K.P.N. Travels India Limited, … vs The State Transport Authority, … on 14 June, 2002

Madras High Court
K.P.N. Travels India Limited, … vs The State Transport Authority, … on 14 June, 2002
Author: F I Kalifulla
Bench: F I Kalifulla


F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla, J.

1. These writ petitions came up for admission on 4.6.2002. The prayer of the petitioner in both the petitions is for direction to the respondent to make tax endorsement and issue necessary permit pursuant to the judgment of the State Transport Appellate Tribunal, Madras, in Appeal No.88 of 1988/A4 and Appeal No.89 of 1998/A4 dated 7.11.2001, in respect of the petitioner’s bus KA-19-C/9199 in W.P.No.18886 of 2002 and KA-20-B/9199 in W.P.No.18887 of 2002.

2. Inasmuch as under the said order, the Tribunal while setting aside the order of the respondent which declined to grant all India Tourist Omni Bus permit’ issued a direction to the respondent to grant the permit, if the petitioner produces the vehicle within three months from the date of receipt of copy of the Tribunal’s order.

3. Mr.R.Natesan, the learned counsel for the petitioner brought to my notice Rule 181 of the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles Rules, which empowers the respondent herein to issue such permits, which provision does not stipulate any time limit for issuance of such permit. On the other hand, in the event of the operator not producing the vehicle within the stipulated time limit, grant of such permit would automatically cease to operate.

4. The learned counsel would therefore contend that though the Tribunal granted a months’ time for issuance of the said permit, when the statutory provision did not prescribe any such time limit for the issuance of the permit, there was absolutely no justification for the respondent in not complying with the order of the Tribunal, when the petitioner had produced the vehicle as early as on 2.5.2002 along with a written representation on the same date.

5. When the writ petitions came up for admission on 4.6.2002, the learned Government Pleader took notice on behalf of the respondent and he wanted to get instructions. Therefore, the matter was called on 10.6.2002 and on which date, the learned Government Pleader took further time and that is how the matter was posted today i.e. on 14.6.2002. On the earlier hearing dates, I granted time, in order to enable the Government Pleader to find out as to whether there was any compelling reason for the respondent which disabled it from implementing the order of the Tribunal dated 7.11.2001. Today when the matter came up for hearing, it was only represented that necessary directions could be issued to the respondent to comply with the order of the Tribunal within a stipulated time limit. Therefore, it is proved beyond doubt that there was no justifiable reason for the respondent for not implementing the order of the Tribunal till this date.

6.It is really heart-rending to note that Statutory Authorities, that too holding very responsible posts, such as the respondent herein, are reluctant to exercise their jurisdiction and power in accordance with law. Further, when Courts and Tribunals who have been vested with necessary appellate jurisdiction are obliged to correct such error and inaction on the part of the respondent, instead of carrying out the directions of the Appellate Tribunals, the authorities exhibit utter disregard to such orders. On top of it, it has now been made as a matter of routine, for the respondent to drive parties to seek for a direction from this Court in exercise of the constitutional powers of this Court to carry out its normal duties. Such an attitude of the respondent does not behove well to such an Authority who has been vested with very onerous responsibility. Inasmuch as such inaction on the part of the respondent who is a State level Controlling Authority in the hierarchy of that branch of the Public Authorities, it will set a bad example for its subordinates working throughout the State. In fact, I do come across cases, where because of the constant inaction on the part of the Regional Transport Authorities, the writ Court is flooded with writ petitions with a simple prayer for a direction to such Regional Transport Authorities to perform their routine functions as though such Regional Transport Authorities are to be ignited with such orders. This only disclose a total deterioration in the standard of functioning of the Public Authorities and if such a tendency is allowed to continue, it will only result in the public loosing confidence in the officials whose salary and other perquisites are expended from the Public Exchequer. I am forced to make these observations, as I have come across such writ petitions being moved before this Court day in and day out by several parties with identical reliefs. Similar directions had to be issued on many occasions which could have been totally avoided, had the respondent performed its normal functions swiftly and as per the rules. It only display the utter disregard of the respondent in the discharge of its duties. Therefore, in the event of such indifferent inaction being displayed by the respondent brought to the notice of this Court in future, the Court may be further compelled to recommend to the higher authorities to weed out such dead wood in the interest of the public at large. This Court exercising constitutional functions when come across such Authorities holding very high office who show total indifference and recalcitrant attitudes, may be forced to plunge into action instead of remaining as silent spectator before such evils get penetrated deep into the system. It is hoped that the caution expressed in this order is taken serious note of and the Authorities concerned correct themselves instead of taking it as an affront to the oneself.

7. Taking note of the above circumstances, I feel that an Interim direction should be issued to the respondent to comply with the order of the Tribunal dated 7.11.2001, within a weeks time i.e. on or before 21.6.2002. To ensure that the direction of this Court is duly carried out, the

F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla, J.

Writ petitions shall be called on 24.6.2002. The learned Government Pleader shall communicate the direction issued to the respondent since the order copy can be furnished to the parties only on 17.6.2002.

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