D.M. Chandrashekhar, C.J.
1. This is an appeal from the order of Chandrakantaraj Urs, J., allowing Writ Petition No. 15949 of 1981. The respondent therein, the Selection Committee for admission to Government Medical Colleges and Government Seats in Private Medical Colleges (hereinafter referred to as 'the Selection Committee), has preferred this appeal. The petitioner in the writ petition will hereinafter be referred to as the petitioner.
2. The petitioner had passed the Pre university Examination securing 81.33 per cent marks in Physics, Chemistry and Biology and had applied for admission to any of the Medical Colleges in the State for the academic year 1981-82. In her application, she had claimed to belong to a Backward Caste. The caste, as stated in her application, was 'Salia'. She was interviewed on 29-7-1981 by the Selection Committee which took the view that Salia caste was not a Backward Caste according to the Government Order dated 1-5-1979 specifying Backward Classes and providing reservation for them under Arts. 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution of India (here in after referred to as 'the Backward Classes G. 0.1). She presented the writ petition (out of which this appeal has arisen) praying for issue of a writ in the nature of mandamus directing the Selection Committee to select her for admission to the First Year M. B. B. S. in any of the Government Medical Colleges or for a Government seat in any of the Private Medical Colleges
3. in her petition, the petitioner had averred, inter alia thus: She is the daughter of an officer in the Army who died while in service. She belonged to 'Challiya' caste which is a Community of Malayali weavers residing in Mangalore City. She had made an application to the Tahsildar for issue of a certificate that she belonged to a Backward Caste. Therein she had stated her caste as 'Salia' though she really intended to state her caste as 'Challiya'. In the certificate issued by the Tahsildar, he had simply stated that she belonged to a Backward Caste. Subsequently, in hey application for admission to the Dental College she had similarly stated her caste as 'Salia'. The Clerk in-charge of the admission to Dental Colleges, pointed out that the name of her caste should be spelt as 'Challiyal as described in the Backward Classes G. 0. She accordingly corrected the name of her caste in the application form for admission to the Dental College. In the Backward Caste certificate issued by the Tahsildar and annexed to her application for admission to the Dental College, the name of her caste had been correctly stated as Challiya. When she appeared for interview before the Selection Committee on 29-7-1981, the Chairman thereof asked her as to which caste she belong-ed. She stated the name of her caste as Challiya. He said that Salia caste was not a backward caste according to the Backward Classes G. 0. She tried to explain that she hailed from the Malayalam speaking community in Mangalore, namely, Challiya. She also showed the original she obtained for application for admission to the Dental College. How ever, the Chairman indicated that he could not accept her claim that she be longed to a backward caste. She was not selected for admission to any of the Medical Colleges. She had secured more marks than the last candidate selected for admission to those Colleges in the category of Backward Castes.
4. In the statement of objections presented on behalf of the Selection Committee, it was stated, inter alias, thus: The burden of establishing the petitioner's claim that she belonged to a Backward Caste as specified in the Backward Classes G. 0., was an her and she did not discharge that burden. Her averment that she real1v intended to describe the caste to which she belonged as 'Challiya', could not be accepted, in her application, she had stated her caste as Salia. If she wanted to rely upon the certificate said to have been issued by the Tabsildar on 22-7-1981, she should have placed it before the Selection Committee at the time of her interview on 29-7-1981. However, she did not do so. It was only in her letter dated 2-8-1981 addressed to the Chairman of the Selection Committee that she adverted to the backward caste certificate said to have been issued by the Tahsildar on 22-7-1981. The Selection Committee had taken a decision on 29-71981 to reject her claim that she belonged to Backward Caste. It was neither permissible nor possible for the Selection Committee to reopen matters on which decisions had already been taken; otherwise it would not be possible for the Selection Committee to complete the selection within the short period Following the procedure prescribed under R. 10 of the Karnataka Medical Colleges (Selection for Admission) Rules, 1981 (hereinafter referred to as the Rules), the Selection Committee verified the particulars furnished by her and came to the conclusion that she did not establish that she belonged to any of the Backward. Castes specified in the Backward Classes G. 0., even though an opportunity was given to her in the interview held an 29-7-1981 to establish her claim. If she desired to avail of the benefit of reservation, she should have established her claim before the Selection Committee at the time of the interview. Therefore, the rejection of her application by the Selection Committee was just and proper.
5.. The learned single Judge referred to our decision in State, of Karnataka v. M. P. Shylaja : AIR1982Kant40 and construed that decision as having disapproved the practice of the Selection Committee ascertaining the caste or community of a candidate at the time of the interview and deciding the question of caste or community Solely on the basis of the interview. The learned single Judge observed:
'In my view, the ascertainment by the Selection Committee is controlled by the power vested in it both under R. 10 Which in turn is controlled by Rule 16 of the Rules. R. 16 of the Rules specifically states that on verification of information furnished in applications of certain categories, applications of candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes shall be got verified, if necessary, by reference to the appropriate authorities like Deputy Commissioner, Superintendent of Police, Officers of Social Welfare Department etc In other words, the purpose of the Rule appears to be that the Selection Committee shall not be the sole arbiter of the doubt, if any, as to the caste or community of candidates. If that 4 so understood, then the petitioner's effort to produce additional material before the Selection Committee by writing the letter or) Its Aug. 1981, which admittedly has been received by the Selection Committee before the 4th Aug. 1981, is dearly indicative of the fact that the Selection Committee had made up its mind on the 29th July, 1981 itself and was not prepared to give an opportunity to the candidate to substantiate her claim that she belongs to Chaliya community as claimed by her.'
6. Repelling the contention advanced on behalf of the Selection Committee that the Selection Committee had wide Powers to treat the interview itself as the enquiry, the learned single judge observed as follows:
'I do not think I should accede to that argument. If that is acceded to, then the whole of R. 16 of the Rules becomes redundant. Even otherwise, such unguided powers read into R. 10 (2) (e) of the Rules, would result in that Rule being struck down as suffering from the vice of excessive, unguided and arbitrary delegation of power.'
7. The learned single Judge held that the Selection Committee was in error in arbitrarily rejecting the claim of the petitioner that she belonged to Challiya caste merely because it had been spelt differently in her application. He quashed the decision of the Selection Committee rejecting the petitioner's claim that she belonged to Challiya caste and directed the Selection Committee to give her an opportunity to establish such claim and in case her claim was accepted, to consider her case, on the basis of the marks obtained by her, for selection in the category of seats reserved for Backward Castes.
8. The learned Additional Government Advocate who appeared for the Selection Committee in this appeal did not dispute that Challiyan is one of the Backward Castes as specified in the Backward Classes G. 0. In Annexure-I thereto in Category-B - Backward Castes, Item No. 25 reads:
' (a) Chaliyan,
(b) Teruvan and
9. In List I of statement 5 in VOL 11 of the Report of the Karnataka Backward Class Commission, 1975, the traditional occupation of the above caste is stated as cotton weaving (Malayali).
10. The real question that arises in this appeal is whether the Selection Committee afforded a reasonable opportunity to the petitioner to establish her claim that she belonged to Challiya Caste.
11. The learned Additional Government Advocate questioned the correctness of the view of the learned single Judge that the Selection Committee should necessari1y resort to the procedure prescribed in R. 16 of the Rules to reject the claim of an applicant that he belongs to any of the categories of Backward Classes. The learned Additional Government Advocate argued that the learned single Judge overlooked that the interview by the Selection - Committee, itself, constitutes an opportunity to an applicant to establish his claim to belong to a Backward Class. The learned Additional Government Advocate maintained that the learned single Judge's reading of the decision in Shylaja's case : AIR1982Kant40 (supra), was not correct.
12. In our opinion, the learned Additional Government Advocate is right in his submission that the following observations of the learned single Judge do not represent a correct reading of the decision in Shylaja's case : AIR1982Kant40 (supra):
'The Division Bench of this Court after setting out the facts of that case clearly disapproved the practice of the Selection Committee about ascertaining the caste or community of the candidate as the case may be at the interview and solely on a finding recorded at the interview rejecting the candidate's claim for a special treatment available to the candidate for reserved seats
13. In Shylaja's case, when the applicant for admission to Medical Colleges, appeared before the Selection Committee, it (that Committee) put certain questions to her to verify whether she belonged to Bastha or be star caste. She gave certain reply. All that we held in that case, was that there should have been a more satisfactory enquiry by the Selection Committee before rejecting the certificate produced by her regarding the caste or community to which she belonged and that she should have a fuller opportunity to establish her claim. We did not lay down in Shylaja's case that the enquiry regarding the truth of an applicant's claim to belong to a particular category of Backward Class, Cannot be done at the interview by the Selection Committee. Nor did we lay down that the Selection Committee is not the sole arbiter of such question. Much less did we hold that whenever such dispute arises, the Selection Committee should refer such dispute to the Deputy Commissioner, the Superintendent of Police or the Officers of the Social Welfare Department.
14. Sub-rule (2) of R. 10 of the Rule reads:
(2) The Selection Committee shall-
(a) call for interview such number of the applicants required to select the required number on date, time and place as it may be determine,
(b) interview the applicants referred to in Clause (a) for verifying the particulars furnished by the applicants or to obtain any clarifications which the Selection Committee may need.
(c) have power to make such enquiry as it deems fit to verify the particulars, furnished by the applicant,
(d) have power to reject any application for reasons to be recorded in writing.
(e) The interview shall be construed to be an opportunity given to applicants of being heard in case of rejection of applications.
15. It is seen from the above sub rule that it confers power on the Selection Committee to verify the particulars furnished by applicants, to make such enquiry as it deems fit to verify such particulars and to reject any application for reasons to be recorded in writing. CI. (e) of that sub-rule expressly declares that the interview shall be construed as an opportunity given to applicants of being heard in case of reje9tion of applications.' In the face Of these express provisions, how can it be said that the Selection Committee has no power to ascertain the caste or community of the candidate at the interview and to decide at such interview whether to accept or to reject the claim of an applicant that he belongs to a particular category of Backward Class?
16. Rule 16 of the Rules is an enabling provision which empowers the Selection Committee to make a reference, if it considers necessary, to authorities like the Deputy Commissioner, the Superintendent of Police and Officers of the Social Welfare Department whose opinion, though entitled to due consideration, is not binding on the Selection Committee. Even if such reference is made, it is the Selection Committee and that Committee alone which should decide whether or not an applicant belongs to any category of Backward Classes as claimed by him. We are wholly unable to agree-with the view of the learned single Judge that the Selection Committee is not the sole arbiter of the question as to whether an applicant belongs to any particular category of Backward Classes. Nor can we agree with the view of the learned single Judge that if R. 10 is held to confer on the Selection Committee the power to decide such question, R. 16 would become redundant. As seen earlier, R. 16 merely enables the Selection Committee to take the assistance of authorities like the Deputy Commissioner without abdicating its ultimate power to decide such question.
17. We are unable to see how R. 10 (2) (e), if construed as conferring power on the Selection Committee to decide whether or not an applicant be longs to any particular category of Backward Classes, is liable to be struck down as ' suffering from the vice of excessive, unguided and arbitrary delegation of power. Some authority or the other has to be conferred the ultimate power to decide such question. Such conferment of power does not amount to excessive or arbitrary delegation of Power. If the authority entrusted with such power to decide, acts arbitrarily or does not provide reasonable opportunity to an applicant to substantiate his claim to belong to a particular category of Backward Classes, what will be struck down, will be such decision and not the conferment of such power to decide.
18. As held by us in Shylaja's case, : AIR1982Kant40 , before rejecting the claim of an applicant that he belongs to a particular category of Backward Classes, there should be a satisfactory enquiry in which such applicant is given full Opportunity to establish his claim.
19. In the present case, the petitioner had specifically averred in para-9 of the writ petition that when the Chairman of the Selection Committee asked her as to the caste to which she belonged, she mentioned the name of her caste, that he told her that Salia Community was not a Backward Caste, that she tried to point out the original certificate issued to her for the purpose of her application to the Dental College and tried to explain to him that there was only one Malayalam, speaking community, viz., Challiya in Mangalore, but the Chairman indicated that he could not accept that she belonged to a Backward Caste,
20. In the statement of objections filed on behalf of the Selection Committee, all that was said in traversal of the above averments, was that the petitioner did not produce at the interview the certificate said to have been issued by the Tahsildar on 22-7-1981. There was no specific denial of her averments that in reply to the question put by the Chairman of the Selection Committee she mentioned the name of her community (which obviously, must have been Challiyan) and tried to explain that in Mangalore there was only one Malayalam speaking community, i.e., Challiyan.
21. When the petitioner claimed at the interview by the Selection Committee that she belonged to Challiyan or Challiya caste, the Selection Committee should have given her a reasonable opportunity to substantiate her claim. As the Selection Committee did not do so, the learned single Judge was justified in quashing of the decision of the Selection Committee and directing it to give her a reasonable opportunity to substantiate her claim and if her claim is accepted, to consider her case on the basis of her marks, for a seat among the seats reserved for Backward Castes.
22. In the event of the petitioner's claim being accepted by the Selection Committee and her being selected, there will be no difficulty in admitting her to the I Year Class of the M. B. B. S. Course in one of the Medical Colleges, because we were informed by the learned Counsel for the writ petitioner (the respondent herein) on 22-10-1981 that there was one vacancy in the category of seats reserved for Backward Classes in the I Year Class of one of the Medical Colleges and we made an interim order on that day directing the Selection Committee to keep that seat vacant so that the petitioner may be' accommodated in the event of this appeal being dismissed.
23. In the result, we dismiss this appeal, though we have disagreed with a part of the reasoning of the learned single Judge,
24. In this appeal, we direct the parties to bear their own costs.
25. Appeal dismissed.