Subba Rao, J. -
(1.)These petitions are filed under Art. 32 of the Constitution for the enforcement of the petitioners' fundamental right to carry on the business of motor transport in West Godavari District in the State of Andhra Pradesh by the issuance of writs of certiorari or any other appropriate writs, orders or directions to quash the schemes of road transport services as finally approved by the Government of Andhra Pradesh on March 21, 1960, and for other incidental reliefs.
(2.)In exercise of the powers conferred by S. 68C of the Motor Vehicles Act (IV of 1939), as amended by the Central Act, 100 of 1956, (hereinafter called the Act), Shri Guru Pershad, the Chief Executive Officer, Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (hereinafter called the Transport Corporation) published seven proposals dated December 7, 1959, in the Andhra Pradesh Gazette dated December 17, 1959, propounding seven schemes for the nationalization of the road transport in respect of different parts of West Godavari District in that State. Under that notification objections from the public and affected parties were invited to be filed within 30 days of the publication thereof. More than 3000 objections were received by the Government against the said schemes. After considering the objections, the Government issued notices to the objectors or their representatives and the representatives of the Transport Corporation informing them of the time, place and the dates of hearing. On the notified dates, namely, March 10, 11 and 12, 1960, 200 objectors were present and most of them were represented by Advocates. The Transport Corporation was also represented by its Chief Executive Officer and its legal advisers. The Minister in charge of the portfolio of transport held an enquiry, considered the conflicting arguments advanced, gave definite findings on the points urged, rejected all the objections but one and approved the schemes with a slight modification. The seven schemes were directed to be put in force from different dates which were given in the order made by the Minister. The aggrieved operators who were not satisfied with the order of the Minister filed the present petitions for the said reliefs.
(3.)Shri A. V. Viswanatha Sastri, learned counsel for the petitioners, raised before us the following points:(1) The provisions of Ch. IVA of the Act are ultra vires the powers of Parliament because they are within the exclusive legislative field of the States. (2) The provisions of Ch. IVA of the Act infringe the fundamental rights of the petitioners under Art. 19(1) (g) of the Constitution and are not saved by Cl. (6) of the said Article. (3) The provisions of Ch. IVA are also violative of Art. 14 of the Constitution. (4) The order of the Government confirming the schemes is vitiated by the doctrine of bias and, therefore, void. (5) Though in fact seven schedule framed in effect they are component parts of one scheme and that device has been adopted to circumvent the judgment of this Court in Shrinivasa Reddy vs. State of Mysore, (1960) 2 SCR 130. (6) The schemes are void inasmuch as they were prepared and published by the Chief Executive Officer who was not one of the persons who could act on behalf of the Transport Corporation under S. 13 of the Road Transport Corporations Act. (7) The schemes as propounded by the Transport Corporation did not give the number of vehicles proposed to be operated in each route as it should have given under R. 4 of the Andhra Pradesh Motor Vehicles Rules (hereinafter called the Rules) and the modification made by the Minister directing the Transport Corporation to do so does not also comply with the requirements of the said rule. (8) In exercise of the power conferred under R. 5 of the Rules, the State Transport Undertaking conferred upon itself power to vary the frequency of the services and that rule and the note made pursuant thereto are inconsistent with the provisions of the Act and, therefore, void. (9) The proposed schemes include three new routes and that is illegal as the said Transport Undertaking has no power to include any new routes in a scheme proposed by it. Though many other questions are raised in the petitions, they are not pressed before us.