1. The prayer in the writ petition runs in the following terms : -
'For the reasons stated in the accompanying affidavit, it is prayed that this Honourable Court may be pleased to issue a writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction directing the respondents to accept the petitioner's request for transfer and consequently admit him to the M. Tech. (Industrial Management) course in I.I.T. Madras, commencing in 1985.'
Mr. S.K.L. Ratan appears for the respondents. A counter affidavit has been filed on behalf of the respondents. There is no dispute that the petitioner's first choice in the order of preference was M. Tech. (Industrial Management) course in the first respondent institute. On 12-7-1985, the second respondent offered the petitioner admission to M. Tech. (Hydraulics and Water Resources Engineering) Course. In this communication the second respondent notified as follows.
'If you accept the offer you may be considered for higher preferences as indicated in your choice sheet, subject to availability of seats. In case you are not interested in accepting this offer of admission you are requested to inform the same urgently in the form enclosed.'
The petitioner did not accept the offer and joined M. Tech. (Hydraulics and Water Resources Engineering) Course. According to the petitioner, 20 seats were allocated by the resolution of the Senate of the first respondent institute on 30-5-1985 for the course M. Tech. (Industrial Management). This facturn is not in dispute before me. Even today, according to the petitioner, a number of seats are available in the said course and as per the assurance expressed iii the communication of the second respondent D/12-7-1985, the petitioner ought to be offered, transferred and admitted to M. Tech (Industrial Management) Course.
2. In answer what is the stand of the respondents is well brought out from the following averments found in para 12 of the counter affidavit which run as follows
'............. In the Industrial Management Course, twenty seats were available. Thirteen seats were filled up. I have already set out in a preceding para of this affidavit the break up figures for the twenty seats. Only two seats were available for students with civil engineering background, out of which one seat had to be offered to a scheduled caste candidate, which was offered and it has not been filled up. The other seat has to be offered in the order of merit secured by the candidates in the Gate examination. In the Gate examination, the percentile obtained by the students with civil engineering background and industrial management choice is set out below:
percentile 1. Venkata Dwaraka Kumar
2. A. V. Rajaganesha Murthy 96.41
3. Puppala Anand Jagadeesh 96.02
4. S. Raja Sekhar 94.66
5. Motupalli Venkateswara Rao 94.66
6. Manjunath R. 93.71
It will be seen from the above list that R. Manjunath the writ petitioner is sixth in the list. The first candidate, Venkate Dwaraka Kumar Tadapelli was offered a seat in Industrial Management, but he did not join. With reference to items 2 and 4, because of the limited choice given by them they could not be offered seats, even though they have asked for Industrial Management. Item No. 3 was offered a seat in CE3 and he has joined. Item No. 5 was also offered a seat in CE1 and he has joined. Item No. 6 was offered a seat in CE2 and he has joined.'
3. Assuming that one seat alone is available for the course in question on the facts disclosed before me, I do not find any warrant in keeping the petitioner away from that. What is contended by Mr. S.K.L. Ratan, learned counsel for the respondents, is that when there are other candidates who should be preferred, considering the percentile obtained by them, the petitioner cannot be preferred. In answer, Mr. Vijay Narayan, learned counsel for the petitioner, submits that when those students have not cared to agitate for any right or claim of theirs, it has to be presumed that they are not interested and hence the claims of the petitioner who is consciously agitating for his rights need not stand negatived for induction to the course in question. In support of this submission, learned counsel for the petitioner relied on the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in A. Periakaruppan v. State of Tamil Nadu, : 2SCR430 . The relevant passage in the pronouncement runs as follows -
'We are told by the learned Advocate General of Tamil Nadu, that 23 seats still remain to be filled up. He has assured us on behalf of the State that those seats will be filled up in accordance with the orders of this Court. There are about 80 persons, who we are told are in the waiting list. Some of the unsuccessful applicants had moved the High Court of Madras for relief similar to that sought by the petitioners herein. But it appears their writ petitions have been dismissed. Some out of them have intervened in these petitions. Other non-selected candidates have evinced no interest in challenging the selections made. Under the circumstances, it is reasonable to assume that they have abandoned their claim and it is too late for them to press their claim.'
The above observations of the Supreme Court do provide an answer to the present contention of the learned counsel for the respondents. The only person who has come to this Cout expressing a grievance that the respondents; have not adhered to the assurance given by them with regard to the order of preference is the petitioner. Others are not before this Court, expressing any grievance of their own. May be they are content with what they have obtained and have no inkling to agitate for any claim of theirs. When they have evinced no interest in pursuing any claim of theirs it is not for the respondents to advance their cause and on that ground stultify the claims of the petitioner. Hence present stand of the respondents stands eschewed.
4. Further-more, learned counsel for the petitioner would submit that the respondents are bound by the assurance expressed in the communication of the second respondent D/12~7-1985 already referred to and there is every justification for invoking the principle of promissory estoppel to grant reliefs to the petitioner. In this regard, learned counsel placed reliance on the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in Surya Narayan Yadav v. B.S.E. Board, : AIR1985SC941 . Dealing with the representations made by the Bihar State Electricity Board, to the Trainee Engineers that after their training was completed, they would be absorbed in regular employment of the said Board, the Supreme Court, after referring to its earlier pronouncements applied the doctrine of promissory estoppel. If in fact a seat is available and there is no one better than the petitioner claiming for it in the real sense and is a contestant for the same and in any event has not chosen to agitate for any right of his, I am of the view, the respondents should be tied down to what they expressed in the communication of the second respondent D/- 12-7-1985, applying the principle of promissory estoppel.
5. I heard Mr. S.K.L. Ratan, learned counsel for the respondents, stating also that the respondents have closed down the choices and it was only on the day of re-opening of the first respondent institute transfer could be considered. Assuming this to be so, when in fact seats were available and continue to be available, and the respondents did not adhere to their assurances to implement the order of choice or preference, it will not lie in their mouth to say that they have closed down the question of transfer on the reopening of the first respondent institute. For all these reasons, I feel obliged to interfere in writ jurisdiction and accordingly a writ of Mandamus will issue directing the respondents to implement what has been expressed by the second respondent in his communication D/12-7-1985 and accord transfer and admission to the petitioner to M. Tech (Industrial Management) course in the first respondent institute for the academic year commencing in 1985. This writ petition is ordered in the above terms. No costs.
6. Order accordingly.