Decided on October 27,2003

Secretary Rta Idukki Respondents


- (1.) THIS Writ Appeal is filed against the judgment in Writ Petition No. 28708/2003. The appellant was not a party to the Writ Petition. He has filed this appeal with the leave of the court. The 2nd respondent was the petitioner in the Writ Petition.
(2.) THE 2nd respondent is the holder of regular permits to operate stage carriage services on the route Kumily-Ernakulam and Thopramkudi-Ernakulam in respect of his Stage Carriages KL-6/7671 and KL-6/9273. He submitted Ext. P1 application dated 28th July, 2003 to the Secretary, R.T.A., Idukki requesting for change of timings in respect of the above mentioned permits. In Ext. P1 application, he pointed out that the timings had been issued about two years back and during the said period of two years various other services had been introduced on the routes and the operation of the two services was not beneficial to the public to the full extent and hence slight changes were required in the timings of the services. When there was delay in taking decision on Ext. P1 application, he filed the Writ Petition praying for a direction to the only respondent, i.e., the Secretary, R.T.A., Idukki to consider and dispose of Ext. P1 application. The Writ Petition was disposed of at the admission stage along with a few other Writ Petitions with the following directions: The request of the petitioners is only for change of timings for operation of their vehicles on account of alleged clash of timings with other operators. It is not possible for the R.T.O. to hold timing conference each time at the request of every operator. Therefore, the R.T.O. will consider the change of time of operation requested for by the petitioners, and after considering the time of operation of other operators in the route, he will make such modification that is required as far as possible without affecting other operators and in a reasonable manner. In this regard he will hear the petitioners and the operators who would be affected. If a revision of timings is possible without grievance for the petitioners and other operators, then the R.T.O. will grant the changes suggested by the petitioners with such modification as he may consider necessary without the necessity of holding a timing conference. However, if there is objection from other operators, then the R.T.O. will have to necessarily settle the timings after hearing other operators in the next timing conference, otherwise scheduled to take place. A decision will be taken within two weeks from the date of production of a copy of this Judgment by the petitioners, and only in the event of failure, the R.T.O. should postpone the matter till holding of next timing conference. Writ Petitions are disposed of as above. Aggrieved by the directions contained in the impugned judgment, the appellant who is an operator on the same route has filed this appeal. According to the appellant, if the 2nd respondent was aggrieved by the timings issued in respect of his two stage carriage services he should have filed revision before the State Transport Appellate Tribunal under S.90 of the Motor Vehicles Act, instead of filing Ext. P1 application to the Secretary, R.T.A. for change of timings. The appellant relies on the decisions of this Court in Krishnankutty v. John (1992 (2) KLT 883) and M.G. Kumaran v. K.M. Jacob & Anr. (1995 (1) KLJ 296). It is contended that the impugned judgment is against the principles stated in the above mentioned two decisions of this Court.
(3.) SRI . Rajesh who accepted notice for the 2nd respondent submits that under the provisions of R.145 and R.212 of the Kerala Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, the 2nd respondent was entitled to make an application for change of timings and therefore Ext. P1 was submitted in accordance with the Rules. Learned Counsel points out that as per R.145(7)(ii), in deciding whether to grant or refuse change of timings the Transport Authorities shall have regard to special circumstances such as changes in the number of permits either on the route or on the sectors of the route. The learned Counsel further points out that the ground stated in Ext. P1 for change of timings was the changes in the number of permits on the route. It is contended that the above mentioned two decisions of this Court have no application to the facts of this case.;

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