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Signature of all members hearing petition is not necessary, if one person is transferred, appeal allowed by Supreme Court

February 8, 2018



Signature of all members not necessary in order, appeal of state allowed

A Bench of Judges, Justice A. K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan have allowed the appeal of the state in State of Madhya Pradesh & Anr v. Mahendra Gupta & Ors, Civil Appeal No. 1562 of 2018.

The facts of the case is that the writ petitioners have permanent permit for two routes, one Gwalior to Bhander and second Gwalior to Datia. Respondent No.3 has also the permanent permit for the route Gwalior to Jhansi. Respondent No.3 preferred an application for modification of time schedule for movement of his vehicle. The application of Respondent No.3 came for hearing before the State Transport Authority on 16.10.2014. On the date of hearing both counsel for the applicant as well as counsel for the objectors were heard. The State Transport Authority allowed the modification and decided to change the time schedule as prayed by the applicant in the public interest. The order was issued by the State Transport Authority on 15.12.2014.


Aggrieved by the order dated 15.12.2014, Writ Petition No.883 of 2015 was filed by the two petitioners who were objectors before the State Transport Authority. In the writ petition various grounds were taken questioning the application filed by the applicant Pawan Arora. One of the grounds taken before the learned Single Judge was that although the State Transport Authority heard the matter on 16.10.2014 consisted of Chairperson and two members, however, hence order was delivered with the signatures of Chairperson and only one member, since one member, Shri Sanjay Choudhary was transferred in the meanwhile, hence, the order dated 15.12.2014 is illegal. The learned Single Judge accepted the contention of the writ petitioners and allowed the writ petition by setting aside the order dated 15.12.2014.

The State of Madhya Pradesh filed writ appeal challenging the judgment of the learned Singe Judge. The State contended before the Division Bench of the High Court that there was no illegality in the order issued by the Chairperson and one member, although, it was heard by three members when the meeting took place on 16.10.2014. The Division Bench dismissed the appeal upholding the view of the learned Single Judge.

The counsel for the appellant in support of the appeal contends that under the Madhya Pradesh Motor Vehicles Rules, 1994 quorum of the meeting of the State Transport Authority is three - Chairman plus two members and quorum was complete when the meeting was held on 16.10.2014, the decision delivered by the majority of the members is in no manner illegal. It is submitted that after hearing, one member was transferred and was not available to be part of the order issued on 15.12.2014. It is submitted that even it is assumed that one member was not agreeing with the decision of two other members, although, there is no such pleading or material on the record, the decision taken by the majority of the members was fully valid and there was no infirmity in the order dated 15.12.2014. It is submitted that the learned Single Judge as well as Division Bench committed error in taking the view that the order dated 15.12.2014 was an illegal order.

The counsel for the respondents supported the order of the High Court and contends that when one member who heard the matter on 16.10.2014 was not available, no decision could have been taken by the State Transport Authority. He submits that the matter was heard by three members, hence decision could have been issued only by three members and the views taken by the learned Single Judge and Division Bench are in accordance with law.

While allowing the appeal the Supreme Court said that "we are of the opinion that decision dated 15.12.2014 issued with the signatures of Chairperson and one member was a valid decision in spite of the fact that one of the members who was present in the hearing when the meeting took place on 16.10.2014 and had been transferred in the meanwhile did not sign the order. The decision of the State Transport Authority dated 15.12.2014 was fully in accordance with the statutory scheme of the Rules, 1994 and both the learned Single Judge and Division Bench erred in holding the decision as invalid. We, thus, are of the view that judgments of learned Single Judge and Division Bench do not express the correct view of the law."





Read the Judgment of Supreme Court of India in State of Madhya Pradesh & Anr v. Mahendra Gupta & Ors dated 8.2.2018



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