K. Madhava Reddy, A.C.J.
1. This writ appeal by a student, who had appeared for the entrance examination held for admission to M. B. B. S. course in the college of the State of Andhra Pradesh, is directed against the judgment of our learned brother B. P. Jeevan Reddy, J. dismissing the writ petition.
2. The appellant prayed for a writ of mandamus to value her answer scripts manually, to review the admissions made against the reserved categories in strict conformity with R. 10 (c) of the Rules framed in G. O. Ms. No. 490 M and H Deptt. dt. 21-6-1982 to declare the taking away of the question papers from the candidates as illegal and uncalled for and to provide a seat to the petitioner. According to the present valuation, the petitioner had secured less marks than the last candidate admitted against the seats available for open competition, but secured more marks than the candidates who were admitted against the seats reserved for Schedule Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Clauses. The petitioner also claimed that if the paper was manually corrected, she would have secured more marks. But it must be noticed that all answers scripts are normally valued mechanically and not manually. If any candidate desires that his or her paper be valued manually an application in this behalf has to be made within 40 days of the notification of the results.
3. Rule 12 (1) of the Rules for admission contained in G. O. Ms. No. 490 dt. 21-6-1982 read as follows :
'Notification of results : The list of provisionally selected candidates along with their marks and the categories under which they are selected shall be notified in the colleges of that area.'
Rule 14 contemplates issuance of another notification and that is the notification of marks. That rule reads as follows :
'Notification of marks :
(a) The marks obtained by the candidates in the entrance test shall be notified on the notice boards of the respective medical colleges in the order of roll numbers on the 15th day after the notification of the results.
(b) Manual valuation : If any candidate desires that his answer script should be valued manually. He/she has to remit a fee of Rs. 400/- under the head of account '080 Medical A. Allopathy (a) Tution and other fees for Medical Education' and submit challan in original along with an application indicating roll number etc. to the Principal of the Medical College concerned within 40 days after the notification of the results. Fees once paid shall not be refunded under any circumstances. The examination board shall get the valuation done by one of the senior professors of the Medical colleges who is not a member of Examination Board and candidates or their representatives shall have no right to be present at the time of manual valuation.'
4. The learned counsel for the appellant Sri Narayan Reddy contends that the appellant had applied for manual evaluation of the answer script of the appellant within 40 days of the notification of marks and that constitutes sufficient compliance with the Rule and she had paid the prescribed fee also within that date therefore the learned single Judge erred in refusing to direct manual evaluation of the answer script. We are unable to agree with this contention. Rule 14 (b) lays down that if any candidate is desirous of his answer script being valued manually, he is required too pay a fee of Rs. 400/- and file an application 'within 40 days after the notification of the results'. The period of 40 days referred to in R. 14 (b) has to be computed not from the date of the notification of the results contemplated by R. 12 (1) Admittedly the results were notified on 5-9-1982, much earlier than the marks notified u/R. 14 on 29-10-1982. The appellant's application is admittedly beyond 40 days of the notification of the results u/R. 12 (1). Therefore, the appellant has no right to the answer scripts being valued manually. As the amount has been paid beyond time and the application for manual evaluation is not entertained, the learned single Judge has very rightly directed refund of the amount that portion of the judgment does not call for interference.
5. Further, no question of condoning the delay in entertaining such petitions arises for, that would upset the entire programme of admissions. The rules do not make any specific provision for condonation of delay and even on general principles we do not think it wholesome to entertain such petitions beyond the specific period of limitation prescribed under the rules.
6. The other contention of the appellant that taking away of the question paper is illegal and void is not based on any rule. No candidate has any fundamental right to the return of the question paper. In fact, the entrance examination requires the question paper to be surrendered along with the answer script. In matters like this, no fundamental right as such can be claimed by the candidates. When taking away of the question paper is authorised by the rules, we do not see how the appellant can seek a writ of mandamus for the return of the question paper. Moreover, the return of the question paper does not really serve any purpose, the purposes f the test being to determine the eligibility of candidate for admission to M. B. B. S. course of that particular year. We, therefore, reject this contention also.
7. The attack as regards the reservation of the seats is, in our opinion, also untenable. Rule 10 (c) of the Admission Rules lays down as follows :
'Selection shall be local areawise and shall be made on the basis of marks obtained by the candidate in the Entrance Test. Selection to reserved seats shall be on the basis of marks in the entrance test obtained by the candidates under that category of reservation.'
A merit list of all the candidates arranged in the order of merit irrespective of the category to which the candidate belongs is prepared. A separate list of candidates, who are eligible to be considered against a particular category of reservation is also prepared. In our view, R. 10 (c) does not envisage exclusion of candidates eligible to be considered under the reserved category from competing for the seats thrown open for all the candidates. The contention of the learned counsel for the appellant is that if a candidate for which there is no reservation and is able to secure a seat on his own merit, then there is no necessity for separate reservation. This contention ignores the fact that reservation is not made in favour of any particular candidate but in favour of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes candidates are not debarred from competing with others and securing a seat thrown open to all. If the contention of the learned counsel is accepted, the reservation made in favour of the above categories of candidates would amount to depriving them of the seats which they are legitimately entitled on the basis of their own merit. Far from protecting the interests any such selection would work great hardship and deny admission to students who were otherwise eligible to admission even without reservation. The reservation is made to secure a minimum number of seats for the particular category and is not intended to deprive the seats which they can otherwise secure on merit. The method adopted in selecting the candidates for admission to M. B. B. S. in our view does not violate R. 10 (c).
8. In view of the above discussion no seat could be reserved for the appellant. We do not see any error in the judgment of the learned single Judge calling for interference in appeal. The appeal is accordingly dismissed. No costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 150/-. The amount of Rs. 400/- shall be refunded within a week of the receipt of this judgment.
9. Appeal dismissed.