G MAHAVA RAO Vs. REGIONAL TRANSPORT AUTHORITY KURNOOL
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
REGIONAL TRANSPORT AUTHORITY, KURNOOL
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(1.)In these Writ Petitions the validity of the notifications made under Section 62 of the Motor Vehicles Act calling for applications for the grant of a temporary permit for various routes in the District of Kurnool is challenged. Though in some cases the notifications are different, the contentions urged against the validity of the notifications are identical and therefore, all the Writ Petitions were heard together.
(2.)It is sufficient, therefore, to set out the contentions in the main Writ Petition No. 4809 of 1968. The petitioner in that Writ Petition alleges that he is the holder of a stage carriage permit on the route Kurnool to Chagalamarri. The District of Kurnool is very much affected by drought conditions and the operators are already finding it difficult to find sufficient traffic for existing buses. While so, the Government issued instructions to the Regional Transport Officers to grant as many temporary permits as possible so that the revenues of the State may be augmented. In pursuance of those directions applications for the grant of temporary permits are being periodically called and the present impugned notification dated 23-10-1968 is one such. The conditions necessary for the grant of a temporary permit under Section 62 of the Motor Vehicles Act do not exist. Further, temporary permits have already been issued in succession. In almost all the routes covered by the impugned notification and in cases like the route Nandyal to Atmakur temporary permits were issued on four occasions successively. This shows that the respondent is clearly abusing its power to grant temporary permits. A further contention is raised that the procedure adopted for the granting of temporary permits is merely to call for applications and consider the applications in a meeting of the Regional Transport Authority or on some occasion even by circulation. No opportunity is provided for the existing operator like the petitioner to make any representations in the matter of issuing temporary permits as contemplated in section 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act. Further, the respondent is considering the applications ignoring Rule 212 of the Andhra Pradesh Motor Vehicles Rules. fro al the above reason, it is stated that the impugned notification calling for applications for temporary permits is illegal and without jurisdiction. The petitioner, therefore prays for the issue of a writ or order of direction prohibiting the respondent form proceeding further in pursuance of the notification dated 23-10-1968 calling for the applications for the grant of a temporary permit on the route Kurnool to Nandikotkur.
(3.)In the counter-affidavit filed by the Secretary, State Transport Authority, Hyderabad, it is stated that a draft scheme for nationalsiation of bus Transport in Kurnool District was notified and the same was pending consideration for a considerable time before the Government and was finalised only recently by G. O. Ms . 1103/dt. 1-7-1968 approving the scheme regarding some of the routes and allowing the other routes to be operated by the private operators. Till the final approval of the scheme by government, it was not known which routes were going to be nationalised and which were not in the District. The Regional Transport Authority could not therefore notify new routes or increase the number of buses on existing routes and grant permits on pucca basis as the scheme might be approved at any time and as there was considerable uncertainty as to which routes will be nationalised and which will not be. On all the routes for which applications were called for, for the grant of temporary permits the traffic survey has revealed the need either to increase the buses on the existing routes or put buses on the new routes as the case may be, but early steps could not be taken for grant or permits on pucca basis in the circumstances aforesaid. There were number of representations from the public to the effect that the existing transport facilities are inadequate and to increase the buses on those routes and also to ply buses on the new routes for which applications for grant of temporary permits were called for. The steps for following the procedure and for grant of permits on pucca basis (would have --Ed) taken considerable time. The needs of the public are sought to be met till pucca permits are granted by grant of temporary permits for further period. Thus, there is a temporary need to justify the grant of temporary permits under Section 62 (c) of the Motor vehicles Act. The department after examination of the traffic potential on all the routes was satisfied about the need to increase transport facilities in these areas by plying some more buses. The allegation that the permits were granted for augmenting the revenues of the State is denied. The grant of successive temporary permits was under unavoidable circumstances and there was ample justification for the same. hence, there is no abuse of power as alleged by the petitioner.
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