M. Natesan, J.
1. In these writ petitions the short question for consideration is whether an existing operator can prefer an appeal as a person aggrieved under Section 64 (1) (i) of the Motor Vehicle Act 1939, from an order passed by the Regional Transport Authority under Section 47 (3). This question has been referred to a Bench by our learned brother Kailasam, J., in view of the decision of this Court in Regional Transport Authority v. Mettupalayam Coonoor Service I.L.R. (1964) 2 Mad. 641 : (1965) 1 M.L.J. 341, In that decision a Division Bench of this Court considered the question whether a revision can be filed against an order passed under Section 47 (3). At the time the decision was given, no appeal was provided from an order under that section. Since then an amendment has been made to Rule 147 of the Motor Vehicles Rules by G.O. Ms. No. 1852, dated 28th May, 1967. The new Sub-rule (2) of Rule 147 runs thus:
Under Clause (i) of Sub-section (1) of Section 64, the following orders of the Regional Transport Authority or its Secretary and the State Transport Authority or its Secretary shall also be appealable subject to the restrictions laid down in, Sub-rule (1).
2. Then follow the orders that could be appealed against. The orders made appealable are set out in Clauses (a) to (m) of Sub-rule (2). By Clause (i) an appeal is provided from an order passed by the Regional Transport Authority under Sub-section (3) of Section 47. But the provision for appeal under the sub-rule is subject to the restrictions laid down in Sub-rule (1) of Section 64, and the relevant provision, gives right of appeal to a person aggrieved by any order which may be prescribed in Section 64 (1) (i). So though the rule prescribes that an order passed under Section 47 (3) is appelable, the appeal, can only be by an aggrieved person.
3. The question is whether an existing operator could be considered to be a person aggrieved by an order under Section 47 (3). In the case referred to above the decision wherein necessitated the reference, after observing that the revisional power under Section 64 (2) could be exercised only when a person seeking the exercise of that power is aggrieved, it is remarked (at page 346):
That an order under Section 47 (3) is general in character has now been recognised in the recent decision of the Supreme Court Abdul Mateen v. Ramkailash : 3SCR523 , to which we have made reference earlier. No existing operator can obviously be affected by a mere decision on the part of the Regional Transport Authority to put additional stage carriages on a particular route or to open up new route. His grievance can arise only if actually additional buses are put on the route, that is, when a permit is granted....Therefore an existing operator cannot have any right to challenge the order of the Regional Transport Authority under Section 47 (3).
4. If this view has to hold the field, the right of appeal now provided will not be available to the existing operators. In the connected batch of writ petitions we have elaborately considered the position of an existing operator in relation to an order under Section 47 (3) and we have expressed the view that an order under Section 47 (3) may substantially affect him. But for the recent decision of the Supreme Court in Lakshminarain Agarwal v. State Transport Authority, U.P. (1968) 2 S.C.J. 74, which has been made available to us, it might have been necessary for us to refer the question now raised to a Full Bench. As it is, in view of this decision of the Supreme Court, we are absolved from the need for any elaborate consideration of the question. In that case the Allahabad High Court was of the view that an existing operator had no say in the matter of determination of the strength on a route under Sub-section (3) of Section 47 and it was in the discretion of the Regional Transport Authority to determine the strength on a route, after considering the various matters enumerated in Clauses (a) to (f) of Sub-section (1) of Section 47. The question was whether a revision lay under Section 64-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, from an order under Section 47 (3) by an existing operator.
5. Meeting the argument for the State, that no revision lay at the instance of an existing operator because he cannot be called an aggrieved person, the Supreme Court remarks:
We are unable to say that no existing operator can be aggrieved by an order made under Section 47 (3), increasing or decreasing the number of stage carriages; it would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. In a particular case it may be to his advantage and he then would not file a revision against it, but if he files a revision when an order made under Section 47 (3) is prejudicial to his interests, there is no ground for denying him the right to approach the revisional authority and seeking its order. An order under Section 47 (3) affects the future working on a route and we are of the view that such an order would have repercussion on the working of the existing operators, whether for their good or not.
6. It is clear that on the expression of opinion by the Supreme Court, the view taken by this Court in Regional Transport Authority v. Mettupalayam Coonor Service I.L.R. : AIR1966Mad36 , cannot be considered as good law. An existing operator, if he considers an order under Section 47 (3) is prejudicial to him, is an aggrieved person. He is, therefore entitled in view of the recent amendment, to prefer an appeal under Section 64 (1). The orders of the Transport Appellate Tribunal rejecting the appeals before it as not maintainable, are set aside. The Appellate Tribunal will have to re-entertain the appeals on its file and dispose of them according to law. By writs of certiorari the orders passed by the State Transport Appellate Tribunal are quashed and the appeals released for fresh disposal. No order as to costs.