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B. Radhakrishnan Vs. State of Madras and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. Nos. 1376 of 1956 and 412 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1960Mad231
ActsMadras Motor Vehicles Act ; Motor Vehicles Act - Sections 43-A
AppellantB. Radhakrishnan
RespondentState of Madras and ors.
Cases ReferredSangram Singh v. Election Tribunal
Excerpt:
motor vehicles - permit - madras motor vehicles act and section 43 a of motor vehicles act - vehicles plying between places in pondicherry had to pass through intervening portions of india - said vehicles allowed to run without indian authorities taking proceedings against them - said permission challenged - writ of mandamus does not lie to compel person to institute legal proceedings - permission granted to avoid intolerable inconvenience due to geographical situation of two states - it would be impossible to make alternate arrangement for running transport vehicles across these enclaves - court liable to consider public importance of matter - held, permission granted reasonable and justified. - - the pondicherry enclave, as you know, is something like a geographical jigshaw puzzle,.....order(1) by a treaty concluded in 1814 between england and france all the possessions in india which had belonged to the french on 1-1-1792 were to be restored to them. the french also bound themselves not to erect any fortifications in india and to keep in their establishments only such troops as were 'necessary for the maintenance of the police'. in pursuance of this treaty the territories in question were actually handed over to the french in december 1816 (vide page 418 of vol. 1 of the south arcot dt. gazetteer).(2) the territories that were so handed over to the french included what we formerly used to call the french settlements of pondicherry. these settlements do not constitute a compact block but include a number of enclaves inside the district of south arcot. it is impossible.....
Judgment:
ORDER

(1) By a treaty concluded in 1814 between England and France all the possessions in India which had belonged to the French on 1-1-1792 were to be restored to them. The French also bound themselves not to erect any fortifications in India and to keep in their establishments only such troops as were 'necessary for the maintenance of the police'. In pursuance of this treaty the territories in question were actually handed over to the French in December 1816 (vide page 418 of Vol. 1 of the South Arcot Dt. Gazetteer).

(2) The territories that were so handed over to the French included what we formerly used to call the French Settlements of Pondicherry. These settlements do not constitute a compact block but include a number of enclaves inside the district of South Arcot. It is impossible to enter some of these enclaves or emerge from them without crossing Indian territory. For instance a person who wants to go from Pondicherry Town to Canniacoil, both in Pondicherry territory, has to cross a bit of land, little less than two miles, wide, running past the village of Rettichavadi. to go from Villenour to Madagadipet both in Pondicherry territory, one has to cross Indian territory in two places. Before one can go from Pondicherry to Tircanour, Indian territory has to be crossed in about three places. There are several other similar instances. Likewise there are bits of Indian territory which cannot be ordinarily reached except by passing through Pondicherry territory.

Before one can reach Rettichavadi from Cuddalore it is necessary to go through Canniacoil which is included in Pondicherry territory. There are a number of villages which form part of the territory of India which lie west of Ariancoupam village and south of Ariancoupam river which are wholly encircled by Pondicherry territory. It is common knowledge in the locality that there are numerous ryots who live in Pondicherry territory but who own agricultural lands in Indian territory and vice versa. For 130 years and more the residents of the enclaves attached to Pondicherry have been passing and repassing over Indian territory without let or hindrance. Similarly residents of what I may call Indian enclaves have been passing and repassing over Pondicherry territory. And this observation applies not merely to men and animals but also to vehicles of every description. No passports or visas were ever required. The only restrictions imposed on free travel across the enclaves were those created by the obligation to pay tolls, octroi duties, custom levies and licence fees when a vehicle was kept and not merely taken through in India or Pondicherry as the case may have been.

(3) Sometime before 10-12-1941 the Government of Madras suggested to the Governor of the French Establishments in India that a reciprocal arrangement be entered into by which vehicles registered in Pondicherry would be exempt from the payment of tax under the Madras Motor Vehicles Act for the use of specified short stretches of territory in India, and, motor vehicles registered in Madras using certain stretches of French territory would be similarly exempted from the levy of French tax and tolls. The suggestion of the Madras Government was accepted and on 10-12-1941, the Government of Madras issued a notification specifying the routes covered by the agreement.

(4) Subsequently there was a de facto transfer of the former French Establishments in India to the Government of India. On 10-2-1956 the Secretary General Administration, Pondicherry, wrote to the Chief Secretary to the Government of Madras, explaining that the residents of Pondicherry often found it necessary to take out lorries carrying goods from Pondicherry to Chidambaram, Kumbakonam, Salem, Vellore and other places and requesting the Government of Madras to instruct their Transport authorities to issue 'concurrent permits for running at least 15 buses and 15 lorries from Pondicherry, 5 buses and 5 lorries from Karaikal and 2 buses and 2 lorries from Mahe.' This suggestion led to further correspondence and a distinction was made between vehicles passing from one enclave to another and vehicles proceeding from Pondicherry to destinations in the Indian Union. In a D. O. Letter dated 6-5-1956 which he addressed to the Deputy Transport Commissioner, Madras the Inspector General of Police, Pondicherry stated:

'The Pondicherry enclave, as you know, is something like a geographical jigshaw puzzle, with small bits of South Arcot territory forming islands in it. Bus permits are given from one part of this Pondicherry enclave to the other and very often in between a small bit of South Arcot territory intervenes. In such cases, I feel that South Arcot should give permit automatically. It is not a case of someone being allowed to ply to a terminus in South Arcot Dt. It is only making convenience for people of this State to go from one part of the State to the other within Pondicherry enclave. If it is a question of going from Pondicherry to Karaikal it is a different matter. But the facility for going from one station to another in Pondicherry enclave itself should not be dependent on the Transport authority of South Arcot Dt. This problem should be considered separately and a specific directive issued to the South Arcot Dt. Transport authority to automatically give their concurrence in such cases.'

(5) On this the Deputy Transport Commissioner, Madras, wrote to the Secretary to the Government of Madras in their Home department in which he stated,

'I agree with the Inspector General of Police that pending orders on the general question of reciprocity in the grants of permits between Madras and Pondicherry transport authorities, the problem of allowing transport vehicles of Pondicherry to operate on routes within enclaves in Pondicherry State but interrupted by small bits of territory included in South Arcot Dt. should be solved. This can be satisfactorily solved only if the Regional Transport authority, South Arcot automatically grants permits valid for the bits of territory within this State and intercepting Pondicherry territory. I suggest that the Government may be pleased to issue a direction to the Regional Transport authority, South Arcot, under S. 43-A of the Motor Vehicles Act to issue permits as suggested above to achieve the object in view for the vehicles already having permits in Pondicherry State for such routes.'

(6) On 14-6-1956, the Deputy Transport Commissioner and State Transport Authority, Madras wrote to the Secretary to Government, Home Department, Madras, explaining that the problem

'must be viewed in two aspects: (1) The question of grant of permits for Pondicherry-based vehicles to ply in regular inter-state routes. i.e., one end of the terminii lying in Pondicherry and other lying in Madras State: (2) The question of grant of permits for Pondicherry based veicles to ply on routes connecting Pondicherry and its enclaves in the South Arcot Dt. in Madras State.' Dealing with the latter question he stated,

'Regarding point 2 above, no question of reciprocity arises. The fact remains that Pondicherry based vehicles have all along been allowed to ply on these routes without permits even though the vehicles have to pass through a portion of the Madras State territory. It is relevant to mention in this connection that some of the roads in South Arcot Dt. through which these vehicles have to pass are stated to be maintained by the Pondicherry State authorities and that Regional Transport officer, South Arcot is examining the matter in consultation with the Divisional Engineer. Highways concerned. As suggested in my letter forth cited, I request that Government may be pleased to issue a direction under S. 43-A of the Motor Vehicles Act to the Regional Transport authority, South Arcot, requiring it to grant permits automatically to the Pondicherry based operators having permits in Pondicherry State to ply their vehicles between Pondicherry and its enclaves in the South Arcot Dt.'

(7) On 27-6-1956, the Government of Madras issued an order, the operative part of which runs as follows;

'In exercise of the powers conferred by S. 43-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (Central Act IV of 1939) the Governor of Madras hereby directs the Regional Transport authority, South Arcot to permit stage carriages plying on routes within the Pondicherry State to run on portions of those routes lying within the South Arcot Dt.' I notice that though in the preamble to the G. O. reference is made to the suggestion that the R. T. A. South Arcot should automatically grant permits to enable stage carriages to run without interruption from one enclave to another, the operative part of the G. O. merely directs the Regional Transport authority, South Arcot, to permit stage carriages plying on routes within the Pondicherry territory to run on portions of those routes lying within the South Arcot Dt. It does not direct him to issue permits. He is not directed to do anything positive; he is merely directed to permit the vehicles to run that is to say, to refrain from taking any proceedings against them when they do run.

(8) The petitioner in W. P. No. 1376 of 1956 is one Radhakrishnan who is the proprietor of a bus service which has its headquarters in Cuddalore N. T. In the affidavit he filed in support of his petition he claims that he owns about 14 buses that about 8 of them run very day between Cuddalore and Pondicherry and that 'they do 42 single trips between Cuddalore and Pondicherry'. He has been in this business for ten years. Between Cuddalore and Pondicherry there is an enclave attached to Pondicherry territory. That enclave is administered by the officers of the Indian Union as part of Pondicherry State. The buses of the petitioner that run between Cuddalore and Pondicherry have to pay various taxes in Pondicherry. These include a quarterly tax of Rs. 4 per seat a bus stand fee of Rs. 1-4-0 for every trip and a toll of 12 annas for every bus per day. There are a few buses which start from Pondciherry owned by the citizens of Pondicherry, but these 'never extended their operations to the enclave Mullodai Kirumambakkam, the enclave being amply served by the petitioner's bus service and some other bus services.' Some Cuddalore operators used to apply for permission to take additional trips through the enclaves to Pondicherry on the same route. But the Regional Transport Authority had been consistently turning them down on the ground that the route was amply served.

(9) On the basis of the G. O. dated 27-6-1956 'some operators from Pondicherry have applied to the Regional Transport authority, South Arcot for permits to run their buses from Pondicherry through the Indian territory, in South Arcot Dt. to the aforementioned enclave.' The petitioner understands that these applications were going to be allowed as a matter of routine and almost as a matter of right and that there was no intention to levy any tax for such permits. He complains that the G. O. is ultra vires and invalid and has therefore come to this Court for the issue of an appropriate writ 'directing the respondents to forbear from enforcing the G. O. Ms. No. 1816, Home Dept. dated 27-6-1956, directing the Regional Transport authority, South Arcot to permit the stage carriages plying on routes within the Pondicherry State to run on portions of these routes lying within the South Arcot Dt.'

(10) This petition was filed on 12-11-1956. Following further discussions the Government of Madras passed on 25-1-1958 a G. O. bearing No. Ms. 198 in which they issued the following directions:

'The Government direct that through bus service should be provided subject to the following conditions:

1. Permits can be granted exclusively by the Transport Authority of Pondicherry from one enclave to any other enclave of Pondicherry if the intervening distance in Madras State is not more than five miles at any one stretch. Existing number of buses with permits granted by Pondicherry authorities shall be allowed and shall be regularised. In all fresh cases, the Transport Authority of Pondicherry and Regional Transport Authority, South Arcot, should agree between themselves before granting permits........... (ii) the ratio on which the permits shall be issued on any route by the two States shall be on the basis of 4:1 as Madras is to Pondicherry, (2) Order exempting the buses in respect of which permits have been issued by the Pondicherry authority from payment of tax, when the distance of the route lying in Madras State is five miles and less (from enclave to enclave) would issue separately. (3) The Transport Commissioner is requested to issue necessary instructions to the Regional Transport authorities concerned in the matter of detail for implementing the decisions cited.'

In these two writ petitions we are concerned only with enclaves whose width is less than five miles, and, on the basis of this G. O. buses holding permits from the transport authorities of Pondicherry would be entitled to cross and recross the enclaves as a matter of right. All that the Regional Transport authority, South Arcot is required to do is to regularise this. But how he is to 'regularise' this is not explained in the G. O. Apparently some operators understood the G. O. to mean that they would have to make a formal application to the Regional Transport authority, South Arcot, for permission to run their buses across the intervening bits of Indian territory and that their applications would be granted as a matter of routine.

(11) One D. Padmanabhan, one of the respondents in these two writ petitions, owns two buses bearing Nos. P. 1846 and P. 1847, which run between Pondicherry and Conniacoil via Rettichavadi. In pursuance of G. O. No. Ms. 198 dated 25-1-1958 he applied to the Regional Transport authority, South Arcot for the grant of a permit to run these two buses through the Indian enclave of Rettichavadi. The Regional Transport authority notified this application and invited objections thereto.

(12) W. P. No. 412 of 1958 has been filed for the issue of an appropriate writ prohibiting the Regional Transport authority of South Arcot 'from proceeding with the grant of a permit in respect of his buses P. 1846 and P. 1847 on the portion of the route Pondicherry to Kannikoil via Reddichavadi lying in the Madras State, in pursuance of the notification A. 2/9316/58 dated 21-4-1958, issued under S. 57(3) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939.'

(13) So far as W. P. No. 1376 of 1956 is concerned Mr. Nambiar, the learned counsel for the petitioner pressed in the main three points. The first was this. The Motor Vehicles Act and the rules framed thereunder constitute a complete code. There is a general prohibition in the Act against using a motor vehicle in any public place except after compliance with various requirements laid down in the Act and the rules framed thereunder. The vehicle must first be registered and before it can be registered it must conform to certain prescribed standards. No one can drive a motor vehicle unless he holds a licence after passing the prescribed driving test. No one can ply a motor vehicle for hire except after obtaining a permit and before a permit can be obtained numerous stipulations have to be complied with. When the Government of Madras issued G. O. Ms. 1846 dated 26-6-1956, what in effect and substance they did was to dispense with the law of India in favour of certain persons who held licences and permits from the authorities in Pondicherry. This they have no power to do.

Wherever the Legislature decided to exempt any class of vehicles from the operation of any part of the Act, it has taken care to say so. Thus by Act 100 of 1956 a new S. 24-A was inserted making special provision for the registration of motor vehicles of diplomatic officers and some others. Section 33 of Act 100 of 1956 empowers the State government to declare in certain cases that certificates of fitness issued by a competent authority in the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be valid and effective in the other States of India. Similarly, sub-s. (5) to S. 63 which was introduced by Central Act 100 of 1956, empowers the State Government to 'specify the conditions subject to which a document issued by a competent authority in the State of Jammu and Kashmir authorising the use of a motor vehicle as a transport vehicle may be deemed for the purposes of sub-s. (i) to be a permit granted under the Chapter in the State. ' Mr. Nambiar pointed out that there are no similar exemptions in respect of vehicles registered in Pondicherry

(14) He next argued that the G. O. purports to have been issued in exercise of the powers conferred by S. 43-A(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act and that this section confers no such power. That sub-section only empowers the State Government to direct a Regional Transport Authority or the State 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 a specified route. It does not confer the power to direct that vehicles covered by a Pondicherry permit shall be permitted to run on Indian territory without complying with the requirements of the Motor Vehicles Act and the rules framed thereunder.

(15) When dealing with these contentions of Mr. Nambiar the learned Advocate General read certain passages from two next books on International Law, and, it may be as well to quote some of them. Thus on page 385 of his book on International Law, Fenwick writes,

'Thus far the jurisdiction of a State over territory has been discussed as if it implied a right of absolute political control whether over land, water or air. This is, in fact, the normal situation. Territorial sovereignty or jurisdiction carries with it a presumption of exclusive rights of use and disposal of the object over which sovereignty is exercised. Nevertheless, by exception, the jurisdiction of a state over its territory maybe subject to restrictions in favour of other States without encroachment upon the formal sovereignty of the State whose jurisdiction is thus restricted. These restrictions upon territorial jurisdiction have, by the analogy of similar restrictions long known to municipal law, been designated as 'servitudes'; and they may be defined as obligations on the part of the State in possession of the territory to permit a certain use to be made of it by or in favour of another state or states. The corresponding right on the part of the other State to make such use of the territory of the first State may for convenience be designated as an 'easement'; but it should be noted that the latter term has not yet found its way into international law. The term 'servitude' and the object indicated by it have now obtained recognition in international law; but there is still no general agreement as to the restrictions that may properly be designated as servitudes or as to the legal character of the limitations they impose upon the state subject to them.'

And then on page 387,

'A distinction should be observed between customary or prescriptive servitudes, created as a result of long continued usage, and conventional or contractual servitudes created by express agreement between the parties. In both cases the servitude imposed may be in favour of a single State or of third States in general. Again, a particular servitude, such as the obligation to grant a right of innocent passage through territorial waters, may be one to which all states in general are subject and of which all states alike may enjoy the benefit. Where this is the case, it has been questioned whether the general restriction should properly be called a servitude. Usage is too recent to decide the point, but convenience would seem to justify the application of the term in such cases. So long as international law recognises no common rights of all nations to the use of other property than the high seas, general restrictions upon national territorial property can, it is submitted, be more easily explained as servitudes than in any other way.'

See also pages 536 to 542 of the 8th Edn. of Oppenheim's international Law, Volune I.

(16) The learned Advocate General argued that the right of transit across intervening enclaves which arise in this case whether we call it servitude or give it some other name--is mutual and reciprocal and that the provisions in the Motor Vehicles Act requiring users of motor vehicles on public roads to conform to various requirements have not the effect of destroying them. The discussions at the Bar on this aspect of the case covered some little ground. But the subject is still in parts obscure and there appears to be considerable divergence of opinion among leading writers on the subject. One matter, however, is clear for more than a century and a quarter the residents of the enclaves have been exercising their rights of free passage for themselves and for their animals and their vehicles subject only to the payment, as I said before, of tolls, octroi dues and certain customs levies. No doubt, if the Indian Parliament was so minded, it could enact legislation denying or refusing freedom of passage across Indian Territory. But no such legislation has been enacted.

Mr. Nambiar however insisted that the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act are general in terms and of universal application to every inch of Indian soil and so it must be considered that the right of free passage has been denied. Ordinarily when an Act of the Indian parliament says that it applies to the whole of India it would naturally apply to every inch of Indian soil. But that is not the real question here. The real question is whether parliament intended to abrogate the rights of free passage which were being enjoyed for so many years. If Parliament had any such intention, I would expect it to have made explicit provision in that regard. The G. O. which is now impugned merely recognises the existence of the customary rights of passage and repassage and attempts to give effect to them. I do not read the G. O. in question as an attempt made by the State Government to dispense with the law in favour of any individuals.

(17) It is no doubt true, as Mr. Naimbiar said, that special provisions are incorporated in the Act in respect of Jammu and Kashmir and in respect of diplomatic officers. But, I do not regard the omission to make any provision in respect of the rights of passage and repassage now under consideration as necessarily expressing an intention on the part of the Indian parliament to do away with those rights. One may properly doubt whether the peculiar position in this part of South Arcot was ever present in the minds of Parliament at all. If it had been, Parliament could hardly have failed to make some special provision in respect of those matters, as it must have realised that otherwise intolerable inconvenience would be caused to a large number of people.

(18) The third argument of Mr. Nambiar that S. 43A(2) does not confer on the Government the power to issue the order they did is no doubt technically correct. But, that is not sufficient to dispose of the matter and it does not follow that the order issued by Government is bad and must be quashed.

(19) At this stage, I would refer to Anjaneya Motor Transport v. State of Madras, : AIR1955Mad660 (of Mad LJ): (p. 662 of AIR), Rajagopala Aiyangar J., who delivered the judgment of the bench, observed:

'The other contention that was urged was that no appeal lay to the Government against the order of the Central Road Traffic Board passed through its Secretary refusing the variation, and that the order of the Government did not disclose that their revisional jurisdiction was invoked or that they intended to exercise such revisional powers. We do not consider that there is much substance in this objection because if the authority had the power to pass the order such an order could not be held to be vitiated by the caption given to it.'

(20) Another consideration is relevant here. Notwithstanding the language of the preamble to the G. O., the operative part of it merely directs the Regional Transport Authority, South Arcot to permit Pondicherry vehicles to run through Indian enclaves, i. e., to say he is to keep his hands off and do nothing to them. When the petitioner asks that the G. O. should be quashed, what he in effect and substance wants is, that the Regional Transport authority should be directed institute legal proceedings against Pondicherry vehicles, running through Indian enclaves without obtaining permits from Indian enclaves without obtaining permits from Indian authorities. Now, there is authority for the position that a writ will not normally issue for a purpose of this kind. In Nagpur Glass Works Ltd., Nagpur v. State of M. P. ILR (1954) Nag 839 : AIR 1955 Nag 33, it was held that 'A writ of mandamus will not lie to compel a person to institute legal proceedings.'

(21) I would next observe that in a matter of this kind the Court has a measure of discretion. See paragraph 161 of Hilsbury's Laws of England, 3rd Edn. volume 11:

'The grant of an order of mandamus is, as a general rule, a matter for the discretion of the Court. It is not an order granted as of right and it is not issued as a matter of course. Accordingly, the Court may refuse the order not only upon the merits, but also by reason of the special circumstances of the case. On the other hand the Court may grant leave to apply for an order of mandamus even though the right in respect of which it is sought appears to be doubtful. The Court will take a liberal view in determining whether or not the order shall issue, not scrupulously weighing the decree of public importance attained by the matter which may be in question, but applying this remedy in all cases to which, upon a reasonable construction, it can be shown to be applicable.'

(22) The Supreme Court of India expressed itself to much the same effect in Sangram Singh v. Election Tribunal, : [1955]2SCR1 :

'That, however, is not to say that the jurisdiction will be exercised whenever there is an error of law. The High Courts do not, and should not, act as courts of appeal under Art. 226. Their powers are purely discretionary and though no limits can be placed upon that discretion it must be exercised along recognised lines and not arbitrarily; and one of the limitations imposed by the Courts on themselves is that they will not exercise jurisdiction in this class of cases unless substantial injustice has ensued, or is likely to ensue. They will not allow themselves to be turned into courts of appeal or revision to set right mere errors of law which do not occasion injustice in a broad and general sense, for though no legislature can impose limitations on these constitutional powers it is a sound exercise of discretion to bear in mind the policy of the legislature to have disputes about these special rights decided as speedily as may be. Therefore, writ petitions should not be lightly entertained in this class of case.'

(23) In my judgment, the circumstances of this case are pre-eminently such that the writ should be refused. To issue the writ would be to place an intolerable burden of inconvenience on numerous citizens of this country and another adjoining territory which, as a matter of actual fact, is administered by the officers of the Indian Government. The enclaves are numerous and they consist of tiny bits of land. In quite a few cases there are no habitations where the road leaves one enclave and enters another enclaves. It would be impossible to make separate arrangements for running transport vehicles across these enclaves. If the writ asked for in this case were to issue, this Court must be prepared, on grounds of logic and consistency, to insist that persons moving from one enclave to another should also provide themselves with passports and visas in the same way as if they were going from India to a foreign country, and, this would be, as I indicated above, to set at naught the usage of more than a century and a quarter.

(24) The main objections urged by Mr. Nambiar, in W. P. No.412 of 1958 were these. Under various orders issued from time to time Government have prescribed a particular procedure for the grant of permits for stage carriages or for the variation of permits already issued to such carriages. First of all, before a new route is opened, the Regional Transport authority must issue a notification under S. 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act intimating that it is proposed to open a particular route. Objections must then be called for from operators who would be affected by the opening of the proposed route as well as from the local and police authorities and others. The Regional Transport authority has to hear their objections and then submit his recommendation to the transport commissioner. The Transport Commissioner, in his turn, has either to accept or reject the recommendation of the Regional Transport Authority. After it is decided that a new route should be opened a fresh notification has to be issued and applications invited from operators under S. 57(2) of the Act. Then a further notification has to issue under S. 57(3) giving the names of the various applicants and inviting representations and objections from operators.

There has to be a public hearing and then the permit would be granted to the applicant considered most eligible. This procedure was not followed in the present case. The second respondent made an application for the grant of a permit that would enable him to run through Indian enclaves and his application was at once notified. It is not possible to justify the action of the Regional Transport authority on the ground that only the variation of an existing permit already given to the second respondent was involved because the procedure for varying a permit is substantially the same as the procedure for issuing a new permit. Besides, the procedure applicable for the variation of a permit cannot apply where the permit sought to be varied is that issued by a foreign authority--in this case the authorities in Pondicherry.

(25) The first observation I would make on this argument is this. It may be that in notifying the application of the second respondent straightway the Regional Transport authority did not conform to various orders issued by Government. But the fact remains that the procedure he adopted does not involve any contravention of any statute.

(26) It is alleged in paragraph 9 of the affidavit filed in support of the petition that 'S. 47(1) of the Act requires the Regional Transport authority to notify a proposal to open a new route under that section.' That section, however, says no such thing. It merely enumerates various considerations which the authority empowered to grant a permit shall have regard to, when dealing with applications for permits. That section itself does not require that any application to open a new route should be notified. Every person has a right to apply for a permit. Whether the application should be granted or not, it is for the concerned authority to decide; only he is bound to deal with that application according to law. When therefore the Regional Transport authority notified the application of the second respondent he was not contravening any provision of the statute.

(27) The objection based on the assumption and which is referred to in paragraph 10(b) of the affidavit filed in support of the petition that the second respondent was asking for a variation of the permit is really beside the mark. No doubt, the appropriate Indian authority can vary only a permit granted by an authority in India. He cannot vary a permit issued by an authority in Pondicherry. But, there is nothing to prevent the appropriate Indian authority from granting a permit to a vehicle in such a manner that together with the permit granted by the authority in Pondicherry it would be possible for an operator to run continuously from one enclave to another.

(28) In the Walter of argument and counter argument we must guard against forgetting one simple fact and that fact is that at this stage no order has been made by the Regional Transport authority, South Arcot. He only invited objections to the application made by the second respondent. The second respondent was entitled to make application and the Regional Transport authority was bound to deal with that application. It is open to anybody interested in the matter to approach the Regional Transport authority and tell him that the application of the second respondent should not be granted. The statute lays down the more important considerations which the Regional Transport authority has got to take into account before coming to a decision. It will be time enough for the person aggrieved to come to this Court after the Regional Transport authority has disposed of the application in a particular manner. This petition is liable to be dismissed on the sole ground that it is premature. The Regional Transport authority has yet made no orders to the prejudice of the petitioner.

(29) In the result, both these writ petitions are dismissed, but, in view of the peculiar circumstances of this case, there will be no order as to costs.

(30) Petitions dismissed.


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