Debi Prasad Pal, J.
1. In this application under Article 226 of the Constitution of India the petitioner has challenged the resolution dated 30th July, 1969 and the notification dated 20th August, 1969, issued by the Regional Transport Authority, Howrah. The facts which have given rise to the present controversies are shortly as follows:
2. The petitioner is the owner of Bus No. WBU-248 and plies his bus on route No. 54 on the basis of a permanent stage carriage permit. Route No. 54 extends from Howrah to Bally Khal. There are two other routes, namely, route No. 51 and route No. 56 which extend between Howrah Station and Dunlop Bridge. By a notification D/- 30th July, 1969, the Regional Transport Authority announced that it was decided at a meeting dated 30th July, 1969 that the three routes, namely, Route No. 51, Route No. 54 and Route No. 56 would be amalgamated. The Regional Transport Authority appointed a Sub-committee at its mating held on 12th May, 1969, to examine the problems of Routes Nos. 51, 54 and 56 in all their aspects. The Sub-committee agreed with the Secretary Regional Transport Authority and opined that to bring about an improvement in the management of transport services on the routes avoiding unhealthy competition and accidents on the routes, all the three routes should operate as a combined route and for that purpose amalgamation of the said three routes was a necessity, particularly in the interest of the travelling public. After hearing the Sub-committee, Regional Transport Authority resolved that the said three routes be amalgamated with immediate effect fop which steps under the Motor Vehicles Act (hereinafter referred to as the said Act) should be taken without delay.
3. The petitioner's grievance is that neither he nor any of the permit holders of Route No. 54 has any knowledge of the said amalgamation and none of them was given any opportunity to make his representation against such amalgamation under Section 57 (3) of the said Act. The petitioner further contends that the variation of the routes by amalgamation amounts to variation of the conditions of the permit by the inclusion of a new route or new area, and as such variation should be treated as the grant of a new permit under Section 57 (8) of the said Act, the procedures laid down in Section 47 (1) of the said Act should have been complied with.
4. An affidavit has been filed on behalf of the respondents Nos. 1 and 2. In paragraph 8 of the said affidavit it has been stated that by the said amalgamation no increase in the number of stage carriage services on the routes above was proposed by the Regional Transport Authority and as such the provision of Section 57 (8) of the said Act has no application to the case.
5. The petitioner relies upon an un-reported judgment of Mr. Justice A.K. Sen delivered in the case of C. R. 3029 (w) of 1969 (Cal). In that case it has been held that when variation of the permit of the route is sought to be made, in a manner to encroach upon other routes, the procedure laid down in Section 47 of the Act is to be complied with. Mr. S.K. Banerji appearing for the respondents submits that there is no specific provision under which an amalgamation can be made of the different routes. According to him under Section 48 (3) of the said Act the Regional Transport Authority, if it decides to grant a stage carriage permit, may attach to the permit any one or more of the conditions laid down in the various sub-clauses of Section 48 (3) of the said Act. Sub-clause (xxi) of Section 48 (3) authorises the 'Regional Transport Authority to vary the conditions of the permit, after giving notice of not less than one month. Rule 81 of the Bengal Motor Vehicle Rules, 1940 (hereinafter referred to as the said Rule), empowers the Regional Transport Authority to vary at any time in its discretion the permit or any other conditions thereof, either upon application made in writing by the holder of my permit, or by any other persons, or of its own motion. The said power is to be exercised subject to Sub-rules (b) and (c) of Rule 81. According to Mr. Banerji by an amalgamation of he routes, there has been a variation of the conditions of the permit. Such a variation can be done after giving notice of not less than one month in accordance with the provision of Section 48 (3) (21) of the said Act.
6. In my opinion the contention of the learned Counsel for the respondents, although prima facie attractive, docs not bear a closer scrutiny. In the case of Barrack pore Bus Syndicate v. S.k. Sirajuddin, : AIR1957Cal444 Mr. Justice D. N. Sinha (as his Lordship then was) Was of the view that-route is not a condition of the permit. The condition is that the holder will operate in a particular route or routes and, no other. His Lordship was of the view that even assuming that it could be called a condition attached to the permit, still a variation of the route was in effect the grant of permit in a fresh route and was therefore a fresh permit. The procedures for the grant of such a permit as laid down in Section 47 of the said Act and the relative rules are to be complied with before such a permit could be granted. In my opinion amalgamation of the different routes as in the present case involves a variation of the route and is in effect the grant of permit in a fresh route. Such a permit can be issued only after the procedures laid down hi Section 47 of the Act are complied with. If an amalgamation of the routes can be effected without giving the public an opportunity to prefer objection and without hearing such objection, this will run counter to the scheme of the said Act and the rules framed thereunder. The scheme of the Act envisages that before any permit is issued for a stage carriage upon any route, the public affected by such a decision should be given an opportunity of being heard. If in the case of grant of a permit such a procedure is to be Followed. I see no reason why this wholesome procedure should be avoided when the different routes are to be amalgamated with the consequent result of a variation of the original route. The procedure laid down under Section 47 of the Act is based upon a. statutory principle and consideration of public policy. When a permit for stage carriage is granted, the original transport authority has to take into account the various matters which are set out in the different sub-clauses of Section 47. It has also to consider any representation which may be made by persons or organisations interested in the road transport facilities or by any local authority or police authority within whose jurisdiction any part of the proposed route or area lies. Such matters which are reasonably related to the interest of the travelling public should be taken into account in the consideration of granting a stage carriage permit. ID the case of an amalgamation of different routes also there is no reason why the Regional Transport Authority should be allowed immunity from compliance with such procedures. In the case of Sudhir Kumar v. Regional Transport Authority, Burdwan, : AIR1964Cal442 , P. B. Mukharji J., (as his Lordship then was) considered the question as to whether extension of an existing route in the stage carriage permit by including a new area came within the scope of Section 57 (8) of the said Act. His Lordship was of the opinion that such an application, in view of the express language of Section 57 (8) must be treated as an application for the grant of a new permit requiring compliance with Sub-section 57 (2) (3) of the said Act. If an extension of an existing route attracts the provisions of Section 57 (8), I see no reason why the amalgamation of routes should be differently treated.
7. It is admitted that the Resolution of the Regional Transport Authority dated 30th July, 1969, and the Notification dated 20th August, 1969, have not been made in conformity with the provisions of the said Act
8. For these reasons this application must succeed. The Rule is made absolute and the Resolution dated 30th July, 1969, and the Notification dated 20th August, 1969, as mentioned in paragraph 8 of the petition are quashed and or set aside by the issue of a writ in nature of certiorari. There will also be a writ in the nature of mandamus directing the respondents to forbear from giving effect to the said Resolution dated the 30th July, 1969 and Notification dated 20th August, 1969. I however make it clear that the Regional Transport Authority will be at liberty to proceed in accordance with law in the case of any proposed amalgamation. There will be no order as to costs.