K.C. Agrawal, J.
1. These two petitions raise common questions of law and are thus being decided by a common judgment.
2. Dr. O. P. Shukla, the petitioner of writ No. 7224 of 1981, was given an appointment in the housemanship in Ophthalmology on Jan. 17, 1981. He continued till 30th June, 1981. Before the expiry of the aforesaid period, the Medical College advertised posts for recruitment as House Officers afresh on l'5th May, 1981. Amongst the various terms and conditions laid down, one of them was 'appointments will be made for six months i.e. up to 31st Dec. 1981. The services are purely temporary and are terminable on either side on one month's prior notice or one month's salary In lieu of notice.' The petitioner applied for the appointment for six months more on the post held by him. Apart from Dr, O. P. Shukla, several others also applied for being appointed as House Officers in the Department of Ophthalmology. The petitioner was given the appointment for six months in the Department of Ear, Nose and Throat. Aggrieved by that appointment in the said Department and not in the Department of Ophthalmology, the petitioner filed the present writ petition. The case of the petitioner is that he was entitled to get the appointment continued in the said old Department for which he had been chosen in Jan., 1931.
3. The point raised on his behalf was that after the petitioner had been given the Housemanship in Ophthalmology, the respondents had no power to change the Department and appoint him in the Department of Ear, Nose and Throat.
4. Dr. Ram Krit Ram, the petitioner of Writ No. 7223 of 1981, after complet-ing his M. B. B. S. Course in 1979 and thereafter rotatory internship in Dec., 1980, applied for getting the houseman-ship in the Department of Ear, Nose and Throat. He was appointed as House Officer in that Department in Jan. 1981. This appointment was, however, for a period of six months, Upon the expiry of the aforesaid period, the petitioner applied for extension, of six months more in the same Department. The petitioner was given the housemanship in June, 1981 for another six months, but the Department in which he was appointed was changed from Ear, Nose and Throat to Ophthalmology. Aggrieved by this change, the petitioner filed the present writ petition.
5. Both of these writ petitions were admitted and stay orders were granted directing the respondents to permit the petitioners to continue as House Officers in the same Department in which they had been appointed in Jan. 1981.
6. These two petitions have been contested by respondents 1 and 2 on the grounds, inter alia, that appointments of the petitioners made in Jan. 1981 were only for the specific term of six months, and that they were not entitled as of right to continue on the post on which they had been appointed in Jan. 1981 in the same Department. The respondents asserted appointments as House Officers are made on the basis of merit, which is determined on the ground of the marks secured by the candidates at the M.B.B.S. Examination. According to the respondents, the practice and procedure followed by the Moti Lal Nehru Medical College, Allahabad is that every candidate is required to apply afresh after the expiry of six months and a fresh selection thereafter is made on the basis of merit. The appointment is given only for six months and the tenure terminates automatically after the expiry of that period. There is no automatic extension or re-appointment.
7. We have heard learned counsel for the parties. We find that the appointments of the petitioners had been made for a fixed period of six months, and that they could not claim as of right appointment for a period of one year on the posts of House Officers to enable them to fulfil the necessary qualification for admission to Post Graduate Course. It does not appear essential that if a candidate has been appointed for six months, he should be necessarily givenextension or further appointment for six months to enable him to complete the qualification for appointment to post graduate course. The appointment on the post of House Officer is made purely on merit. If after six months a more meritorious candidate is available than the one who had been previously given the appointment for six months, it would be within the power of the Medical College to appoint the more meritorious student in place of the one who is comparatively less meritorious. As already found above, no one has a right to continue on the post as a House Officer after six months.
8. Counsel for the petitioner contended that if a student is not permitted to complete one year's course in the same subject in which he had been initially appointed for six months, he may not fulfil the qualification for admission to post graduate course and, as such, this Court should lay down as a matter of law that in every case where a student has been appointed for six months essentially his term is bound to be extended for another term of six months. It is true that for being qualified to be admitted for post graduate course, one year's experience as House Officer is required to be had either in the same subject or in allied subjects. But, that does not appear to be the exclusive purpose for which the appointment of a House Officer is made by a Medical College. If a student is entitled to be appointed on merit and is given the housemanship in one subject and in case he is appointed for another term of six months, having been found to be entitled to the same on the basis of merit, he may get the same subject, but we cannot lay down as a matter of law that invariably and irrespective of any other consideration the extension of six months must be in the same subject. This will depend on various considerations to be decided by the authorities of the Medical College.
9. Expressing his apprehension that the Medical College authorities may act arbitrarily and capriciously in the matter of change of subjects, the learned counsel contended that to concede such a power would amount to a power capable of being discriminately exercised. This submission has not appealed to as. The power to appoint as a House Officer has been conferred on a body of experts which is a high authority. It is not possible to hold that such a high authoritywould act arbitrarily and discriminately in all matters of appointment and would change the subjects of the students at their whim and pleasure. The authorities would be the best judge in this matter. If the change of a subject of a student is demonstrated to be an arbitrary exercise, the power of this Court to interfere would not be lacking. In such a matter, the exercise of the power would not be for the purpose for which it has been conferred upon. If a power conferred for one purpose is exercised for a different purpose, that power has not been validly exercised.
10. At this place, we must also note that in these days of specialities where no man can carry in his head more than a fraction of some of the medical knowledge, it would be in the interest of the public health itself that a student taken in one subject should be permitted to continue his studies, if selected, even after the expiry of six months. Modern skills need constant practice and this can be had only by concentrating at a small field. It is the age of the specialists in both clinical and scientific medicines.
11. In the present case, nothing could he brought to our notice that could show that the change of the subjects of the two petitioners was either arbitrary or capricious and was done with a view to harm them.
12. The question now is as to the relief which could be granted to the petitioners in these cases. Having found that the change of subjects was not unjustified, we would have rejected the two petitions. But, it has been brought to our notice that the two petitioners succeeded in obtaining stay orders under which they are continuing in the same subjects for which they had been initially given housemanship in the month of Jan. 1981 They have now completed more than nine and a half months and only two and half months remain to be done. To ask them to change their courses in the midway would neither be in their interest nor in the interest of the institution for which they exist. Moreover, the present two cases are such where both of them can be accommodated by permitting them to change their subjects, inasmuch as Dr. P. K. Vijlani, who had been appointed in place of Dr. O. P. Shukla in the Ophthalmology Department has been appointed as House Officer in the Medicine Department. The said respondent is no longer interested in getting the housemanship in the Department of Ophthal-mology. Dr. O. P. Shukla had beeninitially appointed in Ophthalmology, whereas Dr. Ram Krit Ram had been appointed in the Department of Ear, Nose and Throat. In July, 1981, their subjects were inter-changed. Both of them are agreed and are prepared to change their subjects. That being so, the interest of justice requires that they may be permitted to continue the remaining two and half months in the same Departments for which they had been initially appointed in Jan. 1981. To this course Dr. S. R. Singh, Principal of the Medical College, who was present in the Court, had no objection.
Subject to the above, the writ petitions are disposed of. We make no order as to costs.