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Burdwan Bus Service Vs. Regional Transport Authority Burdwan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. No. 696 (W) of 1965
Judge
Reported inAIR1966Cal568
ActsMotor Vehicle Act, 1939 - Section 62
AppellantBurdwan Bus Service
RespondentRegional Transport Authority Burdwan and ors.
Appellant AdvocateBalai Chandra Roy, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateN.C. Chakrabarty, ;G.P. Satish Chandra Roy, ;Priti Roy, ;Nirmal Chandra Chaudhury and ;Bhagabati Prosad Banerjee, Advs.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredMadhyu Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation v. B.P. Upadhyaya
Excerpt:
- .....for permanent stage carriage permit was received not earlier than may, 15, 1965, (d) the power to grant temporary permit under clauses (d) and (c) of section 62 stood delegated to the secretary of the regional transport authority and the grant of the impugned temporary permit under the delegated authority was perfectly in order. 5. now, grant of a temporary permit is governed by section 62 of the motor vehicles act which reads as follows:'temporary permits, a regional transport authority may without following the procedure laid down in section 57, grant permits, to be effective for a limited period not in any case to exceed four months, to authorise the use of a transport vehicle temporarily: (a) for the conveyance of passengers on special occasions such as to and from fairs and.....
Judgment:
ORDER

B.N. Banerjee, J.

1. This Rule was obtained againstgrant of a temporary stage carriage permit in Favour of respondent No. 2, valid upto August 31, 1965. With the passage of time, validity of the permit has expired and this Rule has become infructuous. Still then I need make certain observation so that the law on the point, agitated before me, may be clarified.

2. The petitioner firm and three others have permanent stage carriage permits to ply buses in the route Burdwan to Monteswar via Memari. The respondent No. 2, Choudhury Samanta Transport Company, has permit to ply a bus on Burdwan-Memari-Satgachia and Madhyamgram route, part of the latter route coinciding with the route on which the petitioner firm and others run their buses. According to the petitioner, the need for communication between Burdwan and Memari and Memari and Madhyamgram is well provided for partly by bus & partly by electric train service. Even, then the petitioner complains, the respondent No. 2 was permitted to ply an additional bus between Burdwan and Malam ba via Bhandardihi (a new route) on temporary basis. Passengers, according to the petitioner firm, earlier used to travel by the Burdwan--Monteswar via Memari route in order to reach Burdwan. They or most of them now travel by the new route which costs less and takes less time in transit. This has affected the number of passengers travelling by the route on which the petitioner runs bus service and has made service economically unremunerative.

3. The petitioner takes up the stand that the grant of the temporary permit to the respondent No. 2 was illegal and unjustified. In support of this stand the petitioner relies upon the following facts. On April 5, 1955, the respondent No. 2 made an application for grant of a temporary permit to ply a bus on a new route from Burdwan to Malamba for the purpose of carrying passengers. On that application, the respondent Secretary of the Regional Transport Authority directed issue of a temporary permit, valid for four months, by his order dated May 3, 1965. Before, however, the permit was granted, the Regional Transport Authority had decided, on April 20, 1965, to invite applications for permanent stage carriage permit in this route and also in another route and pursuant to that decision there was an advertisement published, on April 28, 1965, in a local newspaper, known as 'Bardhaman' inviting applications for one permanent stage carriage permit in each of the two roads, known as Burdwan to Malamba via Memari and Madhyamgram and Burdwan to Madhyamgram via Malamba. According to the petitioner a temporary permit should not have been granted without grant of a permanent permit, which was in contemplation, all the more in the absence of the need specified in Clauses (a) to (d) of Section 62 of the Motor Vehicles Act and solely at the personal discretion of the respondent Secretary of the Regional Transport Authority.

4. In the affidavit-in-opposition filed on behalf of the respondent Regional Transport Authority and its Secretary, the grant of a temporary permit was sought to be justified in the following manner:

(A) A permanent need was felt for fee opening of a new route from Burdwan to Malamba via Memari so as to meet the demand made by the travelling public.

(B) In order to grant relief to the travelling public, pending completion of the formalities for the grant of permanent stage carriage permit, a temporary permit was granted for four months.

(C) The temporary permit was not issued at a time when applications for permanent permit were pending, because the first of the applications in response to the advertisement for permanent stage carriage permit was received not earlier than May, 15, 1965,

(D) The power to grant temporary permit under Clauses (D) and (c) of Section 62 stood delegated to the Secretary of the Regional Transport Authority and the grant of the impugned temporary permit under the delegated authority was perfectly in order.

5. Now, grant of a temporary permit is governed by Section 62 of the Motor Vehicles Act which reads as follows:

'Temporary permits, A Regional Transport Authority may without following the procedure laid down in Section 57, grant permits, to be effective for a limited period not in any case to exceed four months, to authorise the use of a transport vehicle temporarily:

(a) for the conveyance of passengers on special occasions such as to and from fairs and religious gatherings, or

(b) for the purpose of a seasonal business, or

(c) to meet a particular, temporary need, or

(d) pending decision on an application for the renewal of a permit and may attach to any such permit any condition it thinks fit: Provided that a temporary permit under this section shall, in no case, be granted in respect of any route or area specified in an application for the grant of a new permit under Section 46 or Section 54 during the pendency of the application: Provided further that a temporary permit under this section shall, in no case, be granted more than once in respect of any route or area specified in an application for the renewal of a permit during the pendency of such application for renewal'

In a recent judgment in Madhyu Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation v. B.P. Upadhyaya, Civil Appeal No. 243 of 1965 (unreported), (Since reported in : [1965]3SCR786 ), the Supreme Court has interpreted Section 62 and observed:

'The High Court took the view that a temporary permit cannot be granted for any route when there is a permanent need for providing transport facilities on that route and it has been decided to invite applications for that purpose.

It appears from the order of the Regional Transport Authority that after the regular permit granted to respondent No. 3 was cancelled there was a shortage of necessary number of transportvehicles on the route & the Regional Transport Authority thought it fit to provide for this temporary need until regular operations were introduced and regular permits were granted after following the procedure prescribed under Section 57 of the Motor Vehicles Act. Section 62 (c) of the Motor Vehicles Act states that the Regional Transport Authority may grant a temporary permit 'to meet a particular temporary need' and we see no reason why this Clause should be given any special or restricted meaning. There is no antithesis between a particular temporary need and a permanent need and it is manifest that these two kinds of need may co-exist on a particular route. If, therefore, the Regional Transport Authority considered that in the circumstances of the case, there was a particular temporary need, and granted a temporary permit to the appellant the action of the Regional Transport Authority cannot be challenged as legally invalid. Reference may be made, in this connection to Section 62 (d) which contemplates that temporarily permits may be granted to authorise the use of a transport vehicle temporarily pending decision on an application for the renewal of a permit. This sub-section therefore, contemplated that there may exist a temporary need for transport facilities on a particular route even in case of permanent need for such facilities.

*****

Learned Counsel placed reliance on the words 'in any case' appearing in Section 62 of the Motor Vehicles Act which has already been quoted. It was urged that the words 'in any case' mean that under no circumstance a temporary permit can be grantee! on any route for more than a total period of four months. We are of opinion that the words 'in any case' do not mean 'in any circumstance'. The Section means that at any one time the Regional Transport Authority is not permitted to issue to any person a temporary permit for a period exceeding 4 months, but if the temporary need persists, as for example, where the formalities under Section 57 are not completed within a period of 4 months, it would, in out opinion, be permissible for the Regional Transport Authority to grant a second temporary permit in order to meet the temporary need. We would, of course, make it clear that the Regional Transport Authority cannot abuse its power and go on granting temporary permits in quick succession and not take speedy action for completing the procedure under Section 57 of the Motor Vehicles Act. If upon the facts of any particular case it appears that the Regional Transport Authority is so abusing its powers its action is liable to be corrected by grant of a writ'.

That being the legal position, I am unable to uphold the grievance made by the petitioner. The impugned temporary permit was granted before applications for permanent permit were received for consideration and pending completion of the formalities for grant of permanent stage carriage permit. Therefore, the grant does not attract the mischief of the first proviso to Section 62. Moreover bus service in the new route even according to the petitioner is less expensive and reaches Burdwan at lesse: time. According to the affidavit-in-opposition there waspublic demand for the same. If the respondents took a temporary step to meet this popular demand, pending completion of formalities for grant of a permanent permit and prior to the time that applications for permanent permit were received, the steps taken cannot be condemned, now that the Supreme Court has interpreted Section 62 to mean that there is no antithesis between a particular temporary need and a permanent need and that the two kinds of need may co-exist on a particular route. The first need may be temporarily satisfied by a temporary measure pending receipt of application and completion of the formalities for a permanent arrangement.

6. It is true that neither the application for temporary permit or the order for grant made any mention of the temporary need. It would have been better for the respondent Secretary to have mentioned in his order the circumstances justifying the order for temporary grant pending invitation of applications for a permanent grant. But in the circumstances appearing in the petition and in the affidavit-in-opposition. I cannot make much of this lacuna.

7. Under Rule 54 (i) of the Motor Vehicles Rules, the power to grant temporary permit under Clauses (b) and (c) of Section 62 may be delegated by the Regional Transport Authority to the Secretary. Such an order of delegation was said to have been made in favour of the respondent Secretary. In proof of that, a resolution of the Regional Transport Authority, dated April 2, 1965, was produced before me during the hearing of this Rule. That resolution is set out below.

'In view of the immediate need of the travelling public in areas where the number of bus services are not adequate and in view of the over crowding in the buses plying in the industrial area of Durgapur and Asansol, resolved that the Secretary, Regional Transport Authority be requested to issue immediately temporary permits wherever necessary.'

I need observe that the language of the delegation is wider than the limited delegation permitted under Rule 54 (i). I do not, however, make much of this defect now when the permit has lapsed.

8. For the reasons stated above this Rule is discharged.

9. There will be no order as to costs.


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