Rani Vs. Regional Transport Authority  INSC 161 (4 March 1994)
Reddy, B.P. (J) Jeevan Reddy, B.P. (J) Punchhi, M.M.
1994 AIR 2229 1994 SCC Supl. (2) 186 JT 1994 (3) 34 1994 SCALE (1)879
Judgment of the Court was delivered by B.P. JEEVAN REDDY, J.- Leave granted.
Heard counsel for the parties.
This appeal is directed against the judgment of the Allahabad High Court dated December 16, 1993 dismissing CWP No. 4488 of 1992.
The matter arises under the Motor Vehicles Act.
appellants applied to the Regional Transport Authority, Dehradun for grant of
stage carriage permits on the route Muzaffarnagar to Yamuna Bridge viz Rampur-Deoband- Sidki-Tapri-Saharanpur and Sarsawa
(hereinafter referred to as the "said route"). While the said
applications were pending before the Regional Transport Authority, some other
persons challenged the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Motor
Vehicles Act, 1988 by way of writ petitions under Article 32 of the
Constitution of India in this Court. Writ Petition (C) No. 869 of 1990 was one
of them. The petitioner in Writ Petition (C) No. 869 of 1990 was plying on the
route Muzaffarnagar-BudhanaKhandola- Issopurteel. On February 7, 1991, this Court passed a common order
in Writ Petition (C) Nos. 1110 of 1989, 869 of 1990, 740 of 1990 and 1100 of
1990 to the following effect:
writ petitions have been listed for final hearing. In one of the writ petitions
rule has already been issued. But the others are still at the admission stage.
the main matter for hearing along with the other writ petitions as third item
in the regular list.
hearing and disposal of these writ petitions, we direct that the State
Transport Authority or the Regional Transport Authority will be entitled to
consider any further applications for permits on various routes X X concerned
in these W.P.s and no permit will be actually issued within obtaining the
orders of this Court."
its proceedings dated February
11, 1991, the Regional
Transport Authority sanctioned the grant of permits to the appellants on the
said route. On February
13, 1991, permits were
actually issued and the appellants say they started plying.
Certain parties affected by this Court's interim order dated February 7, 1991
applied for impleading themselves as respondents in Writ Petition (C) No. 869
of 1990 and for modification of the said interim order. On that application,
188 this Court passed the following order by way of clarification of the
earlier order. The order reads as follows:
applicants are allowed to be impleaded as parties in the writ petition. Cause
title may be amended accordingly.
as the directions part of the applications are concerned we are informed that
our order dated February
7, 1991 is being
construed as precluding the issue of permits even in cases where applications
for permits have been filed and permits have been granted before February 7, 1991. We wish to make it clear that our
order dated February 7,
1991 was only intended
to preclude the grant of fresh permits on or after February 7, 1991.
order should not be construed as precluding grant of permits in respect of
main writ petition is listed for hearing on April 2, 1991."
November 22, 1991, the four writ petitions including Writ Petition (C) No. 869
of 1990 were dismissed by this Court.
Meanwhile, Shri Abad Hussain s/o Mohd. Zafar, third respondent in this appeal,
filed a writ petition in the Allahabad High Court questioning the grant of
permits by the Regional Transport Authority by its proceedings dated February
11, 1991. The High Court entertained the writ petition and passed an interim
order to the following effect on February 25, 1991: "Meanwhile the
respondents shall not operate on the route in question in pursuance of the
resolution dated February 11, 1991 until March 25, 1991 unless recalled
earlier." On March 26, 1991, the High Court made another order affirming
the earlier order of February 25, 1991 and observing thus: "We are
satisfied that the Regional Transport Authority, Dehradun while issuing permits
to the Respondents 2 to 28 did not show due respect to the orders of the
Supreme Court passed in Writ Petition (C) No. 740 of 1990 on February 7, 1991.
In these circumstances, we direct that the interim order already passed by this
Court shall continue to operate. However, we make it clear that the interim
order passed by this Court shall cease to be operative in the event the order
passed by the Supreme Court on February 7, 1991 is either vacated or
modified." (Respondents 2 to 28 referred to in the order are the
After the dismissal of Writ Petition (C) No. 869 of 1990 and others by this
Court on November 22,
1991, the appellants
approached the Regional Transport Authority to permit them to ply in pursuance
of the permits already granted to them. They submitted that in view of the
dismissal of the writ petitions by this Court, there was no reason not to allow
them to ply. On the basis of the said applications, it appears, a note was put
up by the office to the Chairman of the Regional Transport Authority (Transport
Commissioner) who by his order dated December 19, 1991, cancelled the permits granted to
the appellants. Against the order cancelling their permits, the appellants
approached the High Court by way of CWP No. 4488 of 1992 which has been
dismissed by the Division Bench by its order dated December 16, 1993. This appeal is directed against the said order.
P. Chidambaram, learned counsel for the appellants submitted that the grant of
permit to the appellants on the said route was in no way affected by the stay
order made by this Court on February 7, 1991.
None of the aforesaid four writ petitions filed in this Court concerned the
nearest that came to the appellant's route is the one concerned in Writ
Petition (C) No. 869 189 of 1990. But even that route only partly overlapped
the route on which the appellants were granted permits. Counsel submitted
further that the order of this Court dated February 7, 1991 prohibited only issue of permits
but not the grant thereof. Indeed, the clarificatory order made by this Court
on March 14, 1991 clearly says that grant of permits on other routes, i.e.,
routes other than the one concerned in that writ petition [WP (C) No. 869 of
1990] was not prohibited. In any event, the said writ petitions have been
dismissed on November
22, 1991. If so, the
cancellation of the petitioner's permit on the ground that it was violative of
the orders of the stay granted by the Supreme Court is unsustainable in law. Shri
Chidambaram further submitted that the order of cancellation dated December 19, 1991 was not passed by the Regional
Transport Authority but by the Chairman acting alone. Not only the Chairman
acting alone is not entitled to review or cancel the orders made by the
Regional Transport Authority, the said orders were passed without even a notice
to the appellants. The appellants went to the Regional Transport Authority
seeking permission to ply on the route; not only they were not granted such
permission, the very permits granted to them earlier were cancelled. The
procedure adopted is thus wholly unfair and contrary to the principles of
natural justice, says the counsel.
G.L. Sanghi, learned counsel appearing for the contesting respondents justified
and supported the order of the Supreme Court. Counsel submitted that the order
of stay granted by this Court on February 7, 1991 prohibited the grant of permits as well as consideration of
any further applications for permits "on various routes concerned in these
writ petitions". Writ Petition (C) No. 869 of 1990 pertained not only to
the route Muzaffarnagar-Budhana- Khandola-Issopurteel but also to "allied
routes". The petitioner in the said writ petition described the route
concerned in the said writ petition in the following words:
and allied routes (hereinafter called the extended routes comprehending
extension hereinafter referred to as the route)." The orders made by this
Court should be understood in the light of the said description and if so
understood, it does take in the route on which the appellants were granted
permits. The grant of permits on February 11, 1991 was, therefore, clearly in the teeth of the order made by
this Court. If there was any doubt on the part of the Regional Transport
Authority, it should have sought for clarification from this Court instead of
proceeding to grant the permits. Indeed, on March 14, 1991, this Court prohibited both, the grant and the issue of new
permits. The dismissal of the writ petitions on November 22, 1991 does not in any manner validate an invalid and illegal act.
Counsel raised yet another contention, viz., that a portion of the said route
(on which the appellants have been granted permits) is overlapped by a notified
route. (He has filed a route-map according to which a portion of the said route
Muzaffarnagar to Yamuna Bridge overlaps the notified route.) Counsel placed strong
reliance upon the Constitution Bench decision of this Court in Adarsh Travels
Bus Service v. State of U.P.1 to contend that such a grant is
pointed out that this was one of the grounds taken in the order dated December 19, 1991 by which the permits granted to the
appellants were cancelled. The order dated December 19, 1991 was a valid order, says the
counsel, and no notice to the appellants was required 1 (1985) 4 SCC 557 190
inasmuch as it was an order passed on the application filed by the appellants
themselves. The said order was passed by the Chairman after discussing the
matter with the Secretary, Regional Transport Authority and must be treated as
the order of the Regional Transport Authority.
are of the opinion that the order of stay granted by this Court on February 7, 1991 did not preclude the grant of
permits on the said route, on which the appellants were granted permits. The
said route was not the subjectmatter of any of the writ petitions filed in this
Court. The attempt to bring in this route within the purview of the said stay
order with reference to the expression "allied routes" occurring in
Writ Petition (C) No. 869 of 1990 is, in our opinion, a vain one. We have
perused a copy of the original writ petition. Paragraph (1) of the writ
petition reads as follows:
the petitioner is a citizen of India and is
residing in India. In the Meerut region of Meerut there is a route known as MuzaffarnagarBudhana-Khandola-Issopurteel
and allied routes (hereinafter called the extended routes) comprehending extention
(hereinafter referred to as the route) for plying of stage carriages within the
jurisdiction of the Regional Transport Authority Meerut Region Meerut
(hereinafter referred to as the RTA).
petitioner is holding a permanent stage carriage permit on the route and plying
his stage carriage vehicle in accordance with the conditions of the permit. The
length of the route is 62 kms. with 80 kms. extension and there are 84 buses
covering the route in rotation. The strength was increased in 1983." 12.A
perusal of the said paragraph would show that the expression "allied
routes" referred to the extensions of the route concerned therein. The
said expression cannot take in the route concerned herein. No route-map was
also filed in the said writ petition from which it can be said that the
"allied routes" mentioned in the said writ petition included the
route in question herein. Both the orders of this Court dated February 7, 1991 and March 14, 1991, therefore, did not pertain to the said route. In such a
situation, there could not have been any objection to the grant of permits to
the appellants on the said route. The High Court was in error in holding that
the said grant was violative of the said order. Indeed, it does not say so expressly.
All that it says is that the said grant was made without showing due respect to
the orders of this Court. The more appropriate course for the High Court was to
have ascertained whether the said grant was contrary to the orders of this
Court or not. If it was not violative of this Court's order, the grant could
not have been held to be bad. Be that as it may, we are of the opinion that the
stay order made by this Court and later clarified, did in no way preclude the
grant of permit to the appellants on the said route. It is also relevant to
notice that the writ petitions were dismissed by this Court on November 22, 1991 and the cancellation was effected
about a month thereafter.
view of our opinion aforesaid, it is not necessary to go into other grounds raised
by Shri Chidambaram.
Sanghi, learned counsel for the respondents placed strong reliance upon the
decision of this Court in Adarsh Travels'. Counsel submitted that inasmuch as a
portion of the said route is overlapped by a notified route, no permits could
have been granted on the said route. It may be noticed at the outset that this
aspect has not been considered by the High Court in the order 191 under appeal.
No doubt, the Chairman of the Regional Transport Authority in his order dated December 19, 1991 does refer to this aspect but not
fully. Copy of the approved scheme or draft scheme, if any, has not been placed
before us. We do not know what are the terms of the scheme(s). We do not know
whether the scheme excludes the private operators wholly or partly. Another and
more important circumstance is that the State Transport Undertaking has not
chosen to challenge the grant of permits to the appellants. It is only
Respondents 3 and 4 who are operating on a route which partially overlaps the
route concerned herein that have chosen to come forward. We are not inclined to
entertain the said objection at their instance, more particularly, when a copy
of the scheme(s) even has not been filed. This aspect would become relevant if
and when the State Transport Undertaking objects to the grant of permits to the
appellants and the approved scheme or draft scheme, as the case may be, is
placed before the court in support of the said objection. In the present state
of facts, we decline to go into the said question.
For the above reasons, the appeal is allowed and the judgment and order of the
Allahabad High Court impugned herein is set aside. The order of the Chairman,
Regional Transport Authority dated December 19, 1991 cancelling the permits of the
appellants is also set aside. There shall be no order as to costs.
This order does not preclude the State Transport Undertaking or the State of Uttar Pradesh from questioning the grant of
permits to appellants in accordance with law, if they are so advised.