R. Obliswami Naidu Vs. Addl. State
Transport Tribunal, Madras & Ors  INSC 45 (17 February 1969)
17/02/1969 HEGDE, K.S.
CITATION: 1969 AIR 1130 1969 SCR (3) 730 1969
SCC (1) 733
R 1970 SC1542 (3,15,62,63) E 1970 SC1704 (6)
E&D 1974 SC 391 (3,6) R 1975 SC 386 (2) R 1978 SC 949 (2) E 1984 SC 9 (4)
Motor Vehicles Act (4 of 1939), ss. 47 and
57-Application for stage carriage permit on new route-Procedure to be followed.
The appellant applied to the R.T.A. for a
permit to ply a stage carriage on a new route on which no stage carriage was
plying before. The R.T.A. published the application under s. 57(3) of the Motor
Vehicles Act, 1939. Some representations against the grant of the permit on the
ground that there was no need were received. The R.T.A., after overruling the
objections granted the permit to the appellant. The appeal by some of the
objectors was allowed by the State Transport Appellate Tribunal on the ground
that the procedure adopted by the R.T.A. was not in accordance with law
inasmuch as it failed' to determine the question of the need for a service in
that 'route before entertaining the application. The appellate order was
confirmed by the High Court.
In appeal to this Court,
HELD : (Dismissing the appeal) Having regard
to the purpose behind ss. 47 and 57, that only public interest should be
considered and any manipulation in favour of a particular applicant should be
eliminated, there should be two independent steps before granting a stage
carriage permit :
(a) there should be a determination by the
R.T.A., under s. 47(3), of the number of stage carriages for which permits may
be granted on that route, and (b) applications for permits for such number of
stage carriages should be entertained thereafter. Otherwise, the R.T.A. will
'have no opportunity to choose between competing operators. The 'representations'
made under s. 57(3) cannot be considered as competing applications. Further, if
'representations' should be interpreted to include applications'. then s. 57(3)
becomes unworkable as there will be unending applications and publications.
[733 B-C, F, H] Jaya Ram Motor Service v. S. Rajarathinam, C.A. No. 95/65 dated
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal
No. 1426 of 1968.
Appeal from the judgment and order dated
April 16, 1968 of the Madras High Court in Writ Petition No. 908 of 1968.
D. Narsaraju Subramaniam, Vineet Kumar, J.
Ramamurthy, P. S. Khera and Shyamala Pappu, for the appellant.
S.T. Desai, A. R. Ramanathan and R.
Gopalakrishnan, for respondent No. 2.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
Hegde, J. The scope of s. 47(3) of the Motor Vehicles Act,
1 939 (to be hereinafter referred to as the
Act) comes up for consideration in this appeal by certificate.
731 The facts of the case necessary for the
purpose of deciding the point in issue are few, and they are as follows :On
August 8, 1966, the appellant applied to the R.T.A. Coimbatore for a permit to
ply a stage carriage on the route Bhavani to Vellithiruppur. That was entirely
a new route.
No stage carriage was plying on that route at
The R.T.A. published that application under
s. 57(3) of the Act. Respondents Nos. 2-3 and others made representations
against that application contending that there was no need to grant a stage
carriage permit for that route. The R.T.A.
overruled their objection and granted the
permit asked for on October 9, 1967. As against the order of the R.T.A. some of
the objectors went up in appeal to the State Transport Appellate Tribunal,
Madras. The Additional State Transport Appellate Tribunal allowed the appeal by
its order of February 22, 1968 holding that the procedure adopted by the R.T.A.
was not in accordance with law inasmuch as it had failed to determine the
question of the-need for a service in that route before entertaining the application
for a stage carriage permit.' The Tribunal held that the procedure adopted by
the R.T.A. contravened s. 47(3) of the Act. The appellant challenged that order
before the High Court of Madras in Writ Petition No. 908 of 1968. The High
Court dismissed that application. Hence this appeal.
Section 47 of the Act prescribes the
procedure to be adopted by the R.T.A. in considering applications for stage
carriage permit. That section reads :
"A Regional Transport Authority shall,
in considering an application for a stage carriage permit, have regard to the
following matters namely :
(a) the interests of the public generally;
(b) the advantages to the public of the
service to be provided, including the saving of time likely to be effected
thereby and any convenience arising from journeys not being broken;
(c) the adequacy of other passenger transport
services operating or likely to operate in the near future, whether by road or
other means, between the, places to be served;
(d) the benefit to any particular locality or
localities likely to be afforded by the service;
(e) the operation by the applicant of other
transport services, including those in respect of which applications from him
for permits-are pending;
(f) the condition of the roads included in the
proposed route or area;
732 and shall also take into consideration
any representations made by persons already providing passenger transport
facilities by any means along or near the proposed route or area, or by any
association representing persons interested in the provision of road transport
facilities recognised in this behalf by the State Government, or by any local
authority or police authority within whose jurisdiction any part of the
proposed route or area lies Provided that other conditions being equal, an
application for a stage carriage permit from a co-operative society registered
or deemed to have been registered under any enactment in force for the time
being shall, as far as may be given preference over applications from
(2) A Regional Transport Authority shall
refuse to grant a stage carriage permit if it appears from any time-table
furnished that the provisions of this Act relating to the speed at which
vehicles may be driven are likely to be contravened :
Provided that before such refusal an opportunity
shall be given to the applicant to amend the time-table so as to conform to the
(3) A Regional Transport Authority may,
having regard to the matters mentioned in subs. (1), limit the number of stage
carriages generally or of any specified type for which stage carriage permits
may be granted in the region or in any specified area or on any specified route
within the region." Sub-section (3) of s. 47 of the Act required the
Regional Transport Authority to limit the number of stage carriage permits that
may be granted in a route having regard to the matters mentioned in sub-s. (1)
of that section. The question for determination is whether the determination as
to the number of stage carriages required on a route should be done at a stage
anterior to that of entertaining applications for stage carriage permits or
that it could be done at the time it considers applications made by operators
for stage carriage permits in that route. The R.T.A. has proceeded on the basis
that question can be decided while considering the applications made to it for
permits by operators whereas the Appellate Tribunal and the High Court have
taken a contrary view.
Sub-s. (3) of s. 47 of the Act if read by
itself does not throw any light on the controversy before us but if ss. 47 and
57 of the Act are read together it appears to us to be clear that the view 733
taken by the Appellate Tribunal and the High Court is the correct view. if
contrary view is taken it will throw open the door for manipulations and
nepotism. There may be possibility of the personality of the applicant
influencing the decision of the R.T.A. on the question of need for a stage
carriage permit in the route and thereby public interest which should be the main
consideration while taking a decision under s. 47(3) may suffer. If we accept
the view taken by the R.T.A. as correct, an operator who happens to apply for
the route first will be in a commanding position.
The R.T.A. will have no opportunity to choose
between competing operators and hence public interest might suffer.
Mr. Narsaraju, learned Counsel for the
appellant tried to meet the difficulty by suggesting that sub-s. (3) of s. 57
of the Act is wide enough to allow the competing operators to apply for the
route in question when the first applicant's application is published and
representations called for.' Section 57(3) reads "On receipt of an
application for a stage carriage permit or a public carrier's permit, the
Regional Transport Authority shall make the application available for
inspection at the office of the Authority and shall publish the application or
the substance thereof in the prescribed manner together with a notice of the
date before which representations in connection therewith may be submitted and
the date, not being less than 30 days from such publication, on which, and the
time and place at which, the application and any representation received will
be considered." (Proviso is not relevant for our present purpose).
We are unable to accept this contention. That
sub-section merely permits representations to be made in respect of the
application published. Such representations cannot take the form of competing
applications. It is difficult to accept the contention that the word "representations"
in s. 57(3) includes applications for the route. That apart if we accept Mr.
Narsaraju's contention then the whole thing will become unworkable. If at the
time of making his representation an operator can also make an application for
a stage carriage permit for that route, that application again will have to be
published under s. 57(3) and objections called for. Extending the logic of Mr. Narsaraju's
argument as we ought to, at the time of making representations to those
applications, further applications can be made. This may turn out to be an
On an examination of the relevant provisions
of the Act and the purpose behind ss. 47, and 57, we are convinced that before
granting a stage carriage permit two independent steps have to be taken.
Firstly there should a determination by the R.T.A. under Sup./69-12 734
s.47(3)of the number of stage carriages for which stage carriage permits may be
granted in that route. Thereafter applications for stage carriage permits in
that route should be entertained. The R.T.A. is not competent to grant stage
carnage permits for more carriages than fixed under s.47(3).
Our above conclusion accords with the view
expressed by this Court in Civil Appeal No. 95 of 1965. (M/s. Jaya Ram Motor
Service v. S. Rajarathinam and ors.) (1). Therein the Court observed :
"The scheme of sec. 47 is that when a
person makes an application under sections 45 and 46 the Authority first
considers it under sec. 47 ( 1 ) in the light of the matters set out therein
and also the representations, if any, made by the persons mentioned therein.
The Authority then fixed under sec. 47 (2), having regard to the matters
mentioned in s. 47(1), the number of stage carriages for which permits may be
granted in the region or on any specified route within such region. Having
fixed the limit the Authority publishes under s. 57(3)the application with a
notice of the date before which representations in connection therewith may be
submitted and the date on which such application and representations would be
considered. The proviso to s.57(3) lays down that if the grant of a permit has
the effect of increasing the number of vehicles operating in that region or in
any specified area thereof or on the route within such region beyond the limit
fixed under s. 47 (3), the Authority may dismiss the application summarily. If
it does dot exceed such limit and the Authority decides to grant a permit it
has to consider the application and the representations submitted to it in
conformity with the procedure laid down in sec. 57. Therefore sec. 47 envisages
two stages of the inquiry; (i) the fixing of the number of permit under s.
47(3) and (ii) the consideration thereafter of the application for grant of a
permit and the representations if any by the persons mentioned in s. 47(1).
It would therefore seem that once the
Authority has fixed the number of vehicles to be operated in the region or the
area or the particular route and the number of permits to be granted therefore,
the stage of inquiry under s. 47 (3) is over. The next thing that the Authority
has to consider is whether grant of a permit would be within such limit or not.
If it does not exceed the limit the Authority
has to consider the application and the representation if any, in connection
therewith and to grant or refuse to grant the permit under sec. 48(1)..
Therefore, once the C.A. No. 95/65 decided on 27-10-1967.
735 limit is fixed,, if the grant of an
application does not have the effect of exceeding that limit, the only question
before the Authority would be whether the applicant is a person fit to be
granted the permit or not in the light of the matters set out in sub-sec. (1)
of sec. 47. The question of the number of permits to be granted, having been
already canvassed and decided, cannot become the subject at that stage of any
further controversy. This is clear from the fact that sec. 48(1) which empowers
the Authority to grant or refuse to grant the permit starts with the words
'subject to the provisions of s. 47'. It is therefore clear that the Authority
has first to fix the limit and after having done so, consider the application
or representations in connection therewith in accordance with the procedure
laid down in sec. 57. As held in Abdul Mateen v. Ram Kailash Pandey(1) the
Authority may modify the limit fixed by it under sec. 47 (3) but once such a
limit is fixed, it cannot ignore it while considering the applications before
it under sec. 48. Sec. 47(3), as observed there, 'is concerned with a general
order limiting stage carriages, generally etc., on a consideration of matters
specified in s.
47(1). That general order can be modified by
the Regional Transport Authority, if it so decides, one way or the other. But
the modification of that order is not a matter for consideration when the Regional
Transport Authority is dealing with the actual grant of permits under s. 48
read with s. 57 for at that stage what the Regional Transport Authority has to
do is to choose between various applicants.... That, in our opinion, is not the
stage, when the general order passed under section 47(3) can be reconsidered
for the order under s. 48 is subject to the provisions of s. 47, which includes
s. 47 (3 ) under which a general order limiting the number of stage carriages
etc. may have been passed.' That being so, if an application is refused such
refusal is under sec. 4 8 (1) and the appellant who is denied the permit has a
right of appeal under sec. 64(1) (a)." In the result this appeal fails and
the same is dismissed with cost V.P.S. Appeal dismissed.
735 (1)  3 S.C.R. 523, 529.