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The Punjabi University Vs. Manmohan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberReview Appln. No. 45 of 1972 (in Civil Writ No. 1894 of 1972)
Judge
Reported inAIR1973P& H236
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Order XLVII, Rule 1; Constitution of India - Article 14
AppellantThe Punjabi University
RespondentManmohan and ors.
Cases ReferredState of Andhra Pradesh v. U. S. V. Balram
Excerpt:
.....the category possessing the qualification of only pre-medical is required to possess only 50 per cent. marks in the pre-medical examination, being a condition precedent for first class science graduates seeking admission has no reasonable nexus or rational relationship with the object of admitting the best students to the m. this discloses that the counsel for those writ petitioners who had annexed a copy of the ordinance of the punjabi university with their petitions knew about the ordinance but, for reasons best known to him he did not bring it to our notice and did not for a moment point out the difference between the ordinance of the punjabi university on the one hand and that of the guru nanak university on the other. 14. as the applicant-university as well as the writ..........simple pre-medical (pass) candidates were eligible for admission even if they had obtained 50 per cent marks in that examination. the state of punjab, the guru nanak university, amritsar the punjabi university, patiala, the punjab university, chandigarh and the principal, medical college, amritsar had been impleaded as respondents in almost all of the 19 writ petitions in which review applications have been filed.2. at the hearing of those petitions, the learned advocate-general for the state of punjab, appeared for the state, the punjabi university and the principal, medical college, amritsar (respondents nos. 1, 3 and 5 in the writ petitions). a separate counsel appeared for respondents no. 2 the guru nanak university, amritsar. at the hearing of the writ petitions, all the counsel.....
Judgment:
ORDER

1. This order will dispose of 19 connected review applications (Review Applications Nos. 31 to 49 of 1972), filed by the Punjabi University, Patiala, against the various writ petitioners whose petitions were allowed by our judgment, dated July 17, 1972. By that judgment, we had disposed of 31 connected writ petitions. The main judgment had been written in Civil Writ No. 1894 of 1972, Man Mohan v. State of Punjab (reported in AIR 1973 Punj & Har 227) from which review Applications No. 45 of 1972 has arisen. Various first class B. Sc. graduates who were candidates for admission to the Government Medical Colleges at Amritsar and Patiala had filed those petitions for striking down a new condition imposed on the eligibility of Science Graduates for admission to those colleges, namely, the necessity to obtain at least 60 per cent. marks in the essential subjects in the Premium Medical Examination (or its equivalent examination) whereas simple Pre-Medical (pass) candidates were eligible for admission even if they had obtained 50 per cent marks in that examination. The State of Punjab, the Guru Nanak University, Amritsar the Punjabi University, Patiala, the Punjab University, Chandigarh and the Principal, Medical College, Amritsar had been impleaded as respondents in almost all of the 19 writ petitions in which Review Applications have been filed.

2. At the hearing of those petitions, the learned Advocate-General for the State of Punjab, appeared for the State, the Punjabi University and the Principal, Medical College, Amritsar (respondents Nos. 1, 3 and 5 in the writ petitions). A separate counsel appeared for respondents No. 2 the Guru Nanak University, Amritsar. At the hearing of the writ petitions, all the counsel present before us stated that we may confine ourselves to the facts of the case of Man Mohan v. State of Punjab, AIR 1973 Punj & Har 227) (supra), as there was no material difference between the facts of that case and the relevant facts of the remaining cases. Man Mohan's case was first admitted by us at the motion hearing. Originally we were not inclined to admit the petition but it was admitted only when it was pointed out to us that whereas Pre-Medical (Pass) Candidates with 50 per cent. marks were eligible, First Class Science Graduates (with essential subjects) had been made ineligible even if they had obtained 50 per cent. marks in the Pre-Medical unless they had secured at least 60 per cent marks in the said examination. This was the point specifically taken up in Paragraph 8(i) of Man Mohan's writ petition and the same was quoted verbatim by us in the main judgment. The factual aspect of the point can stand repetition. It was stated that while the category possessing higher qualifications (B. Scs. and M. Scs.) is required to secure 60 per cent. marks at both the stages, i.e., in the higher examination as well as the lower examination the category possessing the qualification of only Pre-Medical is required to possess only 50 per cent. marks. It was this action which was claimed to the discriminatory and arbitrary. It was further specifically stated in the writ petition that it was this action which had no nexus whatsoever with any object that the Government may have in view.

The Annexures with Man Mohan's writ petition consisted of:--

(i) Annexure A--being an extract from the Punjabi University Chandigarh Calendar showing the conditions of eligibility for admission to the M.B.B.S. course which were in force previously;

(ii) Annexure B--being a copy of the advertisement in 'The Tribune' inviting applications for admission to the M.B.B.S. Course at the State Medical Colleges at Amritsar and Patiala;

(iii) Annexure C--being a copy of letter from the Punjab Government to the Vice-Chancellor Guru Nanak University, referring to the criteria of admission in Medical Colleges suggested by the Government on reconsideration of the whole issue of admission to those colleges;

(iv) Annexure D (produced at the hearing of the petition)--being a printed copy of the brochure for admission to first year M.B.B.S. Class 1972--Government Medical Colleges, Amritsar and Patiala;

(v) Annexure E (also produced at the hearing)--being the original letter issued by the Principal, Medical College, Amritsar to one of the B. Sc. candidates informing him that his claim for admission to M.B.B.S Course on B. Sc. basis could not be admitted since his marks in essential subjects in the Pre-Medical were less than 60 per cent; and

(vi) Annexure RI--Cyclostyled copy of the Ordinance of the Guru Nanak University, Amritsar, laying down the criteria for eligibility to the M.B.B.S. Course of that University.

3. No other document was either filed in Man Mohan's petition, AIR 1973 Punj & Har 227, or produced before us at the hearing of the writ petitions, whereas in Annexure A (previous rule followed by the Punjab University), the basic qualifications was laid down as Pre-Medical (pass) with 50 per cent. or above marks in the essential subjects and B. Sc. and M. Sc. (pass) candidates possessing the said basic qualification were also made eligible on the condition that they should have obtained at least 50 per cent. marks even in those higher examinations, in all other documents relating to the admissions during 1972, it had been stated that a Pre-Medical (pass) candidates with 50 per cent. marks in essential subjects was eligible but a Science Graduate with 60 per cent. or more marks in essential subjects would not be eligible unless he also obtained at least 60 per cent. marks in the essential subjects in the Pre-Medical Examination. It was on this basis that all the writ petitions were argued before us and heard and decided by us. In fact, in the opening part of our judgment, we had quoted the crucial point argued before us in the following words:--

'............. Whether the innovation made by the respective Universities to which those colleges are affiliated restricting the consideration of the claims for admission to only such first class Science degree-holder candidates who secured at least 60 per cent. marks in the Science subjects in the Pre-Medical Examination (or other recognised equivalent examination) is or is not hit by Article 14 of the Constitution when Under-Graduate candidates who secured 50 per cent or above (even less than 60 per cent.) marks in the Pre-Medical Examination are eligible for consideration for admission to the said course.'

It is also significant that the Government letter, the brochure for admission and the advertisement published in 'The Tribune' related to admissions to both the medical colleges, one of which is under the Guru Nanak University and the other under the Punjabi University.

4. After hearing the counsel, we came to the unanimous conclusion that the differntia of requiring at least 60 per cent. marks in the Pre-Medical Examination, being a condition precedent for first class Science Graduates seeking admission has no reasonable nexus or rational relationship with the object of admitting the best students to the M.B.B.S. Course when Pre-Medical (pass) candidates having 50 per cent marks were eligible for admission.

5. In these applications for review, it is stated that the Punjabi University was not able to file its return to the petition, because there was no time for them to do so and that when this fact was brought to the notice of the Court, it was directed that the written statement may be filed by lunch time, but no written statement could be filed. It is further stated, and it is correct, that the whole case had proceeded on the basis of the order of the Punjab Government dated May 19, 1972, in respect of the admission to the M.B.B.B. Course in Government Colleges at Patiala and Amritsar (Annexure C) and on the advertisement published in 'The Tribune' dated June 11, 1972 (Annexure B). It has also been stated in the applications, and rightly, that the body of the judgment shows that the relevant ordinance of the Guru Nanak University (Annexure R-I) had been placed before the Judges and the same was in consonance with the advertisement that appeared in 'The Tribune'. The Punjabi University has said that it is unfortunate that the ordinance of that University, on the basis of which admissions have to take place in the patiala College has not been placed before the Court. The reason for not doing so is stated to be that there was no time with the University to file the return and that is why the ordinance of the Punjabi University is said to have escaped the notice of the Court. It has been erroneously stated in the review applications that the original relevant file of the Punjabi University had been given to the Judges by the Advocate General, Punjab. This is not correct. The only file which had been given to us by the Advocate-General, Punjab, related to the enquiry and report by Dr. T. R. Sharma, to which detailed reference has been made in our judgment.

It is urged in the applications and has again been pressed before us at the hearing that the ordinance of the Punjabi University (Annexure R-I to the review application) on the basis of which admissions to the M.B.B.S. Course in the Government Medical College at Patiala are to be made makes no such discrimination, as that ordinances provide a uniform qualifying standard of 60 per cent. marks in the Pre-medical or F. Sc. (Medical Group Examination) in all essential subjects except in cases of Scheduled Caste Candidates etc. with which we are not concerned. On that basis, it has been pointed out that the defect which exists in t he ordinance of the Guru Nanak University, Amritsar, on account of which the writs were allowed does not exist in the ordinance of the Punjabi University. It has, therefore, been prayed that although the ordinance of the Punjabi University (which was not before us in Man Mohan's case, AIR 1973 Punj & Har 227) has not been struck down in terms by the Court, yet inasmuch as the directions issued by the Court create complications for the Punjabi University in the matter of enforcement of their ordinance, the judgment in the writ petitions may be reviewed and this position may be clarified.

6. The material factual position has not been denied in the written reply to the review applications filed by the respective writ petitioners. In paragraph 5 of the affidavit filed in reply, it has been stated that the ordinance which is now sought to be relied on by the Punjabi University did not form the basis of admission and could not have been relied or acted upon prior to July, 15, 1972, when it was approved by the Senate of that University. This contention may be disposed of at this Very stage. Admittedly, the ordinance has been passed by the Syndicate of the Punjabi University in April. 1972. Though the contents of the ordinance were not brought to our notice, this fact was mentioned and it was argued by the counsel for the writ-petitioners that though the approval of the senate had yet to be given, the ordinance had come into force in April, 1972. It had also been contended in the written reply that it was wrong to allege that the ordinance of the Punjabi University had not been placed before the Judges, as it was appended as one of the Annexures to some of the writ petitions. On checking up the various writ petitions, we find that a copy of the Punjabi University's ordinance, had been filed as Annexure D to the various writ petitions, though no such document was filed with the main case, that is, Man Mohan's Case, (AIR 1973 Punj & Har 227).

In view of the statements made by counsel for the parties about there being no material difference between the records of the various cases, we did not see the records of cases other than Man Mohan's case.

This discloses that the counsel for those writ petitioners who had annexed a copy of the ordinance of the Punjabi University with their petitions knew about the ordinance but, for reasons best known to him he did not bring it to our notice and did not for a moment point out the difference between the ordinance of the Punjabi University on the one hand and that of the Guru Nanak University on the other. For this, we can hardly congratulate the concerned counsel. It is a matter of regret that even the counsel for the Punjabi University did not bring the said ordinance to our notice through copies of the same had Been attached to some of the writ petitions. Be that as it may, the fact remains that our whole judgment was based on the documents attached to Man Mohan's writ petition and those produce before us the hearing and on the assumption that there is no distinction between the ordinance of the Punjabi University and that of the Guru Nanak University. It has not been stated in the written reply of the writ petitioners that the ordinance of the Punjabi University suffers from the same infirmity as the ordinance of the Guru Nanak University and that it is incorrect to say that it does not suffer from the defect of discrimination. The writ-petitioners have then tried to put their own interpretation on our judgment and have lastly contended that there is no ground for reviewing the same.

7. Mr. D. N. Awasthy, the learned counsel for the writ-petitioner respondents, has pressed a preliminary objection against the maintainability of these review applications. He has submitted that the ordinance having been available with the Punjabi University at the time of the original hearing, it cannot be said within the meaning of Rule 1 of Order XLVII of the Code of Civil Procedure that this document is new which has been discovered after our judgment or is such a document which after the exercise of due diligence was not within the knowledge of the University or could not be produced by the University at the time when the writ petitions were heard. Counsel, however, forgets that a wide discretion has been vested in the Court to do justice in proper cases by granting review for 'any other sufficient reason'. In North West Frontier Province v. Suraj Narain Anand, AIR 1949 PC 112, their Lordships of the Privy Council first delivered a judgment on March 18, 1948, recommending the reversal of the order of the Federal Court of India and allowing the appeal of the North West Frontier Province. On November 4, 1948, however, their Lordships reviewed their earlier order and advised his Majesty that the appeal of the North West Frontier Province should be dismissed as their earlier decision was given on the assumption, which then appeared to be justified and had not indeed been questioned, that the Police Rules, 1937, to which the judgment referred, had become operative in the year, 1938 when the respondent was dismissed from the Police Force. Their Lordships held that subsequent to the delivery of the judgment, the respondent (Suraj Narain Anand) had submitted a petition, wherein he prayed that their Lordships might reconsider their decision mainly on the ground that it had been ascertained that Police Rules, 1937, were in fact printed and published on April 29, 1938, that is, four days after the dismissal of the respondent. This fact was not disputed at the hearing of the review application. Nor was it disputed that if this fact was taken into consideration, their Lordships were bound to come to the opposite conclusion to that which they had formed on the basis of what was erroneous assumption of fact.

8. No decision of the Privy Council or of the Federal Court or of their Lordships of the Supreme Court, laying down any contrary principle of law has been produced before us. Our judgment in the writ petitions was based on the assumption that the ordinance passed by the Punjabi University in April, 1972, was in identical terms with the ordinance of the Guru Nanak University, which was produced before us. That assumption having been discovered to be wholly wrong, we have no hesitation in repelling the preliminary objection raised by Mr. Awasthy.

9. Coming to the merits of the controversy, there is no doubt in our minds that the ordinance of the Punjabi University does not at all discriminate between Pre-Medical (Pass) and 1st Class Graduates in the matter of requirement of the minimum percentage of pass marks in the Pre-Medical Examination. That being so, there is no question of trying to find any nexus or differentia for the same. A uniform standard of eligibility for admission to the medical colleges has been laid down. Every eligible candidate who has obtained 60 per cent. or more marks in the essential subjects in the Pre-Medical Examination or its equivalent examination can compete for admission. No one who does not possess that qualification is permitted to compete in the open merit list. A further concession is given to the first class Science Graduates to be preferred at the time of admission to simple Pre-Medical (pass) candidates, provided they fulfill the essential basic uniform condition precedent of having obtained at least 60 per cent. marks in the Pre-Medical Examination. 60 Per cent has been prescribed in the Punjabi University's ordinance at all stages. One common entrance gets of eligibility has been flung open to those candidates who have obtained 60 per cent. marks in essential subjects in F. Sc. (Medical Group) or in the Pre-Medical Examination. Candidates having that qualification are allowed to enter the main gate and all others are left out. It cannot be said that there is any discrimination up to that stage. Out of the candidates who have, thus, secured entry from the main gate, those who possess the additional qualification of being first class Science Graduate are given preference. All the petitioners are first class Science Graduates, and they cannot make any grievance on that account. They are not being admitted as they have been left out of the main gate on account of their not possessing the basic qualification. That being so, we are unable to find any discrimination having been made in the matter of provision for eligibility for admission to the M.B.B.S. Course under the Punjabi University.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court went to the extent of holding in Gullappali Nageswara Rao v. Principal Medical College, Guntur, AIR 1962 Andh Pra 212, that fixing proportions for admission on the basis of different educational qualifications could be treated as fixing proportions for selection from different sources and was, therefore, not hit by Article 14 or by any other Article in Chapter III of the constitution. The judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court to the above effect was impliedly approved by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in State of Andhra Pradesh v. U. S. V. Balram, AIR 1972 SC 1375. In the case before the Supreme Court which also arose from Andhra Pradesh an Entrance Test had been provided for admission tot he course in question which test could be taken by all candidates, who fulfilled the requisite qualifications. The Andhra Pradesh Government had provided that out of those who had successfully competed in the Entrance Test, some proportion was to be reserved for those possessing one set of equivalent qualification as against the others. It was this reservation of seats for a certain proportion of candidates after the passing of the Entrance Test which was struck down by the Supreme Court as being discriminatory. No such thing has happened in the instant case.

10. Even while referring to the two groups between which discrimination has been made by the Government and the Guru Nanak University, I had divided the body of the candidates into two categories, namely (i) Pre-Medical (Pass) candidates, securing 50 per cent. or more marks in the one hand; and (ii) first class B. Sc. (Pass) of first class M. Sc. (Pass) candidates who had obtained 50. per cent marks but not 60 per cent. marks in the Pre-Medical Examination on the other. It was that distinction which was held to be discriminatory. There is no such discrimination in the ordinance of the Punjabi University.

11. An attempt was also made exparte by Mr. H. L. Sibal, who really appeared before us for the Punjabi University, to show that even the ordinance of the Guru Nanak University and the instructions of the Government are legal. Suffice to say, that it was neither open to him to address such arguments nor he has been able to impress us by the same. Mr. Kuldip Singh, Bar-at-law, who appeared in review applications also for the Guru Nanak University, however, stated that his University would also adopt the pattern of the Punjabi University's ordinance. We can have no possible objection to the Guru Nanak University amending its relevant ordinance in any manner it likes so as to shake of f the vice of discrimination from which it suffers at present.

12. It is a matter of regret that though there was vital difference between the ordinance of the Punjabi University on the one hand and the Guru Nanak University on the other in the matter of a condition precedent for eligibility of Science Graduates, the Government issued a joint brochure and joint advertisement for inviting applications for admission to both the colleges. In effect there has so far been no proper advertisement inviting applications for admission to the M.B.B.S. Course in the Patiala College according to the ordinance of the Punjabi University by which that college is governed.

13. For the foregoing reasons, we allow these review applications and make it clear that the ordinance of the Punjabi University which was not before us at the hearing of the writ petitions, does not suffer from any legal infirmity and the same has not been struck down by us. Our judgment, in the writ petitions is deemed to have struck down the letter of the Government prescribing the discriminatory treatment, the advertisement in 'The Tribune', the brochure--Annexure D--to Man Mohan's case, AIR 1973 Punj & Har 227 and the Ordinance of the Guru Nanak University. (Annexure R-I to Man Mohan's case). This would not, however, bar the Guru Nanak University to issue a new or proper ordinance, wherein no such discrimination (as now occurs in it) is made. In these circumstances, we delete the direction given at the end of our judgment in the writ petitions sand confine that judgment to the striking down of the letter of the Punjab Government, the ordinance of the Guru Nanak University, the brochure and the advertisement issued by the Government. Subject to this modification and clarification our original judgment in the writ petition stands.

14. As the applicant-University as well as the writ petitioner-respondents are equally at fault for not bringing the ordinance of the Punjabi University to our notice at the hearing of the writ petitions, we make no order as to costs in the review proceedings.

15. Application allowed.


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