Ramnath Verma Vs. State of Rajasthan
 INSC 149 (17 April 1962)
17/04/1962 WANCHOO, K.N.
AIYYAR, T.L. VENKATARAMA SINHA, BHUVNESHWAR
P.(CJ) GAJENDRAGADKAR, P.B.
AYYANGAR, N. RAJAGOPALA
CITATION: 1967 AIR 603 1963 SCR (2) 152
CITATOR INFO :
E 1981 SC1636 (3,5) RF 1992 SC 888 (3)
Motor Vehicles--Objection to Scheme--Power of
Officer hearing objection--Permit made ineffective for over lapping route--If
discriminatory--Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (4 of 1939), ss. 68 C, 68D, 68G--Constitution
of India, Art. 14.
The Rajasthan State Roadways, which is a
State Transport Undertaking, published five schemes under s. 68C of the Motor
Vehicles Act. The State Government appointed the Legal Remembrance to hear
objections filed, amongst others, by the appellants who were plying their buses
on three of those five routes. The schemes relating to those three routes were
approved with slight modifications. The objectors in respect of the other two
schemes, unlike the appellants, wanted the schemes to be entirely reacted and
to adduce evidence. The Legal Remembrance relying on a decision of the High
Court held that he had no power to reject a scheme in its entirely or to take
evidence. One of the objectors filed a writ petition in the High Court but it
was rejected. He came up in appeal to this Court. This Court overruled the
decision of the Rajasthan High Court in Chandra Bhan v. State of Rajasthan and
held that it was open to the Legal Remembrancer to reject the draft scheme and
to take evidence if necessary (vide Malik Ram v. State of Rajasthan,  1
S. C. R. 978). The result was that a large number of writ petitions were filed
in the High Court and that court dismissed those relating to the three routes,
with which the present appeals were concerned, on the ground that the
appellants had neither wanted a total rejection of the schemes nor to adduce
evidence and had, therefore, no concern with the decision in Chandra Bhan's
case. It was not the case of appellants in the High Court, that they had wanted
to adduce any evidence that had been shut out by legal Remembrance nor did they
indicate in this Court what evidence they wanted to produce in support of the
objections raised by them.
Held that the appellants could not be allowed
to take advantage of the decision of this Court in Malik Ram'8 case.
153 It was clear that their objections could
be and were offectively dealt with by the Legal Remembrancer without going into
evidence and the order passed by him approving the schemes under s. 68D of the
Motor Vehicles Act was not in any way vitiated by his wrong approach with
regard to the other objections.
Malik Ram v. State of Rajasthan , 1 S.
C. R. 978, referred to.
It was permissible under s. 68C of the Act to
frame a scheme in partial exclusion of private operators and making the permit
ineffective for the overlapping part of the route was no more than partial
exclusion and was, therefore, justified under s. 68G of the Act.
Although a permit holder whose permit was
thus made ineffective could not claim compensation under s. 68G, whereas one,
whose permit was cancelled for the overlapping part, could, there could be no
discrimination within the meaning of Art. 14 of the Constitution unless it
could be shown that the advantage to the former by being allowed to pick up
passengers on the overlapping part of the route for destination beyond, was
unequal to the compensation which he would have got by having his permit
cancelled for the overlapping part.
Discrimination under Art. 14 is conscious
discrimination and not accidental discrimination that arises from oversight
Which the State is ready to rectify.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
Nos. 142-146 of 1962.
Appeals from the judgment and order dated May
3, 1961, of the Rajasthan High Court in D. B. Civil Writs Nos. 40, 39, 45, 46
and 77 of 1961.
Sarjoo Prasad, V. P. Gyagi, D. P. Gupta and
Maheshwari, for the appellants.
C. K. Daphtary, Solicitor General of India,
Kansingh, S. R. Kapur and P. D. Menon, 'for the respondents 1962. April 17. The
Judgment of the Court was delivered by 154 WANCHOO, J.-These five appeals on
certificates granted by the Rajasthan High Court raise common questions 'and
will be dealt with together. Appeals Nos. 142, 144 and 145 are with respect to
Jaipur Bharatpur route appeal No. 143 with respect to Jaipur-Shahpur- Alwar-Himkathana
route, and appeal No. 146 with respect to Ajmer-Kotah route. It appears that
the Rajasthan State Roadways, which is a State Transport Undertaking, published
five schemes in pursuance of s. 68-C of the Motor Vehicles Act, No. 4 of 1939
(hereinafter called the Act). Later, the Government of Rajasthan appointed the
Legal Remembrance to consider objections to these five draft schemes.
Objections were led by the Stage carriage permit holders who were plying on
these five routes. The objections with reference to the three routes with
'which these appeals are concerned were heard on December 7 and 14, 1961) and
the draft schemes were approved by the Legal Remembrance on December 14 and 15,
1960, with slight modifications.
It appears further that the objectors
relating to Jaipur Ajmer and Jaipur-Kotah routes, which were among the five
schemes, published as above, objected to these two schemes on various grounds
and prayed that they should be given an opportunity to show that the two
draft-schemes did Dot provide an efficient, adequate, economical and properly
coordinated road transport service and should therefore be not approved and
also prayed that evidence might be taken in support of their contentions. One
of the permit holders on the Jaipur Ajmer route was Malik Ram who had contended
that the draft-scheme should be rejected in its entirety and ad desired to lead
evidence for that purpose. The Legal Remembrancer, however, held on the basis
of an earlier decision of the 155 Rajasthan High Court in Chandar Bhan v. The
State of Rajasthan (1) that it was not open to him to reject the scheme in its
entirety and he could only either approve of it or modify it. He further hold that
he could take no evidence while considering objections to the scheme and all
that he had to do was to hear arguments on either side.
Malik Ram then moved the Rajasthan High Court
by a writ petition which was dismissed. He then came to this Court by special
leave challenging the view taken by the Legal Remembrancer on the two points
above. This Court allowed Malik Ram's appeal and held that it was open to the
Legal Remembrancer to reject the draft scheme or to take evidence, if
necessary, though it was pointed out that it would be within the discretion of
the State Government or the officer appointed by it to hear objections to
decide whether the evidence intended to be produced was necessary and relevant
to the inquiry, and if so to give a reasonable opportunity to the party
desiring to lead evidence to do so within reason, and that the State Government
or the officer concerned would have all the powers of controlling the giving
and recording of evidence that any court has. This decision was given on April
14, 1961 (see Malik Ram v. State of Rajasthan (1)).
In the meantime large number of writ
petitions was filed in the Rajasthan High Court challenging the approved
schemes with respect to the three routes with which we are concerned in the
present appeals and also with respect to the three routes with which we are
concerned in the present appeals and also with respect to the other two routes.
These petitions came to be heard after the decision of this Court in Malik:
Ram's case(2). So far as the petitions relating to Jaipur Ajmer route were
concerned, they were not pressed in view of the decision of this Court quashing
the scheme (1) (1961) Raj. Law Weekly 47.
(2) (1962) 1. S. C. R. 978.
156 with respect to that route and directing
the Legal Remembrancer to hear the objections over again. With respect to
Ajmer-Kotah route, the High Court allowed the objections on the basis of the
decision of this Court in Malik Ram's case (1) as the objector in those cases
had wanted to lead evidence on the question of rejection of the draft scheme in
its entirety, and they had not been given an opportunity to do so. But with
respect to the three routes with which the present appeals are concerned, the
High Court dismissed the writ petitions on the ground that there was nothing to
indicate that the appellants desired to lead evidence in support of their case
that the draft-schemes should be totally rejected. It was contended before the
High Court that it was useless for the appellants to make any application for
the taking if evidence because it would in any case have been rejected an the
Legal Remembrancer had already taken the view that be could not reject the
scheme as a whole. The High Court was however not impressed with this argument
and held that the order of the Legal Remembrancer did not show that he thought
that the draft scheme should be totally rejected but felt unable to do so
because of the decision of the High Court in Chander Bhan's case (2). On the
other hand, the High Court was of the view that the Legal Remembrancer
considered the objections raised before him in detail and his order showed that
he only thought that the schemes should be modified in part and were otherwise
fit for approval. The appellants then applied to the High Court for
certificates which were granted; and that is how the matter has come up before
The main contentions of the appellants before
us are the same which they raised before the High Court. They urge that they
did not get a proper hearing before the Legal Remembrancer because (1) (1962) 1
(2) (1961) Raj Law Weekly 47.
157 of his view that it was not open to him
to reject the schemes in their entirety and that they were not given an
opportunity to lead evidence to convince the Legal Remembrance that the schemes
should be rejected in their entirety. It is not in dispute that the appellants
never applied before the Legal Remembrance that they wanted to lead evidence on
any point in support of their objections.
Only in one writ petition (see C. A. 144 of
1962) it was averred that the Legal Remembrance did not allow the appellants to
lead evidence but that in our opinion is not correct, because the Legal
Remembrancer has filed an affidavit to the effect that no such oral request was
made to him by the objectors on the three routes with which these appeals are
concerned. The High Court therefore was right in saying that it could not be
said in these cases that the Legal Remembrance had shut out evidence relating
to the inquiry before him which the objectors desired to produce.
But it is urged on behalf of the appellants
that as the Legal Remembrance had already taken one view in the case of Jaipur
Ajmer route it was useless for them to make an application to him for leading
evidence for that would have inevitably been rejected in view of the earlier
judgment of the Rajasthan High Court referred to above. Even though, this may
be so, it is remarkable that did not that prevent the objectors on the
Jaipur-Ajmer and Jaipur-Kotah routes from making applications to the Legal
Remembrancer that the draft-Schemes should be totally rejected and they should
be given an opportunity to lead evidence to show this. We fail to see why the
appellants could not have been taken the same course if they really desired to
lead any evidence in order to make out their case for total rejection of the
schemes with which they were concerned. It seems to us clear therefore that at
the stage when objections were being heard 158 by the Legal Remembrancer there
was no desire on the part of the appellants to lead any evidence in support of
their objections. Nor does it appear that when the writ petitions were filed in
the High Court the appellants claimed that they had desired to lead evidence
and had been shut out by the Legal Remembrancer. It was only after, the
decision in Malik Ram's case (1) that applications were filed taking advantage
of that decision and pointing out that the wrong approach of the Legal
Remembrancerin holding that it was not open to him to reject the draft-scheme
in its entirety had resulted in the appellant's not getting an effective
hearing., But it does not seem to have been suggested even at that (except in
one case) that the appellants had desired to lead evidence before the Legal
Remembrancer and he bad abut them out. Nor was it shown at that stage what
evidence the appellants could produce in support of their objections if an
opportunity had been given to them. Lastly even this Court the appellants have
not indicated what evidence they could produce in support of the objections
raised by them.
It seems to us therefore that the appellants
never really desired to produce evidence in order to establish that the schemes
as a whole should be rejected and that they put forward the contention that
they would have produced evidence if given an opportunity to do so, merely
taking advantage of the decision of this Court in Malik Ram's case (1). Further
it seems to us on looking at one of the objections filed before the Legal
Remembrancer in C.A. 1492 of 1962 as a .sample that there was nothing in the
objections which really required the giving of evidence and which would show
that there could be any desire on the part of the objectors to lead evidence.
The objections were of a general nature and all that was desired was that "the
State Government must weigh the objections of the undersigned with reference to
the actual conditions obtaining on the said route, by such method as holding
public inquiry on site, by looking into the past records of (1) (1962) 1 S.C.R.
159 service provided by the objector, by
inspecting the vehicle of the objector and by comparing the actual facilities
provided by the objector." In short, a perusal of the objections shows
that what was being contended before the Legal Remembancer was not so much that
the draft-schemes were not efficient, adequate, economical and properly coordinate
but that the objectors were providing transport service which was more
efficient, adequate, economical and properly coordinated than the service
proposed to be provided in the draftschemes. That however is hardly a reason
for rejecting the draft-schemes in their entirety.
Further, a perusal of the order of the Legal
Remembrancer summarising the, objections which are relevant under S. 68D shows
that the objection were of such, a nature as to require the productions of
evidence in support of them for the question of fact raised there were not in
Therefore, there could be an effective
hearing before the Legal Remembrancer if objectors were given a chance to put
forward their arguments in support of the objections even without any evidence.
We are therefore of opinion that the appellants cannot in the circumstances
take advantage of the decision in Malik Ram's case (1), and on the facts and
circumstances in the present appeals there is no doubt that they bad an
effective hearing and the order of the Legal Remembrancer approving the schemes
is not in any way vitiated by the wrong view taken by him that he had no power
to reject the draft,-schemes in their entirety. It seems that he considered the
draft-schemes on merits as required by ss. 68C and 68D and held that it was in
accordance with the requirements of s. 68C. The facts that in some cases the
number of buses might have. been reduced or, the fares have been raised or some
of the, direct services has to be cut down where their routes overlapped with
the routes in the three draft-schemes would not necessarily (1)  1 S.C.R.
160 lead to the conclusion that the
draft-schemes were not in conformity with the requirements of S. 680. The
contention therefore based on the judgment of this Court in Malik Ram's case
(1) must on the facts and circumstances of these appeals be rejected.
Besides this main objection, three subsidiary
points have been raised on behalf of the appellants. It appears that in some
cases the objectors served routes which overlapped the three routes which have
been taken over. In these cases what has been done is that in some cases the
permits of the objectors have been cancelled with respect to the overlapping
part of the routes while in other cases the objectors are allowed to ply even
on the overlapping part but they have been forbidden to pick up passengers on
the overlapping part for destinations within the overlapping part. This latter
method is called making the permits ineffective for the. overlapping part. Now
the grievance of those whose permits have thus been rendered ineffective for
the overlapping part in two-fold. In the first place, it is said that this
cannot be done and in the second place, it is said that even if this can be
done, the result is that those whose permits have been made ineffective for the
overlapping part will not be entitled to compensation under s. 68G read with a.
68F(2). So far as the first contention is concerned, we are of opinion that
there is no force in it. Under s. 68C, it is open to frame a Scheme in which
there is a partial exclusion of private operators. Making the permits
ineffective for the overlapping part only amounts to partial exclusion of the
private operators from, that route. In the circumstances an order making the
permit ineffective for the overlapping part would be justified under s. 68C. As
to the second point, there is no. doubt that where the permit is made
ineffective the permit holder not be entitled to any compensation under (1)
 1 S.C.R. 978.
161 a. 68G. It is said that this amounts to
discrimination between those whose permits have been cancelled for the
overlapping part and who would get compensation and those whose permits have been
made ineffective and who would therefore not get compensation. Now we should
have though that the making of the permit ineffective for the overlapping part
of the route and allowing the permit-holder to pick up passengers on the
overlapping route for destinations beyond that portion of the route would be to
the advantage of the permit-holder. In any case, if any permit-holder feels
that he would rather have his permit, cancelled for the overlapping route and
get compensation it is for him to raise that objection before the State
Government or the officer bearing objections. If he does not do so, he cannot
be heard to say that there is discrimination because his permit has been
rendered ineffective and he gets no compensation, for it may very well be that
he is still better off than the person whose permit has been cancelled for the
overlapping part of the route. In any case unless facts are brought on the
record which would show that in spite of the advantage which the permit holder,
whose permit has been made ineffective for the over lapping part ,of the route,
gets by picking up passengers on the overlapping route for destinations beyond
that part is not equal to the compensation which he would get in cage his
permit is cancelled for the overlapping part of the route, there would be no
case for discrimination under Art. 14 of the Constitution. In the present
appeals no such cage has been made out on the facts and therefore we must
reject this argument based upon discrimination.
Secondly, it is urged that in the case of
some persons, the permits have neither been cancelled nor made ineffective over
the overlapping route and this amounts to discrimination. The, reply of 162 the
State to this contention is that it was by oversight that permits of certain permit-holders
on the overlapping routes have not been cancelled or made ineffective and it is
further said that the State would have corrected this oversight but for the
stay order obtained from this Court.
Discrimination envisaged under Art. 14 is
conscious discrimination and a discrimination arising out of oversight is no
discrimination at all. In the present case the discrimination has resulted
because of an oversight which the State is prepared to rectify. It is not the
case of the appellants that these few permit-holders are being favored
deliberately for ulterior reasons. We therefore accept the reply of the State
that a few permit-holders on the overlapping route have been left out by
oversight and that their permits will-be dealt with in the same manner as of
the appellants, as soon as the stay order passed by this Court comes to an end.
There is therefore no force in this contention also and it is hereby rejected.
Lastly, it is urged that the permits on the
Ajmer-Kotah route have been cancelled or rendered ineffective between Deoli and
Ajmer only aid therefore the permit-holders are entitled to ply between Deoli
and Kotah. It appears however that Deoli-Kotah part of the Ajmer-Kotah route is
common to Jaipur-Kotah route from Deoli to Kotah and the necessary orders for
exclusion of permit-holders have been passed in connection with the
Jaipur-Kotah route. The scheme with respect to that route was quashed by the
High Court and the matter sent back for re-hearing the objectors in accordance
with the decision of this Court in Malick Ram's case (1).
Therefore, the question whether the
permit-holders can ply on the Deoli Kotah portion of the Ajmer-Kotah route will
(1) (1962) 1 S.C.R, 978.
163 depend on the decision of the
Jaipur-Kotah scheme. If that scheme is upheld, on re-hearing, the exclusion
will continue. But if that scheme is not upheld, the position may have to be
reviewed in connection with this portion of the Ajmer-Kotah route. In the
circumstances no relief can be granted to the appellants of the Ajmer-Kotah
route at this stage.
The appeals are hereby dismissed with
costs--one set of hearing costs.