Lakshmi Narain Agarwal Vs. State
Transport Authority, U.P. & ANR  INSC 221 (26 September 1967)
26/09/1967 SIKRI, S.M.
CITATION: 1968 AIR 410 1968 SCR (1) 635
Motor Vehicles Act (4 of 1939), ss. 47(3) and
64A-Regional Transport Authority if should consider representations of existing
operator before passing order under s. 47(3)-Order under s. 47(3) if revisable
under s. 64A.
Constitution of India, 1950, Art,
The Regional Transport Authority, by an order
under s. 47(3) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, fixed the number of stage
carriages, by increasing their number on a particular route.
The appellant, an existing operator, filed a
revision against that order to the State Transport Authority, under s. 64A, but
the State Transport Authority held that a revision did not lie. The appellant
then filed a writ petition in the High Court and the High Court dismissed it,
holding that: (1) at the stage of s. 47(3), existing operators were not
entitled to be heard by the Regional Transport Authority, and (2) since the
order of the Regional Transport Authority was good on merits, it was not
necessary to decide whether a revision lay to the State Transport Authority.
In appeal to this Court,
HELD: (1) Unlike s. 47(1), s. 47(3) does not
say expressly that representations could be made by existing operators and
others. The expression in s. 47(3) that 'the Regional Transport Authority may,
having regard to the matters mentioned in sub-s. (1)', only means that the
Authority shall have regard to the matters mentioned in subcls. (a) to (f) of
s. 47(1) and has nothing to do the right of making representations. [638F-H]
(2) But whether or not an existing operator has an implied right to be heard
before an order under s. 47(3) is made he can be aggrieved by an order made
under that section increasing or decreasing the number of stage carriages
depending on the circumstances of the case, and has therefore a right of
revision under s. 64A, the only condition for filing a revision being that it
should be against an order made by the Regional Transport Authority against
which no appeal lies. [639C-D, F-H] Abdul Mateen v. Ram Kailash Pandey, 
3 S.C.R. 523, referred to.
(3) Since a revision could be filed under s.
64A against the order under s. 47(3) the aggrieved operator need not approach
the Regional Transport Authority first to review its order. [640B-C] (4) The
High Court should have directed the State Transport Authority to dispose of on
merits the revision petition against the order under s. 47(3), and not gone
into its merits itself, but, in view of the time that lapsed since the order
was passed (five years, during which the demand for stage carriages must have
increased), this Court would not interfere in the exercise of its jurisdiction
136. [640C-E] 636
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 636 of 1967.
Appeal by special leave from the judgment all
order dated November 11. 1966 of the Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench in
Writ Petition No. 226 of 1963.
S. T. Desai, J. P. Goyal, D. N. Jha and G. S.
Sarjoo Prashad and O. P. Rana, for the
respondents. Judgment of the Court was delivered by Sikri, J. This appeal by
special leave is directed against the judgment, dated November 11, 1966, of the Division Bench of tile Allahabad High Court dismissing the writ petition
filed by tile appellant seeking to quash tile order of the State Transport
Authority. dated March 20/21. 1963. The State Transport Authority had by this
order rejected the appellant's revision petition against the decision of the
Regional Transport Authority oil the ground that a mere decision of the
Regional Transport Authority limiting the number of stage carriages under S.
47(3) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (IV of 1939) hereinafter referred to as
the Act could not form the subject matter of a revision application'. It was of
the view that "when the Regional Transport Authority actually proceeds to
fill Lip the vacancies, which it has decided to create, then the persons whose
interests would be adversely affected, would have a right of representation
before the Regional Transport Authority, and in the case of their representation
being rejected by the Regional Transport Authority the will have a right of
appeal before the State Transport Appellate Tribunal." The High Court was
of the view that an existing operator had no say in the matter of determination
of the strength on a route under sub-s. (3) of s. 47, and, it was in the
discretion of the Regional Transport Authority to determine the strength on a
route, after considering various matters enumerated in cls. (a) to (f) of
sub-s. (1) of S. 47. The High Court further observed that is the order passed
under S. 47(3), to revise which the appellant had filed a revision tinder s.
64-A, was a good order and did not call for any interference, it did not
consider it necessary to decide whether a revision lay against such an order
64-A of the Act.
The learned counsel for the appellant, Mr. S.
T. Desai, contends that an order under S. 47(3) of the Act, whether it is
quasijudicial or administrative, does affect the existing operators on the
route and their representations must be considered by the Regional Transport
Authority before passing an order tinder s. 47(3). He further submits that a
revision lay under S. 64-A of the Act and the same should not have been
dismissed on the ground that no revision lay.
637 The relevant statutory provisions are s.
47 and s. 64-A, of the Act, and read thus;
"47. Procedure of Regional Transport
Authority in considering application for stage carriage permit:(1) 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;
and shall also take into consideration any
representations made by persons already providing passengers 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, be given preference over applications
from individual owners.
(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:
638 provided that before such refusal an
opportunity shall be given to the applicant to amend the time table so as to
conform to the said provisions.
(3) A Regional Transport Authority may,
having regard to the matters, mentioned in sub-section (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." "64-A. Revision---The State
Transport Authority may, either on its own motion or on an application made to
it, call for the record of any case in which an order has been made by a
Regional Transport Authority and in which no appeal lies, and if it appears to
the State Transport Authority that the order made by the Regional Transport
Authority is improper or illegal, the State Transport Authority may pass such
order in relation to the case as it deems fit:
Provided that the State Transport Authority
shall not entertain any application from a person aggrieved by an order of a
Regional Transport Authority, unless the application is made within thirty days
from the date of the order:
Provided further that the State Transport
Authority shall not pass an order under this section prejudicial to any person
without giving him a reasonable opportunity of being heard." It would be
noticed that sub-s. (3) of s. 47 does not expressly say whether any
representations can be made by persons already providing transport facilities
or by associations representing persons interested in the provision of the
transport facilities or by any local authority or police authority within whose
jurisdiction the route or area lies. This is expressly mentioned in s.
47(1). The learned counsel contends that the
expression "matters mentioned in sub-section (1)" occurring in sub-s.
(3) refers back not only to matters mentioned
(a) to (f) to sub-s. (1) in S. 47 but also
the right of representation mentioned in sub-s. (1). We are unable to accept
this line of reasoning as being sound. Even under s. 47(1), the Regional
Transport Authority can only have regard to the matters mentioned in sub-cls.
(a) to (f), and those matters may be brought to the notice of the Regional
Transport Authority by representations. It could not have been the intention
that representations would contain matters which the Regional Transport
Authority could not take into consideration under s. 47(1). This is not to say
that the matters mentioned in 639 sub-cls. (a) to (f) are exhaustive, but this
point does not arise and we need not say anything as to this.
Therefore, this line of reasoning does not
assist the appellant.
This Court in Abdul Mateen v. Ram Kailash
Pandey(1) held that "where a limit has been fixed under s. 47(3) by the
Regional Transport Authority, and thereafter the said authority proceeds to
consider applications for permits under s. 48 read with s. 57, the Regional
Transport Authority must confine the number of permits issued by it to those
limits and on an appeal or revision by an aggrieved person, the Appellate
Authority or the Revisional Authority must equally be confined to the issue of
permits within the limits fixed under s. 47(3)". But this Court did not
feel it necessary to decide whether under s. 64-A, inserted by Motor Vehicles
(Amendment) Act No. 100 of 1956, it was open to the State Transport Authority
to vary a general order passed under s. 47(3). If we look at the section, it
would be noticed that s. 64-A is very wide in terms; the only condition
necessary for filing a revision is that it should be against an order made by
the Regional Transport Authority and against which no appeal lies. The word
"order" is wide, and there is no doubt that an order made under s.
47(3) is an order within s. 64-A because, as held by this Court in Abdul Mateen
v. Ram Kailash Pandey (1) it binds the Regional Transport Authority and the
State Transport Authority in dealing with applications under s. 48. read with
s. 57, of the Act.
Mr. Sarjoo Prasad, the learned counsel for
the State, contends that no revision lies at the instance of an existing
operator because he cannot be called an aggrieved person, and secondly, that
even if a revision lies, the appellant is not entitled to any relief on the
facts of this case, under Art. 136 of the Constitution, because the appellant
never approached the Regional Transport Authority in the first instance. We are
unable to say that no existing operator can be aggrieved by an order made under
s. 47(3), increasing or decreasing the number of stage carriages; it would
depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. In a particular case it may
be to his advantage and he then would not file a revision against it, but if he
files a revision when an order made under s. 47(3) is prejudicial to his
interests, there is no ground for denying him the right to approach the
revisional authority and seeking its order. An order under s. 47(3) affects the
future working on a route and we are of the view that such an order would have
repercussion on the working of the existing operators, whether for their good
or not. The High Court, as stated above, was of the view that at the stage of
s. 47(3) existing operators would not be entitled to be heard by the Regional
(1)  3 S.C.R. 523.
640 Transport Authority. But assuming that it
is so, this does no affect the right of revision conferred by s. 64-A. We need
not in this case decide whether it is implied that existing operators would be
entitled to be heard by the Regional Transport Authority before an order under
s. 47(3) is made.
The learned counsel for the respondent
further contends that a decision under s. 47(3) is a tentative decision and can
be revised. But assuming that it can be revised by the Regional Transport
Authority, till the order is in operation it is binding on everybody and if a
revision can be filed against the order under s. 64-A, the aggrieved operator
cannot be compelled to approach the Regional Transport Authority first to
revise its order. 'This argument, in a way, concedes that an operator can be a
person aggrieved by an order under s. 47(3).
The learned counsel for the appellant
contends that if it is held that a revision lies under s. 64-A against an order
passed under s. 47(3) of the Act, the State Transport Authority should be
directed to hear the revision on merits.
He says that the High Court had no right to
go into the merits of the order itself. Ordinarily what Mr. Desai contends is
correct, but here the facts are that the order under s. 47(3) was passed as
long ago as November. 17. 1962.
During the last five years demand for stage
carriages on this route would have, in the ordinary course, increased by now.
and further it has not been shown that the Regional Transport Authority has
made any glaring mistake.
For the aforesaid reasons. in exercising our
discretion under Art. 136 of the Constitution we consider that we should not
interfere with the order passed by the High Court. In the result the appeal
fails and is dismissed.
Under the circumstances there will be no
order as to costs.
V.P.S. Appeal dismissed.