Sri Ram Vilas Service Ltd., Kumbakonam
Vs. Raman & Raman Private Ltd., & ANR  Insc 237 (20 October 1967)
20/10/1967 SIKRI, S.M.
CITATION: 1968 AIR 748 1968 SCR (2) 14
Motor Vehicles Act (4 of 1939). s. 48(3) and
r. 208Variation of Route-Jurisdiction of Regional Transport Authority--Madras Act (1) of 19 ), S. 5 (1).
The appellant's application for variation of
a route extending beyond 24 kilometers was accepted by the Regional Transport
Authority. The respondent, who had unsuccessfully objected before the Authority
filed a writ petition in the High Court to quash the order. The High Court
accepted the writ petition holding that any variation in excess of 24
kilometers was ex facie illegal and violation of the intendment of the
legislature enacting Madras Act 3 of 1964.
which amended the Motor Vehicles Act. In
appeals this Court,
HELD : The Regional Transport Authority had
authority under r. 208 to vary the permit and nothing contained in s.
48(3)(xxi) of the Motor Vehicles Act limited
its power in respect of the distance covered by the variation in this case.
[19A] Section 5(1) of Madras Act 3 of 1964 made the route or routes or the area
specified in every stage carriage permit granted before the commencement of the
Amending Act a condition attached to such permit tinder sub-s. (3) of s. 48 of
the Principal Act; it did not that s. 48(3)(xxi) shall be deemed to be
condition attached to every such permit. [18c] The High Court erred in holding that
s. 48(3)(xxi) of the Act, is amended. by itself gave power to the Regional
Transport Authority to vary the route within certain limits.
This power Could be exercised only if a
condition to that effect was put in the permit. In the case of the appellant
the permit contained a condition similar to the condition mentioned in s. 48
(3) (xxi) before its amendment by Act 3 of f 964. Therefore, for the purpose of
this appeal s.
48(3)(xxi). is amendment has to be treated
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 258 of 1967.
Appeal front the judgment and order dated October 3, 1966 of the Madras High Court in Writ Petition No. 1159 of 1966.
G. Ramaswamy, R. Gopalakrishnan and K. K.
Venugopal, for the appellant.
M.N. Ranghachari, M.K. Ramamurthy, Shyamala
Pappu and Vineet Kumar, for respondent No.1 The Judgment of the Court was
delivered by Sikri, J. This appeal by certificate granted by the High Court of
Madras is directed against its order dated October 3, 1966, 15 allowing the writ petition filed under Art. 226 of the Constitution by M/s Raman &
Raman (P) Ltd., Kumbakonam, and quashing the order of the Regional Transport
Authority, Thanjavur, dated March 28, 1966, whereby the Regional Transport
Authority had granted the application for variation of the route Sirkali to,
Kumbakonam of M/s Sri Ram Vilas Service Ltd. Kumbakonam, in respect of two
On December 9, 1965, the application of M/s Sri Ram Vilas Service Ltd., Kumbakonam for variation of the route Sirkali to,
Kumbakonam was notified under s. 57(3) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939. M/s
Raman & Raman (P) Ltd., among others, filed objections and after hearing
the objections, by order dated March 28, 1966, the Regional Transport
Authority, Thanjavur, granted the application as, according to it, the
variation applied for was in the interest of the travelling public. The distance
covered by the variation extended beyond 24 kilometers. M/s Raman & Raman
filed the petition under Art 226 of the
Constitution to quash the order of the Regional Transport Authority.
The question which arises in this appeal is
whether the Regional Transport Authority had jurisdiction to vary the route by
extending it beyond 24 kms. The High Court, following its earlier decision in
M/s Swami Motor Transport (P) Ltd. v. M/s Murugan Transports, Tiruchirapalli
and Others(1) held that "any variation in excess of 24 kilometers would be
ex facie illegal and violation of the intendment of the legislature enacting
Act 3 of 1964." The answer to the question posed above depends upon the
true construction of some sections of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939. as amended
by the Madras Act III of 1964. The relevant statutory provisions are as follows
"48(1). Subject to the provisions of
section 47, a Regional Transport Authority may on an application made to it
under section 46, grant a stage carriage pen-nit in accordance with the
application or with such modification as it deems fit or refuse to grant such a
Provided that no such permit shall be granted
in respect of any route or area not specified in the, application.
(3)The Regional Transport Authority, if it
decides to grant a stage carriage permit, may grant the permit for service of
stage carriages of a specified description or for one or more particular stage
carriages, and may, subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, (1)
Writ Petition No. 3744 of 1965, judgement dated September 7, 1966.
16 attach to the permit any one or more of
the, following conditions, namely :
(i)that the stage carriage or stage carriages
shall be used only on a specified route or routes or in a specified area.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
(xxi)that the Regional Transport Authority,
may after giving notice of not less than one month :
(a)vary, extend or curtail the route or
routes or the area specified in the permit.
Provided that in the case of(i)variation, the
termini shall not be altered and the distance covered by variation shall not
exceed 24 kms.
(ii)extension of the distance covered by the
extension shall not exceed 24 kms. from the termini (aa) vary any other
condition of the permit." "S. 57(8). An application to vary the
conditions of any permit other than a temporary permit by the inclusion of a
new route or routes or a new area or by the variation, extension or curtailment
of the route or routes or area specified in the permit or in the case of a
stage ,carriage permit, by increasing the number of services above the
specified maximum, or in the case of a contract carriage permit by increasing
the number of vehicles, covered by the permit shall be treated as an
application for the grant of a new permit." "Rule 208. (a) Upon
application made in writing by the holder of any permit, the Transport Authority
may, at any time, in its discretion, vary the permit or any of the conditions
thereof subject to the provisions ,of sub-rule (b).
(b)If the application is for the variation of
the permit by the inclusion of an additional vehicle or vehicles or if the
grant of variation would authorize transport facilities materially different
from those authorized by the original permit the Transport Authority shall deal
with the application as if it were an application for a permit.
Provided that nothing contained in this rule
shall prevent the Transport Authority or its Secretary, if authorized in this
behalf, from summarily rejecting an application for the variation of a stage
carriage permit 17 so as to provide transport facilities on a road which has
been or is certified to be unfit for motor vehicular traffic by an officer not
below the rank of Divisional Engineer of the Highways Department.
(c)Every application for variation of
conditions of permit under sub-section (8) of section 57 of the Act in respect
of a transport vehicle shall be. in form PVA.
(d)The provisions of rules 163(b) shall,
mutatis mutandis, apply to application for the variation of a permit or the
variation of the counter-signature, if any, thereof by the inclusion of an
additional vehicle sanctioned subject to the production of the registration
certificate of the additional vehicle." Section 5 of the Madras Act III of
1964, reads as follows " 5(1). Notwithstanding anything contained in the
principal Act, the route or routes or the area specified in every stage
carriage permit granted before the commencement of this Act shall be deemed to
be a condition attached to such permit under sub-section (3) of section 48 of
the principal Act, as if this Act were in force on the date of grant of such
(2)Notwithstanding any judgment or order of
any Court, all proceedings taken for the grant of, and all orders passed
granting any variation, extension or curtailment of the route or routes or the
area specified in a stage carriage permit before the commencement of this Act
by the State Transport Authority or by a Regional Transport Authority or by an
authority or person to whom the powers and functions of the State Transport
Authority or a Regional Transport Authority have been delegated, or by an
authority exercising the powers of appeal or revision against the orders of the
State Transport Authority or a Regional Transport Authority, shall not be
deemed to, be invalid merely by reason of the fact that the State Transport
Authority or the Regional Transport Authortiy, as the case may be, had no power
to grant such variation, extension or curtailment and all such proceedings
taken or orders passed shall be deemed always to have been validly taken or
passed in accordance with law notwithstanding the distance covered by the
variation or extension exceeded twenty-four kilometers." The learned
counsel for the respondent contends that s. 4 8 3 (xxi), as amended, operates
whether a condition to that effect has been put in a permit or not. But we are
unable to read s. 48 18 in this sense. Section 48 (3) clearly enables the
Regional Transport Authorityto attach to the permit any or one of the twentyone
conditions. It may in a particular case put one or two or more of the
condition,; or it may put all the conditions. It seems to be common ground that
if any of the first twenty conditions in s. 48(3) is not attached to a permit
it will not have effect. What makes condition (xxi) different is hard to
appreciate. If condition (xxi) as amended is not attached to a permit it is difficult
to see how the Regional Transport Authority can derive any power from the
existence of S. 48 (3) (xxi) in the Act. Section 5 (1) of Act If of 1964 makes
the route or routes or the area specified in every stage carriage permit
granted before the commencement of the Amending Act a condition attached to
such permit tinder subsection (3) of section 48 of the principal Act; it does
not say that s.
48(3) (xxi) shall be deemed to be a condition
attached to every such permit. The learned counsel for the respondent says that
this was the intention of the amendment, but if this was so, the intention has
not been carried out.
It was argued before us that the history of
legislation supports the interpretation placed by the High Court but, in our
view, the Act as it stands amended by Act III of 1964 is quite clear and it is
not necessary to go into the history of the legislation.
It seems to us that the High Court erred in
holding that s. 48 (3) (xxi) of the Act, as amended, by itself gave power to
the Regional Transport Authority to vary the route within certain limits. This
power, in our View, Would be exercisable only if a condition to that effect is
put in the permit. In the case of the appellant we saw the permit and what it
contained was a condition similar to the condition mentioned in s. 48 (3) (xxi)
before its amendment by Act If 1 of 1964. Therefore, for the purpose of this
appeal we must treat s. 48 (3) (xxi), as amended, as nonexistent. If s.
48(3)(xxi), as amended, is treated as non-existent, then there can be no
difficulty in coming to the conclusion that no limitation had been placed on
the powers of the Regional Transport Authority in respect of the grant of
applications for variation of the route. The order of the Regional Transport
Authority cannot, therefore, be challenged as being beyond its jurisdiction.
Another question that was debated before us
was whether r. 208 of the Madras Motor Vehicles Rules, extracted above, confer
powers on a Transport Authority to vary permits or whether it is merely a
procedural rule. It seems to us that as the Act stands at present, r. 208 does
confer power on a transport authority to vary all kinds of permits or
conditions attached therein. This power is exercised on an application made in
writing by the holder of any permit.
19 It follows from the above reasoning that
the Regional Transport Authority had the authority under r. 208 to vary the
permit and nothing contained in s. 48 (3) (xxi) limited its power in respect of
the distance covered by the variation in this, case.
We may mention that it was argued before us
that s. 57(8) is not merely procedural but also implies a power to receive
applications and vary the conditions in a permit. This may be so, but it is not
necessary to decide in this case because in Madras r. 208 clearly confers power
on the Transport Authority to vary the conditions of the permit.
In the result the appeal is allowed and the
judgment of the High Court set aside. The appellant will have the costs
incurred in. this Court.