S. Mohan, J.
1. The revision arises out of the grant of a stage carriage permit on the route Srimushnam to Eyyalur. The length of the route is 49.2 k.m., which in motor parlance is called medium route. There were three applicants. Applicant No. 1 was absent, while applicant No. 2 the revision petitioner and applicant No. 3 the respondent contested the issue. The Regional Transport Authority, Salem Region (South Arcot District) held by an order dated 23.12.1981 that applicant No. 2 was entitled to 10 marks while applicant No. 3 was entitled to 8 marks alone. This was because the principal place of business or residence of applicant No. 3 was not either on the termini or on the route as required under Rule 155-A (3A) of the Motor Vehicles Rules. However he was of the view that neither of the applicants would be entitled to the permit. As regards applicant No. 2, he held that he had transport experience from 9.7.1979 and hence a recent grantee. He had surrendered his spare bus permit. As regards applicant No. 3, he held that admittedly his place of business is away from the route. The General Manager was appointed recently and such appointment will not serve any useful purpose. Aggrieved by the same, applicant Nos. 2 and 3 took up the matter in appeal to the Tribunal. These appeals were 273 and 294 of 1982 respectively. They came to be disposed of by the Tribunal by a common order dated 16th February, 1983. The Tribunal held that the order of the Regional Transport Authority rejecting the applications of both the appellants is clearly erroneous. The reason that applicant No. 2 is a recent grantee and likewise applicant No. 3 had appointed the General Manager recently was unsustainable. After so holding it made a comparison between the two rival applicants. It was of the view that the marks got by the applicants cannot govern the grant of permit. In this view, it held that applicant No. 3 had a spare bus, while applicant No. 2 had surrendered spare bus permit. The possession of spare bus in an asset. Applicant No. 3 has longer experience. He has been a single bus operator from 19th February, 1979. It is but proper that he must get the second permit earlier. Applicant No. 3, has a branch office at Kattumannargudi on the route and a sub office at one of the terminus. He has been a lorry operator from 1978. These factors more than off set the facts that applicant No. 2, is himself a technically qualified engineer and he possesses a heavy vehicle driving licence. On these lines of reasoning the permit was granted in favour of applicant No. 3. Aggrieved by this order of the Tribunal, the revision has come to be preferred.
2. Mr. S. Govind Swaminathan, learned Counsel for the petitioner urges the following. It is not a mere academic exercise of awarding of marks. It has a meaning and substance because Rule 155-A of the Motor Vehicles Rules, provides guide-1ines for the award of these marks. In so awarding when the revision petitioner (applicant No. 2) had obtained ten marks, those marks must be given proper weightage. There is no demur to the legal proposition that marks merely guide and do not govern. However, where admittedly the respondent had been able to score only eight marks, normally the petitioner will be entitled to claim the permit by the superiority of his marks, unless, and until, it is held by the authority concerned it will not be in public interest to grant the permit in favour of that person who had scored higher marks. There is no such discussion at all. It appears the Tribunal having made up its mind to grant the permit in favour of applicant No. 3, has butressed that conclusion with several reasons. This is the line of approach this Court has taken in C.R.P. No. 1559 of 1976. As a matter of fact, in Kabilan Transports P. Ltd. v. Aswini Transports P. Ltd. : (1976)1MLJ439 , in paragraph 24 while extracting the judgment of the Supreme Court, it has been noted that normally superiority of marks will have to prevail. The possession of spare bus has been held not an asset, unless the route itself so warrants. There is no such finding here at all. Therefore, merely because the petitioner surrendered the spare bus, that by itself will be of no consequence. For all these reasons, the order of the Tribunal suffers from error of law apparent on the face of the record which requires interference by this Court exercising revisional jurisdiction. First of all, it cannot be contended that the respondent can claim equal status with the petitioner because of his inferiority of marks, even though it is a numerical inferiority as the Tribunal puts it. Assuming for a moment, that there is equality of claims between the parties, even then under the proviso to Section 47(1) of the Act the petitioner will be entitled to perference because he is a holder of a driving licence for transport vehicles. If the proviso had been properly applied the petitioner would have been justly entitled to the permit easily. For all these reasons, it is submitted that the order of the Tribunal suffers from an error of law apparent on the face which requires interference of this Court and therefore it is prayed that the order be set aside.
3. Mr. M.N. Rangachari, learned Counsel for the respondent frankly states that the Tribunal has not considered the matter in the light of the ruling of this Court in C.R.P. No. 559 of 1976. But that alone will not warrant interference because there is a comparative estimate between the claimants and it is by process of that reasoning it has found that merely because the respondent had suffered numerical inferiority of the marks, because his principal place is not exactly on the route, but 3 k.m., away, it took the view that both are equal. Under those circumstances, there were important facts which outweighed the superiority of marks and they are (1) Possession of a spare bus. (2) The long experience. (3) It is just and proper the respondent must get a second permit earlier. (4) He has been a lorry operator from 1978. Certainly, it cannot be contended that these factors are not relevant for the grant of permit.
4. In order to appreciate the respective contentions I will do well to draw a tabular statement of the respective qualifications of the petitioner and the respondent.
of the Petitioner. of the Respondent.
1. (a) B.E. Mech. (a) General Manager
Engg. is a Diploma Holder
in Mech. Engg.
and Air Conditioning
(b) Single bus stage (b) Principal place
carriage-operator- of business is not
Ayyangudi to Vadalur on the route but
This is 3 k.ms., has a night halt
of the route concerned. cleaner at Kattumannargudi.
is Sri Mushnam
to Eyyalur 49.2
route), S.A. District.
(c) Licence for (c) Spare bus
driving heavy vehicle
(d) Experience (d) More experience
from 9.7.79. by 6 months from
(e) Spare bus application (e) Lorry operator
pending. from 1978.
2. W.P. 8756 of
1981 filed by the
petitioner to dispose
of the matter
as the applications
were pending for
a long time (This
would show the
willingness to ply
on the route).
3. 23.12.1981 R.T.A., Respondent 8 marks,
rejected both the which includes
applications. Petitioner 2 marks for technical
10 marks. qualification.
i. Recent grantee i. Principal place
away from the
ii. Surrendered ii. General Manager
his spare bus permit appointed recently.
4. 16.2.1983 - Respondent-8