1. The petitioner was a candidate for admission to one of the two Medical Colleges in Nagpur. As provided in the Rules regulating admission to the Medical Colleges of the Government of Maharashtra for the academic Year 1983-84 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Rules' ), some candidates have been admitted in open category. The last of such candidates had secured 252 corrected marks. The corrected marks of the petitioner work out to 251and hence he was not admitted. We are told that he stands at serial No. 5 in the waiting list. He has challenged some of the provisions contained in the rules regarding addition of marks and reservation of some seats. At the time of hearing, the learned counsel for the petitioner confined his submission to his challenge to two of such provisions. One of them is contained in R. 4C(xiii) read with 6B (v) under which 3 marks are added to the total of a student 'affected by a Defense/Irrigation Project as stated in R. 4C(xiii)'. The other provision is R. 5C(ii) under which five seats are reserved in the Indira Gandhi Medical College at Nagpur for students who have passed the 10th and 12th Standard examinations conducted by Divisional Board of the Nagpur Division established under the Maharashtra Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Boards Act, 1965 or any examination equivalent to the said 10th standard examination from institutions situated within the limits of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation. The petitioner contends that these two provisions are constitutionally invalid as they offend Art. 14 of the Constitution. According to him, the addition of 3 marks to the abovesaid affected students has no nexus with the object of the Rules, namely, to select the best talent and meritorious students for admission. The other Rule, namely, R. 5C(ii) is also challenged in a similar way i.e. the fact whether a candidate has passed the 10th and 12th Standard examinations from an educational institution in Nagpur can have no relevance in so far his merit is concerned and has no nexus with the object of the rules.
2. In so far as challenge to R. 4C(xiii) read with 6B(v) is concerned, we need not go into the merits of the challenge since the question which falls for our consideration is decided in favour of the petitioner by Division Bench of this Court in Miss Rajashri Jadhav v. State of Maharashtra, Writ Petn. No. 2360 of 1983 decided on 30-9-1983. The Division Bench has held that R. 6B(v) read with R. 4C(xiii) is invalid and inoperative. We are in respectful agreement with this decision of the Division Bench.
3. In so far as R. 5C(ii) is concerned, it is in the following terms :
'(ii)Five seats at the Indira Gandhi Medical College at Nagpur shall be reserved for students who have passed the 10th and (10+2) 12th Standard examinations conducted by Divisional Board of the Nagpur Division established under the Maharashtra Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Boards Act, 1965 (Mah.XLI of 1965) or any examination equivalent to the said 10th standard examination and also the 11th standard examination from institutions situated within the limits of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation.'
Mr. S.V. Naik, the learned counsel for the petitioner, strenuously submitted that the rule is arbitrary and does not have any relation whatsoever to the object sought to be achieved by the Rules. He pointed out that the fact whether a student who passes 10th and 12th Standard examinations from institution situated within the limits of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation or from institution situated outside the limits can have no bearing on the capability of the student to pursue the course at the Medical College. He submits that the rule is arbitrary in the sense that even though a student who may have passed these examinations with credit from institutions outside the limits of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation would be put at a disadvantage in comparison to a student who has passed these examinations without much credit simply because he happens to be a student of an institution situated within the limits of the said Corporation. Mr. Naik submitted that the mere accident of a student pursuing his studies in particular educational institutions should not confer benefits on him which he does not otherwise deserve and which has no bearing on the selection for admission to the Medical College. Besides referring to some t the decisions of the Supreme Court dealing with area-wise or unit-wise reservations, Mr. Naik has relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in State of Maharashtra v. Raj Kumar, : AIR1982SC1301 . The provision which came for consideration before the Supreme Court in Raj Kumar's case is materially similar to the provision before us.
4. In the return filed on behalf of the respondents, nothing has been averred in support of the validity of R. 5C(ii). The return is silent on this point. We are, therefore, at a loss to know as to what warranted the State Government to make such a reservation.
5. A plain reading of the impugned rule would indicate that in order to qualify for one of the five reserved seats what a student need do is to pass the 10th and 12th standard examinations from institutions situated within the limits of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation. It is not necessary for such a student to be a domicile or a resident of the City of Nagpur. A student who may not have his domicile or permanent residence in Nagpur could get himself admitted in the 10th standard in the institution situated in Nagpur and continue study up to 12th standard which would qualify him for the reserved seat without anything more, except the condition that he must come within the first five students who qualify for this reservation. Conversely, a bonafide resident of Nagpur, for whom probably such a reservation has been made, who happens to go out of Nagpur for circumstances beyond his control and passes his 10th and 12th standard examinations from institutions situated out of Nagpur, would not be considered for this favoured treatment. This, on the face of it, is arbitrary and unjustified. It is needless to say that the rules framed by the State Government are meant to select the best talent for the admission to professional institutions. The rules are made from that angle and elaborate procedure has been prescribed for the reservations for certain castes, tribes and communities. It is difficult to see how a student who passes his 10th and 12th standard examinations from institutions situated in Nagpur needs encouragement so much so that some seats must be reserved for such students. They cannot be considered in par with students belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Denotified Tribes or Other Backward Classes for whom certain seats are reserved solely because they belong to the socially and educationally backward classes. Certainly this cannot be said in so far as the students who are governed by the impugned rule. Such students would not need any reservation as they would have the benefit of better institutions in the city like Nagpur as against institutions which impart education in the rural areas and particularly in small towns and villages. The whole thing boils down to this that the mere luck and chance of a student completing his qualifying education in an institution at Nagpur would put him in a better position than any other student who is not so fortunate. This would be mere matter of chance which has no relevance in so far as the selection of talented candidates is concerned.
6. In Raj Kumar's case : AIR1982SC1301 for recruitment of Class I and Class II officers of the State Government, relevant Recruitment Rules were framed with the object to take its officers who had full knowledge of rural life, its problems, aptitudes, working of the people in villages and the suitability for working as officers in the rural areas so as to be materially useful and in order to make a constructive contribution to the upliftment of rural life. In order to achieve this purpose, a rule was made that a candidate coming from the rural will be a rural candidate and he must have passed S.S.C. Examination which is held from a village or a town having only a 'C' type Municipality. It was this rule which was called in question before a Division Bench of this Court. In holding this rule as constitutionally invalid, Division Bench observed as follows:
'............... On the contrary, it places a rural candidate in an advantageous position by a sheer accident of his passing the S.S.C. Examination from rural area.'
'................ Here we are faced with a problem that a candidate by sheer chance of his appearing and passing the examination from rural area gets an advantage over all others by arbitrary addition of ten per cent of marks which, as we have indicated above, has no reasonable nexus or connection with the object of getting the best candidates suitability adapted to rural life.'
In appeal, the Supreme Court has upheld the decision of the Division Bench and has, in particular, approved of the observations quoted above. In this connection, the Supreme Court observed as follows:
'This rule, however, when translated into action does not seem to fulfil or carry out the object sought to be achieved because as the Rule stands any person who may not have lived in a village at all can appear for S.S.C. Examination from a village and yet become eligible for selection in the competitive examination. Thus there is no nexus between the classification made (assuming for the purpose of this case that such a classification is unreasonable) and the object which is sought to be achieved as a result of which the rule is clearly violative of /arts. 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India.'
The position which obtains in the present case is no different from the one which obtained in Raj Kumar's case. Here also, a candidate by sheer chance of his appearing and passing the two examinations from institutions situated in Nagpur gets an advantage over all others by arbitrary reservation of five seats for such students. As observed by the Supreme Court in Raj Kumar's case : AIR1982SC1301 , there is no nexus between the classification and the object sought to be achieved namely of getting the best candidates for admission to the Medical Colleges. In short, therefore, we find that this provision is arbitrary and discriminatory and hence it offends the fundamental right guaranteed under Art. 14 of the Constitution. We have, therefore, no alternative but to strike down this provision.
7. In view of our opinion that the said provisions contained in the Rules are invalid, some seats filled in by the first respondent would have to be held to have been illegally filled in out of the total seats which have been filled in on the basis of the abovesaid invalidated rules. At the same time, we must observe that those students who have been admitted on the basis of the above said invalidated rules should not be discontinued from prosecuting their studies because they had been admitted on the assumption that these rules were valid. We feel that they should not suffer since they have already put in one year of their study. It will be harsh to direct that they should discontinue prosecuting their studies. We would direct respondent Nos, 1 and 2 to accommodate these students by creating additional seats. We would, further, direct respondent Nos. 1 and 2 to work out the number of seats that were filled in during the relevant academic year on the basis of rules declared to be invalid and such number of seats should be filled in by accommodating the candidates from the waiting list on the basis of merit by creating additional seats in the current session. We are informed that if correct position is assessed, the petitioner is likely to be admitted from the current session.
8. In the result, the writ petition is allowed and the abovesaid two rules are held to be constitutionally invalid. The respondents are hereby directed to work out the admission to the Government Medical College on the basis of the invalidity of these rules and fill in the vacancies which would have occurred, had these rules been not taken into consideration at the time of the admission, by admitting students from the waiting list on their own merit. The first respondent shall not debar those who have been admitted on the basis of those rules from prosecuting their studies, but shall admit the others to the extent f the number of vacancies which would have occurred, by creating additional seats, if necessary. In the circumstances of the case, there shall be no order as to costs.
9. Petition allowed.