Ramachandra Rao, J.
1. These three writ appeals are preferred against the order of our learned brother, Chenakesav Reddy, J., dismissing the three writ petitions viz. 2727/28, 3159/82 and 4427/82 filed by the appellants herein seeking the issue of a writ of mandamus directing the respondents to admit them in M .A. English course in the University College of Kakatiya University, Vidyaranyapuri, Warangal, for the academic year 1981-82.
2. The relevant facts are as follows : The notification dated 25-7-1981 of the principle , University College, Kakatiya University, Warangal, called for applications for the Entrance Examination for admission to M .A., M. Sc., M. Com. courses for the academic year 1981-82. In the application forms the eligibility rules for admission to M. A. /Telugu English course provide as follows:-
'Must have secured 40% marks in the concerned subject (language) under Part II or 50% marks under Part I.
B. O. L. degree-holders having passed B. A., General English are also eligible for M. A. in that language which they have offered at the B. O. C. Examination.'
3. In these writ appeals, we are concerned only with the admission into post-graduate course in M. A. English. In the general instructions attached to the application form, Instruction No. (1) reads as follows:
'Admission for the post-graduate courses will be made in order of merit by giving equal weightage to marks secured in the entrance examination and the aggregate marks secured in the whole of Part II of the qualifying examination ( B. A./B. Sc/B. Com. as the case my be).'
This Instruction was based upon the proceedings of the University syndicate at its meetings held on 23rd July, 1977 and the said rule of admission is being observed for admission to the M. A., M. Sc. and M. Com. Postgraduate courses. Pursuant to the said notification, an entrance examination was held on 11-9-1981. A merit list of the M. A. English entrance examination for 981 -82 of the candidates who appeared for the said examination was prepared. The petitioners (appellants in the three appeals) are ranked Nos. 20, 37, 38, 40 and 57. Subsequently, on a note submitted by the Dean of Faculty of Arts seeking some clarification with regard to the procedure to be followed for admission to m. A. Telugu and English courses, the Academic Council at its meeting held on 7-11-1981, resolved to lay down the following order of preference for admission into M. A> English and Telugu through an Entrance Examination with effect from the academic year 1981-82.
'For M. A. English
(1) Students with modern language at B. A. level.
(2) Students with general English under Part I of B. A./B. Sc./B. Com.' Pursuant to this amended Rule giving preference for admission to M. A. English and Telugu for students with Modern language at B. A. level and students of General English under part I of B. A./B. Sc./B. Com., a list of candidates admitted to M. A. English for the academic year 1981-82 was prepared containing the names of 36 candidates out of which candidates 1 to 18 were admitted to the general seats, while candidates 19 to 36 were admitted to reserved seats for backward classes and other category, there are only 18 seats but not all the candidates who obtained the ranks of 1 to 18 at the Entrance test were admitted, but candidates who obtained ranks far below the rank of 18 are admitted. Only candidates who obtained rank Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 16 were admitted in the general category. Further the candidates who have obtained rank Nos. 24, 25, 32, 36, 41, 54, 64, 68, 86, 92, 102, 103 who are far below the rank of 18 have been admitted to the 18 seats in the general category.
4. While so, some of the candidates who secured rank Nos. 5,7,8,9,10,11 and 19 filed writ petitions Nos. 1983/82 in this court seeking writs of mandamus directing the respondents to admit them to the M. A. degree course in English in the University college of Kakatiya University for the academic year 1981-82 on the ground that they acquired higher ranks than the candidates who were admitted to the said course, and that the admission of the candidates who secured ranks lower than the petitioners therein were illegal. Our learned brother, Raghuvir, J. allowed the said writ petitions holding that the preference given to candidates on the basis of the resolution passed by the Academic Council on 7-11-1981 ignoring the ranks of the candidates according to the merit list prepared on the basis of the marks obtained in the Entrance Test was illegal, that the 'curious procedure' of preference adopted by the University could not be sustained, that admission should be made solely on the basis of the marks obtained at the Entrance Test, and that the Academic council could not prescribe a new rule of preference two months after the Entrance Test was held and if, according to the merit list, the petitioners therein had secured higher ranks than some of the candidates who were admitted, they were entitled to be admitted to the said M. A. English course and in that view the learned judge allowed the writ petitions.
5. Pursuant to the aforesaid judgement in the said writ petitions, the petitioners therein who obtained the ranks 5,7,8,9, 11 and 19 have been admitted to the said course and are pursuing the said course.
6. Now, the five petitioners-appellants herein in these three writ appeals who secured the ranks of 20,37,38,40 and 57 have filed the three writ petitions out of which these three writ appeals arise for similar relief contending that the candidates who had obtained ranks far below them have been admitted, and that the said admission made by the respondents of such candidates in illegal, arbitrary and discriminatory and therefore they prayed for appropriate relief. The respondents mainly contested the writ petitions on the ground that the rule of admission was altered by a resolution of the Academic Council made on 7th Now., 1981 and that even otherwise, the appellants herein having secured ranks below 18, they not eligible for admission to the 18 seats available for the candidates in the general category. Our learned brother, Chennakesav Reddy. J., dismissed the writ petitions holding that the merit list of the candidates who appeared for the Entrance Test prepared by the University was produced before him, that in the counter-affidavit it was stated that the last candidate who was admitted to the course secured the 18th rank in the merit list and that the ranks of the petitioners appellants were below the 18th rank and therefore the petitioners appellants could not have any grievance, and that it could not be said that the admissions made were discriminatory. In that view, the learned judge dismissed the writ petitions. Hence the three writ appeals.
7. In these appeals, Smt. Y. Aruna, the learned counsel for the appellants contended that the admissions should be made on the basis of the ruled mentioned in the application forms issued as per the notification dated 25-7-1981 of the principal, University College, Kakateeya University, and that according to the said rules, the admissions have to be made on the basis of the ranking given according to the marks secured at the entrance examination, and that the entrance test having been held on the basis of the said rules, It was not open to the Academic Council to alter the rule of admission by its resolution dated 7-11-1981 and that if the ranking given at the entrance test is taken into consideration, the admission of candidates who had secured lower ranks than the appellants herein is illegal and discriminatory.
8. Sri Rajendra Babu, the learned counsel for the respondents, on the other hand, contended that there are only 18 seats in the general category, and that the appellants had secured ranks below the 18th ranks, and, therefore, even on the basis of the ranks obtained at the entrance test, the appellants will not be eligible for admission to the M. A. English Course.
9. So far as the Rule of admission is concerned, it is not disputed that as on the date of the entrance test, admissions have to be made according to the merit and ranking given on the basis of the marks secured at the entrance examination. Once the rule of admission has been prescribed and candidates called upon to apply for admission on the basis of the said rules, it is not open to the respondents to alter the rule of admission after the entrance examination has been held. It may be open to the university to alter the rule of admission before calling for the applications, but once the applications have been called for, for admission on the basis of the basis of the existing rules, it is not open to the university authorities, by a subsequent resolution, to alter the said rules of admission and therefore, the resolution passed by the 8th academic council on 7-11-1981 altering the rule of admission can have only prospective operation and cannot be applied to candidates who had already applied for admission and who had sat for the entrance examination for admission to the M. A. English Degree course on the basis of the rules in force on the date of the holding of the entrance examination. Therefore, the university authorities committed an illegality in applying the altered rule of admission, as resolved at the 8th Academic Council's meeting held on 7-11-1981, to the admissions to be made for the M. A. English Degree course for the academic year 1981-82. Therefore, it follows that the admissions have to be solely made on the basis of the merit list prepared for the entrance examination for the year 1981-82 according to the marks obtained at the entrance test without giving any rule preference as resolved by the Academic Council on 7-11-1981, to the admissions to be made for the M. A. English Degree course for the academic year 1981-82. therefore, it follows that the admissions have to be solely made on the basis of the merit list prepared for the entrance examination for the year 1981-82 according to the marks obtained at the entrance test without giving any rule of preference as resolved by the Academic Council on 7-11-1981.
If the merit list prepared for the m. A. English entrance examination for 1981-82 is the basis for admission to the said course, it is not disputed that candidates who had secured far lower ranks than the appellants were admitted to the said course. This is not only contravention of the rule laid down for admission to the said course for the academic year 1981-82 but it is also discriminatory and arbitrary and, therefore, the appellants are justified in contending that the appellants who had secured higher ranks should have been admitted to the said course in preference to the candidates who had secured lower ranks.
10. Sri Rajendra Babu, Contended that already 25 candidates have been admitted to the course in the general category and the appellants not being within the first 18, will not be eligible for admission to the said course, where only 18 seats are available in the general category. But we are unable to agree with this submission. It is on account of the illegality and irregularity committed by the respondents inaltering the rule of admission subsequent to the holding of the entrance test that has resulted in irregular admissions. It is seen from the list of admissions that some of the candidates ranked Nos., 4,6,12,12,14,15,17 and 18 have not been admitted to the course, though they are within the 18th rank. The said candidates have not approached the court for any relief. There is, therefore, no reason why the appellants who have approached the court should be denied relief when they have secured higher ranks than some of the candidates who secured lower ranks have been admitted to the said course. Normally, we would have been inclined to quash the entire admissions made on the basis of the altered rule which we have held to be illegal and irregular. But, most of the candidates have been admitted to the course and they have been attending classes and it will create undue hardship to them if the admissions are to be annulled at this stage. Therefore, without disturbing the admissions already made, we do not see why the appellants should not be given relief. Under interim orders of this court, the appellants have been attending classes in the M. A. English Degree Course. Therefore, there should not be any insurmountable difficulty in directing the respondents to admit the appellants to the M. A. English course for the academic year 1981-82 and to allow them to continue to attend the classes and pursue the said course.
11. For the foregoing reasons, we allow the appeals and set aside the orders of the learned single judge and allow the writ petitions and issue writs of mandamus directing respondents 1 and 2 to admit the appellants in M. A. English Course in the University College of Kakateeya University of Vidyaranyapuri for the academic year 1981-82 and to allow them to continue the said course in accordance with the relevant rules.
12. The writ appeals are allowed accordingly, but in the circumstances, there will be no order as to costs.
13. Appeals allowed.