Decided on October 30,1973

Inja Sanyasi Rao Appellant
State Transport Authority And Ors. Respondents


B.K. Patra, J. - (1.) THE Petitioner who is the same -in all the five writ applications prays for the issue of a writ of certiorari quashing the appellate order dated 6 -5 -1969 passed by the Minister, Transport, Orissa in M.V. Appeals Nos. 3 to 7 of 1969.
(2.) THE facts giving rise to these proceedings are these : The State Transport Authority, Orissa issued a notice inviting applications so as to reach it by 25 -11 -1968 for the grant of a permanent stage carriage permit on the inter -State route Parlakhemedi to Gunupur. In all, twelve applications were received by the State Transport Authority as indicated in Annexure. 2 to the petition. Out of the twelve applications, five were received beyond the time fixed, these five Applicants being Narayano Patra, Noroshimo Patro, Vasya Raju Kamaraju, B. Koteswar Rao and V. Lakumu Raju. The substance of these twelve applications was published in the prescribed manner on 13 -12 -1968 and written objections or representations thereto were invited to reach the authority on or before 14 -1 -1969, as required by Sub -section (3) of Section 57 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (Act IV of 1939) (hereinafter referred to as the Act). At the seventyfifth meeting of the State Transport Authority held on 21 -1 -1959, the applications were 'taken up for consideration. The five applications referred to above and which were received beyond the time filed in the advertisement were rejected. It may be stated here that Noroshimo Patra and Naravano Patra, besides submitting applications which were beyond time, had earlier submitted two applications which had been received by the State Transport Authority within the time prescribed. But on 21 -1 -1969, when the seven applications which were within time were taken up for consideration, it was found that the two applications submitted by Noroshimo Patra and Narayano Patra were not in proper form in as much as the applications were in forms meant for securing temporary permits. These two defective applications were therefore rejected with the result that there remained only five applications which were in proper form and had been received within the time prescribed. One of these five applications was one Rabinarayan Misra who however was absent at the meeting of the State Transport Authority held on 21 -1 -1969. On that ground his application was rejected. That left in the field only the remaining four Applicants, namely, M.K.D.N.V. Prasad Rao, M. Ramachandra Rao, I Sanyasi Rao (the Petitioner in the present writ applications), and I.V. Rao. Orders were passed granting to each of these four Applicants a permit for the advertised route. Thereupon, Noroshimo Patra and Narayano Patra and the three others, whose applications for the permit, having been received late, had been rejected, filed appeals under Section 64 of the Act before the Minister, Transport, Orissa. On behalf of the Appellants, two main contentions were raised before the appellate authority, namely, (1) the State Transport Authority should have exercised its discretion to condone the delay in filing the application since during the relevant period communications between Cuttack and Parlakhemundi were disrupted due of cyclone and the newspapers containing the advertisement reached Parlakhemundi only after the prescribed date. Thus due (sic) reasons beyond their control the Appellants could not file their applications in time. (2) The advertisement having been made for a stage carriage permit, the State Transport Authority had no jurisdiction to grant -four permits. The first ground did not find favour with the appellate authority but he found considerable force in the second contention raised before him. He thought that since the advertisement was only for one permit, many intending Applicants might not have applied and consequently the State Transport Authority had been deprived of a wider range of selection and thus public interest suffered. He, therefore, allowed the appeals, set aside the decision of the State Transport Authority and directed the latter to re -advertise the route and after receiving applications to dispose them of in accordance with law. Aggrieved by this appellate order, I. Sanyasi Rao who was one of the successful Applicants before the State Transport Authority has filed the five writ applications praying for quashing the appellate order passed by the Minister.
(3.) IT may be incidentally stated that pending disposal of these writ applications, operation of the order passed by the State Transport Authority has not been stayed and the validity of the permits issued for a period of five years from the date of issue is going to expire in January next. Three substantial points were urged before us in support of these applications. Firstly, that the appeals before the Minister were not maintainable having been filed by persons whose applications were rejected as being not within time, secondly that the grant of four permits, although the advertisement was for a permit, has not offended and statutory provision of the Act and the Rules and thirdly, that in any case, what the Minister ought to have quashed was only the grant of permits and not the advertisement which was without any flaw and that consequently his order directing that there should be fresh advertisement is illegal.;

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