Appeal from the Order of the Department of Transportation in case of In Re: Official Inspection Station Number 0788, trade name of Hartman's Garage owned and operated by George I. Hartman.
Allen H. Krause, for appellants.
Anthony J. Maiorana, Assistant Attorney General, with him Stuart A. Liner, Assistant Attorney General, Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General, for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. President Judge Bowman did not participate.
Does the Commonwealth Court or the appropriate court of common pleas have jurisdiction to hear appeals from suspension of official inspection station certificates of appointment issued by the Department of Transportation?
Prior to the enactment of the Appellate Court Jurisdiction Act of 1970*fn1 (ACJA), jurisdiction to hear appeals from suspension of such certificates was exclusively controlled by the provisions of Section 819 of The Vehicle Code, as amended.*fn2 It then provided in subsection (b) in pertinent part as follows: ". . . Any person whose certificate of appointment is suspended under the provisions of this subsection may, within forty-five (45) days from the date thereof, appeal to the court of common pleas of the county wherein such official inspection station is located, and such court is hereby vested with jurisdiction, and it shall be its duty to set the matter down for hearing upon forty-five (45) days' written notice to the secretary, and thereupon to take testimony and examine into the facts of the case and to determine whether the petitioner is subject to suspension of his certificate of appointment under the provisions of this act. Any party aggrieved by a decision of a court of common pleas shall have the right of appeal to the Superior Court."
Upon enactment of the ACJA, clarity gave way to uncertainty. Section 403 of that act, which deals with direct appeals from administrative agencies, gives this
Court exclusive jurisdiction from their final orders as follows:
"(1) All appeals from administrative agencies of the Commonwealth under the Administrative Agency Law or otherwise and including appeals from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review and from any department, departmental administrative board or commission, independent board or commission or other agency or administrative officer of this Commonwealth having statewide jurisdiction except:
"(i) matters relating to the privilege of operating motor vehicles or tractors, including the revocation or suspension of such privilege and matters relating thereto; . . ."
In the so-called housekeeping provisions of the ACJA (Sections 508 and 509) as originally enacted, no reference to Section 819 of The Vehicle Code is found. However, in the Act of June 3, 1971, P.L. (Act No. 6), amending the ACJA, we find two specific references to Section 819. A new clause (162) is added to subsection (a) of Section 509 of the ACJA which ...