1. The petitioner has passed the Intermediate Examination (New Pattern) held by the Board of Secondary Education of Madhya Pradesh In the year 1969. He had offered for the examination the subjects of the science group, namely, physics, chemistry and biology. He was placed in the first division and he obtained 65.8 per cent of marks in the aggregate in science group subjects. He applied for admission to one of the medical colleges of this State. He was not, however, selected though candidates who had passed the B.Sc. (Part I) university examination with Subjects of the science group and secured in those subjects a lesser percentage of marks in the aggregate were selected by the committee appointed for the purpose. He had challenged the selection made mainly on the ground that it offends Article 14 of the Constitution because likes were not treated alike. He has accordingly prayed for a writ in the nature of mandamus requiring that he should be treated at par with the candidates who had qualified by passing the B.Sc. (Part I) university examination, that his name should be included by the Selection Committee in a supplementary list of selected candidates and that he should then be admitted to one of the medical colleges.
2. Ramesh Chandra Sharma too has filed Miscellaneous Petition No. 470 of 1969 claiming on like grounds similar reliefs. This order shall govern both the petitions,
3. The relevant facts, so far as they are necessary for disposal of these two petitions, may be shortly stated. There are six medical colleges in this State, all of which are controlled by the State Government. For admission to these colleges, the State Government has framed rules called 'Rules-for Admission to Medical Colleges, 1969'. Annexure A is a copy of those rules. Rules 9 and 14, which are material, read as follows:
'9. (1) A candidate for admission should have passed-
(a) B.Sc. Part I (TDC) Examination of the recognised Universities of the State or any examination of any other University or Board recognised as ' equivalent thereto with at least 45% of the total marks at the qualifying examination.
(b) with Physics, Chemistry arid Biology (Zoology and Botany) with practical tests, in each, provided candidates have passed In each of these subjects in theory and practical separately and undergone a course of practical in a College or School.
Note,-- Medium of instruction in the Medical College shall be English. A candidate seeking admission must have proficiency in English language and he shall be deemed to have acquired proficiency in that language, if he has passed in English as one of the subjects offered at the Higher Secondary School Certificate Examination, or equivalent or higher examination.
(2) In the case of candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes, the requirements of obtaining 45% of the total marks at the qualifying examination may be relaxed by 10% only (minimum marks 35%).'
'14. Selection of candidates from amongst those, who have applied for admission, will be made on merit as disclosed by the percentage of marks actually obtained by a candidate in the Science subjects only in B.Sc. Part I (TDC) or its equivalent examination.
For each extra attempt in the qualifying examination counted on the basis of failure or absence in the qualifying examination, 1% marks shall be deducted from the total marks obtained in the science Subjects in the qualifying examination. A candidate who has also passed B.Sc. Final Examination (Biology Group) in the first attempt, securing at least find division, will be given a weightage of 2% in the total marks obtained by him in the Science subjects in the qualifying examination.'
4. It appears that, during the year 1968-69, the State Government introduced what is commonly known as the junior College system. According to the scheme envisaged by that system, if a student who had qualified himself for joining a college for three years degree course, desired to join any professional college, he could continue his education In the school itself, appear in the Intermediate Examination conducted by the Board of Secondary Education, Madhya Pradesh and, after qualifying, seek admission to the professional college of his preference. Thus it was that this Intermediate Examination held by the Board of Secondary Education, Madhya Pradesh, was regarded as equivalent to the B.Sc. (Part I) examination. It transpired that the State Government subsequently discovered that the students, who had passed the aforesaid Intermediate Examination, did not attain the' requisite standard and, therefore, discontinued that system,
5. For admission to the various medical colleges of the State, numerous applications were made in July 1969 by those who had passed the B.Sc. (Part I) University Examination and also by those, including the petitioner, who -were qualified so to do by passing the aforesaid Intermediate Examination conducted by the Board of Secondary Education, Madhya Pradesh. Although all these candidates were, eligible they could not all be selected for the obvious reason that seats available in the six medical colleges were limited in number. For selection from among the eligible candidates, the State Government directed that 60 per cent of the unreserved seats should be made available, to those who had passed the B.Sc. (Part I) University Examination and remaining 40 per cent seats should be given to those passing the Intermediate Examination. The result was that numerous candidates, including the petitioner, who had passed the Intermediate Examination, were not selected for admission although several candidates who passed the B.Sc. (Part I) University Examination and obtained in the Science Group subjects a lower percentage of marks in the aggregate were selected. According to the petitioner, since the two examinations were equivalent, there was an obligation to treat all the qualified candidates as similarly situated and equally placed and so entitled to the same treatment, equal protection of law and equality of opportunity in the matter of seeking admission to medical colleges controlled by the State Government. That being so, this discrimination in favour of the candidate passing the B.Sc. (Part I) Examination offended Article 14 of the Constitution.
6. At the very outset, the learned Government Advocate raised the point that this Court has repeatedly held in several cases that rules like 'Rules, for Admission to Medical Colleges, 1969' are mere executive or administrative instructions and not law within the meaning of Article 14 of the Constitution and are, therefore, not justiciable. In support of this submission, our attention was drawn to Anand Kumar v. M. P. Government, AIR 1959 Madh Pra 265; Ramchandra v. State of M. P., AIR 1961 Madh Pra 247; Gokul Prasad v. M. M. Sohani, AIR 1962 Madh Pra 126 and Vinod Sagar Sood v. State, AIR 1967 Madh Pra 182. Shri Dharmadhikari, petitioner's learned counsel, however, contends that the view taken in these cases to the effect that such rules do not attract Article 14 of the Constitution requires reconsideration by a larger Bench. We do not consider it necessary to do so because, for disposing of these two cases, we would assume that Article 14 applies.
7. 'Rules for Admission to Medical Colleges, 1969', being executive or administrative instructions could be amended, added to or supplemented at any time. That being so, the precise question which we have to consider is whether these rules, read with the direction that 60 per cent of the unreserved seats should be made available to B.Sc. (Part I) candidates and the remaining 40 per cent of those seats should be given to the Intermediate Examination candidates offend Article 14 of the Constitution.
8. In support of the contention that Intermediate Examination candidates were discriminated against within the meaning of -Article 14 of the Constitution, the petitioner's counsel relied upon several cases. Kumari Akhtar v. Principal, Osmania Medical College, AIR 1959 Andh Pra 493 was decided on the principle of estoppel which has no application to these cases. Channabasaviah v. State of Mysore, AIR 1965 SC 1293 decided a matter dealing with equality of opportunity in matters relating to employment or appointment to offices under the State within the meaning of Article 16 of the Constitution, In P. Rajendran v. State of Madras, AIR; 1968 SC 1012, a rule made by the State of Madras for district wise allocation of seats for admission to the 1st year M.B. B.S. course was struck down as violative of Article 14 of the Constitution because there was no nexus between the classification and the object to be achieved which was to get the best talent for admission to that professional college. G. Venkataratnam v. Principal, Osmania Medical College, AIR 1969 Andh Pra 35 a rule providing for unrestricted reservation of seats for admission to the M.B.B.S, course for the sons and daughters of Government officers serving in Hyderabad and Secunderabad was struck down. The decision in' Abodha Kumar v. State, AIR1969 Orissa 80 rested on territorial distribution of seats for admission, discrimination on the ground of place of birth, and principles of legal or equitable estoppel. In Surendra Kumar v. State, AIR 1969 Raj 182 reservation of seats for admission to medical colleges for certain classes was struck down as violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. It will be readily seen that none of these cases is of any assistance to the petitioners before us.
9. The latest Supreme Court case bearing on the points is Kumari C. Ghosh v. Union of India, (1969) 2 SCC 228 = (AIR 1970 SC 35). In that case, their Lordships observed:
'It is the Central Government which bears the financial burden of running the' medical college. It is for it to lay down the criteria for eligibility. From the very nature of things it is not possible to throw, the admission open to students from all over the country. The Government cannot be denied the right to decide from what sources the admission will be made. That essentially is a question ofpolicy and depends inter alia on an overall assessment and survey of the requirements of residents of particular territories and other categories of persons for whom it is necessary to provide facilities for medical education. If the sources are properly classified whether on territorial, geographical or other reasonable basis, it is not for the courts to interfere with the manner and method of making the classification.' (Pages 232-3).
Their Lordships examined the classification made in that case and thus stated:
'If the sources have been classified in the- manner done in the present case, it- is difficult to see how that classification has no rational nexus with the object of imparting medical education and also of selection for the purpose.' (Page 233).
10. Having due regard to the object sought to be achieved, namely, to get the best talent for admission to the medical colleges of the State, the State Government was fully competent to decide from what sources the admissions should be made and, so long as the classification is reasonable as having a rational relation to that object, it cannot be allowed to be challenged in these proceedings. Giving the reasons for distributing the unreserved seats between the candidates from the two sources in the proportion of 3 : 2, the State Government stated in the return that the standard attained by the Intermediate Examination candidates was not the same as those of B.Sc. (Part I) candidates. Before discontinuing the Junior College System the State Government had made an enquiry, collected figures and found as follows:
'A perusal of these figures shows that a total of 8,781 students appeared for the Intermediate Examination (medical group) conducted by the Board out of which 4,561 passed and 753 were placed In the Ist division. As against this, in the B.Sc. I, II and III year examinations (medical group) conducted by the Universities, out of 14,332 students who appeared, 5,413 were declared successful and of them 457 were placed in the Ist division. The above figures show clearly the great difference in the standard of the Board and University examination.' (Return, paragraph 6).
Explaining why the requisite standard was not attained by the Intermediate Examination candidates and it had become necessary to limit the admission 'from that source, the State Government stated:
'When an examination is held for the first time in haste, it is reasonable to assume that the high standard which should have prevailed could not be arranged for. All the Higher Secondary Schools of the State numbering over 500, were overnight declared as Intermediate(Junior) Colleges. The additional staff required could not be provided and the question of building laboratories and providing equipment could hardly be considered. It was, therefore, obvious that for students of the medical group, the practical training provided could not be upto the mark. In the examination of medical colleges, particular emphasis is laid on the practical training of students and there is specific provision in the Rule No. 9(1) (b) to ensure -that apart from passing in Theory, students who wish to join medical college have undergone sufficient practical training. Inadequacy of practical training in Science subjects in Intermediate classes is admitted in the Statement of Objects and Reasons to the Madhya Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Ordinance, 1969, presented by the Education Minister, in which he has clearly admitted that proper arrangements could not be made (copy attached). In view of the above and to ensure equity and justice, it was decided that admissions to Medical Colleges .should be in the same ratio as the number of students . appearing for the Board and University examinations. This figure was 14,332 for B.Sc. as against 8,781 for Intermediate, i.e., virtually 3 : 2 ratio. Therefore, it was decided to give 60% seats to students who appeared in B.Sc. examinations and 40% of the seats to those who appeared in the Intermediate examination. In both these categories, admissions were made strictly according to marks.' (Return, paragraph 6).
11. The facts disclosed above show that the Intermediate Examination candidates had not attained the standard needed for admission to medical colleges, having not had, for various reasons, the requisite theory lectures and practical training in laboratories. Purely from the point of view of getting the best local talent for admission to those colleges, they were not entitled to be considered along with the B.Sc. (Part I) candidates. That being so, declaring them to be eligible along with the B.Sc. (Part I) candidates was itself a concession grounded upon considerations unconnected with' merit. Therefore, if recruitment from that source which was not likely to provide the best and most qualified candidates was restricted, it is obvious that the order directing such limitation is not unrelated to the object of selecting the best talent for admission to medical colleges and it cannot be assailed on the ground that all candidates, who were equally placed, were not treated alike. We are clearly of opinion that to such a case. Article 14 of the Constitution has no application at all.
12. In this connection, we may notice a Patna case, R.S. Singh v. Darbhanga Medical College, AIR 1969 Pat 11 whichwas specially relied upon as supporting the petitioners. There, a blanket order directing admission straightway of all B.Sc. (Honours) candidates, irrespective of marks obtained, in preference to B.Sc. (Pass) candidates, to the medical course was not regarded as satisfying the test of reasonableness. With all due respect, we are unable to share the opinion that better qualified candidates should not be preferred for admission to medical colleges or that to do so would offend Article 14 of the Constitution. Even in that case, their Lordships recognized that the B.Sc. (Honours) candidates were entitled to 'some' preference, They stated:
'It is true that those who have taken advanced study in one of the subjects of the medical group, viz., Physics, Chemistry or Biology, should be given some preference ...............'. (Page 15),
In the case before us, all that was done was to give some preference to B.Sc. (Part I) candidates.
13. For the reasons aforesaid, we are clearly of opinion that the selection in these cases is not assailable as offending Article 14 of the Constitution.
14. Since no other point was argued in support of these petitions, they fail and are dismissed. Costs shall follow that event. Hearing fee in each case Rs. 100/-. The remaining amount of security shall be refunded.