RAGHUNATH PATNAIK Vs. STATE TRANSPORT AUTHORITY
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
STATE TRANSPORT AUTHORITY
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Narasimham, J. -
(1.) This is an application for the issue of a writ of certiorari under Article 226 of the Constitution for quashing an order dated 27-7-50 passed by the Chairman, State Transport Authority while purporting to decide an appeal Under Section 64, Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, against an order of the Regional Transport Authority, Puri, granting a permit for stage carriage on the route from Banpur to Berhampur to the petitioner Sri Raghunath Patnaik. The said route lies in the districts of Puri and Ganjam but a major portion of the route lies in the latter district. On 16-4-49 the R. T. A., Ganjam gave a permit for stage carriage on the said route to the opposite party Somanath Patro, On the same day, the R. T. A., Puri granted a stage carriage permit conditionally to the petitioner, Sri Raghunath Patnaik, the condition being that his vehicle should be inspected and certified by the Motor Vehicles Inspector. On 16-7-1949 the R. T. A., Puri after perusing the fitness certificate issued by the Motor Vehicles Inspector confirmed the grant of the permit in favour of the petitioner. Some time in May 1949, the opposite party Sri Somanath Patro on coming to know about the conditional grant of permit to the petitioner by the Puri authorities filed an objection before them against the grant of permit to the petitioner. But his objection was not looked into because it was filed long after the period prescribed for filing objections under Schedule 7 (4), Motor Vehicles Act. The opposite-party there upon filed an appeal before the Chirman, State Transport Authority who by his order dated 27-7 1950 set aside the order of the R. T. A., Puri mainly on the ground that the application for permit made by Sri Raghunath Patnaik before the R. T. A., Puri was incompetent in view of a direction issued by the Provincial Transport Authority under Sub-section (4) of Schedule 4 of the M. V. Act.
(2.) It is necessary to describe briefly the functions of the R. T. A. and the P.T.A. under the M. V. Act. Both the said authorities are constituted by the State Government under Schedule 4 of the Act and while the jurisdiction of the R. T. A. ordinarily extends over a district, the jurisdiction of the P. T. A. extends over the whole State of Orissa. The function of granting a stage carriage permit is primarily that of the R. T. A, (s. 47) and it has to follow certain principles and procedure described fully in . 47 and 57. A permit issued by a R. T. A. is not valid in another district and consequently where a route lies in two districts, the permit issued by the first R. T. A. requires validation by the R. T. A. of the second district in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Schedule 3 of the Act In the present case that section has been complied with and the countersignature of R. T. A. Ganjam obtained to the permit issued by R. T. A , Puri in favour of the petitioner. Section 64 provides for an appeal against some of the orders of the R. T. A to a prescribed authority and it is admitted that the Chirman of the P. T. A. has been notified by the Government as the appellate authority over the decisions of the R.T.A. The P.T.A. is a superior body which ordinarily does not take upon itself the function of the R. T. A., though under cl. (b) of Sub-section (3) of Section 44 it may perform the duties of the R.T A. if it thinks fit in respect of a route common to two or more regions. Its main function however is to co-ordinate and regulate the activities and policies of the R. T. A. and for that purpose it is empowered to issue directions from time to time for their guidance (see Sub-section (4) of Schedule 4). By an amendment made in 1942, a new sub-section (Sub-section (5) was inserted in Schedule 4 of that Act and the P. T. A. was given the power to delegate such of its powers and functions to such authority or person as may be prescribed by the rules framed by the State Government. It was not challenged before us that no rules have yet been made by the State Government under Sub-section (5) of Schedule 4 and consequently this power of delegation could not be validly exercised by the P. T. A.
(3.) On 15-11946 the P. T. A., passed the following resolution: "Resolved further that the Chairman is authorised to take over any other inter-district route or routes it the circumstances justify unitary control." In pursuance of this resolution the Secretary of,' the P. T. A, issued the following letter to all; the R. T. As. No. 150 (4) PTA Dated Cuttack, the 9th March l946 To The Regional Transport Authority, Cuttack/Puri/Ganjam/Sambalpur. Subject:-Control of routes by Provincial Transport Authority. It has come to notice that some of the Regional Transport Authorities are granting or renewing permits over the routes, the control of which has been taken over by the Provincial Transport Authority. As the Provincial Transport Authority is not consulted before the grant or renewal of such permits, it is not convenient to Introduce efficient control over the management of the various services in order to give better facilities to the public and to avoid uneconomical and rival competitions. The Regional Transport Authority should, therefore, consult the Provincial Transport Authority before the grant of renewal of any permit or change of timings or fares of the existing and future service for any part over these routes. The following routes are under the Provincial Transport Authority's control : (1) Cuttack-Berhampur. (2) Cuttack Puri. (3) Sambalpur-Meramundali. (4) Cuttack-Sambalpur." The Advocate-General urged that by virtue of the aforesaid resolution read with the subsequent letter, the P. T. A. in exercise of its powers under cl. (b) of Subsection (3) of Section 44 took over the duties of the R. T. A. in respect of inter district routes such as Cuttack-Berhampur. The route from Banpur to Berhampur lies on this route except for a few miles near Banpur and hence that route also may be said to have been taken over by the P. T. A. In 1947 the P. T. A. found the work of granting permits over inter-district routes to be unmanageable and therefore passed the following resolution on 3-10 1947. "2. The granting of original permits and counter signature of permits by the P. T. A. : - Discussed the question of application for original permits and applications for counter-signature of permits doming to the P. T. A, Resolved that in view of the large volume of work it involves which can conveniently be done by the R. T. As. application for original permits and for counter-signature permits should be made to the R. T. A. in whose jurisdiction the longest stretch of the route lies. Applications for extension of the existing permits or extension of any permit that will be granted in future should be made to the R.T.A. of the region in which the extended route lies. The Advocate-General further urged that by the aforesaid resolution of 3-10-1947 the P. T. A. divested itself of its power of issuing permits over Cuttack-Berhampur route but it directed that applications for orignal permits and for counter-signature of permits should be made to the R. T. A. in whose jurisdiction the longest stretch of the route lies. In accordance with this direction an application for a permit over Banpur-Berhampur route ought to have been made before the R. T. A. Ganjam within whose jurisdiction a major portion of the route lies and that consequently the R. T A., Puri had no jurisdiction either to receive the application or to grant a permit. This argument appears to have weighed with the lower Court.;
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