D.P. Gupta, J.
1. In this writ petition twos ubmissions have been made by the learned Counsel. The first relates to the interpretation of proviso (9) of Clause 10 of the notification issued by the Rajasthan Public Service Commission, Ajmer thereinafter called's the Commission') in respect of holding the Rajasthan Administrative Service Examination and other connected examinations in the year 1978, Clause 10 of the aforesaid notification a copy of which is Ex. 2 on record, relates to the age limit of the candidates eligible for appearing at the concerned examinations and it has peen provided therein that the candidate should be more than 21 years of age and less than 28 years of age on 1st January, 1979. Then there are several provisos attached to Clause 10 of the said notification. Proviso (9) thereof provides that if in any year the examination has not been conducted and the candidate might have been eligible for appearing in the examination if held in that year, then much a candidate shall be entitled to relaxation for such year in the maximum age limit. It has also been stated by the petitioner that the examination was not conducted in the year 1977. The petitioner appeared at the Rajasthan Administrative Service Examination held in the year 1976 and although he was successful at the written test yet he could not be selected. No examination was admittedly conducted in the year 1977. The date of birth of the petitioner being May 25, 1949 he completed 28 years of age on May 25, 1977. Thus, even if the examination would have been held in the year 1977, the petitioner would not have been eligible to appear at that examination, because the relevant date with reference to which his age was to be considered for the 1979 examination would have been 1st of January, 1978. It is for this reason. that the Public Service Commission has informed the petition that ht is not eligible to appear at the 1978 examination as he is more thin 28 years of age.
2. Now, the argument of the learned Counsel that no examination was conducted in the year 1975 and as such although the petitioner appeared and was unsuccessful at the examination held in the year 1976, yet he should also get benefit of the fact that the examination was not held in the year 1975 I am unable to construe proviso (9) in the manner learned Counsel for the petitioner wishes to read the same, it is only at the time when the examination is held and a candidate has exceeded the age limit prescribed by Clause 10 then the question of relaxation arises and the : candidate according to proviso (9) would then be entitled to relaxation for the years just preceding the examination, during which no examination was held and the candidate was not able to appear for no fault of his. After the year 1975, an examination was held in the year 1976 and the petitioner was allowed lo appear at the examination as he was eligible at that time. On that occasion, the petitioner did not require the aid of proviso (9) as he was then less than 28 years of age. In case no examination would have been held in the year 1976 also, then certainly the petitioner would have been given the advantage of proviso (9), if the examination would hive been held in the year 1977 or even in the year 1978 and he would have been entitled to appear at the first examination held after his attaining the maximum age for appearing in the examination. Learned Counsel desires that proviso (9) should be read with Clause (3) of the aforesaid notification, which provides that a candidate will be afforded three opportunities to appear in the examination In my view, proviso (9) concerns only the provision, of Clause 10, to which the said proviso is attached Clause (3) of the notification is an independent provision and it is only an enabling provision, allowing the candidate to appear at three examinations provided he is eligible for appearing at such examination. Bui at the same time, a candidate cannot be allowed to appear for more than three examinations, even if he continues to remain eligible for appearing at a subsequent examination. It cannot be construed from a reading of Clause (3) that every candidate must get three opportunities to appear at the examination, even if he is ineligible to appear on account of non-fulfillment of other conditions mentioned in the notification and age is one such condition. If the candidate fulfills the qualification in respect of age then only he may be entitled to appear at the recruitment on three occasions. As the petitioner would not have been eligible to appear at the examination, even if held in the year 1977, he has been rightly excluded from appearing at the examination held in the year 1978, on the ground that his age is mere than the maximum age prescribed in the relevant rules,
3. The next submission of learned Counsel is that the age of a candidate should not be determined with reference to the 1st of January of the year, following the last date fixed for the receipt of the applications but that it should be considered with reference to the last date fixed for receipt of such applications. According to learned Counsel the date fixed in the present case, namely 1st January, 1979 for determining the eligibility of the candidate with reference to his age is arbitrary. This argument is also without any substance. The notification issued by the Commission is in consonance with Rule 11 of the Rajasthan Administrative Service Rule, 1954, which provides that a candidate for direct recruitment to a post included in the junior scale in that service must have attained the age of 21 and must not have attained the age of 28 years on the 1st day of January next, following the last date fixed for the receipt of applications As the last date fixed for receipt of applications in the present case is 20th April, 1978, the relevant date for determination of the age of a candidate, according to Rule 11, is 1st January, 1979.
4. I am also not impressed by the argument of the learned Counsel that the fixation of 1st January of the year next following the last date fixed for the receipt of applications is arbitrary. In the Rajasthan Judicial Service Rules, 1955, Rule 10 also provides that the age of a candidate for recruitment to the service has to be determined with reference to the 1st of January next following the date of commencement of the examination by the Commission for recruitment to the service. Similarly, in the Rajasthan Police Service Rules, 1951, the touch stone for determining the age of a candidate for recruitment to the service is the 1st day of January following the last date fixed for receipt of the applications Similar provisions are also found in the Rajasthan Service of Engineers, (Electrical and Mechanical Branch) Rules, 19 4 & the Rajasthan Service of Engineers (Buildings & Roads Branch) Rules 1954 & the other Class I State services. The rule that the age of a candidate has to be adjudged with reference to the 1st day of Januar) of the year next following the last date fixed for the receipt of applications is one which has been and is being applied to all successive examinations for recruitment to the Rajasthan Administrative Service, irrespective of the factas to when the notification for holding the examination for any particular year is issued by the Commission. The fixation of a uniform date for the same class of persons is in consonance with the provisions of Article 16 of the Constitution and I am unable to appreciate the argument of the learned Counsel that the aforesaid provision made in Rule 11 is in any way in derogation of the guarantee of equality in the matter of opportunity of employment envisaged in Article 16 of the Constitution If the same criteria is uniformly applied to persons similarly situated, then there can be no complaint of Brach of the provisions of Article 16. The age of a candidate for recruitment must be adjudged in accordance with a uniform principle and with reference to a specified date. Moreover, as I have already referred to above, in most of the service rules of the State pertaining to recruitment to Class I services, 1st day of January of the year next following the last date of receipt of applications has been considered to be the touch stone for the calculation of the age of candidate for appearing in such recruitment examination, it is not possible to accept the submission of the learned Counsel in this regard.
5. Learned Counsel lastly argued that in certain competitive examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission the age of the candidate is determined with reference to the last date fixed for receipt of of applications. That may be so, but the candidates appearing at the Rajasthan Administrative Service Recruitment examination cannot be said to be similarly situated with those who are likely to appear at the examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. As one uniform date has been applied to all candidates appearing at the same examination and also at successive examinations for recruitment to the Rajasthan Administrative Service, the petitioner should have no complaint in this matter.
6. In the result, the petition has no force and it is dismissed.