State Transport Authorities have power to issue licences for mini buses: Court

Our Legal Correspondent Chennai | Updated on March 16, 2011

The Madras High Court has upheld TN Government's order vesting power with the State Transport Authorities to issue licences for operation of mini buses in remote areas.

The amendment made to Rule 149 of TN Motor Vehicle Rules towards this objective “is well within the State's power”, the Court ruled.

Dismissing three writ petitions by stage carriage and mini-bus operators challenging GO Ms No 271 Home (Transport) Department of March 10, 2010, Mr Justice K. Chandru held there was no excessive delegation in amending Rule 149.

“Whether one likes it or not, operation of mini buses has come to stay. It is the intention of the Government to further extend it to remote hamlets so that a large number of travelling public will be benefited. Therefore, one cannot put spokes in the wheel and wreck the scheme made by the respondent State”.

Petitioners' view

In their petitions, the stage carriage operators contended that the said GO was arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

The Government could not reserve its power to issue guidelines to the Transport Authorities regarding prescription of the route length for operation of mini-bus services.

Under the Motor Vehicles Acts, 1988, the Government had no power to issue any such guidelines or directions by way of an administrative order in violation of the law laid down by the Supreme Court, the petitioners submitted.

The respondent (TN Govt) said that petitioners had no locus standi to question the impugned GO.

Government's policy

Government's intention in formulating a policy to provide buses even to hamlets was a laudable one.

Petitioners could not put spokes in the wheel and wreck the scheme of the Government. Citing a judgment of this Court pertaining to the ‘modified area' approved scheme in WP No 19067 to 19069 and batch cases in V. Senthil vs State of TN, the Judge pointed out that arguments advanced by petitioners were squarely rejected by the Court.

That order of the Court having become final, there could not be any further argument on this issue, the Judge said.

In the light of the above, all writ petitions would stand dismissed.

Published on March 16, 2011

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