JOJI EDATTEL Vs. SECRETARY RTA IDUKKI
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
Secretary Rta Idukki
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(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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