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Bhangre Purshotam and 35 ors. Vs. State of Maharashtra and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petition No. 82 of 1983
Judge
Reported in1985(1)BomCR174; 1984MhLJ633
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 12 and 14; Maharashtra Secondary Education Boards Act, 1965; Maharashtra Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Boards Regulations, 1977
AppellantBhangre Purshotam and 35 ors.
RespondentState of Maharashtra and ors.
Appellant AdvocateN.H. Gurusahani and ;Ahmed A. Irani, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateD.P. Hegde, Addl. Govt. Pleader and ;D.S. Chopra, A.G.P., for respondents 1 to 4 and ;S.G. Brahme, Adv. for respondents 5 and 6
DispositionWrit petition succeeded
Excerpt:
constitution - admission - articles 12 and 14 of constitution of india maharashtra secondary education boards act, 1965 and maharashtra secondary and higher secondary education boards regulations, 1977 - meritorious students of college denied admission to government technical high school - quota of 20 students fixed for each participating college which sought admission of their students in technical school - no rules framed for admission to technical school so admission to be governed by rational principle - meritorious students denied as they came from particular college or area - hostile discrimination - not necessary to allot 20 seats to participating college - college could not be denied grant-in-aid if less than 20 students selected from participating college - participating colleges.....k. madhava reddy, c.j.1. 35 students of smt. chandibai h. mansukhani college at ulhasnagar (hereinafter referred to as 'mansukhani college') who have been admitted into the xith standard of that college but denied admission to the government technical high school at ulhasnagar for the workshop technology training facility seek a writ of certiorary to quash the order of the superintendent, government technical high school, ulhasnagar, 4th respondent herein, dated 17th june, 1982 (exh. e) and the order dated 22nd july, 1982 (exhibit j) and to issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate direction to admit them to the xith standard in the technical subjects on the basis of merit amongst all the students seeking admission in that school.the few facts necessary to appreciate the.....
Judgment:

K. Madhava Reddy, C.J.

1. 35 students of Smt. Chandibai H. Mansukhani College at Ulhasnagar (hereinafter referred to as 'Mansukhani College') who have been admitted into the XIth Standard of that college but denied admission to the Government Technical High School at Ulhasnagar for the Workshop Technology Training Facility seek a writ of certiorary to quash the order of the Superintendent, Government Technical High School, Ulhasnagar, 4th respondent herein, dated 17th June, 1982 (Exh. E) and the order dated 22nd July, 1982 (Exhibit J) and to issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate direction to admit them to the XIth Standard in the technical subjects on the basis of merit amongst all the students seeking admission in that school.

The few facts necessary to appreciate the contentions raised by the parties may be briefly noticed :

2. Under the Maharashtra Secondary Education Boards Act, 1965 (Maharashtra Act No. 41 of 1965) (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'), the State Board and the Divisional Boards regulate matters pertaining to Secondary Education in the State of Maharashtra. That Act as amended by Act No. 6 of 1977 is known as 'The Maharashtra Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Boards Act, 1965'. That Act which came into force on and from 15th June, 1977 introduced, what is now commonly known as 10+2+3 pattern of Education, i.e. 10 years of Secondary School Education, 2 years of Higher Secondary Education or Junior College Education and 3 years of University Education.

3. As envisaged by the Act, a Statutory State Board and a Statutory Division Board for each of the three Divisions (1) Poona Division, (2) Aurangabad Division and (3) Nagpur Division have been termed. The State Board is empowered to make regulations to carry out the purposes of the Act. The Maharashtra Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Boards Regulation, 1977 framed there under which came into force on and from 15th June, 1977 governs admissions to the Junior College. As per Regulation 72, Candidates of recognised Junior Colleges are eligible for admission to Higher Secondary School Certificate Examination to be held by the Board.

4. All the petitioners herein have passed X standard (S.S.C.) Secondary School Certificate Examination held in March/April 1982 and have secured 50 per cent or more marks in the aggregate and are eligible for admission to XIth Standard in a High School which is permitted by the Board to have XIth Standard or the first year of Junior College. Several such students including the petitioners who have offered workshop technology and who have been admitted to XIth Standard in the Mansukhani College have been denied admission to the Government Technical High School at Ulhasnagar, although if merit is taken the basis for admission, they are entitled to be admitted. It is their case that merit should alone govern such admission.

5. The Government Technical High School at Ulhasnagar represented by the fourth respondent and under the control of respondents 1, 2 and 3 is duly recognised by the State Government and the Director of Technical Education for imparting Workshop Technology Training to XIth and XIIth Standards. Similar Facilities are provided in Technical Schools run by the Government at Dadar, Mulund and Vile Parle.

6. The 4th respondent by his letter dated 17-6-1982, while intimating him that the admission in that school would be as last year's procedure and that the last year's quota would remain unchanged, directed the Principal of Mansukhani College to forward a list of students of the said College for admission to the XIth Standard for Training in Technical subjects at the Government Technical High School at Ulhasnagar. Last year a quota of 20 students was fixed for each of the 3 Junior Colleges; the Mansukhani College, Talreja College and Birla College-which sought admission for their students in the Government Technical High School at Ulhasnagar for Workshop Technology Training. It may be noticed that these two Colleges which are given the right alongwith Mansukhani College, to send 20 students to this Government Technical High School, namely, Talreja College, Ulhasnagar and Birla College, Kalyan have been subsequently impleaded as respondents 5 and 6 to this writ petition. The petitioners plead that this letter is in total disregard of the High Court's order dated 14-12-1981 in Writ Petition No. 1260 of 1981. It is contended that the imposition of this quota system is not postulated by the provisions of any Act or any Regulation and is arbitrary and illegal. It is also opposed to all principles of justice and fair play and is violative of equality before law and equal protection of laws guaranteed to every citizen under Article 14 of the Constitution. It is not saved by Article 15. The Principal of the Mansukhani College by his letter dated 5th July, 1982 addressed to the 4th respondent protested against the fixation of quota and requested that all students of that college be given admission for Training in the XIth Standard Technical Subjects at the Government Technical High School on the basis of Merit i.e. on the basis of the marks secured by them at the S.C.C. examination and irrespective of the college from which they came. (Exhibit F) by another letter dated 23rd September, 1982, the Principal of the Mansukhani College requested the 4th respondent to consider the admission of the students sent from their college on the basis of merit instead of on the basis of number of seals allotted to these 3 colleges (vide Exhibit G). There was no response to these letter. The list of all the students of the Mansukhani College aspiring for admission to the Government Technical High School was forwarded alongwith letter dated 20th July, 1982. The Principal reiterated the request in his further letter dated 26th July, 1982 (Exhibit I). The 4th respondent sent a communication dated 22nd July, 1982 (Exhibit J) directing Principals of each of the three colleges to send a list of 20 students selected for admission to the XIth Standard Technical Subjects. The Principal of the Mansukhani College requested the 3rd respondent by letter dated 2nd August, 1982 (Exhibit K) to admit students on the basis of merit ignoring the quota system which was resulting in denying admission to brilliant students. The Writ Petition No. 1260 of 1981 filed in respect of admission to the academic year 1981-82 was allowed on 14th December, 1981. Inspite of that order, once again for academic year 1983-84, the very same injustice is being perpetrated. Hence this writ petition by the 35 students of Mansukhani College for the aforesaid reliefs.

7. The broad facts stated in the petitioners Affidavit are not disputed in the return of respondents No. 1 to 4. It is, however, denied that any assurance was given that students of each of the three colleges would be admitted to the Government Technical High School at Ulhasnagar on the basis of merit. It is averred in the affidavit of the inspector of Technical Education, Directorate of Technical Training, Maharashtra State, Shri Bhaskar Madhav Patwardhan, that in the full fledged Junior Colleges, students are admitted on merit directly after passing the S.C.C. examination. In Government Technical High School Centres, only one technical subject is taught. The other 5 subjects viz. 2 languages, physics, chemistry and mathematics are not taught. The students sponsored by the participating Junior Colleges are accepted at such centres for receiving instruction in technical subjects viz. workshop technology and engineering drawing. Government Technical High School at Ulhasnagar is one such centre. The Mansukhani College in which the petitioners are admitted and the 5th and 6th respondents college are the three participating Junior Colleges of this centre. They sponsor students from their respective rolls 'in strength of the quota allotted to each of the participating Junior College'. These Junior Colleges admit students to their respective colleges on the basis of the guidelines provided in the Government Resolution dated 27-6-1975. 60 seats are available for imparting instruction in technical subject at Ulhasnagar Technical High School Centre. Each of the three participating Junior Colleges while admitting students in their colleges, admit 20 students for technical training course. As such, 20 students from each of these colleges are admitted to the Government Technical High School Centre on the basis of the guidelines provided in Government Resolution dated 27-6-1975. No student is directly admitted to Ulhasnagar Govt. Technical High School Centre. The 20 students sponsored by each of these colleges are admitted strictly according to merit considered amongst the students of each of the colleges separately.

8. Opposing the grant of reliefs prayed for, in a supplementary affidavit, certain additional facts were brought on record. It is averred that every school or Junior College desirous of imparting technical education is required to have workshop laboratories. Drawing halls etc., for imparting education in the subject of workshop technology and engineering drawing. For providing these facilities Rs. 25 to 30 lakhs are required. Many of the Schools and Junior Colleges are not in a position to incur such a heavy expenditure. However, with a view to impart technical education to as large a number of students as possible, the Government of Maharashtra as opened Technical Training Centres all over Maharashtra as in Exhibit 'I'. Students of all such schools and colleges where there are no such facilities, are allotted a particular centre having regard to the proximity of the colleges to the centre. It is at these technical training centres, that the student of these institutions receive training. The total capacity of these 51 centres to impart training in technical subjects is 3000. Permission is granted to open classes in technical training, provided however, there are at least 20 students in a class. If the strength of any class falls below 20, such class is not admitted to grant-in aid. Keeping in view the aforesaid embargo, 20 students from each of the three colleges are admitted to the Government Technical Training Centre at Ulhasnagar. The total capacity of this Centre is about 600 out of which 480 seats are allotted to students from Std. VIII to Xth, while quota of 120 students is made available for students from standard XIth and XIIth. The maximum capacity of this training centre for training students of higher secondary school is one division of 60 students in which the above mentioned three Junior Colleges participate. On a fair, social and equitable basis, 20 seats are allotted to each of the three Junior Colleges so that each Junior College could admit students for technical training and be assured of the minimum strength of 20 students. It is suggested in this affidavit that since 20 seats are allotted to each college. 'a student' who is enable to find a vacancy in that school can apply for admission to any of the other two junior colleges and get the facility in technical training'....... As none of the 35 petitioners of the Mansukhani College have applied for admission to the other two Junior Colleges, they could not be granted admission. It is pleaded that the petitioners have no legal right to be imparted technical training and much less is there any legal obligation upon the Government to provide them seats at the Government Technical Training Centre, Ulhasnagar.

9. From the above facts placed on record by the parties, it is abundantly clear that students of Mansukhani College, some of whom are the petitioners, were denied admission, even though some of them have secured a higher percentage of marks at the Xth Standard (S.S.C.) Examination than the students of the respondents 4 and 5 Junior Colleges. To give but one example, the first petitioner Bhangre Purshotam who has secured 81.9 percent marks falling under category 'open merit' has been denied admission in the 4th respondent training school, while students from the 4th and 5th respondent school securing 70 per cent marks were granted admission. This is so because, merit only amongst the students sponsored by a particular college was taken into account and not merit amongst the students of all the three colleges put together.

10. The method of admitting 20 students from each of the 3 participating colleges which is now adopted is not laid down either under any 'Act' or any Rule or Regulation. It is pleaded in the affidavit in reply that it is governed by Government Resolution dated 27-6-1975. That Resolution reads as follows :---

'Government is pleased to approve the accompanying Rules for admission to Higher Secondary Course (Technical) Std. XI as shown in Appendix 'A'. These Orders should have effect from the academic year 1975-76.'

By Order and in the name of the Governor of Maharashtra.

Sd./- S.Y. Virkar,

Dy. Secretary to the Govt. of Maharashtra.

APPENDIX 'A'

Rules for admission to Std. XI of the Higher Secondary Course (with Technical subjects) in institutions in Maharashtra State.

1) The students passing the S.S.C. Examination New Course (X year pattern) held by the Poona Divisional Board, Nagpur Divisional Board or Aurangabad Divisional Board of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary Education from an institution in Maharashtra State with or without technical subjects shall be eligible for admission to the Higher Secondary Course Std. XI with technical subjects.

2) 40% of the seats (intake) in each Institution are reserved for students passing the above S.S.C. Examination with the prescribed technical subjects and securing 50% or more Marks in the aggregate.

3) After allotting seats for such eligible technical students, the remaining seats would be available to the students passing the S.S.C. Examination with academic subjects provided that the S.S.C. (Tech.) students who do not get direct admission under the provision made in Rule 2 above, may compete for the remaining seats and should be given a weightage of 15 marks as against the students passing the S.S.C. Examination with Academic subjects.

4) The reservation for the students belonging to the Backward Classes shall be as per the existing Government orders on the subject.

5) Admission shall be effected inter se on merits.

11. Whether this Government Resolution and the Rules govern admission to the Technical Training facility at Government Technical High School or not, we will presently examine. But before that, to clear the ground, we may note what the Supreme Court said in Suman Gupte v. State of J.K., : [1983]3SCR985 , with regard to the power of the Government to nominate students to Medical Colleges in the other States on reciprocal basis. The Supreme Court observed that in the matter of choosing candidates for nomination to seats reserved in Medical Colleges of the other States, there is no absolute power vested in the State Government. It is incumbent on the State Government to adopt a criterion or restrict its power by reference to norms which, while designed to achieve its object, nevertheless, confine the flow of that power within constitutional limits. It cannot be said that an adequate system of standards cannot be devised for that purpose....It cannot be contended that the selection of candidates must remain in the unlimited discretion and the uncontrolled choice of the State Government. The exercise of all administrative power vested in public authority must be structured within a system of controls informed by both relevance and reason relevance in relation to the object which it seeks to serve and reason in regard to the manner in which it attempts to do so. Wherever the exercise of such power affects individual rights, there can be no greater assurance protecting its valid exercise than its governance by these twin tests. The selection of an appropriate procedure lies ordinarily within the domain of administrative policy, and when the objective can be fulfilled by more than one constitutionally valid method, the selection must be left to choice. The courts are generally concerned merely with the legal validity of choice made......Until a policy is formulated and adopted and concrete criteria are embodied in the procedure to be selected, the nominations have to be made by following the procedure of selecting candidates strictly on the basis of merit, the candidates nominated being those, in order of merit, immediately next below the candidates selected for admission to the Medical Colleges of the home State.

12. We may now examine if the Rules adopted in Government Resolution No. G.T.S. 9475/53869 T. Education Department dated 27-6-1975 referred to above govern the admission to the Government Technical High Schools, such as the one at Ulhasnagar. These Rules are for admission into Standard XI of the Higher Secondary Course (With Technical Subjects). Admittedly, the Government Technical High School at Ulhasnagar does not admit students directly to any Higher Secondary Courses (with Technical Subjects), it only imparts Technical Training in Workshop Technology and Drawing to students as are admitted in accordance with these Rules in other institution. It is a Workshop Technology Training Centre providing facility to the students of college where there is no such facility. In our view, the above Rules, as such do not govern admission to the Technical Training Facility at the Government Technical High School. However, even if it is assumed that these Rules apply, it would be seen that Rule 5 enjoins admission of students on inter se merit and not on the basis of any quota fixed for such of the participating colleges.

13. If no rules are framed governing the admission of students to this Government Technical High School, then obviously the admission should be governed by some intelligible and rational principle. After reserving certain seats for Scheduled Tribes, Schedule casts and Backward classes students which is sanctioned by the Constitution of India, it stands to reason that the students of the respective participating colleges are admitted to the Government Technical Training School, which is avowedly established for the purpose of making available technical training facility to students of such colleges, on the basis of merit. If the principle of the merit is to be adhered to, then an integrated list of students sponsored by the 3 participating colleges must be drawn up in the order of merit and the first 60 students, irrespective of to which of the participating colleges they belong, must be admitted for training at the 4th respondent training School. This has admittedly not been done. They have fixed a quota of 20 students for each college and selected the first twenty students of each college irrespective of what there rank is in the integrated list of the students of all the three participating colleges offering technical courses. The respondent however, seek to justly the admission on the basis of a quota of 20 students allotted to each of the 3 participating colleges and consideration of merit only as amongst the students sponsored by a particular college and not amongst all the students sponsored by the three colleges on the ground (a) that if the overall merit is taken into account, only one college may monopolise all the available seats and the students from other colleges may not be admitted at all, (b) that if an integrated merit list of students is prepared and admission is given on that basis, the total number of students admitted from a particular participating college may fall below 20 and expose that college to withdrawal of recognition and render the college ineligible for the release of grant-in-aid it may be forced to close down that class, (c) that it would be difficult for the respective participating colleges to adjust their time-table for teaching the other subjects in their respective schools, if the students sent by them are either more than 20 or less than 20, and (d) that the number of students that would be admitted from each college would be fluctuating from year to year.

14. How far these several grounds taken by the respondents are valid and justify the admission of students to this facility, otherwise than on merit may now be examined.

15. It is clear from the stand taken by respondents 1 to 4 that they seek to allot seats to the participating colleges and not the students. In other words, meritorious students are denied admission only because they came from a particular college or area. In Re. Miss Arti Sapru etc. v. State of Jammu and Kashmir and others, : [1981]3SCR34 declared that any classification of students for the purpose of admission to medical colleges must be based on an intelligible data. In that case, the Supreme Court was dealing with admission to the Medical Colleges in the State of Jammu and Kashmir was based on reservation of seats to different categories, 50 per cent of seats were earmarked for being filed on the basis of open merits, 25 per cent were reserved for candidate from Scheduled Castes and other reserved categories, one of which was broadly described as 'socially and educationally backward classes' and included candidates from (a) areas adjoining actual line of control and (b) areas known as bad pockets including Ladhak. The remaining 25 per cent were to be filled on the basis of inter se merit to ensure rectification of imbalance in the admission for various parts of the State, if any, so as to give equitable and uniform treatment to those parts. Certain villages were classified as socially and educationally backward 'Bad pockets' and areas belonging to the line of actual control. This classification was attacked as wholly arbitrary and without any foundation. The Court held that the classification attempted 'suffers from the vice of the arbitrariness and must be declared invalid. There is no intelligible date before us for sustaining the classification. No doubt, the State Government has acted in its own wisdom, but the material to which that wisdom was applied has not been disclosed at all. The fact by itself that some hundreds of villages have been brought within the classification is of no assistance whatever. In State of U.P. v. Pradip Tavdon, : [1975]2SCR761 the Supreme Court ruled that in the matter of admission of students to Medical Colleges, a reservation in favour of candidates on the ground that they hailed from rural areas was unconstitutional. The Court observed 'the reservation for rural areas cannot be sustained on the ground that the rural areas represent socially and educationally backward classes of Citizens. This reservation appears to be made for the majority population of the State, 80 per cent of the population of the State cannot be a homogeneous class. Poverty in rural areas cannot be the basis of classification to support reservation from rural area.'

16. In the present case too, among the students similarly placed certain students are preferred ignoring merit only because they hail from a particular college and not the other. The criteria sought to be made applicable to students of the different Colleges of the same State. In our view, is invidious, hostile and arbitrary discrimination and denies equal opportunity to students similarly placed. There is no intelligible differentia to sustain this classification. It does not bear any nexus to the object sought to be achieved namely, training 60 students at the Government Technical Training School, Ulhasnagar.

17. One of the grounds mentioned is that if the first 60 out of an integrated merit list are granted admission, there is a possibility of all the 60 seats or at least more than 20 seats being allotted to one college, with the result that other colleges may be allotted less than 20 seats or may be none at all. We do not see, why each of the 3 colleges should necessarily be allotted 20 seats, if thereby less meritorious students are admitted and more meritorious are be denied. There does not appear to be any rational basis for adopting this principle. After all, it is not the colleges that are granted admission, it is the students. If admission of students to the respective participating colleges is to be on the basis of merit, there is no reason why that system should not be adopted for admission to the training course which is part of the curriculum fixed for the XIth and XII Standards of Junior College. If the object sought to be achieved is to impart training in technical courses to meritorious students and that is the basis on which the respective colleges are required under the Government Resolution to admit students, for imparting technical training to such students, that criteria cannot be given a go-by and a different criteria of allotting 20 seats to each of the participating colleges adopted. That would result in denying admission to meritorious students for no fault of their unless joining a reputed college itself is held to be a fault. In fact, as per Government Resolution dated 27-6-75, no participating college can legally deny admission to a student if he is entitled to admission on the basis of marks secured by him. It is common knowledge that certain institutions acquire a reputation for excellence in imparting instruction in particular subjects. Students may apply for admission to a particular college for a variety of other reasons as well, like transport facility, proximity of situation and the like. If merit is not made, the basis for admission to the Government Technical Training School also, a meritorious student would pay the penalty of having joined a good college only because a more meritorious student has also taken admission in that college. The further anomalous situation would be that he would get admission if only he joins the other participating college where the other students are less meritorious. A system of admission to the technical course which gives a go by to the merit and makes it dependent upon the fortuitous circumstances of a particular student being from one participating institution and not the other, cannot but be termed irrational and arbitrary. The Government Technical Training Centre providing the training facility, being a 'state' within the meaning of Article 12, cannot adopt an arbitrary method of selecting candidates for admission to its facility. All students who have joined any of the three participating colleges for availing the facility at this centre must be treated equally before law. That can be assured only by granting admission on the basis of merit among the students applying for being admitted to this facility. Any method of allotting quota to each of the colleges, would result in grating admission to less meritorious students and denying admission to more meritorious students, only because they come from a particular college and area. Any such basis for admission cannot be deemed 'fair, social or equitable'. That as laid down by the Supreme Court is illegal and arbitrary, and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

18. Another reason given to sustain the impugned system is that it may result in less than 20 students of a particular college being admitted and that may expose the particular college to being denied the grant-in-aid. That to our mind is no ground to adopt the present arbitrary system of admission to the facility at the Government Training Centre. However, this apprehension seems to be wholly unfounded. Under Government Resolution E. & Y.S. Department No. H.S.C. 1076/419/XX XXI dated 6th May, 1976 (Appearing at page 218 of Secondary Schools Code, 1979 Revised Edition), permission may be granted to open a Class in any College or Secondary School, provided the strength of the particular Class is at least 20. That Regulation reads as follows :---

XI. Permission to open classes of Junior College.---Secondary Schools and Colleges allowed to open Junior College Classes should restrict themselves to the number of divisions as well as streams sanctioned to them by the Director of Education/Director of Technical Education. Expenditure on divisions and streams not sanctioned or in excess of those sanctioned will not be held admissible for grant. Similarly, provision for teaching and optional subject shall not be made unless:---

(a) 'for teaching Urdu, Pali, Sanskrit, Persian, Philosophy, Psychology, Modern Foreign Language, Drawing (fine Art), Dancing, Indian Music and Foreign Music, a minimum of Ten Students (Each) are available; and

(b) for teaching any optional subject other than that mentioned in (a) above a minimum of Twenty Students (each) are available.'

19. This rule, to our mind cannot have any application to Technical Training Classes in a college such as the three participating colleges, which by themselves do not provide technical training. These three participating colleges are permitted to open XIth and XIIth class i.e. Junior College classes upon the specific understanding that the students of these colleges would be given training in technical courses at the Government Technical Training Schools where such facility is provided and not in their own college. That being so, to our mind, even if any particular year, the strength of the students selected from any of the participating colleges for training in the technical courses falls below 20, the colleges cannot be denied grant-in-aid, in fact, in admitting the students to their respective colleges, they are obliged to follow the Rules framed under Government Resolution dated 27-6-1975. Rule 2 of which reserves 40 per dent of the seats in their respective colleges for students passing the S.S.C. Examination with the prescribed technical courses and securing 50 per cent or more marks in the aggregates. After allotting seats for such eligible technical students, the remaining seats are required to be made available to the students passing the S.S.C. Examination with academic subjects provided that the S.S.C. students with technical subjects who do not get direct admission under the provision made in Rule 2 above, may compete for the remaining seats and are given weightage of 5 marks as against students passing the S.S.C. Examination with academic subjects. After reserving certain seats for students belonging to the backward classes as per the existing Government orders, Rule 5 enjoining that admission into all the participating colleges shall be on the basis of inter se merit. These participating colleges have therefore no option but to admit all students opting for technical training entirely solely on the basis of merit. When it comes to sending these students to the Government Technical Training School for the training facility if they are denied, admission only because they are students of a particular participating college, where there are more then 20 meritorious students that in her opinion, would be inequitable, unjust and arbitrary.

20. The other difficulty that has been pointed out is the adjustment of the time table in the respective participating colleges. We do not see how that could be made a ground for denying admission in the Government Technical High School, where there is admittedly facility for imparting training for 60 students. So far as the 4th respondent Government training school is concerned, it would make no difference whether the trainee student is from one participating college or the other. So long as the strength of the trainees remains 60, the 4th respondents training school would not face any difficulty. Even for the participating Junior Colleges, in our view, there would be no insurmountable difficulty. Assuming there is any such difficulty, merit cannot be ignored to facilitate that particular college to adjust its time table. Merit of the students must outweigh any such inconvenience to the management of the participating college which themselves cannot provide such facility. So far as the Government Technical High School is concerned, it cannot plead such an excuse.

21. It is also contended on behalf of the response that the participating colleges which are themselves are in no possession to make technical training facility available to its students, cannot claim admission to their students solely on the basis of merits in the Government Technical Training High School. It is true that the participating colleges themselves are not providing this costly training facility and the State is meeting the entire expenditure in this regard. But even so, that does not vest an arbitrary power in the State in the matter of admission to an educational institution. In Suman Gupta v. State of J. & K., : [1983]3SCR985 , the Supreme Court emphatically rejected such a plea in the following words :---

'It could not be contended that as the State Government finances medical education within the State, it is entitled to exercise an absolute discretion in the nomination of candidate to seats in Medical Colleges outside the State, specially when the nomination is part of a reciprocal arrangement between the different States.'

22. It must be noticed that the State has set for itself the objective of training 60 students at the 4th respondent training centre. It is immaterial whether those 60 students are from one college or the other, the expenditure incurred by the Government would be the same for training 60 students, whether they are from one college or the other.

23. It was also argued that a system of allotting a quota of 20 was in vogue and the participating colleges had given an assurance that they would not admit more then 20 students to this course. This is, however, denied by the petitioners. There is no material to accept the plea of respondents 1 to 4. No assurance appears to have been asked for or given in the past by any of the participating colleges that they would seek admission for only 20 students of their college at this Training Centre. On the contrary, when the number was sought to be restricted on the basis of a quota allotted to Mansukhani College in Writ petition No. 1260 of 1981. Division Bench of this Court more or less by consent directed grant of admission to the Government Technical Training Centre at Ulhasnagar or Vile Parle wherever seats are available in the XIth class forthwith. There is no reason why respondent should be allowed to go back upon the said understanding especially when the method of allotting of quota of 20 seats to each of the college is found to be unfair and arbitrary.

24. It was also argued that as this writ petition relates to the admission of students for the academic year 1982-83 which has come to an end, the discretionary jurisdiction vested in this Court should not be exercised at this stage. We are not impressed by this argument. Although, a direction was given during the previous academic year, a controversy was once again raised during the academic year 1982-83. That apart, pending this writ petition under the interim direction of this Court, students have been admitted. The validity of such admission would remain undetermined. Further having regard to the rival claims of the participating colleges, this would remain a live issue and is likely to crop up year after year, it is also necessary that all the participating colleges as well as the Government Technical High School and more especially the students seeking admission should know what the position in this regard is and where they stand. The matter must, therefore, be set at rest to serve as a guide for the succeeding academic years. The writ petition can not be dismissed now on this grounds.

25. In view of the above discussion, this writ petition succeeds and is accordingly allowed. A writ of certiorari shall issue quashing the orders of the 4th respondent contained in letter dated 17th June, 1982 (Exhibit E) and letter dated 22nd July, 1982 (Exhibit J). Further, a writ of mandamus shall issue to the respondents 1 to 4 admit the admit the petitioners and other students who have applied for admission to the training course at the 4th respondents school strictly on the basis of the inter se merit amongst all the students sponsored by the Mansukhani College, Talreja College and Birla College. This shall, however, be without prejudice to the admissions already granted for the academic year 1982-83. In the circumstances of the case, we make no order as to costs.


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