BHABA KANTA BORA Vs. THE APPELLATE BOARD OF STATE TRANSPORT AUTHORITY
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
Bhaba Kanta Bora
The Appellate Board Of State Transport Authority
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C. Sanjeeva Row Nayudu, J. -
(1.) THE point for consideration in this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution is whether the order passed by the authorities under the Motor Vehicles Act (hereinafter called 'the Act') granting an additional contract carriage permit to Respondent No. 3 Shri Anil Kumar Aich Roy at Hojai, when the provisional permit granted to him was being terminated on account of the appeal filed by Respondent No. 4 Mrs. Tamal Rani Dey being allowed is valid.
(2.) THE facts briefly are that Respondent No. 4 Mrs. Tamal Rani Dey had been granted a contract carriage permit on the Hojai bus route. This permit was cancelled and against this order of cancellation she appealed to the Appellate Board of the State Transport Authority, who allowed the appeal and restored the permit of Respondent No. 4 Tamal Rani. The Appellate Board, however, considered that as a result of allowing die appeal, the present Respondent No. 3 Shri Anil Kumar Aich Roy to whom the Regional Transport Authority allotted the permit following cancellation of the permit of the present Respondent No. 4, would automatically be thrown out. Apparently seeing the hardship in the case and noticing that Respondent No. 3 was an ex -serviceman making honest attempts to rehabilitate himself, the Appellate Board ordered the granting of an additional contract carriage permit at Hojai centre in favour of Respondent No. 3. The Petitioner Shri Bhaba Kanta Bora is the Secretary of Hojai Contract Carriage Syndicate and the point raised on his behalf, is that the additional contract carriage permit should not, have been granted without giving adequate notice to the parties interested in the matter and without hearing them. We have been taken through the provisions of the Act having relevancy to the question before Section 50 of the Act deals with the procedure of Regional Transport Authority in considering applications for contract carriage permits and it reads as follows:
50. A Regional Transport Authority shall in considering an application for a contract carriage permit, have regard to the extent to which additional contract carriages may be necessary or desirable in the public interest; and shall also take into consideration any representation which may then may be made or which may previously have been made by persons already holding contract carriage permits in the region or by any local authority or police authority in the region of the effect that the number of contract carriage for which permits have already been granted is sufficient for or in excess of the need of the region or any area within the region.
(3.) A perusal of this section show that before an additional contract carriage permit is issued, the Regional Transport Authority should be satisfied that it is necessary or desirable to issue the permit in the public interest. Further, if any representation is made in connection with the granting or the refusal of the additional contract carriage permit, that representation would have to be taken into consideration in making an order under this section. Since the section contemplates the making of a representation by persons interested, a certain degree of publicity seems to be required under the section before action is taken; for, without any publicity before action is taken; for, without any publicity and notice, there could be no question of any representation. Hence if a contract carriage permit is issued privately or in secret, then the purpose and object of the section would he pointed out that publicity has not been given to the step which was going to be taken and that the Petitioner had no opportunity of making a representation and objecting to the grant of the permit, either on the ground of public interest or on the ground that it is in excess of the requirement. That this is true may be accepted. But we feel that it is not certainly a ground for justifying our interference in exercise of our extraordinary power under Article 226 of the Constitution. An executive authority or an authority exercising some form of quasi -judicial function may not strictly conform to the requirements of the section or follow the requisite procedure. But that by itself may not render the action of the authority totally void, or without jurisdiction or totally illegal, so as to call for our interference under Article 226 of the Constitution.;
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