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Burdwan District Bus Association and anr. Vs. the Regional Transport Authority and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Rule Nos. 4933 (W) and 7535 (W) of 1969
Judge
Reported inAIR1973Cal411,77CWN896
ActsMotor Vehicles Act, 1939 - Section 57(8)
AppellantBurdwan District Bus Association and anr.
RespondentThe Regional Transport Authority and ors.
Appellant AdvocateBalai Chandra Roy, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateSushil Kumar Banerjee, Adv.
Cases Referred and N. Gopalan v. C. R. T. Board
Excerpt:
- .....transport service it was pointed out that although the grant prayed for was in respect of the route durgapur to burdwan fixing the terminus at keshabgunj-chatti would not only put the passengers in difficulties but would render the service uneconomical. it was accordingly prayed that the permit-holder may be allowed to run the buses up to burdwan court. on the affidavits filed by the parties it appears clear that the regional transport authority had to fix the terminus at keshabganj-chatti in order to avoid an apprehended violation of an existing order of injunction issued by this court in respect of another route durgapur to nabawadip. after lapse of several months when the said interim order was dissolved by this court on may 20, 1969 the regional transport authority, burdwan.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Anil Kumar Sen, J.

1. The subject-matter of challenge in both these two Rules is the same resolution viz., the one dated July 2, 1969, adopted by the Regional Transport Authority, Burdwan extending the five Stage Carriage permits of the Durgapur State Transport Board to Burdwan Court from Keshabgunj-Chatti. The petitioner in one case is the Burdwan District Bus Association and in the other is Sri Ajitava Chakraborty both of whom raised objections against such extension and whose objections had been overruled. The subject matter of challenge being the same and the challenge being based on common grounds these two cases have been heard together and are being disposed of by this judgment. It would be necessary to refer to the facts which are shortly as follows:

2. Durgapur State Transport Service a Government undertaking -- applied for five Stage Carriage permits from Durgapur to Burdwan. These applications were considered and disposed of in the year 1967 by the Regional Transport Authority Burdwan. On June 17, 1967; five Stage Carriage permits were issued in favour of Durgapur State Transport Service in respect of the route 'Durgapur to Burdwan, Keshabgunj-Chatti as the terminus with one up and one down trip daily'. Objections were raised by the Durgapur State Transport Service to Keshabgunj-Chatti being made the terminus. It is not in dispute that Keshabgunj-Chatti is Within the municipal limits of Burdwan but is two miles short of Burdwan Court, an important Bus terminus for Burdwan. In the objections raised by Durgapur State Transport Service it was pointed out that although the grant prayed for was in respect of the route Durgapur to Burdwan fixing the terminus at Keshabgunj-Chatti would not only put the passengers in difficulties but would render the service uneconomical. It was accordingly prayed that the permit-holder may be allowed to run the buses up to Burdwan Court. On the affidavits filed by the parties it appears clear that the Regional Transport Authority had to fix the terminus at Keshabganj-Chatti in order to avoid an apprehended violation of an existing order of injunction issued by this Court in respect of another route Durgapur to Nabawadip. After lapse of several months when the said interim order was dissolved by this Court on May 20, 1969 the Regional Transport Authority, Burdwan issued a notice inviting objections and representations, if any, made by the Durgapur State Transport Service then reconstituted as Durgapur State Transport Board for permanent extension of their existing route Durgapur to Burdwan, Keshabgunj-Chatti as the terminus up to Burdwan Court. Objections so invited were directed to be filed within June 26, 1969. The petitioner in the first case, the Association filedan objection on June 24, 1969 while the petitioner in the other Ajitava Chakraborty filed his objection on June 26, 1969. Both the objectors raised common grounds of objection. It was claimed on their behalf that Durgapur State Transport Board's application for extension of the route should have been considered as an application for the grant of a new permit under Section 57(8) of the Motor Vehicles Act and as such the Regional Transport Authority without following the provisions of Sections 47(3) and 57(2) and (3) and Rule 55-A of the Rules framed under the Act cannot deal with and dispose of the same in the manner proposed by it. The objectors were heard on their objections and the Regional Transport Authority by the impugned resolution dated July 2, 1969 overruled the objections and granted the prayer for extension. The relevant extract of the resolution incorporating the reasons is set out as follows:

'Secretary, R. T. A., Burdwan placed all papers for consideration.

Considered the prayer of the Chief Executive Officer, Durgapur State Transport Board for grant of permanent extension of the area of operation of their 5 (five) permanent stage carriage permits on the route Durgapur to Burdwan (with Keshabgunj) Chatti as terminus upto Burdwan Court.

Objections were invited. Two objection petitions were received within the date fixed.

Heard both the parties. It is not really a case of extension of the route but shifting of the terminus within the town of Burdwan. Such shifting of the terminus point will be convenient for the traveling public. The objections are therefore overruled.

Resolved that for the convenience of the traveling public the shifting of terminus point from Keshabganj-Chatti to Burdwan as prayed for by the Chief Executive Officer, DSTB, Durgapur be allowed. Inform all concerned accordingly.'

3. In support of these two Rules Mr. Roy has raised the same objections which the objectors had raised before the Regional Transport Authority. According to Mr. Roy on the application of the permit-holder as also notice inviting objections it is explicitly clear that the permit-holder prayed for alteration of a condition in the permit with reference to the area or the route specified within the meaning of Section 48(3)(i). That being so, Section 57(8) immediately comes into operation and the Regional Transport Authority could not have disposed of the application except as an application for the grant of a new permit. But the application had not been disposed of as such and on the other hand has been disposed of as if under Section 48(3)(xxi). This according to Mr. Roy is not only illegal but also beyond the jurisdiction of the Regional Transport Authority. Mr. Roy submits that the proper course which should have beenadopted by the Regional Transport Authority was first to consider whether the number of Stage Carriage permits on the route Durgapur to Burdwan should or should not be increased under Section 47(3). If it decided to increase then it should have followed the provisions of Section 57(2) and (3) giving an opportunity to other applicants for applying for Stage Carriage permits on the extended route. This procedure not having been followed the grant is not in accordance with law. Strong reliance is placed on a Single Bench decision of this Court in the case of Sudhir Kumar Sadhu v. R. T. A., Burdwan, : AIR1964Cal442 . In my opinion the decision relied on by Mr. Roy fully supports the contention raised by him. The Regional Transport Authority in his resolution also appears to be conscious of this position but according to it the grant as made is not one which comes within Section 57(8) of the Act.

4. Mr. Banerjee, appearing on behalf of the respondents, has contended that by the impugned resolution the Regional Transport Authority had not altered the route in any manner nor has it extended the same. According to Mr. Banerjee the five permanent Stage Carriage permits as initially granted were for the route Durgapur to Burdwan. At one stage the terminus was fixed at Keshabgunj-Chatti and now it has been altered and refixed at the Burdwan Court. Such alteration of terminus on the sanctioned route even if it involves some extension of the service itself would not constitute alteration of any condition of the permit as contemplated by Section 57(8). Reliance is placed by Mr. Banerjee on two single Bengh decisions of the Kerala High Court in the cases of P.C. Commen v. R. T. Board, : AIR1958Ker339 and N. Gopalan v. C. R. T. Board, : AIR1958Ker341 .

5. To me it appears that the contention raised by Mr. Roy would be entirely dependent on the question as to whether by the impugned resolution the Regional Transport Authority had varied any condition of the permit as contemplated by Section 57(8) or not. If I once accept the contention of Mr. Banerjee and uphold the view taken by the Regional Transport Authority that by the impugned resolution what was done was merely alteration of the terminus and not a variation of the condition by inclusion of any new route then the contention raised by Mr. Roy must fail. On this particular issue as to whether by the impugned resolution the Regional Transport Authority was really altering the terminus or adding to the route, I am in agreement with Mr. Banerjee that it is not really a case of inclusion of any new route. It is no doubt true that the application made on behalf of the permit holder was one for permission to its buses to go up to Burdwan Court and it is also no doubt true that the notices issued by the Regional Transport Authority leave an impression that the application was being dealt with as an application for extension of the route, but in my opinion the matter must be judged only on consideration of the substance and not how the application was being described in the notices. So judged it is clear that in 1961 Stage Carriage permit was prayed for in respect of a route Durgapur to Burdwan and such prayer was granted. The permit that was issued was not a permit in respect of a route Durgapur to Keshabgunj-Chatti as suggested by Mr. Roy. It was in respect of a route Durgapur to Burdwan though the terminus was then fixed at Keshabgunj-Chatti in order to avoid an apprehended violation of this Court's order of injunction. I have no manner of doubt that the route in respect of which the permit was granted was a route which was fixed between Durgapur and Burdwan and by the impugned resolution the fixed terminus at Burdwan has been altered from Keshabgunj-Chatti to Burdwan Court no doubt involving an extension of two miles. But such extension is not really inclusion of any new route or new area within the meaning of Section 57(8). The decision relied on by Mr. Banerjee fully supports this view. The decision of this Court relied on by Mr. Roy is clearly distinguishable on facts because in that case the Regional Transport Authority substantially changed the route itself by converting a route Lachipur to Kalipahari to one Lachipur to Jaykaynagar. Such is not the case now before me. Both the Burdwan Court terminus and Keshabgunj-Chatti are within the municipal limits of Burdwan. The route for which the original permits were granted was from Durgapur to Burdwan. Therefore, fixation of the terminus at any part of Burdwan does not really amount to alteration of the route.

6. On the conclusions as above I must hold that the view taken by the Regional Transport Authority is the correct view in law and the point raised by Mr. Roy must fail and these applications accordingly fail.

7. The Rules are discharged.

8. There will be no order for costs.


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