A. Kuppuswamy, Actg. C.J.
1. The petitioners are employees of the High Court and of the Andhra Pradesh Administrative Tribunal. They applied for admission to the Evening Law College, Hyderabad and sat for the entrance test for admission into the college which is also the same for the day college. Apprehending that by reason of the A. P. Educational Institutions (Regulations of Admissions) Order, 1974 referred to in this judgment as the Presidential Order, that admissions to other than local candidates will be restricted only to 15%, the petitioners have filed this writ petition praying for the issue of a writ or direction in the nature of a writ of mandamus to admit the petitioner into the Evening College, Hyderabad in strict accordance with merit as determined by the marks obtained by the petitioners in the entrance test after holding, if necessary, that paragraphs 3, 4, 5. 6 and 8 of the Presidential Order as amended by the Order of 1976 ;ire ultra vires the provisions of Article 371-D of the Constitution.
2. Article 371-D of the Constitution was enacted by the Constitution (Thirty Second Amendment) Act, 1973 in order to make certain special provisions with respect to the State of Andhra Pradesh. It provided that the President may by order with respect to the State of Andhra Pradesh provide, having regard to the requirements of the State as a whole, for equitable opportunities and facilities for the people belonging to different parts of the State, in the matter of public employment and in the matter of education. In particular, Article 371-D(2)(c) provided that the order made under Clause (1) way specify the extent to which, the manner in which and the conditions subject t' which, preference or reservation shall be made:
(i) in the matter of direct recruitment to posts in any such cadre referred to in Sub-clause (b) as may be specified in this behalf in the order;
(ii) in the matter of admission to any such University or other educational institution referred to in Sub-clause (b) as may be specified in this behalf in the order; to or in favour of candidates who have resided or studied for any period specified in the order in the local area in respect of such cadre, University or other educational institution, as the case may be.
3. Accordingly, the Presidential Order was made in 1974. Under the Order, the State of Andhra Pradesh is divided into three regions called local areas:
(1) local area comprising the Districts of Srikakuiam, Vishakapatnam, etc., for purposes of admission to the Andhra University;
(2) local area comprising the Districts of Adilabad, Hyderabad etc., for the purposes of admission to the Osmania University; and
(3) part of the State comprising the Districts of Ananthapur, Cuddapah etc., for purposes of admission to Shri Venkateswara University.
Later on, an amendment was made to include the other Universities which were established in these three different local areas. Clause (5) provided that admissions to 85% of the seats in every course of study provided by these universities shall be reserved in favour of the local candidates in relation to the local area in respect of such University or other Educational Institution. Under Clause 4, a local candidate for admission to any course of study shall be regarded as a local candidate, in relation to the the local area if he had studied in an educational institution in such local area for a period of not less than four consecutive academic years ending with the academic year in which he appeared in the relevant qualifying examination. In regard to persons who had not appeared for the qualifying examination during these four academic years, it was provided under Clause 4 (b) that he would be a local candidate if he had resided in that local area for a period not less than four years immediately preceding the date of commencement of the relevant qualifying examination.
4. The petitioners who are all employees of the High Court and the Andhra Pradesh Administrative Tribunal did not study in the local area relevant to the Osmania University. However, they have been residing for several years in that areas as they have taken employment in the High Court or in other institutions. Thus, they do not satisfy the test of a local candidate as far as the Osmania University is concerned, with the result that they would be considered for admission only among the 15% reserved candidates other than local candidates.
5. The petitioners, in the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition challenged the vires of the Presidential Order on the ground that it was inconsistent with Article 371-D of the Constitution.
6. It may also be stated that Clause 11 (c) of the Presidential Order saves a part time course of study provided by any University solely for the benefit of employed persons from the operation of the order. Last year, the second petitioner who had applied for admission to the Evening College filed a writ petition contending that the course of study provided in the Evening College was a part time course of study solely for the benefit of employed persons and therefore, the Presidential Order was not applicable for admission to such course of study. This writ petition 6833 of 1979 was dismissed by Amareswarj, J. She held that the course of study that was offered in the Evening College was not a part time course of study for the following reasons: Hours of study were same as the day college, viz., 3 hours. The degree for the course of studies in both the colleges was the same. Entrance test for admission was common and the syllabus for both the courses of study was the same. On appeal, the judgment was affirmed by a Division Bench of this Court of which one of us was a member in Writ Appeal No. 455/ 1979.
7. In the affidavit in support of the present writ petition, reference was made to these decisions and perhaps in view of those decisions the petitioner relied mainly on the contention that the Presidential Order was ultra vires Article 371-D of the Constitution. During the course of the arguments, however. Shri Ramachandra Rao the learned counsel for the petitioners argued that the decision of the Bench of this Court in Writ Appeal 455/79 is wrong and requires reconsideration. He submitted that the course of study offered in the Evening College is a part time course of study intended solely for the benefit of the employees and hence, it comes within the purview of Clause 11 (c) of the Presidential Order. As the correctness of the decision of a Division Bench was questioned, this matter has been heard by a Full Bench of this Court.
8. If the petitioners succeed in persuading us to hold that the course of study offered by the Evening College was a part time course of study solely for the benefit of employed persons and is therefore outside the Presidential Order, it will be unnecessary to consider the further question whether the Presidential Order is ultra vires Article 371-D of the Constitution. We therefore proceed to consider this question in the first instance.
9. It is admitted by the University that the course of study in the evening college is solely for the benefit of the employed persons, but it is denied that it is a part time course of study. The case of the University is that it is a full time course. In support of this contention, the University repeated the same arguments that were advanced before the Bench in Writ Appeal 455/79 namely, that hours of study in the evening and day colleges are the same viz., 3 hours. The syllabus is the same. The degree offered is the same and the entrance test for both the colleges is common. The counsel for the Central Government supported the contention of the University. On the other hand, the case of the petitioners is that the expression 'part time course of study' in Clause 11 (c) will have to be understood in the context of the Presidential Order. The Presidential Order was passed in order to give greater opportunities to the local candidates. The entire State of Andhra Pradesh was divided into three regions and in each region 85% of the seats were reserved for local candidates.
In view of the definition of 'local candidate' in Clause 4 set out earlier apparently it was felt that hardship and suffering would be caused to employed persons who belong to one local area or were educated in one local area immediately before the relevant qualifying examination but are employed in any other local area. In such a case they would not come under either part of the definition of a local candidate. In many cases, employed persons would have to take up employment in places other than a local area to which they belong. They may even be transferred against their will. It is to safeguard their interests that Clause 11 (c) was introduced exempting the course of study solely for the benefit of employed persons from the operation of the order. The expression 'Part lime course of study' should be understood in this context. As the students in such institutions who are employed do not devote their whole time to the course of study (as they devote a part of their time also for their employment), the course of study open to such employees must be considered as part time. In other words, the expression 'part time' used in Clause 11 (c) must be understood with reference to the persons for whose benefit the course is provided. As the course is provided for the benefit of the employees who devote only a part of their time in such study, such course would be considered as part time course.
On the other hand, the case of the University is that the evening college has been considered to be a part time course of study by the University. It is however admitted that there is no definition of a full time course in any University. It is admitted that there is no definition in any university rule or regulation defining 'a part time course.' In the counter-affidavit filed by the Registrar, Osmania University, it is stated that the University conducts part time and full time courses in some faculties and whenever it does so, it does clearly pronounce in categorical terms that the particular course will be part time course. In cases where no such express pronouncement is made declaring it as part time course, it will be deemed to be a full time course. It is also submitted that the criterion to decide whether a course is a part time course or full time course depends upon the circumstances of each case. The criteria will depend upon the nature of the faculty. Nature of the course, syllabus and the duration of the course and more particularly the nature of instructions involved therein, and this is evident from the various instances shown in the proceedings relating to different courses annexed to the schedule.
It is further urged that the factor whether a student studying a particular course is either engaged or permitted to engage otherwise can never be a criterion to decide the nature of the course as being either part time or full time. In the annexures one instance given is that of MBA evening course. It is stated that the course is spread over three years whereas the regular course is only of two years' duration. Similarly, in the case of M.E. and M. Tech. full time course is of two years' duration, and part time course is of three years' duration. In the case of M.E. and M. Tech. the syllabus also for the both the courses is the same. In both these cases, the courses are exclusively meant for employees or working engineers as the case may be. It is therefore seen from these instances which are given, that the duration cannot be a criterion for determining whether a course is full time course or part time course. In both these cases, the duration for the so called part time course is more than the full time course. Again a common syllabus cannot also be a test is clear from the fact that in case of M. Tech, and M.E. the syllabus is the same for the full time and part time courses.
It is therefore ultimately left to the ipse dixit of the University to designate whether thy course is full time or part time course depending upon the circumstances. In construing a Presidential Order we have to interpret the order having regard to the object and purpose of the order. It would not be safe or desirable to interpret it with reference to the meaning given to the expression 'part time course of study' by the University, That meaning would vary not only from the University to University but also from time to time or from course to courts with respect to each University. Having regard to the object and purpose of the order referred to above, we are inclined to agree with the contention of the petitioners that the expression 'part time course of study' in Clause 11 (c) of the Presidential Order means course of study in which students devote only a part of their time, in this connection it is also to be noticed that as far as full time courses are concerned students are not permitted to take up any employment. In other words, they are intended to devote their whole time to the study of the course whereas in the case of employe they devote part of their time to their employment and part of their time to study. In this view, it would follow that the course of study offered in the evening college which is solely for the benefit of the employees is a part time course of study and hence comes squarely within CL 11 (c) of the Presidential Order.
10. It follows that the Presidential Order does not apply in the case of admissions to the Evening College. We wish to make it clear that we are not in any way expressing any opinion with regard to the meaning of the expression 'part time course' caused by the University in connection with their own affairs which are not relevant to the Presidential Order. Admissions made to the Evening College will be considered in the light of this judgment without reference to the Presidential Order and all admissions contrary to this win be set aside. In this view we have taken, it is not necessary for us to consider the other questions regarding the ultra vires, nature or character of some of the provisions of the Presidential Order.
11.-12. The writ petition is allowed. No costs.
13. An oral application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court is made by the I counsel on behalf of the University as well as the Central Government., As we are ofthe view that the question involved viz., whether the course of study offered by the evening college is a part time course of studywithin the meaning of Clause 11 (c) of the Presidential Order, is a substantial question oflaw of general importance which requiresconsideration by the Supreme Court, wegrant leave to appeal to the Supreme Court