SRI DURGA TRANSPORT SERVICE Vs. APPELLATE SUBCOMMITTEE, STATE TRANSPORT AUTHORITY
LAWS(CAL)-1976-2-37
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
Decided on February 09,1976

SRI DURGA TRANSPORT SERVICE Appellant
VERSUS
Appellate Subcommittee, State Transport Authority Respondents




JUDGEMENT

Sabyasachi Mukherjee, J. - (1.)In this application under Article 226 of the Constitution the Petitioner Messrs Sri Durga Transport Service, a proprietary concern of one Jagabandhu Ghatak, is challenging the orders dated July 28, 1967 and July 21, 1973, passed by the Appellate Sub -Committee of the State Transport Authority, West Bengal. In order to appreciate the question involved in this application it will be necessary to refer to certain facts. On April 17, 1974, permanent stage carriage permit on route Durgapur -Ajayghat via Shibpore was sanctioned by the Regional Transport Authority, Burdwan. April 17, 1965, was fixed as the date for receiving objections and no objection was received. Thirteen valid applications, however, were received. On February 7, 1966, out of the 13 Applicants only 6 appeared on the date fixed for verification and the absentees were left out of consideration and 6 Applicants present were heard. On February 7, 1966, details of Applicants and Sri Durga Transport were found out on verification by the Regional Transport Authorities and it was found that the Petitioner was financially solvent and had sufficient experience in transport and operating passenger service and owned a ready available bus which was produced for verification. So far as the Respondent No. 4 Messrs Mukherjee Brothers Transport Service was concerned, it was found that the said firm was not financially solvent' and did not have a ready bus. In consideration of the relevant merits, the Regional Transport Authority came to the unanimous decision that, in view of experience in passenger service, financial solvency and availability of ready bus the Petitioner was most suitable candidate and was granted the permit on route Durgapur -Ajayghat via Shibpore for five years, inter alia, on terms and conditions mentioned in the permit. Messrs Mukherjee Brothers Transport Service preferred an appeal to the State Transport Authority against the order dated February 7, 1966, granting the permit to the Petitioner. The appeal was marked as Appeal No. B -31 of 1966. On October 3, 1966, when the State Transport Authority took up the said appeal, it was found that the Petitioner was absent. Again on July 28, 1967, that appeal was taken for the second time, it was found that the Petitioner was absent. In the premises, on July 28, 1967, the appeal was allowed by the Appellate Sub -Committee exparte. No reasons, however, were indicated in the said order. On October 5, 1967, the Petitioner wrote to State Transport Authority in -forming them that it had not received any notice for hearing of the appeal and prayed that it might be given a hearing. On October 26, 1967, by an order of the same date the Appellate Sub -Committee of the State Transport Authority recalled the order dated July 28, 1967 and thereafter issued a registered notice fixing May 27, 1968, being the date of hearing of the appeal. On that date the appeal preferred by Messrs Mukherjee Brothers Transport Service was heard and dismissed and it was held that the decision of the Regional Transport Authority was correct as public interest could be served by giving the permit to one who had a ready vehicle. Thereafter, sometime in 1969 the said Messrs Mukherjee Brothers Transport Service, being the Respondent No. 4 herein, moved this High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution and obtained C.R. 189(W) of 1969 challenging the aforesaid order dated May 27, T 968, passed by the State Transport Authority. On May 3, 1973 the learned Judge made the said rule absolute and set aside the order dated May 27, 1968, as the same was passed without notice to Messrs Mukherjee Brothers Transport Service and as such, was violative of natural justice. The learned Judge directed that the State Transport Authority should decide whether it could revise the order dated July 28, 1967. Leave was also given to decide the question whether the State Transport Authority had the jurisdiction to revise its previous order. On July 21, 1973, the Appellate Sub -Committee heard the appeal and resolved that it had no power to revise or review the earlier order and as such, it had no power to go into the merits. They further held that the Petitioner had notice of the hearing prior to July 28, 1967 and the said order did not violate the principles of natural justice. Being aggrieved by the aforesaid order, the Petitioner has moved this Court challenging the two orders dated July 28 and the order dated July 21, 1973.
(2.)In the last impugned order dated July 21, 1973, the Appellate Sub -Committee first considered whether the Petitioner had notice of the hearing on July 28, 1967. The Appellate Sub -Committee found that the Petitioner had notice and the order on that date was not passed without notice to it. It appears that the State Transport Authority has recorded that the Petitioner had received intimation about the first date of hearing of the appeal on October 30, 1966, sent to it by registered post and received by it on September 27, 1966. Subsequent intimation of the order of adjournment on, October 3, 1966, was received by the Petitioner on May 8, 1967. These were verified as correct from the information received from the Post -Master General, West Bengal. It is true that the actual notice of further hearing on July 28, 1971, had not been sent by registered post, but it was sent by express delivery post. It further appears that the Petitioner was absent in spite of notice being given to it by registered post on October 3, 1966. In the above background, the State Transport Authority came to the conclusion that the Petitioner was duly served and the order dated July 28, 1967, was passed upon notice to the Petitioner. In my opinion, it cannot be said that the said finding of the State Transport Authority was perverse or based on no evidence at all. Whether in a particular case notice had been given to a party concerned or whether a particular order is in violation of the principles of natural justice is mainly and essentially a question of fact dependent upon the facts and circumstances of each particular case. On the facts enumerated in this case, it cannot be said that the State Transport Authority has acted perversely or without material. Sec. 64 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, does not as such enjoin that notice should be served by registered post, but the hearing before the authorities must be in consonance with the principles of natural justice. Reliance was placed by the counsel for the Petitioner on the observations of Rajasthan High Court in the case of Messrs. Motilal Ram Kalyan and Ors. v/s. Appellate Authority of State Transport Authority, Rajasthan : A.I.R. 1960 Raj. 201 in aid of the proposition that the party affected by the decision must be given notice. There is no dispute about that proposition. But here in the instant case it is the finding of the appropriate authority on proper materials that the party affected had been given notice. In the case of Narain Singh Kohli v/s. Transport Appellate Tribunal Jaipur : A.I.R. 1968 Raj. 213 more or less a similar view was reiterated. Therefore, in so far as the State Transport Authority held that by the order dated July 21, 1973, that the Petitioner had notice prior to the passing of the order dated July 28, 1967, in my opinion, it cannot be said that the Petitioner has any cause for grievance.
(3.)The next contention is whether the State Transport Authority was right in its finding that the State Transport Authority had no power to revise the order passed by the Appellate Sub -Committee on July 28, 1967. Quasi -judicial authority must be deemed to have such incidental or ancillary power which are necessary for proper exercise of the jurisdiction vested in them. This proposition is Well -settled. Reliance may be placed on the observations in the case of Pulin Behari Das v/s. King -Emperor : 16 C.W.N. 1105. Murlidhar Sardar v/s. Income -tax Appellate Tribunal : 16 C.W.N. 1105 and in the case of Income -tax Officer, F Ward v/s. Murlidhar Sardar : 99 I.T.R. 485. But the question is whether the power to review or revise an order previously passed by it is such a power which an authority should possess by virtue of incidental or ancillary power. In my opinion, there is no warrant to come to the conclusion that the power to revise a previous order not on the ground of clerical mistake, not on the ground that the previous order was passed without notice, but on the ground that the previous order was passed erroneously, can be attributed to an authority unless specific provision is made in the statute for that purpose. Otherwise, the authority would be sit -Income -tax Officer, F. Ward v/s. Murlidhar Sardar Jli. But the ques -judicial authorities do not possess in the absence of statutory provision to that effect. If it was intended by the Legislature to vest the State Transport Authority with such revisional power then specific provision had to be made for the same. Therefore, in my opinion, it cannot be said that the State Transport Authority, in so far as it held that it had no power to revise the previous order passed on July 28, 1967, acted erroneously.
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