(1) This is an appeal against the judgment of Balakrishna Aiyar J. in W. P. No. 946 of 1958 filed by the appellant, Messrs. Southern Transports, Periakulam, under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India for the issue of a writ of prohibition, directing the Regional Transport Authority, Madurai, the Regional Transport Authority, Tiruchirapalli, and the Regional Transport Authority of Ramanathapuram at Madurai to forbear from proceeding further in the matter of granting the variation to the first respondent, Kodaikanal Motor Union Ltd., Madurai, in regard to his bus MDM. 6458 operating on the route Madurai to Tirupathur as Madurai to Thirumayam, Balakrishna Aiyar J. dismissed the petition, and hence this appeal.
(2) It is sufficient to mention the following material facts which led up to the filing of writ petition. In 1956, the Kodaikanal Motor Union applied for a variation of the permit which it already held in respect of one of its buses on the route Madurai to Tirupattur so that it could run right up to Thirumayam in Tiruchirapalli Dt. The revised route lay over three districts, Madurai, Ramanathapuram and Tiruchirapalli. The three Regional Transport authorities concerned notified the application and invited objections. The appellant before us was one of the objectors.
As there was difference of opinion between the three Regional Transport authorities as to the necessity and desirability of extension of the route, the application for variation was rejected. However, as there was a difference of opinion on the question, there was a reference to the Transport Commissioner, Madras, under S. 44(3)(c) of the Motor Vehicles Act. The Transport Commissioner decided that the route Madurai to Tirupattur might be extended up to Thirumayam in respect of one bus. Subsequently the first respondent, Kodaikanal Motor Union, filed another application for variation similar to the application made by them earlier.
The Regional Transport Authority, Ramanathapuram, notified that the consideration of the application would be taken up on or after 31-10-1958. It was at that stage that the appellant filed the writ petition, out of which this appeal arises, for the issue of an appropriate writ, prohibiting the three Regional Transport authorities mentioned above from proceeding further in dealing with the application for variation. The ground on which the writ petition was founded was that the Transport Commissioner failed to observe the fundamental principle of natural justice in deciding in favour of the extension without giving notice to the appellant who had been interested in opposing the variation.
It is obvious, therefore that substantially what the appellant was seeking to attack was the decision of the Transport Commissioner. It was conceded that the application for variation was properly made to the proper authorities. It is also beyond dispute that these were the authorities who had jurisdiction to deal with the application for variation. A writ of prohibition can issue to an inferior tribunal only when it is proceeding with a matter which is beyond the jurisdiction of that Tribunal. In this case, it cannot be said that any of the three Regional Transport authorities was proceeding to deal with an application which they had no jurisdiction to deal with. The appellant will therefore not be entitled to invoke the provisions of Art. 226 of the Constitution and obtain any relief.
(3) As mentioned above, it is obvious that what the appellant is really challenging is the validity of the decision of the Transport Commissioner. It was held by Rajagopalan J. in Raman and Raman (Private) Ltd. v. State of Madras, that a direction given by the Government under S. 43-A(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act was an administrative order outside the purview of correction by a writ of certiorari. The learned Judge further held that no writ of prohibition could issue to the Regional Transport Authority to provide for any anticipated breach of its lawful obligations arising out of the directions of the Government under S. 43-A (2).
An order passed by the Government under S. 43-A (2) and an order passed by the Transport Commissioner under S. 44(3(c) are similar in their nature. Following, with respect, the decision of the learned Judge, we hold that the order of the Transport Commissioner, being an administrative order, could not be challenged in a petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution, either for certiorari or for prohibition. It is well established that what cannot be done directly cannot be permitted to be done indirectly. If the appellant cannot get rid of the order of the Transport Commissioner directly by a writ issued under Art. 226, he cannot virtually obtain that relief indirectly by obtaining an order of prohibition, restraining the Regional Transport authorities from dealing with the application for variation.
(4) In this view, it is not necessary to deal with the question whether the Transport Commissioner was bound to give notice to a person in the position of the appellant before he decided any matter on which there was difference of opinion between several Regional Transport authorities, and whether failure to give such notice would be a contravention of rules of natural justice.
(5) The appeal fails and is dismissed. There will be no order as to costs.
(6) Appeal dismissed.