Decided on October 31,2008

C N SINGOTAM Appellant
A P S R T C Respondents


- (1.)PETITIONER filed instant writ petition seeking a direction to respondents 1 to 3 to pay hire charges in respect of bus bearing no. AP o3/u 3929 hired by Andhra Pradesh state Road Transport Corporation (RTC, for short), for plying the bus on the route, from chitttoor to Eguvakanikapuram, which was allegedly not paid. The reason for nonpayment of hire charges for the period from 15-6-2003 to 31-7-2003 is alleged refund of a sum of Rs. 90,688/- towards excess hire charges in respect of bus bearing No. TN 33/e 6363 belonging to fourth respondent, which was engaged by RTC during the period from 7-2-1999 to 6-2-2001.
(2.)THE fact of the matter, which is not in dispute and forms essential background to solve the dispute, is as follows. In furtherance of their policy, RTC hired buses from private owners to ply on nationalized routes. For the purpose of plying bus in one such route, namely, Chittoor to Eguvakanikapuram, tenders were invited. Fourth respondent was successful bidder. An agreement was entered into with him on 5-2-1999 whereunder fourth respondent was required to ply bus on the route for a distance of 290 KMs for the period from 7-2-1999 to 6-2-2001. Fourth respondent agreed to ply bus bearing no. TN 33/e 6363. Second respondent issued a notice on 1-12-2000 requiring fourth respondent to replace the said bus with later model bus. He was unable to do so. Therefore, fourth respondent introduced petitioner to RTC and by letter dated 2-2-2001 sought permission to change ownership. RTC permitted the same. Petitioner therefore entered into agreement with RTC on 20-2-2001 agreeing to ply his bus bearing No. AP 03/u 3929 for the period from 23-2-2001 to 22-2-2004 on the route referred to herein above.
(3.)IT appears that officials of RTC conducted route survey on 26-4-2001. They found exact route length at 267. 2 KMs and not 290 Kms and that there is variation of 22. 8 KMs. By that time hire charges were paid to petitioner for the period during which his bus was plied and also to fourth respondent during which he plied bus no. TN 33/e 6363. Therefore third respondent issued notice dated 4-8-2001 to petitioner for refund of Rs. 10,397/- paid as excess hire charges for 22. 8 KMs for the relevant period of petitioner's contract. This amount was recovered in three instalments.

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