Decided on March 20,1995



- (1.)Motor Vehicles Act (59/88) as compared to the old Act of 1939 is not only liberalised but also is people oriented in the matter of grant of permits. This has been focused by the Supreme Court ( AIR 1992 SC 443 - Mithilesh Garg v. Union of India.), so much so that it is observed in various context that an intended operator can get a permit for asking irrespective of the number of operators already in the field. Objections and the provisions to impose limit on the number of permits have been taken away, because there is no similar provision to that of S.47 and 57 under the new Act. The Supreme Court has also examined the statement of objects and reasons of the Act 59/88 to highlight of the purpose of bringing in the Act of 1988 was to liberalise the grant of permits. It is made clear that there is no threat of any kind whatsoever from any authority and in fact more operators are accepted. It is observed that more operators mean healthy competition and efficient transport system.
(2.)Various aspects have been laid around that overcrowded buses, passengers standing in the aisle; persons clinging to the bus-doors and even sitting on the roof-top are some of the common sights and as a result thereof more often one finds a bus which has noisy engine, old upholstry, unconfortably seats and continuous emission of black smoke from the exhaust pipe. Taking all these aspects into consideration it is thought necessary that there should be plenty of operators on every route to provide ample choice to the commuter-public to board the vehicle of their choice and patronise the operator who is providing the best service. The Supreme Court has also visualised restricted licensing under the hands of few persons thereby giving rise to a kind of monopoly, adversely affecting the public interest and it is said that too many operators on a route are not likely to affect adversely the interest of weaker section of the profession because the transport business is bound to be ironed out ultimately by the rationale of demand and supply. In the -process only such number of vehicles would finally remain in operation on a particular route as are economically viable. The public oriented approach is also emphasized by stating that in any case the transport system in a State is meant for the benefit and convenience of the public. The wisdom of the Parliament has been highlighted in completely effacing the stringent features in the earlier Act.
(3.)At the same time matters which are supposed to be within the apprehension of the transport authorities have also been specified as regards the discretion to take into consideration the conditions of roads, social status of the applicants, possibility of small operators being eliminated by big operators, conditions of hilly routes, fuel availability and pollution control and in the context it is stated that there is no dispute that the Regional Transport Authority has the power under the Act to refuse an application for grant of permit by giving reasons and, therefore, it is ultimately for the authority to take into consideration all the relevant factors at the time of consideration of the applications for grant of permits. A confidence is reposed by stating that the statutory authorities under the Act are bound to keep a watch on the erroneous and illegal exercise of power in granting permits under the liberalised policy.

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