Decided on February 15,1988

Shri Sushil Kumar Sharma Appellant
State Transport Authority And Ors. Respondents


D.P. Mohapatra, J. - (1.) THOSE three cases raise common questions of facts and law. As such, they have been heard together by consent of counsel for the parties and they are being disposed of by this judgment.
(2.) THE writ application have been filed by Sushil Kumar Sharma praying for issue of writ of certiorari quashing the order dated 14th. August, 1985 of the State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Orissa (for short 'the Tribunal ') as per Annexure -4 to the writ petition in O.J.C. No. 1916 of 1985 and Annexure -2 to O.J.C. Nos. 1917 and 1918 of 1985, By the said order the Tribunal allowed three appeals filed by G. P. Gupta, Janardan Prasad Viswakarma and Moinuddin Ahmed impleaded as Opp. party No. 2 in O.J.C. Nos. 1916 of 1985, 1917 of 1985 and 1918 of 1985 respectively and remitted the matter to the State Transport Authority, Orissa (opp. party No. 1) for fresh consideration and disposal in accordance with law and in the light of the observations made in the impugned orders of the Tribunal. The gist of the facts giving rise to the proceedings may be stated thus: On the basis of reciprocal agreement between the States of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, it has been decided to operate stage carriage services on, the inter State route Rourkela to Jasapurnagar. The total distance of the route is 290 Kms. out of which 204 Kms. lie within the State of Orissa and 66 Kms. in Madhya Pradesh. As per terms of the I agreement each State is to issue one permanent stage carriage permit for a single trip daily. G. P. Gupta, opp. party No. 2 in O.J.C. No. 1916 of 1985 is operating the service from Madhya Pradesh side on the basis of the permit granted by the Transport Authority of that State. In pursuance of the advertisement issued in the local dailies on 21 -12 -1984 by the State Transport Authority, Orissa, inviting applications for grant of permit, ten applicants including the Petitioner and the three opp. parties mentioned above submitted their applications. The said applications after being duly processed under Section 57 (3) of the Motor Vehicles Act (for short .the Act ') were taken up for consideration by the State Transport Authority in its meeting held on 18 -6 -1985. As it appears from the extract of the proceedings of the mid meeting, as per Annexure -I, five of the applicants submitted objections before the State Transport Authority in response to the notice under Section 57 (3) of the Act Sushil Kumar Sharma, G. P. Gupta, Sanjeev Kumar Kapoor and Purusottam Das Marothia were represented by counsel and Biswanath Agarwalla appeared in person and Moinuddin Ahmed, Jai Prakash Marothia, Janardan Prasad Viswakarma and the District Transport Manager, O. S. R. T. G, Rourkela were absent. On consideration of the claims of the applicants and submissions of the counsel appearing before it, the State Transport Authority decided to grant the permanent permit to ' the Petitioner Sushil Kumar Sharma, and rejected the applications of the other applicants.
(3.) AGAINST the aforesaid decision of the State Transport Authority three of the applicants, G. P. Gupta, Janardan Prasad Viswakarma and Moinuddin Ahmed filed M. V. Appeal Nos. 34/85,38/85 and 39/85 respectively. While it was contended on behalf of G. P. Gupta that the decision of the State Transport Authority was vitiated due to non -application of mind to the comparative merit between himself and the grantee the main contention raised on behalf of the two Appellants was that they bad no notice of the meeting of the State Transport Authority since the notice issued by post reached them after the meeting was held. The Tribunal on verification of the record accepted the plea of want of notice raised on behalf of Janardan Prasad Viswakarma and Moinuddin Ahmed. The Tribunal also found that no specific reason was given by the State Transport Authority for rejecting the applications of the applicants other than the grantee. It appears from the order of the Tribunal that it also considered the contention raised presumably on behalf of the grantee that the Tribunal should himself consider the comparative merits of the applicants and decide who is the most suitable amongst them for grant of permit. However, the Tribunal stating certain reasons declined to undertake the exercise. Accordingly it decided to remit the case to the State Transport Authority for fresh consideration and disposal. It is relevant to mention here that while directing remand of the case to the State Transport Authority the Tribunal observed that all the applicants shall be given opportunity to appear before the State Transport Authority and place their case for consideration by the Authority. This direction has been very much objected to by the Petitioner.;

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