A THAVITAYYA Vs. STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH
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Obul Reddi, J. -
(1.) This Writ Appeal and Writ Petition can be conveniently disposed of by a common order as the question involved in all these cases is whether the state Government is empowered under Section 64-A of the Motor Vehicles Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) to dismiss a revision petition filed by an aggrieved party against the order of the lower authority summarily without calling for records.
(2.) These are all cases relating to suspension of stage carriage permits under Section 60 of the Act for violation of the conditions of the permits and we are only concerned with the revisional powers of the Government under Section 64-A of the Act. The Regional Transport Authority and the appellate authority have found in all these cases that he petitioners are guilty of contravention of the conditions of the permits (sic) was justified. Aggrieved by the orders of the appellate authority in each of these cases the petitioners moved the State Government under Section 64-A of the Act. Section 64-A is in these terms:-- "The Provincial Government may, of its own motion or on application made to it, call for the records of any order passed or proceedings taken under this Chapter or proceedings taken under this Chapter by any authority or officer subordinate to it, for the purpose of satisfying itself as such order r proceeding and after examining such records, may pass such order in reference thereto as it thinks fit." The Government rejected the revision petitions summarily without calling for the records. It is this attitude of the Government in not calling for the records and examining them before dismissing the revisions that has now come in for comment. according to Mr. Reddipanthulu and Mrs. Amareswari appearing for the petitioners there is of the Act which is capable of being construed as empowering the Government to reject a revision petition filed by an aggrieved party even before calling for the records. In other words, it is their case that when once an application is made under Section 64-A of the act by an aggrieved party assailing an order of the lower authority. it is imperative on the part of the Government to call for the records and the failure on its part to call for the records is tantamount to its (Governments ) failure to exercise the jurisdiction vested in it and therefore it is a matter for correction by this court under Art. 226 of the Constitution. We are unable to agree with the learned counsel for the petitioners that there is anything in the language of Section 64-A of the Act. which makes it incumbent upon the Government to call for the records before it chooses to dismiss a revision. The power vested in the Government is a discretionary power. It may on its own motion I. e. suo motu call for the records and examine the correctness or otherwise of the order passed or proceedings taken by an inferior authority for the purpose of satisfying itself as to the legality, regularity or propriety of the order or proceeding, or it may do so on an application made by an aggrieved party. If, from the order of the appellate authority and the application of the aggrieved party, it is found that there is absolutely no case to warrant interference by the Government, then no obligation s cast upon it to call for the records. It is for the Government to decide on a perusal of the application and the order sought to be revised whether it is a case which merited summary disposal. The discretion vested in the Government should be ordinarily presumed to be exercise with utmost impartiality and without any bias. It is not the case of the petitioners that the State Government has dismissed the applications prompted by any considerations other than judicial considerations. The Supreme Court in Chunibhai v. Narayana Rao. Air 1965 SC 1457 had occasion to consider the scope of revisional powers of the Collector under S. 76-A(b) of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Land Act, which is couched in almost identical terms with Section 64-A of the Motor Vehicles act. The learned Judges constructing the provisions observed:-- "We think that section 76(b) means that the Collector is empowered to pass such orders as he deems fit on the legality or propriety of any order passed by any Mamlatdar or tribunal and as to the regularity of the proceedings before them. The Collector can, in our opinion, pass such orders on the materials before him without calling for the record. But having called for the record, the Collector should properly have waited for its arrival before passing any orders. The orders passed by him before the arrival of the record were, however, not without jurisdiction. The mere fact that he called for the records is no ground for saying that he could not thereafter examine the materials before him and pass an order that the order of the Mahalkari or tribunal did not call for interference. By way of analogy, we might point out that if in the case of an application or petition before a court notice is issued to the respondent to show cause why it should not be granted, the court is not debarred from dismissing the application or petition without hearing the respondent on the day when it is called for haring. The calling for the record is no decision which compels the Collector to look into the record before dismissing the petition, though of course he cannot allow the petition without considering the record and hearing the party supporting the order sought to be revised. However erroneous those orders of the Collector dismissing the revision might be they were final and could not be reviewed and reopened by him subsequently."
(3.) A Division Bench of this court in Eswara Reddi v. District Collector, Chittoor, (1968) 1 Andh WR 278 Constructed the revisional powers of the Government under Section 232 of the Andhra Pradesh Gram Panchayat act. That provision too is almost in identical terms with the provision with which we are now concerned. Jaganmohan Reddi, C. J. as he then was constructing the provision of ( . . . . .) "the Government has discretionary power either suo motu to call for the records and examine the orders passed by the authorities specified in Cls. (a). (b) and (c) or can be moved to so call for the examine the records on an application by a person. The revisional authority may or may not call for the records. If it does not call for the record, then it need not give reasons for not calling the records or even for saying that it is satisfied that the order under revision requires no interference. But where it finds that it is a fit case in which it should interfere, it must give notice to the party concerned before passing any order.";
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