1. In this petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India, the validity of Rr. 1 [N. B. 1 (C) 2] 2, 4 (c) and (d) of the Rules framed by the Government of Maharashtra for admission to Government Medical Colleges is challenged by the petitioner, who sought admission in B. J. Medical College in Poona and was refused admission following the said rules.
2.The rules are framed by the Government for admission to all the Government Medical Colleges in the State for the academic year 1970 - 71. The rules are annexed to the petition as Exhibit A. Rule 1 in substance, lays down that a candidate for admission must submit an application in writing upon a prescribed form to the authorities mentioned therein. The students of the different Universities are directed to forward applications to the authority mentioned against the University concerned as follows :
Authority to whom application should be forwarded.
The Dean, Grant Medical College, Byculla, Bombay 8.
The Dean, B. J. Medical College, Poona.
The Dean, Medical College, Nagpur.
The Dean, Medical College, Aurangabad.
The Principal, Miraj Medical College, Miraj.
'N. B. 1 (c) : Although the seats at the Miraj Medical College and B. J. Medical College, Poona, are pooled together and distributed between the two colleges in the proportion of the number of students registered for pre - professional examination (Medical) at the Poona University and the Shivaji University, Kolhapur, vide rule 2, the students of the Shivaji University should submit a single application for admission to Principal, Miraj Medical College, Miraj and the students of the Poona University should submit a single application to the Dean, B. J. Medical College, Poona, as they are the authorities to fill in the seats allotted to the students of respective Universities. Applications submitted by the students wrongly will not be considered.
N. B. 2. The students who have secured less than 45 per cent of total marks will not be considered for admission. Similarly the students belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes etc., and applying for admission to reserved seat should have secured not less than 40 per cent of total marks'.
Rule 2 which is the most material rule relevant to the challenge in this petition runs as follows :-
'Admissions are granted once a year only at the Medical College mentioned in Rule 1 in the beginning of the academic year. Except the seats for the nominees of the Government of India and the seats at the B. J. Medical College, Poona and Miraj Medical College, Miraj, all the seats at each medical college are earmarked for the students of the Universities to which the particular medical college is affiliated. For admission to the B. J. Medical College, Poona and Miraj Medical College, Miraj, the seats at the two Medical Colleges should be pooled together and distributed between the two colleges in the proportion of the number of students registered for the Pre - Professional Examination (Medical) at the Poona University and the Shivaji University, Kolhapur'. Rule 3 deals with the qualifications of the candidates and the certificates which they should furnish and we are not concerned with that rule in this petition. Rule 4 (a) lays down that selection of students amongst those who have applied for admissions to a medical college will be on the basis of merit as disclosed in the marks obtained in the Science subjects including additional paper on Physics at the qualifying examinations specified under R. 3 (a) of a particular University in Maharashtra State, modified with respect to the career of the student; and it lays down that credit will be given to students having extra - curricular qualifications such as sports qualifications. It says that the same conditions will also govern the selection inter se of candidates for the reserved places at the Colleges. Rule 4 (b) gives a preference to sons and daughters or dependents of persons in the defence forces. Rule 4 (c) runs as follows :- 'Other Backward Classes as mentioned in the uniform list of Backward Classes for the whole of Maharashtra under G. R. E. and S. W. D. No. CBC 1467 - M dated the 13th October 1967, and as amended from time to time will be eligible for admissions against the reserved seats in the Medical College'.
The percentage of these seats reserved is provided in Rule 4 (d) which runs as under :-
The percentage of seats reserved at each Medical College after excluding the reserved seats for the nominees of the Miraj Medical Centre and D. M. P. qualification holders, will be as follows :-
Category. Percentage of reservation.(1) Scheduled castes and Navabuddhas converted from scheduled castes 13 per cent.(2) Scheduled tribes including those outside specified areas 7 per cent.(3) Denotified tribes and Nomadic tribes 4 per cent.(4) Other backward classes 10 per cent. Reserved seats remaining vacant in any of the above mentioned groups for want of students in that group should go to the other groups even if the percentage prescribed for that group provided that the total percentage of the seats reserved for Backward Classes. These seats should go to the members of the general public only when Backward Class students from any of the above mentioned group are not available to fill up the seats. The above percentage should be inclusive of the numbers of students who get admission on merits and should not be in addition thereto'.
It is not necessary to refer to the other rules which deal with certain reservations, provisions in the different Universities, exemption from payment of fees in respect of certain communities, scholarships for lady students, some facilities and other matters relating to admission, as the said provisions are not relevant or referred to in support of this petition and we are not therefore, concerned with them in this case.
3. It is not disputed that as a result of the application of the impugned rules the petitioner was refused admission, although he secured 66.8 per cent marks in S. S. C. examination in the year 1968 and was declared to have passed the examination in the first class in the Pre - Professional (Medical) examination held in April 1970 by the Poona University obtaining about 66.8 per cent marks in the examination. As he did not belong to any of the communities for whom seats were reserved, he had to compete with the general students on merits. The scarcity of seats available for students of Poona University and Shivaji University has unfortunately deprived the petitioner of a chance to become a student for the M. B. B. S. course in the B. J. Medical College at Poona.
4.According to the petitioner, the students who passed in the first class (that is to say, those obtaining 60 per cent. and above marks) at the examination held by the Poona University in the year 1970 were 467 in number. The petitioner's number in the order of merits was 151. It is undisputed that 200 seats are available in the year 1970 - 71 for the first year M. B. B. S. course at the B. J. Medical College, Poona, and out of these two seats have been reserved for students nominated by Government of India. The remaining 198 seats are available to the students of the Poona University and Shivaji University. Thirty - four per cent of the available seats are reserved for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other tribes and backward classes as per Rule 4 (d) stated above. The remaining seats available for the general candidates were further allocated between the general students of Poona University and Shivaji University on the basis of the proportion between the number of students registered at the Pre - Professional (Medical) examination in the two Universities in the year 1970. The number of students registered at the Poona University was 2450 and the number of students registered at the Shivaji University was 2039 and as a result of applying the proportion between the said number in the year 1970 - 71, 59 seats were allocated out of the seats available in the B. J. Medical College for the students passing pre - professional examination from the Shivaji University. The petitioner alleged that only 92 seats remained for the students of the Poona University, who were not belonging to the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes or backward classes. The petitioner's grievance is that because of this allocation of the seat in the B. J. Medical College to the students of the Shivaji University he lost his chance of being admitted to the B. J. Medical College. It is alleged in the petition that in the year 1969, 125 seats were made available for the students of the Poona University, and even a student who got 65 per cent. marks in that a year in the Poona University i.e., less than the marks obtained by the petitioner, was admitted to the College, whereas as a result of the reduction of the seats available to the students of Poona University in the year 1970 - 71, he lost his chance of getting himself admitted, even though he got more marks.
5.It is unnecessary to refer to certain other allegations made in connection with the attempts of the petitioner's father and uncle to get information about the rules relating to admission and the statistics with regard to the students of the two Universities seeking admission in the medical college, as all the relevant facts are now before us in the form of affidavits in reply and affidavits in rejoinder. It is undisputed that the pooling of the students is going on since 1964, when the Shivaji University was started and the system of pooling is not challenged in the petition. What is challenged by petitioner is the validity of the allocation made in the seats in the B. J. Medical College on the basis of the number of students registered at the Pre - Professional (Medical) examination in the two Universities. It is alleged that Rule 2 quoted above, which directs the allocation on the basis of students so registered is arbitrary, irrational and must be struck down as making a discrimination between the students of the Poona University and the students of Shivaji University without any reasonable or logical nexus with the object of the Government in giving admission to the best students to the medical colleges. Note Bene 2 in Rule 1 and Rule 4 (d) which provides for reservation of seats for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and backward classes is challenged on the ground that the percentages fixed for these communities under that rule are arbitrary, that the classification of the backward classes on the basis of castes is in contravention of Article 15(1) of the Constitution inasmuch as there was nothing to show that the castes mentioned in the list of backward classes were socially and educationally backward within the meaning of clause (4) of Article 15, and that the discrimination made between the students belonging to those communities and other in N. B. 2 to Rule 1 is not a discrimination made for the advancement of the said classes. It is also alleged that an unreasonable discrimination is made between the students of Poona University and the students of other Universities in the State compelling them to share the seats available in a Medical College affiliated to that University with the students of another University. The petitioner, therefore, prayed for a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction directing the State of Maharashtra, respondent No. 1 and the Dean B. J. Medical College respondent No. 2, to admit the petitioner for the first year M. B. B. S. course in the B. J. Medical College, Poona, or in the alternative to issue a writ directing the said respondents to consider the question of giving him admission. The Vice - Chancellor of Poona University, Poona was made respondent No. 3 to the petition and the Vice - Chancellor, Shivaji University, Kolhapur was made respondent No. 4. Persons likely to be interested or affected by the result of the petition were joined as respondents Nos. 5 to 24.
6.The petition is resisted by respondents Nos. 1 to 4. On behalf of the State of Maharashtra, reliance is placed on an affidavit in reply filed by Mr. S. T. Vanjari, Under Secretary to the Government of Maharashtra, Urban Development, Public Health and Housing Department and also on the affidavits of (1) Dr. Vishwanath Ganpat Ganla, Dean of the B. J. Medical College, Poona and (2) Mr. V. S. Mathkar, Under Secretary to the Government of Maharashtra, Education, Sports and Social Welfare Department. In the affidavit filed by Mr. Vanjari it is stated that the allocation of seats between the students of the Shivaji University and the Poona University had to be made on account of the circumstances in which these two Universities came into existence and the reservation for the various communities was made on the basis of the proportion of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and backward classes to the entire population to the Maharashtra State, according to the 1st census. It is also stated that between the various classes of students to whom seats are allocated according to the rules, admission to the medical colleges is given strictly on the basis of their merits. In the affidavit filed by Mr. Mathkar, it is pointed out that in view of Article 38 and 46 of the Government of Maharashtra in the field of social welfare and welfare of backward classes is governed by the principles stated in the said articles, viz. to strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may, a social order in which justice, social economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life and the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interest of the weaker sections of the people. He refers to the classification of backward classes in the State of Maharashtra as (1) the scheduled castes including Navabuddhas (2) scheduled tribes including tribes outside specified areas (3) Nomadic tribes and denotified tribes, and (4) other backward classes, and goes on to say :-
'The history of the backward classes is the history of the rigid caste system prevailing in India over the centuries and the evils attending this system. It is common knowledge that many castes in India have remained backward on account of centuries of suppression under which they lived and under which they were denied opportunities of social progress and upliftment. The upliftment of the backward classes was engaging the attention of State even before the advent of independence. A committed under the chairmanship of Mr. O. H. B. Starte, I. C. S. was appointed by the Government of the Province of Bombay to go into the question of the depressed classes and aboriginal tribes. This committee, submitted its report in the year 1930 and made certain recommendations inter alia, about the measures to be adopted for the upliftment of the backward classes. The said committee had prepared a list of backward classes in the Province of Bombay and it was annexed to its report as Appendix No. 2. The said list describes the backward classes by their caste names but it is clear from the said report that the classes named therein are classes which on account of historical reasons, were socially and educationally backward and required a special treatment for the purpose of their upliftment.'
He averred that after the coming into force of the Constitution of India, as it was felt that the classification of backward classes on the basis of their castes was not feasible in view of the provisions of Articles 16 (2) and 16 (4), the Government by its resolution No. 490/46, dated November 1, 1950 cancelled the earlier classification of communities as advanced, intermediate and backward classes and prepared a fresh list of backward classes in respect of the entire State of Bombay as it existed then prior to its reorganisation on November 1, 1956. The said list, however, was more or less the same list as prepared by the State Committee. After the reorganisation of the former State of Bombay under the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, certain other communities in the areas comprised by the former States of Madhya Pradesh and Hyderabad and States of Saurashtra and Kutch were added to the list. After the formation of the Maharashtra State in 1960, once again the Government contemplated drawing up a uniform list of backward classes applicable throughout the State of Maharashtra so that the backward classes in the State may receive uniform treatment and benefits and accordingly a list was prepared on October 1, 1962 which comprised the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and backward classes in the districts which are described as Marathwada districts and Vidarbha districts. Again on October 13, 1967 the list was further altered and in a new list containing the names of 185 backward classes was prepared and it is stated that this list was prepared taking into consideration the social and educational backwardness of the various castes. The affidavit further refers to another committee known as the Deshmukh Committee appointed in 1961 to go into the question of reservation for backward classes in the services, which recommended inter alia that percentage reservation for backward classes should be linked to the population statistics of the entire State for State level recruitment and districtwise recruitment. Acting on this recommendation, the Government of Maharashtra in the General Administration Department passed a resolution dated April 9, 1965, whereby after reviewing the Government's previous orders regarding the reservation of vacancies for members of the backward classes and concessions in their favour in the matter of recruitment to the Government services, in the light of the recommendation of he Deshmukh Committee, the Government ordered in modification of the then existing orders, that the reservation of vacancies in the Government services for the backward classes should be as follows :-
(1) Scheduled castes and scheduled castes converted to Buddhism 13 per cent.(2) Scheduled tribes including those outside specified areas 7 per cent.(3) Denotified tribes and Nomadic tribes 4 per cent.(4) Other backward communities 10 per cent.
It is, therefore, averred in the affidavit that the percentage adopted by the Government for reservation of vacancies in the Government services for backward classes by the aforesaid resolution was on the basis of the population of the respective categories of backward classes mentioned above, except in the case of the last category, in which case the percentage of reservation was very much lower than that category deserved having regard to its population in the State. Following the very principle, the Government of Maharashtra by its resolution No. EBC 2169/2167 - J, dt. July 10, 1969 adopted the same percentage basis for reservation of percentage of seats for backward classes in Government education institutions for all types of courses. The Government further directed that if the reserved seats remained vacant in any of the above mentioned groups for want of students in that group, such seats should go to the other groups even if the percentage of the seats prescribed for them is thereby exceeded provided that the total percentage of the seats prescribed for all the backward classes does not exceed 34 per cent. The Government directed that the seats not filed by the backward classes should go to the members of the general public only when backward classes from any of the above mentioned groups were not available to fill up those seats. The percentages so reserved included the number of students who got admission on merit. The affidavit explained that it is because of this basis that the percentage relating to admission of the communities was fixed in Rule 4 (d) of the rules relating to admission to Government Medical College.
7.Respondent No. 2 filed an affidavit stating that the admissions to that college were made strictly according to the rules prescribed by the Government and according to the merits of the candidates ascertained and determined according to the rules of admission.
8.On behalf of respondent No. 4, Vice Chancellor of Shivaji University, reliance was placed on an affidavit of the Deputy Registrar of that University submitting that the allocation of seats to the students of the Shivaji University was legal and proper and the petition was liable to be dismissed and the petitioner could not make any grievance in respect of the rules framed by the Government.
9.The uncle of the petitioner, one Shankar Vishnu Pandit, filed an affidavit in rejoinder denying submissions made in the affidavits relied on by the respondents and reiterating the contentions made in the petition.
10.It is undisputed that before 1964, the areas at present served by Shivaji University were served by Poona University and the Miraj Medial College at Miraj, which is at present affiliated to Shivaji University, was, prior to 1964, affiliated to Poona University. Thus prior to 1964, even the students, who had passed their qualifying examination from the colleges in the area which is now served by Shivaji University, had to seek admission to the B.J. Medical College at Poona as well as to the Miraj Medical Collect, and students, who had passed their qualifying examination from the college which is affiliated to Poona University, had to seek admission to the Miraj Medical College as well as the B.J. Medical College. The Shivaji University Act, 1962, defines the University area as meaning the area specified in the schedule, and the scheduled to the Act described the area as (1) Kolhapur District (2) Ratnagiri District (3) Sangli District (4) Satara District and (5) Sholapur District. After the enactment of the Shivaji University Act, the area of the Poona University, as defined in the Poona University Act, 1948, comprised of (1) Poona District (2) Ahmednagar District (3) Nasik District (4) Kolaba District (5) Dhulia District (6) Thana District and (7) Jalgaon District. The general rule which was followed by the Government of Maharashtra for admission to the medical colleges was that the students of a University were admitted only to the college, which was the medical college affiliated to that University. In the case of Shivaji University, however, it was found that following the said rule would result in denying opportunities to the students of Shivaji University as it was difficult to increase the number of seats at the Miraj Medical College. It is stated in the affidavit filed by Mr. Vanjari that prior to 1964, the number of seats available to Poona University (ignoring the reservation for the nominees of the Government of India) was 230 of which 200 seats were available at the B.J. Medical College and 30 seats were available at the Miraj Medical College. But in the year 1964 the number of seats in the Miraj Medical College was increased to 60. The Government, therefore considered that after 1964 to limit the opportunities available to the students of Shivaji University to a maximum number of 60 in the Miraj Medical College was not fair to the students of the areas of that University, particularly because it was found that the number of students seeking admission to medical college increase year by year even in that area. The Government was, therefore, compelled to pool together the seats available at the B.J. Medical College and Miraj Medical College from the year in which the Shivaji University started working i.e. 1964, after so pooling the seats available in the two colleges, the Government allotted the seats to the students of Poona University and Shivaji University on the basis of the students registered in the said two Universities respectively for the pre-profession qualifying examination held prior to the first year course in medicine to which admission was to be made.
11.What is challenged in this petition is not the rule regarding the pooling of the seats in the medical colleges at Poona and Miraj but the methods adopted by the Government for allocating the seats between the two Universities on the basis of students registered in the said two Universities, as stated above. Mr. Paranjpe the learned counsel for the petitioner, urged in the first instance that the allocation made on the basis of students so registered for the examination had no nexus with the object of securing the best students available into the medical colleges. According to him, the Government ought to have allocated the seats not on the basis of the number of students registered for the examination but on the basis of the number of students who passed the examination and got the minimum qualification marked of 45 per cent. in the case of other students and 40 per cent. in the case of scheduled caste and other backward class students. He faintly tried to argue, that the method adopted by the Government in allocating the seats was arbitrary and discriminated against the students at Poona University in depriving them of the seats available to them, in a college affiliated to their University, although in respect of other students in the Maharashtra State, the students were entitled to seek admission in the medical colleges affiliated to their respective University.
12.These submissions have to be rejected on the simple ground that the petitioner cannot complain of any discrimination between himself, who is a student of Poona University, and other students of other Universities. The students of two Universities from two distinct classes in view of the separate examinations conducted by the said Universities. The Government of Maharashtra wants to provide fair opportunities to students of the Universities by equitably allotting the seats available at Poona and Miraj. The nature and object of classifying the students into two classes as students of Poona University and Shivaji University cannot, be therefore, assailed as contravening Art. 14 or 15 of the Constitution. The classification is based on intelligible differentia and is reasonable having regard to the existence of these two Universities and their history. The basis adopted by the Government has a relevant connection with the object sought to be achieved by the Government, viz., of allocating certain seats in the Poona B. J. Medical College to the students of Shivaji University because the Government is not in a position to provide more seats in the Miraj Medical College for the time being.
13.The question of admitting the best students on the basis of their merits arises only after the said object of allocation is fulfilled. The petitioner has no right to ask for any relief from this Court on the ground that the allocation so made by the Government of the seats in Poona B. J. Medical College works against him. Poona B. J. Medical College admittedly is a college run by the Government. It is for the Government to lay down the criteria for eligibility. The Government cannot be denied the right to decide from what sources the admission will be made. It is open to them, therefore, to admit the students from Shivaji University into that college, if they find it impossible to give fair opportunity to the students of that University. A somewhat similar question arose in a recent case in Chitra Ghosh v. Union of India, : 1SCR413 where Mr. Justice Grover speaking for the Court laid down :-
'That essentially is a question of policy and depends inter alia on an overall assessment and survey of the requirement of residents of particular territories and other categories of persons for whom it is essential to provide facilities for medical education. If the sources are properly classified whether on territorial, geographically or other reasonable basis it is not for the courts to interfere with the manner and method of making the classification.'
It is clear that the Government of Maharashtra in the present case has taken into consideration the number of students in the two Universities, viz., Poona University and Shivaji University, and has adopted an objective test of determining the proportion of allocation on the basis of students registered for the examinations to be passed for qualifying for the first M. B. B. S. course.
14.Mr. Paranjpe, however, submitted that all those who were registered for the examination may not pass; and all those who pass may not get the qualifying marks; and when all those who get the qualifying marks may not seek admission in the medical college; and, therefore, the number of students registered for the examination cannot be a rational basis for determining the allocation. This contention has no merit. In theory it may be possible to conceive that only those who seek admission on the basis of securing qualifying marks must be taken into consideration for allocation. In practice, however, such a method would result in a great number of difficulties in working out the rule. The allocation of seats has to be made sufficiently in advance of the commencement of the academic year. It is common knowledge that immediately after the results are out, there is a rush for admission to these medical colleges. The college authorities must know in advance how many students of Shivaji University and Poona University have to be admitted and on what basis. It is also possible that the Government has in view the danger of an unhealthy rivalry developing between the two Universities for securing a larger number of seats in the medical colleges which may ultimately result in a fall in the standard of education. It cannot, therefore, be said that the basis adopted by the Government is unreasonable or irrational. It has a rational connection with the object of the Government to allocate certain seats to the students of the Shivaji University in time for the college authorities to know how many students could be admitted to the college and on what basis.
15.The only other ground which was urged by Mr. Paranjpe in support of the petition was that the reservations made for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and backward classes on the basis of the proportion of these communities to the population of the State, as stated in the affidavit filed by Mr. Mathkar, was irrational, and further that the classification of the other backward classes on the basis of castes was illegal. He contended that the provisions contained in Rule 4 (d) laying down that the reserved seats remaining vacant in any of the reserved group for want of students in that group should go to the other groups of scheduled castes, and scheduled tribes and backward classes, was also unworkable and irrational.
16.We find no substance in any of these contentions. It is possible that some other mode of reserving the seats may be adopted, but it cannot be said that the basis of the proportion of population adopted by the Government of Maharashtra in reserving seats for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and other backward classes on the basis of the last census is in any manner unreasonable. In the leading case on the subject M. R. Balaji v. State of Mysore, : AIR1963SC649 Gajendragadkar, J., as he then was, speaking for the Court laid down the principles as follows, while setting aside an order of the Government of Mysore which resulted in reservation of seats for 68 per cent of population of Mysore State treated as backward classes as plainly inconsistent with Article 15(4) :-
'In our country where social and economic conditions differ from State to State, it would be idle to expect absolute uniformity of approach; but in taking executive action to implement the policy of Art. 15(4), it is necessary for the States to remember that the policy which is intended to be implemented is the policy which has been declared by Article 46 and the preamble of the Constitution. It is for the attainment of social and economic justice that Art. 15(4) authorizes the making of special provisions for the advancement of the communities there contemplated even if such provisions may be inconsistent with the fundamental rights guaranteed under Art. 15 or 29(2). The context, therefore, requires that the executive action taken by the State must be based on an objective approach free from all extraneous pressures. The said action is intended to do social and economic justice and must be taken in a manner that justice is and should be done'.
Applying the said principles to the fact of the present case, we find that the Government has adopted an objective and just test for determining the proportion of seats to be reserved in the medical colleges.
17.It is further clear from the affidavit filed by Mr. Mathkar that the castes which are classified as other backward classes were so classified originally on the basis of the recommendations of the State Committee which was appointed under a resolution passed by the then Bombay Legislative Council 'to enquire into the educational economic and social condition of the Depressed Classes (untouchables) and of the Aboriginal Tribes in the Presidency and to recommend measures for their uplift'. That Committee, after considering the state of society in the whole of the then Bombay Presidency, recommended that the backward classes should be divided into depressed classes which would consist of untouchable classes only and the aboriginal and Hill Tribes and other backward classes. As stated in the affidavit of Mr. Mathkar, the classifications had to be revised form time to time due to reorganisation of the States, the merger of States and the recommendations of a committee known as Deshmukh Committee, which , no doubt, was appointed only to report on reservation for backward classes in services. That committee also considered the social and economic conditions as well as the representation in the services of the various communities and recommended the classification, which is adopted by the Government of Maharashtra, into (1) scheduled castes and scheduled castes converted to Buddhism, (2) scheduled tribes including those outside specified areas, (3) denotified tribes and nomadic tribes, and (4) other backward classes. We accept the statement of Mr. Mathkar that this classification is based on a careful consideration of the social and economic conditions of the castes by the Government of Bombay (now Maharashtra). That the Deshmukh Committee recommended that the percentage of reservations for backward classes should be modified and linked to the population statistics of the State; and that this recommendation was substantially implemented by the Government of Maharashtra is not disputed although so far as the other backward classes are concerned, the percentage of reservation for them is less than the proportion of their population to the population of the State.
18.It is clear from the affidavit of Mr. Mathkar that the classification of certain castes as 'other backward classes' in the aforesaid list dated October 13, 1967, is made on considering their backward social, economic and educational conditions. This is permitted under Art. 15(4) of the Constitution. They are some of the castes recognized as 'other backward classes' in the report made by the Backward Classes Commission (appointed by the President under Art. 340 of the Constitution in 1953) taking into consideration : (1) their low social position in the traditional castes hierarchy of Hindu Society; (2) lack of general educational advancement among the major section of a caste or community; (3) inadequate or no representation in Government service; (4) inadequate representation in the field of trade, commerce and industry and (5) their economic backwardness and consequent inability to take advantage of the available opportunities as well as the recent trends in their advancement as a result of various measures initiated by Government (vide paras 25, 27 of Chapter V of the Backward Classes Commission Report, 1955). Although the Government has not implemented its recommendations, perhaps in view of the number involved, - the Court can take judicial notice of its contents under Section 57 of the Evidence Act as it is a report submitted by the Commission appointed under Art. 340 of the Constitution and as such, a matter of public history and a document of reference. Apart from this report, however, we are satisfied in the present case from the affidavit of Mr. Mathkar, the State Committee Report and Deshmukh Committee Report that the criterion adopted by the Government of Maharashtra for determining the backwardness of the castes in the said list dated October 13, 1967 as 'other backward classes' is their social, economic and educational backwardness similar to the backwardness from which the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes suffer. Hence, Mr Paranjpe's challenge to the classification as one contravening Art. 15(1) is futile. Vide Shah, J. para 6 in State of Andhra Pradesh v. P. Sagar, : 3SCR595 in Trilokinath Tiku v. State of Jammu and Kashmir AIR 1969 SC 1; and also Subba Rao, J. (as he then was) paras 15, 18 and 19 in Chitralekha v. State of Mysore, : 6SCR368 .
19.Mr. Paranjpe further submitted that since the rest of the population of the State was not concerned with the Shivaji and Poona Universities, it was illogical to adopt the basis of the proportion of these communities to the entire population of the whole State in determining the proportion of seats to be reserved in medical colleges in the areas of Shivaji and Poona Universities. We do not find anything illogical in it. Reservation is permitted under Art. 15(4) for the backward classes, and perhaps, there is no better basis for such reservation than the proportion of the population of the backward classes to the whole population of the State. It would be totally unreasonable to expect the State to take a separate census of the backward classes population only of the areas of the two Universities or of each of the Universities in the whole State. The contention of Mr. Paranjpe that the rest of the population of the State is not interested in the admissions of the medical colleges at these two Universities has to be rejected because the Government of Maharashtra is certainly justified in adopting a uniform rule of reservation in respect of all parts of the State; and if it has adopted a uniform rule on the basis of the population, we find nothing in it which is irrational or is hit by Article 14 or 15.
20.Mr. Paranjpe next contended that the reservation of the seats to students of these communities was also vitiated by the fact that they were qualified to apply for admission even if they got 40 per cent marks as against the minimum of 45 per cent prescribed for other students and thereby the Government instead of advancing the backward communities was encouraging them to be less advanced than the others. This argument ignores the very purpose for which Article 15(4) was enacted. The backward communities, who are recognized as such, and the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes have been suffering from social and economic handicaps for centuries and one of the ways by which their conditions can be ameliorated by making students, who get even somewhat lower marks, to be eligible for admission to medical colleges; and this must be considered as a measure in advancement of these backward communities.
21.Similarly, the contention of Mr. Paranjpe that the rule of carrying forward the vacant seats in a particular group to the groups in the backward classes is workable, has no merit because, in our opinion, Rule 4 (d) is very practical and reasonable and easy of application. We do not find any difficulty in its working. The said rule is quoted above. It is manifest that the four groups mentioned in the rule are 'socially and educationally backward classes of citizens' and 'scheduled castes and scheduled tribes' and Art. 15(4) lays down that nothing in Art. 15 or in clause (2) of Art. 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of the said classes, castes and tribes. The Government of Maharashtra has made such a special provision in Rule 4 (d) for the for groups mentioned therein. They can be and are given special preferences under Art. 15(4). Under the rule, 34 per cent. seats are reserved for all the four groups together and within the said 34 per cent seats, further special provision is made for filing up vacant seats reserved for any one or more of the four groups by throwing them open to students belonging to the remaining groups. All the four groups from one category of socially and educationally backward citizens. They are to be given preference. Therefore provision is made for filing up vacant seats among the seats reserved for them. The sub - division into the four groups is made obviously only to allocate the reservation to the four groups falling under the one category of socially and educationally backward citizens so that the comparatively brighter students in one group may not keep out the students of the other groups. All this, in our judgment, is permissible under Art. 15(4) of the Constitution of India and consistent with Art. 46 which requires the State 'to promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes'. The petitioner cannot, therefore, challenge Rule 4 (d) on the ground that after reserving seats for each of the groups, it further makes special provision for the benefit of these groups by throwing open the vacant seats in one group for students of other groups or on the ground that vacant seats in any of the four groups should be thrown open to all the students on merit without making them again available to students belonging to the said groups.
22.Mr. Paranjpe relied on a decision of the Supreme Court in P. Rajendran v. State of Madras, : 2SCR786 and contended that there a district wise selection was struck down as defeating the object of getting the best, students. But there the object was admittedly solely the object of getting the best student on merit. In the present case, the Govt. has not merely the object of getting the best students but also the objects of allocating seats between Shivaji University and Poona University and of reserving seats for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and backward classes. In our judgment, therefore, there is nothing in the said case which supports the argument of Mr. Paranjpe that the rules framed by the Government of Maharashtra for admission to the medical colleges for the year 1970 - 71 offend Arts. 14 and 15 of the Constitution.
23.Mr. Desai, the learned Counsel for the Government of Maharashtra, has brought to out notice a judgment of Tarkunde, J. in Special Civil Appln. No. 2767 of 1967 (Bom) where this Court considered, inter alia, the validity of the rules in force in 1967 - 68 regarding pooling of seats in the medical colleges and held that there was nothing illegal about the pooling of seats and it was pointed out that merely because some students of Poona University who got more marks than the students in the Shivaji University, would be denied an opportunity to join the medical college, the rule of allocation cannot be challenged on the ground of discrimination against the Poona University students. We respectfully agree with the conclusions arrived at there; and Mr. Paranjpe has not challenged the conclusions arrived at by the Division Bench in that case.
24.So far as the present petition is concerned, we find no substance whatsoever in the grounds urged in its support by Mr. Paranjpe and the petition must be, therefore, dismissed.
25.Rule discharged. In the circumstances of the case, no order as to costs.
26. Petition dismissed.