P. Jaganmohan Reddy, C.J.
1. These six Writ Petitions relate to admission to the medical colleges in Andhra Area. In Writ Petitions Nos. 4217, 4249, 4268, 4360 and 4956 of 1968, the question is as to the interpretation of Appendix I to Rule 3 (a) of the Rules for admission as amended by g. O. Ms. No. 1499 Health dated 28th June 1968.
2. Before we deal with the several contentions raised before us, it is necessary to set out the qualifications of each of the petitioners.
3. K. Sudhir, Petitioner in Writ Petition No. 4217 of 1968, has obtained in the P.U.C. examination 230,25 marks in operational and also obtained a 'B' Certificate in N.C.C.
4. C. Vijayasekhar, petitioner in Writ Petition No. 4249 of 1968, has obtained 182.25 marks in optional and he is also a 'B' certificate holder. Apart form this, he has been for three years in A.C.C. and has also obtained a certificate for attending Advanced Leadership course and Annual Training Camp.
5. Pardhasarathi is the petitioner in Writ Petition No. 4268 of 1968 with 228 marks in optional and is a 'B' certificate holder.
6. Santhi Swarup Nayar is the petitioner in Writ Petition No. 4360 of 1968. He has obtained 228.75 marks in optional and is also the holder of a 'B' certificate.
7. S. V. Umamaheswara Rao is the petitioner in Writ Petition No. 4956 of 1968. He has passed the H. S. C. Multi purpose examination obtaining 196.50 marks in optional subject and is a holder of 'A-I ' and 'A-2' certificates.
8. These candidates are competing against eleven candidates who have either obtained 'A-1', A-II, J-II or C certificates ---- all of which are said to be higher than the 'B' certificates obtained by the petitioners. it is the contention of the learned advocates for the petitioners that his Court had, on a prior occasion, in a. S. Rami Reddy v. Principal, Guntur Medical College, 1968-1 Andh WR 56 considered the constitutionality of Rule 3 and the Appendix thereof which are in similar terms to these with which we are now concerned. The Division Bench consisting of one of us and Kumarayya. J., had held the Rule to be discriminatory. before we deal with this contention, it is necessary to set out Rule 3(a) and Appendix I to the Rules.
3(a), '2% of the seats shall be reserved exclusively for student possessing the prescribed certificates in N.C.C., and A.C.C. Selection of candidates under this category will be made according to the procedure detailed in Appendix I to these Rules;
x x x x
x x x x
The selection of candidates possessing the N.C.C. and A.C.C. and A.C.C certificates will be made in the order of preference indicated below;---
(i) Holder of 'C' certificates for Boys from Colleges, holders of 'A-II' Certificates for boys from High Schools, holders of 'G-II' Certificates for girls form Colleges, holders of 'J-II Certificates for girls form High Schools.
(ii) Holders of 'B' Certificates for boys from Colleges, holder of 'A-I' Certificates for boys form High Schools, holders of 'G-I' Certificates for girls from Colleges, and holder of 'J-I' Certificates for girls form High Schools.
(iii) Holders of A.C.C. Certificates for boys and girls from Schools.
NOTES:--- The candidates with one year training in the Air Wing of N.C.C. shall, for purposes of admission, be treated on par with a candidate possessing 'B' and 'A-i' Certificates of the Army and the Naval Wings subject to the condition that the candidate should produce a certificate form the Director, N.C.C. to the effect that he is proficient in this course, and also gives an undertaking that he would continue and obtain his 'B' certificate in the Air Wing.'
9. It is the contention of the petitioners' advocates that this categorisation of the several certificates in order of preference is not based on any rational classification and is discriminatory, in that the Junior and Senior Divisions of N.C.C irrespective of proficiency have been grouped together. In the first category of the order of preference 'C' certificates for boys form colleges which can only be awarded two years after they obtain 'B' certificates in the colleges while studying P.U.C. are grouped together with 'A-II certificates which are awarded tow years after obtaining 'A-I' Certificates form high schools. 'G-II' certificates and 'J-II' certificates are respectively equivalent to 'C' certificates and 'A-II' certificates for girl from colleges and this schools and the same argument applies to them as well. Similarly, in the second category of preference, it is contended that 'B' certificates which are obtained after one year's training in Colleges and a Senior Division in N.C.C. are compared and treated as equivalent to 'A-I' certificates obtained by boys from high schools who have put in one year. In so far as the girls are concerned, the equivalent of these are 'G-I' and 'J-I' certificates respectively. In the third and last category of preference, it is contended that A.C.C. certificates for boys and girl show have put in even three years of training are relegated to this category.
The learned Government Pleader, on the other hand, submits that this classification is based on a rational differentia which has the nexus with the object sought to be achieved, namely, that candidates who have been in the N.C.C. fro longer periods and have taken interest are preferred to these who have had lesser number of years of training. With this object the grouping has been done into the several categories of preference. we are also told that it has not been denied that candidates who have obtained 'A-II' certificates in H.S.C. notwithstanding the fact that they cannot obtained the 'B' certificates in P.U.C. , nonetheless are in a position t obtain 'B' certificates subsequently in the first year degree course and proceed to get 'C' certificates before they do their B.Sc., degree course just as in the same way as a P.U.C. candidate , who is going in for a degree, can obtain the 'C' certificate. One of the condition for obtaining 'C' certificates is that a person must obtain the 'B' certificate which can only be done in the Senior Division of N.C.C, in the college during the first year. if this position if correct we have no doubt it is and because there has been no serious dispute then there is certainly no discrimination between the H.S.C. and P.U.C boys. Even in the case of candidates competing H.S.C. in schools and who come to the colleges to take P.U.C they can be awarded 'A-I' and 'A-II' certificates as these are certificates given for training in schools.
Once it is admitted that there is no disadvantage between the candidates who come for H.S.C and those candidates who compete on the basis of P.U.C certificates, it will not be open for this Court, to go into the question of categorisation of the preferences since it is found that those preferences are based upon some rational differentia which is not discriminatory. Whether the standard of the total length of training in the N.C.C. both in schools and colleges is taken as the criterion for efficiency or as a qualification for selection, or whether preference is to be given only to the training and certificates obtained in the Senior Division of N.C.C. is a matter which is not within the jurisdiction of the Courts. it is a matter entirely for the authority empowered to frame the rules for selection. There is not a rule, the basis of which cannot be disagreed with. But that the courts have to see is whether in making or farming the rule, the authority concerned has adopted a reasonable classification and has based it on an intelligible differentia which has a reasonable connection with the object sought to be achieved.
10. In the present petitions, we find that while making admission to medical colleges, certain percentage of seats is given to candidates who have obtained proficiency either in sports or in extracurricular activities because it is felt that those who have taken part in these activities have done so at the experience of their studies; and therefore do not have the same advantage as those who have exclusively concentrated on getting marks. It this is the avowed object, namely, to compensate those candidates who have taken part in some of the activities referred to above, then the authority concerned is perfectly justified in giving preference to persons who have taken part in those activities for a longer period than those who have taken part of a comparatively shorter period. There is nothing discriminatory or unintelligible in this classification.
11. Sri. G. Vedanta Rao, learned Advocate for the petitioner in W. P. No. 4249 of 1969, has produced the opinion of one of the Military Officers to the effect that Senior N.C.C. is a superior training than junior N.C.C training. No doubt it may be so. But that is not the only criterion because if that were to be so, there must be no reason why persons who have obtained B.Sc., degree should not compete or be given preference over those who have passed only P.U.C. This would cut at the very object of the selection which is intended to see that they should be selected at the lowest level or at the threshold of their entrance to the profession colleges. In this view we find no discrimination whatever wither in the Rule or in the Appendix which prescribes preference of various categories.
12. Certain observations made in (1968) I Andh WR 56 by a Bench consisting of one of us and Kumarayya. J., have been relied on for holding that Rule 3 is unconstitutional. It may be stated that in that case after the last date for the receipt of applications, the Government changed the Rule pertaining to selection which caused rejudice to the petitioners. The basis of that decision was that the Government was estopped from applying a different rule to that which was prevailing at the time when the applications were called for and not subsequent to the date when the receipt of applications for admission is closed. Kumaryayya, J., who spoke for the Bench observed at p. 63:
'At any rate, as we have already noticed 'the Government, possessing as they do, powers to amend, alter and cancel any rule, could not exercise these powers in an unreasonable manner to unjustly defeat the rights already accrued. They are bound by the doctrine of equitable estopel. It follows therefore that if the petitioners, according to the rules in force on the last date of applications, are entitled to a seat in the medical college as against the respondents, who are actually awarded such seats, their right cannot be defeated by subsequent amendment to the rules. Apart form any other ground the very idea that the rule should be thus changed to the detriment of some, after all the applications have been received is obnoxious enough, for if so permitted it will lead not only to arbitrariness but also to unjust results of far reaching consequences. We therefore held when the rule in force was valid and was not struck down, the change in the rule to the detriment of some including the petitioners in unjustified and the Government o n the principle of equitable estoppel is precluded form retracting from the original position and giving effect tot he amended rule to the detriment of the petitioners.'
No doubt this was the ratio of that decision. But there are certain observations made in that decision which certainly assist the petitioners, viz.,
'... ... P.U.C students who could hope to get only 'B' certificates and not 'C' certificate unless they continue to study for 3 years in college should have been made to suffer by this rule. The highest certificate that they can hope to get is only 'B' certificate and that certificate for purposes of selection has not been placed at least at a par with 'A-II' which is the highs that H.S.C. students can get.'
These observations were based upon the materiel placed before the Bench then.
13. As we have already said earlier, it is not denied that a person applying under the P.U.C category for admission can nonetheless ask to be considered for admission under the N.C.C. category on a 'C' certificate because it is not necessary that such a candidate should apply immediately after passing the P.U.C : but he can do so when he gets into the final year of B.Sc. by which time he could not only get 'B' certificate but also 'C' certificate. In fact one of such candidates who has been given a seat, namely, Roop Kumar, has been awarded a 'C' certificate and he got 229.50 marks in P.U.C. Similarly, as we said earlier a person in H.S.C. who has got 'A-II' certificate can easily compete with a person who has applied in the category of P.U.C. with a 'C' certificate . Nor can it be said that a person who has passed P.U.C can only get 'B' certificate and not 'A-II' certificate. We think that the observations made in (1968) I Andh WR 56 are no doubt obiter, as such could not be pressed in aid of the contentions urged on behalf of the petitioners that the Appendix has already been struck down; or , at any rate, must be struck down. In this view, we reject the contention that the Rule and the Appendix are unconstitutional. For this reason, the 'B' certificate holders come under the second category of preference and must be compared only with those that are specified in Appendix I.
14. It is stated on behalf of one of the petitioners (W. P. No. 4249 of 1968) that he has put in three years in A.C.C and is a holder of a 'B' certificate which gives him longer training than the others. But we have no material which can afford a basis for holding that A.C.C. certificate is of a higher category or involves a longer period of training or is more efficacious. One of the m
considerations for grouping certain certificates in the first category of preference is that they are given to boys who have attended the annual Training Camps. We do not know whether persons who are trained in A.C.C. have to attend such Training Camps. Consequently it is not possible for us to say that they re in the same category of those who have been grouped in the first category ; and therefore must be given preference. therefore none of the petitioner s can claim preference to those who have already been given seats.
15. No doubt, the petitioners in W. P. No. 4217 of 1968. K. Sudhir, has a claim to be considered on merits because he has obtained 230.25 marks. Mr. G. venkatarama Sastry, II Government Pleader, who has given us the details of marks obtained by others, has frankly conceded on instructions that the petitioner would be in the third rank in the reserved list of candidates and that there are 13 seats available out of which 9 are reserved including the seat reserved for the petitioner himself. In this view, he is entitled to one of the seats. Accordingly we direct that this petitioner should be given a seat.
16. Similarly, Santi Swarup Nayar, Petitioner in W. P. No. 4360 of 1968, has obtained 228. 75 marks and if so, he is entitled to a seat on merits and his case for admission can be considered. We cannot direct that a seat should be given to him because we have not got all the details of marks obtained by to her candidates, or their marks in English which have to be considered for giving preference in the event of there being a tie. We accordingly direct the 1st respondent Principal of the Guntur Medical College, to consider his case on merits.
17. The contention that because these petitioner had applied for admission as coming under the N.C.C group, they were not considered for the general seats is not a valid one. The proper course to be followed by the selection authority, according to the Rule, is to consider the applications of the five petitioners an their respective merits; and if they are not likely to get seats on that footing, then alone their applications can be considered as falling under any one of the special categories.
Writ Petition NO. 17 of 1969.
18. The question arising in this writ petition is already concluded by the directions given by us in the judgment in Writ Petition NO. 4670 of 1968 delivered on 9th December 1968 in that they may be considered as a class of merit without further categorisation into Scheduled Castes, Schedule Tribes. Women candidates, sports etc.
19. In the result, W. P. Nos. 4217/68, 4,360/68 and 17 of 1969 are allowed with costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 100/- (Rupees one hundred only) in each. W. P. Nos. 4249/68. 4268/68 and 4956/68 are dismissed without costs. We however, fix the Government Pleader's fee at Rs. 100/- (Rupees one hundred only) in each of these petitions.
20. Order accordingly.