(1.)In this group of appeals, the question that falls for our consideration is "whether small portion or portions falling within the limits of towns or villages on a notified route under Chapter IVA of Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, since repealed (hereinafter referred to as 'the Repealed Act'), are to be treated as a route overlapping or intersection"
(2.)Learned Counsel for the parties have addressed arguments only in Civil Appeal No. 1341/90 which substantially arises out of the judgment of the Full Bench of Karnataka High Court rendered in Writ Appeal No. 403/1988. Learned Counsel for the parties jointly prayed to examine the correctness of the aforesaid judgment of the Full Bench and the decision in Civil Appeal No. 1341/1990 would govern the fate of other cases. We accordingly notice the facts which have given rise to Civil Appeal No. 1341/1990.
(3.)As far back in the year 1966, the then Mysore State Transport Undertaking (hereinafter referred to as the Undertaking) framed a scheme under Section 68-C of the Repealed Act known as Kolar Pocket Scheme (in short 'the Scheme'), for exclusive plying of the vehicle by the Undertaking on the routes falling within the Scheme. The erstwhile Mysore Government, after having considered the Scheme as proposed, and the representations filed against the said Scheme, approved the Scheme under Section 68-D of the Repealed Act and the said approved Scheme was published in Government Gazette dated January 10, 1968. The Scheme provided that the State Transport Undertaking shall operate services on all the routes to the complete exclusion of other private operators except that the existing permit holders on the inter-State route may continue to operate on such inter-State route, subject to conditions that their permits shall be rendered ineffective for the overlapping portions of the notified routes and that the existing operators whose permits overlap the notified portions between Bagepalli to Chelur and Pathpatya Cross only may continue to operate on such routes subject to conditions that their permits would be rendered ineffective for the overlapping portions. However, in the years 1984-85, the Regional Transport Authority, Kolar invited applications under Section 57(2) of the Repealed Act for grant of stage carriage permit on route known as Kanumanahally to Bagarpet. Respondent No. 1 herein, in response to the said invitation submitted an application for grant of stage carriage permit on the said route. The appellant herein - the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, filed an objection against the proposed grant of permits on the premise that the said route overlaps portions of the notified route falling within the Kolar Pocket Scheme, from Kolar Gold Field to Five Light Cross to an extent of 5 kilometer and Desihalli to Bagarpet to an extent of 1.5 kilometer. It was urged before the Regional Transport Authority that the Scheme being of complete exclusion of private operators, no permit could be granted on the said portion of the notified route. However, it was contended on behalf of the respondent that overlapping two portions of the notified route should be construed as intersection and not overlapping and, therefore, the permit can be granted. The Regional Transport Authroity, by its resolution dated 4-3-85 overruled the objections of the appellant herein and granted stage carriage permit in favour of the respondent. Aggrieved against the order of the Regional Transport Authority, the appellant filed an appeal before the State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Bangalore. The Appellate Tribunal, after having found that the Scheme being for total exclusion of the private operators, no permit can be granted on the notified route or portion thereof, and in that view of the matter the appeal preferred by the appellant was allowed and the grant of permit in favour of the respondent was set aside. The respondent thereafter preferred a writ petition before the High Court of Karnataka challenging the order of the Appellate Tribunal. The learned single Judge of the High Court dismissed the writ petition. The respondent thereafter preferred a Writ Appeal before a Division Bench of the High Court. The Division Bench, after hearing of the matter was of the view that the question involved in the appeal required to be decided by a Full Bench. Consequently, the question "whether small portion or portions falling within the limits of a town or village on a nationalised route, are to be treated as a route overlapping or intersection" was referred to a Full Bench of the High Court for its opinion. The Full Bench, by its opinion dated 21-7-88, answered the question as follows :
A small portion/portions falling within the limits of a town or a village on a nationalised route (notified route) are to be treated as only an intersection of the nationalised route and not as overlapping and therefore, it is permissible to grant permit on the route.
The Full Bench accordingly remitted its opinion to the Division Bench of the High Court. The Division Bench, in view of the opinion given by the Full Bench allowed the writ appeal and set aside the judgment of the learned single Judge and remanded the matter to the Appellate Tribunal for considering the matter afresh in the light of the opinion given by the Full Bench. The Appellate Tribunal, following the Full Bench decision dismissed the appeal preferred by the appellant. Consequently, the appellant has filed the appeal by way of Special Leave Petition. It is in this way these matters have come up before us.