K.S. Swami, C.J.
1. These two appeals are preferred against the order dated 30.11.1993 passed by the learned single Judge in W.P.No.13710 of 1986 issuing a writ in the nature of mandamus directing the Regional Transport Authority, Periyar District, to issue permit to the petitioner/first respondent within four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of the order either from the Court or on production of the same by the petitioner whichever is earlier. Before, the learned single Judge the Regional Transport Authority, Periyar District was the only respondent. However, on obtaining leave one of the applicants before the Regional Transport Authority, viz., Samiappa Gounder and also the Cheran Transport Corporation Limited have filed these writ appeals respectively against the aforesaid order.
2. It is contended on behalf of the appellants that the stage carriage permit issued to the first respondent in both the appeals is illegal and invalid because, the very order granting permit was not preceded by any proceedings of the Regional Transport Authority in which there were more than one applicants and the granting of the permit to the first respondent resulted in rejection of the applications filed by others, seeking permit on the same route. As such, the order pronounced granting permit without any reason and without any proceeding is invalid, hence, the learned single Judge could not have issued a direction to the second respondent to issue a stage carriage permit pursuant to such order, that the first respondent failed to produce the vehicle as required by Rule 163(B) of the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles Rules framed under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939; therefore, the decision of the Regional Transport Authority granting permit should be deemed to have been revoked; that the permit granted for the route overlapped the notified route on which the appellant in W.A.No.1049 of 1995 is operating, that in the absence of the proceedings, the appellant in W.A.No.1048 of 1995, who could not know the reason, as he was not supplied with any reason, could not avail the remedy of the appeal.
3. On the contrary, it is contended by Mr. V.T. Gopalan, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the first respondent that the order granting permit need not contain any reason as provided by Section 57(7) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939. Therefore, as the file of the Regional Transport Authority contains an order granting permit, it cannot be held that such an order is invalid or suffers from legal infirmity. Learned counsel also placed reliance on a decision of the Supreme Court in M.S.R.T. Corporation v. B.R.M. Service, . It is also the contention of learned counsel for first respondent that the permit granted pursuant to the order dated 9.5.1984 is valid in respect of the route overlapping the notified route in the light of the provisions contained in Section 10 of the Tamil Nadu Act 41 of 1992.
4. Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellants also placed reliance on several decisions in support of their contention that in the absence of the proceedings containing reasons for granting or refusing to grant stage carriage permit, the order, apart from violative of Rule 155-A(6) of the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles Rules, is also a nullity. It is contended that it is one of the basic principles of natural justice that the order must contain reason inasmuch as, the Regional Transport Authority is exercising quasi-judicial function, further the applicant whose application stands rejected must know the reasons for the same.
5. In the light of the above contentions, the following points arise for consideration:
(1) Whether the order of the Regional Transport Authority dated 9.5.1984 is a nullity.
(2) Whether the permit granted to the first respondent in the year 1994 is saved by the provisions contained in Section 10 of the Tamil Nadu Act 41 of 1992?
6. Point No.l: For the grant of stage carriage permit on the route Kangeyam to Kodumudi via Muthur, the appellant in W.A.No.1049 of 1995, the respondents in both the appeals and ten others filed the applications. These applications were notified as required by Section 57 of the 1939 Act However, there was a Writ Petition No. 5289 of 1984 filed in this Court in which a direction was issued by the order dated 8.5.1994 permitting the Regional Transport Authority to go ahead with the meeting as scheduled, but not to implement the decision arrived at. Pursuant to that, the Regional Transport Authority, without assigning any reason as to the rejection of the other applications, published the following order on 1.8.1984 pursuant to the proceedings alleged to have been held on 9.5.1984.
"Result of the Hearing of the
Regional Transport Authority,
Periyar District held
on 9.5.84 at Coimbatore.
Item No. Subject Result Grant of Permit Permit granted to applicant
1. Route : Kangayam to No. 12 M/s thirumalai Transport Kodumudi via Muthur. Service, Kalimedu Street, Kangayam.
As the High Court has
ordered in W.P. No. 5289 and
W.M.P. No. 8293 of 1984 dated
8.5.1984 that this Authority shoul
not give effect to the decision ta
in the meeting only the result is
announced and no proceedings will
be issued till the stay is
Sd./- P.K Chinnasamy
Regional Transport Authority,
Periyar District 1-8-1984.
7. Learned Government Pleader has produced the entire records before us. The records do not contain the proceedings of the Regional Transport Authority claimed to have been held on 9.5.1984 or of any subsequent date prior to 1.8.1984, considering the 12 applications filed for seeking stage carriage permit on the route in question. As per the broad sheet prepared and kept in the file as against the first respondent, the following remarks have been made in respect of the application of M/s. Thirumalai Transport Service, TOC, Kallimedu Street, Kangeyam (PO) at serial No. 12 in Column 9:
"The MVI has stated that there are no functioning workshop at Kangeyam for this applicant - screened."
Whereas against the applicant in W.A.No.1049 of 1995 Semiappa Gounder found at Serial No. l in the broad sheet in Column Nos. 9A and 12, the following entries are made:
Full equipped own workshop at 60, Majeed Street, Kangeyam."
Again, in Column No. 10-A relating to principal place of business it has stated as 'Kangeyam'. In Column 10-B intended for showing the marks, 2 marks have been entered. In the remarks column it has been stated as 'Existing operator'.
8. As against the first respondent no entry is made regarding the marks awarded, whereas Cheran Transport Corporation has been awarded 5 marks and Kalyana Sundaram Transports has been awarded 2 marks. Both are existing operators. P. Vijaya Nataraj one of the applicants has been awarded 2 marks. Thus, this is the position emerging in respect of each of the applicants as entered in the broad sheet. We have pointed out that records do not contain any proceedings or any reasons except the order as notified which has already been extracted. There is no disagreement between the parties regarding non-existence of the proceedings containing reasons for selecting the first respondent and rejecting the other applications. Rule 155-A(6) of the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles Rules specifically provides thus:
"All orders passed by the Transport Authority under sub- section (1) of Section 48 shall be accompanied by a tabular statement containing the marks awarded to each of the applicants and the reasons for awarding the marks."
There is no dispute and there cannot be a dispute that the Regional Transport Authority, while considering the application for grant of stage carriage permit, discharges quasi-judicial function. It has to decide the suitability of each of the applicants and select the best one. No quasi-judicial authority can pass an order without recording reasons. Giving of reasons is an essential element of administration of justice. Even for that matter, administrative authorities also cannot pass an order involving civil consequences without giving reasons. It is one of the cardinal principles of natural justice that the order must be informed of reasons so that the party against whom it is passed should know why the order is passed against him. We do not propose to elaborate this point because, series of decisions of the Supreme Court have settled the position beyond doubt. We only refer to a few of them as relied on by Mr. Palani, learned counsel appearing for the appellant.
9. In State of West Bengal v. Atul Krishna Shah, 1991 Supp. (1) S.C.C.414 while dealing with administrative law and quasi- judicial proceedings the Supreme Court observed thus:
"It is indisputably true that it is a quasi-judicial proceeding. If the appellate authority had appreciated the evidence on record and recorded the findings of fact, those findings are binding on this Court or the High Court. By process of judicial review we cannot appreciate the evidence and record our own findings of fact. If the findings are based on no evidence or based on conjectures or surmises and no reasonable man would, on given facts and circumstances, come to the conclusion reached by the appellate authority on the basis of the evidence on record, certainly this Court would oversee whether the findings recorded by the appellate authority is based on no evidence or beset with surmises or conjectures. Giving of reasons is an essential element of administration of justice. A right to reason is, therefore, an indispensable part of sound system of judicial review. Reasoned decision is not only for the purpose of showing that the citizen is receiving justice, but also a valid discipline for the Tribunal itself. Therefore, statement of reasons is one of the essentials of justice." (Italics supplied) Therefore, it was incumbent for the Regional Transport Authority to give reasons as the decision resulted in rejection of other applications even in the presence of Section 57(7) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939. Since the order of the Regional Transport Authority failed to give reasons for rejection of the applications and thereby affected the right of the applicants to go up in appeal against the order rejecting their applications and at the same time the decision cannot also be considered to be valid in law.
10. In S.N. Mukherjee v. Union of India, . The
Constitution Bench, while dealing with administrative law and natural justice held thus:
"Reasons, when recorded by an administrative authority in an order passed by it while exercising quasi-judicial functions, would no doubt facilitate the exercise of its jurisdiction by the appellate or supervisory authority. But the other considerations, referred to above, which have also weighed with this Court in holding that an administrative authority must record reasons for its decision, are of no less significance. These considerations show that the recording of reasons by an administrative authority serves a salutary purpose, namely, it excludes chance of arbitrariness and ensures a degree of fairness in the process of decision-making. The said purpose would apply equally to all decisions and its application cannot be confined to decisions which are subject to appeal, revision of judicial review. In our opinion, therefore, the requirement that reasons be recorded should govern the decisions of an administrative authority exercising quasi judicial functions irrespective of the fact whether the decision is subject to appeal revision or judicial review. It may, however, be added that it is not required that the reasons should be as elaborate as in the decision of a court of law. The extent and nature of the reasons would depend on particular facts and circumstances. What is necessary is that the reasons are clear and explicit so as to indicate that the authority has given due consideration to the points in controversy. The need for recording of reasons is greater in a case where the order is passed at the original stage. The appellate or revisional authority, if it affirms such an order, need not give separate reasons if the appellate or revisional authority agrees with the reasons contained in the order under challenge.
Having considered the rationale for the requirement to record the reasons for the decisions of an administrative authority exercising quasi-judicial functions we may now examine the legal basis for imposing this obligation. While considering this aspect the Donoughmore Committee observed that it may well be argued that there is a third principle of natural justice, namely, that a party is entitled to know the reason for the decision, be it judicial or quasi-judicial. The Committee expressed the opinion that "there are some cases where the refusal to give grounds for a decision may be plainly unfair; and this may be so, even when the decision is final no further proceedings are open to the disappointed party by way of appeal or otherwise" and that "where further proceedings are open to a disappointed party, it is contrary to natural justice that the silence of the Minister or the Ministerial Tribunal should deprive them of the opportunity" .(p.80) Prof. H.W.R. Wade has also expressed the view that "natural justice may provide the best rubric for it, since the giving of reasons is required by the ordinary man's sense of justice." (See Wade, Administrative Law, 6th edn. P.548). In Siemens Engineering Co. case this Court has taken the same view when it observed that "the rule requiring reasons to be given in support of an order is, like the principles of audi alteram partem, a basic principle of natural justice which must inform every quasi-judicial process." This decision proceeds on the basis that the two well-known principles of natural justice, namely (i) that no man should be a judge in his own cause, and (ii) that no person should be judged without a hearing, are not exhaustive and that in addition to these two principles there may be rules which seek to ensure fairness in the process of decision-making and can be regarded as part of the principles of natural justice. This view is in consonance with the law laid down by this Court in A.K. Kraipak v. Union of India, wherein it has been held:
"The concept of natural justice has undergone a great deal of change is recent years. In the past it was thought that it included just two rules namely: (i) no one shall be a judge in his own cause (memo dehotesse judex propria causa), and (ii) no decision shall be given against a party without affording him a reasonable hearing (audi alteram partem). Very soon thereafter a third rule was envisaged and that is that quasijudicial enquiries must be held in good faith, without bias and not arbitrarily or unreasonably. But in the course of years many more subsidiary rules came to be added to the rules of natural justice."
A similar trend is discernible in the decisions of English Courts wherein it has been held that natural justice demands that the decision should be based on some evidence of probative value Sec. R.V. Deputy Industrial Injuries Commissioner ex. P.Moore; Mahon v. Air New Zealand Ltd.
The object underlying the rules of natural justice "is to prevent miscarriage of justice" and secure "fair play in action". As pointed out earlier the requirement about recording of reasons for its decision by an administrative authority exercising quasi- judicial functions achieves this object by excluding chances of arbitrariness and ensuring a degree of fairness in the process of decision-making. Keeping in view the expanding horizon of the principles of natural justice, we are of the opinion, that the requirement to record reason can be regarded as one of the principles of natural justice which govern exercise of power by administrative authorities.
The rules of natural justice are not embodied rules. The extent of their application depends upon the particular statutory framework where under jurisdiction has been conferred on the administrative authority. With regard to the exercise of a particular power by an administrative authority including exercise of judicial or quasi-judicial functions the legislature, while conferring the said power, may feel that it would not be in the larger public interest that the reasons for the order passed by the administrative authority be recorded in the order and be communicated to the aggrieved party and it may dispense with such a requirement. It may do so by making an express provision to that effect as those contained in the Administrative Procedure Act, 1946 of U.S.A. and the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act, 1977 of Australia whereby the orders passed by certain specified authorities are excluded from the ambit of the enactment. Such an exclusion can also arise by necessary implication from the nature of the subject matter, the scheme and the provisions would out weigh the salutary purpose served by the requirement cannot, therefore, be insisted upon in such a case." (Italics supplied).
In M.J.Sivani v. State of Karnataka, while dealing with the question as to assigning reasons for an order it was held thus:
"It is also settled law that the order need not contain detailed reason like court order. Administrative order itself may contain reasons or the file may disclose reasons to arrive at the decision showing application of mind to the facts in issue. It would be discernible from the reasons stated in the order or the contemporaneous record contained. Reasons are the link between the order and the mind of its maker. When rules direct to record reasons, it is a sine qua non and condition precedent for valid order. Appropriate brief reasons, though not like a judgment, are necessary concomitant for a valid order in support of the action or decision taken by the authority or its instrumentality or the State.
Normally it must be communicated to the affected party so that he may have an opportunity to have it vested in an appropriate forum." (Italics supplied)
11. Therefore, it is clear, apart from the general proposition of law, the Regional Transport Authority, in the light of the provisions contained in Rule 155- A(6) of the Rules was legally bound to draw the proceedings, consider the merits and demerits of the applications and give reasons for selecting the first respondent for grant of the permit. We have pointed out that the position of the first respondent as shown in the broad sheet is not at all superior to others inasmuch as, there is a remark made against the first respondent that 'it is screened'.
12. Before we conclude on this point, we must also consider the decision relied on by Thiru V.T.Gopalan, learned senior counsel appearing for the first respondent. According to him, as per Section 57(7) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 for granting the permit, no reasons are required to be given. Therefore, the order in question, being the one granting the permit, cannot be held to be invalid, because it does not contain any reason. In M.S.R.T. Corporation v. B.R.M. Service, , while considering the order of the Regional Transport Authority granting permit not containing the reasons, it was held as follows:
"We next proceed to consider the question regarding the validity of the order of the R.T.A. dated June 29, 1967. The High Court has taken the view that this order is invalid for two reasons: (1) the order of the R.T.A. is oral and not in writing, and (2) no reasons were immediately given by the R.T.A. for the order. In the present case, what actually happened was that the orders of the R.T.A. were made at its meeting held on June 28/29, 1967. Respondent No. l was admittedly present at this meeting and knew of the orders of the R.T.A. It is also not disputed that the orders made on June 28/29, 1967 were in the form of resolutions and the minutes of the meeting were formally recorded on July 20, 1967 and communicated to respondent No. l and the other private operators on the same date. The letter of July 20,' 1967 communicating the resolution dated June 28/29, 1967 is Annexure 'N' to the Writ Petition No. 634 of 1967. In this letter detailed reasons are given by the R.T.A. in support of its order granting stage carriage permits to the appellant for the routes in question. In our opinion, the procedure adopted by the R.T.A. does not contravene any provision of the Act or Rules made there under and no legal principle has been violated. Reference may be made in this connection to Section 57 of the Act and Rules 67 and 68 of the Rules which are to the following effect:
S.57(l) An application for a contract carriage permit or a private carrier's permit may be made at any time.
(2) An application for a stage carriage permit or a public carrier's permit shall be made not less than six weeks before the date on which it is desired that the permit shall take effect, or, if the Regional Transport Authority appoints dates for the receipt of such applications, on such dates.
(3) On receipt of an application for a stage carriage permit or a public carrier's permit, the Regional Transport Authority shall make the application available for inspection at the office of the Authority and shall publish the application or the substance thereof in the prescribed manner together with a notice of the date before which representations in connection therewith may be submitted and the date, not being less than thirty days from such publication, on which, and the time and place at which, the application and any representation received will be considered:
Provided that, if the grant of any permit in accordance with the application or with modifications would have the effect of increasing the numbers of vehicles operating in the region, or in any area or on any route within the region, under the class of permits to which the application relates, beyond the limit fixed in that behalf under sub-section (3) of Section 47 or sub-section (2) of Section 55, as the case may be, the Regional Transport Authority may summarily refuse the application without following the procedure laid down in sub-section.
(4) No representation in connection with an application referred to in sub-section (3) shall be considered by the Regional Transport Authority unless it is made in writing before the appointed date and unless a copy thereof is furnished simultaneously to the applicant by the person making such representation.
(5) When any representation such as is referred to in sub-section (3) is made, the Regional Transport Authority, shall dispose of the application at a public hearing at which the applicant and the person making the representation shall have an opportunity of being heard either in person or by a duly authorised representative.
(6) When any representation has been made by the persons or authorities referred to in Section 50 to the effect that the number of contract carriages for which permits have already been granted in any region or any area within a region is sufficient for or in excess of the needs of the region or such area, whether such representation is made in connection with a particular application for the grant of a contract carriage permit or otherwise, the Regional Transport Authority may take any such steps as it considers appropriate for the hearing of the representation in the presence of any persons likely to be affected thereby.
(7) When a Regional Transport Authority refuses an application for a permit of any kind, it shall give to the applicant in writing its reasons for the refusal.
Rule 67. Regional Transport Authorities.-(1]) The Regional Transport Authority shall meet at such times and at such places as its Chairman may appoint:
Provided that it shall need not less than once in each month unless the State Transport Authority otherwise directs.
(2) Not less than 2 days' notice shall be given to every member of any meeting of the Regional Transport Authority.
(3) A member of the Regional Transport Authority shall attend at least six meetings in each financial year. The State Government may at any time remove any such member from office on his failure to attend the minimum number of meetings fixed under this rule. The State Government may also remove from office any member for any other cause.
... ..... .....
(5) Where a Regional Transport Authority consists of more than three members the numbers of members whose presence shall constitute a quorum shall be one half of its members and where it consists of three members, the quorum shall be two. If within half an hour from the time appointed for the meeting a quorum is not present, the meeting shall be adjourned to such day and at such time and place as the Chairman or the Presiding Officer nominated under sub-rule
(6) may appoint; and if at the adjourned meeting a quorum is not present, the members present shall be a quorum.
... ..... .....
(7) The Chairman or the Presiding Officer shall have a second or casting vote."
(2) Subject to the provisions of the Act and these rules and to the approval of the State Government, a State or a Regional Transport Authority shall have power to make bye-laws to regulate the conduct of its business and shall likewise have power to amend or rescind Transport Authority shall be conducted according to such bye-laws under the direction of the Chairman.
(3) Save in the case of the hearing of an objection to the grant of stage carriage permit or of a public carrier's permit and in the case of the hearing of a representation under sub-section (6) of Section 57, a State or a Regional Transport Authority, as the case may be, may decide any matter, without holding a meeting by the majority of the votes of members recorded in writing and sent to the Secretary (hereinafter referred to as procedure by circulation. ... .... ...
(6) The State or the Regional Transport Authority, as the case may be, may require any applicant for a permit to appear before it and may withhold the consideration of the application for the permit until the applicant has furnished such information as may be required by the Transport Authority in connection with the application.
Explanation:- In this sub-rule, except in cases falling under sub-section (5) of Section 57, the expression "recognised agent" means a pleader or the father, son, brother, partner or employee of the applicant duly authorised by him in writing or any other person so authorised and recognised by the Transport Authority concerned as a fit person to be a recognised agent under its bye- laws made under sub-rule (2).
(7) Nothing contained in this rule shall prevent a State or Regional Transport Authority from deciding by following the procedure by circulation any matter which has been considered at a meeting or has been the subject of a hearing and upon which a decision has been reserved.
(8) Where a matter is decided by the votes of members present at a meeting of a State or Regional Transport Authority, no person other than a member of the Transport Authority shall be entitled to be present and no record of the voting shall be kept save of the number of votes cast on cither side; provided that when any matter is decided by the exercise of the second or casting votes of the Chairman or the Presiding Officer the fact shall be records."
On behalf of respondent No. l Mr. Phadke conceded that the procedure adopted by the R.T.A. did not contravene any section of the Act or the Rules made thereunder. Counsel, however, put forward the argument that even in the absence of any express provision a statutory tribunal has to give its order in writing and no oral judgment can be legally given. It was also contended on behalf of respondent No. l that it was not sufficient that reasons for the decision were given subsequently by the R.T.A. in its letter dated July 20, 1967 but the reasons should have been given simultaneously at the time of the resolutions on June 28/29, 1967. We are unable to accept this argument as correct. As we have already stated, there is no provision either in the Act or the Rules which requires the R.T.A. to give a written decision with regard to the grant of a stage carriage permit. Nor is there anything in the Act or the Rules which by necessary implication throws a duty upon the R.T.A. to give a written judgment in each case and to give reasons thereof along with the written decision. It is true that Section 57(7) of the Act requires the R.T.A. to give in writing the reasons if it refuses an applications for a permit of any kind. But in the case of a grant of a permit the statute docs not impose any such duty upon the R.T.A. Mr. Phadke on behalf of respondent No. 1 has been unable to point to any section of the Act or any Rule from which a necessary implication can be drawn that such a duty is thrown upon the R.T.A. Reference was, however, made by Mr. Phadke to two decisions of this Court in Bhagat Raja v. The Union of India, and in Prag Das Umar Vaishva v. The Union of India, Civil App. No. 657 of 1967, D/17.8.1967(SC). In the former case, the appellant was one of several applicants for a mining lease in Andhra Pradesh. The State Government however granted it to respondent No. 3. The appellant then filed an application in revision, under Section 30 of the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 read with Rule 54, to the Union of India. Respondent No. 3 filed a counter statement and the State Government filed its comments. The Union Government without hearing the appellant rejected his revision application. An appeal was filed before this Court. The question which fell for consideration was whether it was necessary for the Government of India to give reasons for its decisions in view of the provisions of the Act and the Rules or because the decision was liable to be questioned in appeal to this Court. It was held by this Court in these circumstances that "a speaking order is all the more necessary in the case of a decision under Rule 55 because there is provision for new material being placed before the Central Government which was not there before the State Government, and further, because the decision, affecting important rights of parties, is given in a summary manner without a hearing being allowed to the parties and that a party was entitled to know why the decision has gone against him." In the result, the appeal was allowed and the orders of the Central Government were set aside and the Central Government was directed to decide the review applications afresh in the light of the observations made. In the latter case, i.e. Civil App.No.657 of 1967, dated 17.8.1967(SC) the same principle was reiterated. It is manifest that the material facts in the present case are different. The significant fact in the present case is that the decision of the R.T.A. on June 28/29, 1967 was given after hearing respondent No.l and the other private operators who were present at the meeting of the R.T.A. either personally or through counsel and reasons for the decision were also communicated to respondent No.l and other private operators by a registered letter dated July 20, 1967. The principle of the decisions of this Court in Bhagat Raja v. The Union of India, and in Civil App.No.657 of 1967, dated
17.8.1967(SC) has therefore no bearing upon the determination of the question involved in the present case. Apart from any requirement imposed by the statute or statutory rules either expressly or by necessary implication we are unable to accept the contention of Mr. Phadke that there is any general principle that a statutory tribunal should always give its judgment in writing and should always give reasons thereof immediately with the pronouncement of the judgment."
13. It may be pointed out here that that was a case in which the minutes of the meeting were formally recorded and the reasons were communicated to the rival applicants in the form of a letter. Therefore, the procedure followed by the Regional Transport Authority was found to be not in contravention of the provisions contained in the Rules. In the instant case, neither the proceedings were drawn up nor the reasons were communicated in any form to any of the applicants. Even the impugned order notified on 1.8.1984, as reproduced above, was not communicated to any of the parties. Therefore, it is not possible to apply the ratio of the decision in M.S.R T. Corporation v. B.R.M. Service, .
14. As a result of the aforesaid discussion, and the various pronouncements of the Supreme Court referred to above, and having regard to the provisions contained in Rule 155-A(6) of the Rules, we have no hesitation in coming to a conclusion that the order dated 1.8.1984 of the Regional Transport Authority being here of reasons and no reasons were also recorded in the proceedings alleged to have been held on 9.5.1984 cannot be held to be valid. It is nullity. First point is answered accordingly.
15. Point No. 2: In the light of the finding recorded on the first point, the second point should not detain us any longer. What Section 10 of the Tamil Nadu Act 41 of 1992 protects is a valid order of grant. As the order in question is held to be invalid, such an order cannot be relied on for seeking protection under Section 10 of the Act 41 of 1992. In this connection, the decision of the Supreme Court in Sri Rajendra Agrawalla's case is relevant to be noticed. In State of Bihar v. Sri Rajendra Agrawatta, while considering Section 10 of Act, 1992 the Supreme Court has held thus:
"We fail to appreciate as to how the said provision can be of any assistance to the said respondent. All that Section 10 provides is that the orders passed granting permits or renewal etc. under the provisions of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 are deemed to have been passed in accordance with the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles (Special Provisions) Act, 1992. The said Section 10 does not validate any permit which was initially invalid. It is a provision which continues the permits etc. which had been validly granted under the old Act. As no valid permit could have been granted to respondent No. 2 from the route Coimbatore to Kottur, the provisions of Section 10 cannot give a right to the respondent No. 2 to get the permit when it had only six marks.
When there was only one permit to be given for the said route and the marks obtained by the appellant were much more than that of respondent in our opinion, the appellate Tribunal had rightly upheld the order of the Regional Transport Authority granting the stage carriage permit to the appellant and in not renewing the permit of the respondent No. 2."
Therefore, the second point also has to be answered in the negative. Accordingly it is answered in the negative.
16. Learned senior counsel Mr. V.T. Gopalan, also stressed on the question of delay and laches on the part of the State Transport Corporation. It may be pointed out here that as the proceedings were not drawn up and were not issued, the appeals could not be filed by the appellants in time against the order dated 1.8.1984 as they could not have made out any ground and on the basis of which their applications were rejected. In addition to that it is the first respondent who has approached this Court for issuing a mandamus to the Regional Transport Authority to issue permit pursuant to the order. When the order itself has been found to be invalid and a nullity, no mandamus could have been issued and could be issued on the basis of such an order. In a case like this, laches on the part of the appellants who have preferred these appeals and who were not parties to the writ petition cannot be made a ground to grant the relief to the petitioner. Further, the route in respect of which the permit is granted to the petitioner overlaps the notified route on which the appellant in W.A.No.1049 of 1995 is operative being a State Transport Corporation. Once a protective umbrella of Section 10 of Tamil Nadu Act 41 of 1992 is not available, the petitioner will not be entitled to offer to seek the permit on the route overlapping the nationalised permit.
17. For the reasons stated above, the writ appeals are allowed. The order dated 30.11.1993 passed by the learned single Judge is set aside. The writ petition is dismissed. Consequently, the stage carriage permit issued to the first respondent pursuant to the mandamus issued in the writ petition is also quashed. In the circumstances of the case, there will be no order as to costs.