NAKKALA NAGESWARA RAO Vs. ASSISTANT TRANSPORT COMMISSIONER AND SECRETARY REGIONAL TRANSPORT AUTHORITY
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
NAKKALA NAGESWARA RAO
ASSISTANT TRANSPORT COMMISSIONER AND SECRETARY, REGIONAL TRANSPORT AUTHORITY
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Amareswari, J. -
(1.) This group of writ petitions raise an important question of law in the field of motor transport namely the scope and ambit of S.33(1) (b) of the Motor Vehicles Act. The petitioners are owners of motor vehicles duly registered under S. 22 of the Motor Vehicles Act. The Vehicles are covered by valid contract carriage permits. Most of the vehicles are motor cabs. The Officers authorised under the Motor Vehicles Act, hereinafter called the Act, checked the vehicles as on various dates and found them carrying passengers in excess of the seating capacity collecting individual fares. They also found that passengers were picked up and set down along the line of route. On the basis of the check reports show cause notices were issued asking the petitioners to explain why the certificate of registration of the vehicles should not be suspended for using the vehicles as stage carriages for which they had no permit. The notices were issued in purported exercise of the power under Section 33(1)(b) of the Motor Vehicles Act. In almost all the cases the difference of tax as a stage carriage was collected. In some cases action S. 60 of the Act was taken for using the vehicles in a manner not authorised by the permit and offences were compounded.
(2.) In some of the Writ Petitions final orders were passed suspending the registration certificate of the vehicles under S. 33(1) (b) of the Act and in some cases only show cause notices were issued and orders are yet to be passed.
(3.) The main submission of the learned counsel for the petitioners in all these writ petitions is that the respondents have no jurisdiction to invoke S. 33(1)(b) of the Act in cases where vehicles covered by contract carriage permits are used as stage carriages and the only course open to them is to take under Section 60 of the Act for violation of the permit or for using the vehicle in a manner not authorised by the permit. It is urged that all these years the authorities were taking action only under S. 60 of the Act in all cases of misuse and it is only in the recent past recourse is taken to S. 33(1)(b) of Act pursuant to some instructions issued by the Transport Commissioner and that in discharging statutory functions, the authorities have to apply their independent mind and cannot surrender their discretion.;
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