P. Chandra Reddy, C.J.
1. This is a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution for the issue of a Writ of mandamus directing the respondents to consider the application of the petitioner and pass order thereon.
2. The Principal of Osmania Medical College, Hyderabad catled for applications for admission into the two Medical Colleges in the city of Hyderabad, the last date for the receipt of applications being 25-6-1958. The petitioner, who secured 59 per cent of marks in Part III of the Intermediate Examination consisting of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, applied for a seat in answer to that notification. She was one of those who were interviewed by the Selection Committee and was awaiting receipt of orders. She seems to have been selected for admission into the college. It is stated in the affidavit filed in support of the petition and which is not denied by the respondents that she secured the ninth rank in the list of candidates selected from the Marathwada area.
3. At this stage, it is convenient to recapitulate the circumstances under which the reservation came to ho made for the students belonging to this area which once was a part of the erstwhile Hyderabad State and was subsequently included in the Marath-wada-Bombay State. Consequent on the reorganisation of States in 1956, the State of Andhra Pradesh reserved 10 per cent of seats available on 1-11-1956 in Osmania and Gandhi Medical Colleges for students coming from the Marathwada area pursuant to the Government of India's notification No. 21/I/57/SHR SR (R)-I dated 9-6-1957 for a period of two years.
This reservation was given effect to in the year 1957-58. Meanwhile, the State of Andhra Pradesh represented to the Union Government that the reservation made for the Marathwada area should be cancelled for the reason that there was no corresponding reservation made in the Bombay Medical Colleges. While the correspondence was going on with the Bombay and Union Governments with regard to the cancellation of allotment of seats, the above-mentioned notification was issued and students belonging to the Marathwada area submitted their applications to the Principal.
4. After the interview of the petitioner by the Selection Committee but before the actual publication of the results, a communication was received by the Government of Andhra Pradesh from the Union Government to the effect that the proposal of the former was accepted. On the strength of this, the Government of Andbra Pradesh issued a press notification which was published on 2-8-1958 to the effect that the reservation in favour of the candidates from the Marathwada area was withdrawn. A few days thereafter i.e., on 7-8-1958, the applications of candidates from the Marathwada area were sent to the Government of Bombay as also a list of provisionally selected candidates.
5. About two weeks later, the Government of Bombay issued a press note in the following words:
'Since the concession of admission to the two Medical Colleges at Hyderabad has been withdrawn, it has been brought to the notice of the Government that some students of the Marathwada domicile studying in the institutions in Telangana, who had applied for admission in the two Medical Colleges in Hyderabad against reserved seats have been refused admission. It has been therefore decided to admit such students to the Aurangabad Medical College. Students who have passed the Pre-Professional Course or Inter Science examinations of the Osmania University from institutions in Telangana and area of Marathwada domicile are requested to apply to the Principal, Aurangabad Medical College for admission in the prescribed application form before 27-8-1958.
Application forms will be supplied by the Principal, Medical College, Aurangabad, on request; preference will be given to students who have passed the Pre-Professional course of the Osmania University. Any seats left vacant thereafter will be given to those students who have passed the Inter Science Examination of the Osmania University, otherwise the normal rules of admission at the Medical College, Aurangabad will apply, an appropriate proportion of seats being given to Backward classes.' The petitioner also applied for a seat in the Medical College, Aurangabad in accordance with the instructions contained in this press note. Shortly thereafter, she received an endorsement that she was not eligible for a seat according to the rules of the Bombay University, This has led the petitioner to invoke the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution.
6. In support of the petition, various contentions are raised, but it is sufficient to refer only to one of them which in our opinion, has considerable force, namely, that having invited applications for admission into the Colleges and selected the petitioner, it was not Open to the authorities concerned to refuse admission solely on the ground that the concession has been withdrawn subsequently. The reply of the respondents to this is that since similar facilities were given in the Medical College at Aurangabad for the students of Marathwada area, the petitioner could not complain of the cancellation of the reservation, especially when she did apply for a seat to that Medical College, though it was ultimately rejected.
7. Before we deal with the respective contentions of the parties, it is useful to refer to the relevant provisions of the State Re-organisation Act (37 of 1956). Section 113 of the Act is in these words ;
'The Central Government may, in respect of the institutions of the categories specified in the Sixth Schedule located in a new State or in the State of Andhra Pradesh or Madras, direct that such facilities as may be specified in the direction shall be provided to the Government and the people of one Or more adjoining States for such period as may be so specified; and thereupon those facilities shall be provided for the said period upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon between the State Governments concerned before 31-3-1957, or, if no agreement is reached by the said date, as may be fixed by order of the Central Government.'
Conformable to this, the Union Government issued instructions to the appropriate Government, namely, the State of Andhra Pradesh, for reservation of ten per cent of seats for the students of Marathwada area in the two colleges mentioned above for a period of two years. It was in obedience to this that the reservation mentioned above was made by the State of Andhra Pradesh.
8. It is argued by the learned counsel for the petitioner that when once reservation, has been made For, a particular period it is not open to either Governments to withdraw it before the expiry of the said period. The answer of the learned Government Pleader is that Section 21 of the General Clauses Act (Act X of 1897) empowers the Government concerned to rescind any order or notification which has been made by the State Government. Section 21 is in these terms :
'Where, by any Central Act or Regulation, a power to issue notifications,, orders, rules, or by-laws is conferred, then that power includes a power, exercisable in the like manner and subject to the like sanction and conditions if any, to add to, amend, vary or rescind any notifications, order, rules or bye-laws so issued.'
The Section makes it clear that the power to make laws, relies or notifications includes the power to add to, amend, vary or rescind the laws, rules or notifications. Thus, there is ample jurisdiction vested in the authorities concerned to modify or rescind their own orders. But it seems to be highly doubtful whether the modification or rescission of any rules has any retrospective effect. In this case, the order withdrawing the concession was made some time after the interview of the candidates, nay even after the selection.
9. However, we need not rest our order on that ground, as we feel that the request of the petitioner for the issue of a writ of mandamus can be granted on another ground. Having made an implied representation that if a candidate satisfied the standard set up for selection of candidates, it is net open to the authorities concerned to retract from it. The petitioner was led into the belief that she would be selected if she secured a high percentage of marks and fared well at the interview; in other words, if she has come out successful in the competition amongst the various candidates. It is not denied that she obtained 59 per cent of the marks in her optional subjects in the Intermediate examination and that she satisfied the other conditions which would have enabled her to gain admittance into the College. But for the assurance contained in the notification making the reservation she would have applied to other colleges and in all probability might nave secured admission. It is true that she was permitted to apply for a seat in the Medical College at Aurangabad and that time was extended but this was merely illusory having regard to the press note issued by the Bombay Government and also taking into account the subsequent events. It appears that the Bombay Government gave preference only to students of the Pre-professional course with the result that the application of the petitioner was not even considered.
In these circumstances, we feel that the priniciple of legal or equitable estoppel would apply to this case. This view of ours is consistent with the doctrine enunciated in the University of Madras v. Sundaraschetti, (1956) 1 Mad LJ 25 : ((S) AIR 1956 Mad 309) by a Bench of the Madras High Court. It would have been a different matter if a note was added when the applications were invited for the academic year that the reservation was only provisional and was subject to the final orders to be passed. Admittedly no such note was annexed, nor were the students made to understand that this question was pending final decision with the Government of India.
10. Normally, we would not have interfered in a matter like this especially when three months have elapsed after the academic year has begun. But in the circumstances that have happened in this case and also having regard to the fact that for no fault of the petitioner this matter has been pending for three months, we think that the interests of justice require that her application should be considered for a seat in one of the two colleges. In this regard, we would like to point out that it is asserted by the petitioner that she was one of the fourteen, that were selected and, in fact, she secured the ninth rank in list of selected candidates and this is not disputed. In this view of the matter, the Government may think of alloting her seat this year.
11. In the result, the writ petition is allowed. The parties will bear, their own costs.