Cumbum Roadways (P) Ltd. Vs. Balaguru
Bus Service Pvt. Ltd. & Ors  INSC 321 (10 December 1976)
RAY, A.N. (CJ) BEG, M. HAMEEDULLAH
CITATION: 1977 AIR 1563 1977 SCR (2) 407 1977
SCC (1) 440
Motor Vehicles Act 1939 and Motor Vehicles
Rules--Whether consideration of grace, charity and compassion can be taken into
account while granting permitsWhether a candidate getting lesser marks can be
The appellant and the respondent applied for
a permit of stage carriages. The respondent secured higher marks than the
appellant. The Road Transport Authority preferred the appellant on the
compassionate ground that the respondent already had another permit on a route
which was partly over-lapping over the route in question. On an appeal the
Appellate Tribunal set aside the order of the Transport Authority and granted
the permit to the respondent.
Dismissing the appeal,
HELD: Permits cannot be equated with
distribution of patronage. Public interest is at stake when public transport
services are operated. The scheme of the Motor Vehicles Act and the Rules is
that he who can serve the travelling public best is to be chosen as the
Considerations of grace, charity and
compassion at the expense of public interest are an act of unfairness to the
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 424 1971.
Appeal from the Judgment and Order dated the
22-2-1971 of Madras High Court in W.P. No. 3125 of 1970.
M. Natesan, and (Mrs). S. Gopalakrishanan,
for the Appellant.
K.S. Ramamurthi, A. T.M. Sampath, M.M.L.
Srivastava and E.C.Agarwala, for Respondent No. 1.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
KRISHNA IYER, J.--This appeal, without any merit, deserves to be dismissed
without much ado.
The few facts of the case are that the
appellant and the respondent, both operators Of stage carriages, applied for a
permit on an 86 Km. route. Marks were awarded to both under the relevant Motor
Vehicles Rules to settle their comparative merit. The appellant secured 8.79
marks and the respondent 12.08. The latter thus secured an easy arithmetical
victory over the former and the sense of the scheme would have ordinarily led
to the award of the permit to the respondent. However, the Road Transport
Authority preferred the candidate with the lesser marks on the compassionate
ground that the rival with the larger marks had already got a permit a couple
of months before, on an overlapping route of 53 Km. On appeal, the Appellate
Tribunal set aside this award and granted 10--1546 SCI/76 408 the permit to the
one who had more merit. This has been affirmed throughout, repelling the
challenge by writ petition. The aggrieved appellant contends that his permit
should not have been set aside, the ground being that the respondent had got an
earlier permit on a part of the route.
We are not persuaded about this ground being
Permits cannot be equated with distribution of
patronage. We must remember that public interest is at stake when public
transport services are operated. The scheme of the statute, viz., the Motor
Vehicles Act is that he who can serve the travelling public best, is to be
chosen as the permit holder. Considerations of grace, charity and compassion at
the expense of public interest are an act of unfairness to the Act. The
conclusion, therefore is that the appellant's claim was rightly rejected and
the respondent's award was rightly made.
We dismiss the appeal but in the
circumstances without costs.
P.H.P. Appeal dismissed.