs. A. Vedachala Mudaliar and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetters Patent Appeal No. 86 of 1951
Judge
Reported inAIR1952Mad545; (1951)2MLJ152
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 48, 48A, 59(3), 60 and 64
AppellantM. Kali Mudaliar
RespondentA. Vedachala Mudaliar and ors.
Appellant AdvocateR. Rajeswara Rao, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS. Rangaswami Iyengar, Adv. and ;Government Pleader
Disposition Appeal allowed
Excerpt:
motor vehicles act (iv of 1939), section 64--stage carriage--changing of timings by regional transport authority--appeal to central road traffic board, if lies--person aggrieved by 'variation of the conditions' of permit in section 64 (b) of the act--meaning of; the regional transport authority is given the power to regulate the timings of arrival and departure of stage carriages, whether they belong to a single owner or to several owners. the power to regulate has nothing to do with the grant of the permit to individual owners. it is a comprehensive power conferred on the authority to be exercised in the interests of the general public. an appeal against the order of the regional transport authority changing the timings to the central road traffic board is not maintainable...........between vanangupet and madhurantakam. the time fixed for starting of his bus was 8-5 a.m. the regional transport authority on an application by the appellant changed the timings for his bus to 6-40 a.m. instead of 8-5 a.m. by his order dated 21st july 1950. against this order, the first respondent herein preferred an appeal to the central road traffic board which restored the original timings. thereupon the appellant preferred a revision to the government under section 64-a of the motor vehicles act. the government set aside the order of the central road traffic board an^ restored the order of the regional transport authority. there was an application to this court for a writ of certiorari to quash the order of the government and this court allowed that application and quashed the.....
Judgment:
1. This is an appeal against the judgment and order of Subba Rao J. quashing an order of the Government dated 5th July 1951 passed under Section 64-A of the Motor Vehicles Act. The first respondent before us was granted two stage carriage permits for the route from Vanangupet to Madras. The time fixed for starting the two buses, the one from Madras and the other from Vanangupet was 7 a.m. The appellant before us was granted a permit for the route between Vanangupet and Madhurantakam. The time fixed for starting of his bus was 8-5 a.m. The Regional Transport Authority on an application by the appellant changed the timings for his bus to 6-40 a.m. instead of 8-5 a.m. by his order dated 21st July 1950. Against this order, the first respondent herein preferred an appeal to the Central Road Traffic Board which restored the original timings. Thereupon the appellant preferred a revision to the Government under Section 64-A of the Motor Vehicles Act. The Government set aside the order of the Central Road Traffic Board an^ restored the order of the Regional Transport Authority. There was an application to this Court for a writ of certiorari to quash the order of the Government and this Court allowed that application and quashed the order on the ground that the order on the face of it did not disclose why the Government passed' the order under Section 64-A. The appellant again moved the Government subsequent to the order of this Court and the Government once again set aside the Central Road Traffic Board's order and restored the order of the Regional Transport Authority. The first respondent again filed another application which came on before Subba Rao J. The learned Judge first heard and overruled a preliminary objection raised by the appellant to the maintainability of the application for a Writ of Certiorari based on the ground that the order of the Regional Transport Authority in fixing the timings was an administrative act and therefore the order of Central Road Traffic Board made on appeal and the order of the Government passed under Section 64-A in revision were also administrative orders not liable to be quashed by a Writ of Certiorari. The learned Judge then held that viewed as a judicial order, the order of the Government must be set aside because the Government had not assigned any reasons for their conclusion. His conclusion is stated thus: "In the present case the latest order of the Government is only a mechanical repetition of the words in Section 64-A of the Act. It is net a judicial determination of the conditions laid down in Section 64-A, which entitle them to interfere with the order of the subordinate authorities, I have, therefore, no alternative but to quash the order of the Government." In our opinion, the appeal must be allowed, but on a ground which apparently did not loom large before the learned Judge, though it can not be said that the point was not taken at all. It was contended by Mr. Bhashyam Aiyangar, for the appellant that an appeal from the order of the Regional Transport Authority changing the timings of his bus did not lie to the Central Road Traffic Board and therefore the Government by restoring the order of the Regional Transport Authority was in effect doing a proper thing, because the order of the Regional Transport Authority had become final. The only provision in the Motor Vehicles Act which confers a right of appeal in certain specified cases is Section 64. The question is whether the first respondent herein could be deemed to fall under any of the Clauses (a) to (g) of that section. The learned Judge (Subba Rao J.) was apparently inclined to take the view that he would fall within Clause (b), namely, any person "aggrieved by the revocation or suspension of the permit or by any variation of the conditions thereof." Before us Mr. Rangaswami Aiyangar for the first respondent suggested as an alternative Clause (f), which runs thus :

"Any person being a local authority or police authority or an association which, or a person providing transport facilities who having opposed the grant of a permit is aggrieved by the grant thereof or by any condition attached thereto."

We have considerable doubt as to the correctness of the learned Judge's conclusion so far as Clause (b) is concerned. But it is not necessary to deal with this aspect of the matter, because we agree with Mr. Bhashyam Aiyangar that the change of the timing of the petitioner's bus cannot be held to be a variation of any of the conditions of the permit. If it is not, then neither Clause (b) nor Clause (f) will apply.

2. The material provisions of the Act which have any bearing on the question which falls for decision are Sections 46, 47, 48, 48-A and 59. Section 46 deals with an application for a stage carriage permit. It provides that such an application shall contain certain particulars. Mr. Rangaswami Aiyangar contended that all these particulars when incorporated in the permit would become conditions of the permit. We have no hesitation in rejecting this contention. One of the particulars which has to be mentioned in the application is the type of 'he vehicle in respect of which the application is made. Surely it cannot be contended that the mention of the particular type in the permit, would amount to imposing a condition in respect of the permit. Section 46 deals with the stage of an application by the owner of the vehicle and does not purport to deal with the conditions which may be imposed by the authority granting the permit. Section 47 prescribes the procedure which the Regional Transport Authority has to follow in considering applications for stage carriage permits. He is enjoined to have regard to certain matters and to take into consideration any representations made by persons already providing road transport facilities along or near the proposed route or by any local authority or police authority within whose jurisdiction any part of the proposed route may lie or by any association interested in the provision of road transport facilities. Under Section 47(2), the Regional Transport Authority is bound to refuse to grant a stage carriage permit if it appears from any time table furnished that the provisions of the Act relating to the speed at which vehicles may be driven are likely to be contravened. Section 48 confers certain powers on the Regional Trans port Authority. These powers are not all of the same nature and do not belong to the same category. The only common thing is that these powers are to be exercised in the interests of the public and to provide adequate transport facilities to the public. The powers conferred are, (a) the power to limit the number of stage carriages in any particular region or in any specified area or on any specified route, (b) the power to issue a stage carriage permit in respect of a particular stage carriage or a particular service of stage carriages, (c) the power to regulate timings of arrival or departure of stage carriages whether they belong to a single or more owners, (d) power to attach to a stage carriage permit any prescribed condition or any one or more of the conditions enumerated in Sub-clauses (i) to (vi) of Clause (d). The relevant Sub-clause is Sub-clause (iii) which runs as follows:

"That copies of the fare table and the time table shall be exhibited on the stage carriage and that the fare table and time table so exhibited shall be observed." Under Section 48-A, the Provincial Authority is entitled to vary, cancel or add to any conditions attached to a stage carriage permit in pursuance of clause (d) of Section 48. Section 59(3) prescribes the conditions to which every permit is subject. They are,

(a) that the vehicle or vehicles to which the permit relates are at all times so maintained as to comply with the requirements of Chapter V and the rules made thereunder,

(b) that the vehicle or vehicles to which the permit relates are not driven at a speed exceeding the speed lawful under this Act;

(c) that any prohibition or restriction imposed & any maximum or minimum fares or freights fixed by notification made under Section 43 are observed in connection with any vehicle or vehicles to which the permit relates;

(d) that the vehicle or vehicles to which the permit relates are not driven in contravention of the provisions of Section 72;

(e) that the provisions of this Act limiting the hours of work of drivers are observed in connection with any vehicle or vehicles to which the permit relates; and

(f) that the provisions of Chapter VIII so far as they anply to the holder of the permit are observed.

3. In exercise of the powers conferred on the Government rules have been framed under the Act. Rule 269 relates to the change of timings. It runs thus:

"The transport, from time to time may (i) by a general order prescribe a schedule of timing for stage carriages running on specified routes; Or

(ii) by a special order, prescribe a schedule of timings for each stage carriage."

R. 270 provides that when a schedule of timings has been prescribed under Rule 269, every stage carriage on such a route shall run in accordance with it, except when prevented by accident or other unavoidable cause or when otherwise authorised in writing by the authority granting the permit. Rule 208 is in these terms:

"(a) 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 there of 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."

In our opinion, the time fixed by the Regional Transport Authority at the time of the grant of the permit is not one of the conditions of the permit. The sections above referred to clearly indicate what is meant by a condition attached to a stage carriage permit, Section 59(3) mentions the conditions which should be attached to every permit and Section 48(3) gives power to the Regional Transport Authority to attach to a permit any one or more of the conditions mentioned in Sub-clauses (i) to (vi) of Section 48 (d). There may be also other conditions, but they should be in 'pari materia' with the conditions mentioned above. The Regional Transport Authority is given the power to regulate the timings of arrival and departure of stage carriages whether they belong to a single owner or several owners. This power to regulate has nothing to do with the grant of the permit to individual owners. It is a comprehensive power conferred on the authority to be exercised in the interests of the general public. The only condition in this matter would be a condition that the timing as fixed from time to time should be exhibited on the stage carriage and the timing so exhibited should be observed. For a breach of any of these conditions, a permit may be cancelled, under Section 60 of the Act. We think, therefore, Section 48-A, has no application to this case, because there has been no variation, cancellation or addition to any condition attached to a stage carriage permit. It follows that Section 64 has equally no application. It is only it there is any variation of a condition that Clause (b) of that section would apply. Clause (f) also has no application. It cannot be said that the first respondent is a person who had opposed the grant of a permit. It is true that Section 208 provides that if there is an application for the variation of the permit which would authorise transport facilities materially different from those attached to the original permit, the procedure to be followed is the same as that prescribed for considering applications for permit; but we do think that because this procedure applies, the person opposing an application for variation could be deemed to be a person opposing the grant of a permit within Section 64 (f). We must, therefore, hold that an appeal against that order of the Regional Transport Authority changing the timings to the Central Road Traffic Board was not maintainable. The order of the Central Road Traffic Board purporting to set aside the order of the Regional Transport Authority on appeal is, therefore, void. The result is that the original order of the Regional Transport Authority stands unaffected. This is exactly the result of the order of the Government setting aside the order of the Central Road Traffic Board and restoring the order of the Regional Transport Authority. In these circumstances, we see no reason why this Court should quash an order of the Government the result of which has been to maintain a lawful order passed by the Regional Transport Authority which could not be interfered with on appeal and which had been improperly set aside by the Central Road Traffic Board.

4. Even if the timing can be said to be a condition attached to a permit, we do not agree with the learned Judge that the first respondent could be treated as a person aggrieved by the variation of the conditions of the permit within the meaning of Clause (b) of Section 64. The expression "the permit" in that clause must obviously refer to the permit mentioned, in Clause (a). That permit is a permit granted to any person by the Transport Authority. We think the proper construction of that clause' is to confine its application to persons aggrieved by the 'revocation or suspension of the permits granted to them or again aggrieved; by any variation of the conditions of such permits granted to them. That clause does not confer a right on one person to appeal against an order varying the condition of a permit granted to another person.

5. In this view it does not become necessary to examine the correctness of the learned Judge's conclusion on the other important question argued before him as to the nature of the order of the Regional Transport Authority in fixing or regulating the timings. On the merits we hold that the order of the Central Road Traffic Board was void, because there was no appeal against the order of the Regional Transport Authority.

6. The appeal is allowed and the order of the learned Judge quashing the order of the Government is set aside and the application (W. P. No. 171 of 1951) is dismissed. There shall be no order as to costs.


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