Das, J. -
(1.)THE three petitioners herein have questioned the legality and validity of the nomination of 5 candidates for admission into the 1st Year M. B. B. S. Coarse for the 1984 -85 session in the medical college of Ranchi, Silchar and Gorakhpur. The intrinsic facts are that the Secretary, Medical, to the Government of Manipur published a notification dated 8 -7 -83 prescribing the minimum eligibility marks for general, Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribe candidates for admission to the Regional Medical College at Imphal and the other medical colleges outside the State, namely, B. R. D. Medical Collage, Gorakhpur, Regional Medical College Silchar and Rajendra Medical College at Ranchi. Altogether 15 seats were reserved for the candidates from Manipur from Central Pool. About 400 candidates including the three petitioners appeared in the test examination held by the Selection Board on 22 -7 -84 for getting admission into the 1st year M. B. B. S. Course for the year 1984 -85. On the basis of the said examination, the Selection Board published a select list on 23 -7 -84 of the selected candidates under the signatures of the Chairman and three Members of the Board. 38 candidates were selected against general quota, 20 candidates were selected against Scheduled Tribes quota and 3 candidates were selected against Scheduled Castes quota. The name of the petitioner No. 1, however, appeared against Srl. No. 2 amongst the Scheduled Caste candidates and the names of petitioners Nos. 2 & 3 appeared against Sri. Nos. 28 & 29 amongst the general candidates. The State Government of Manipur thereafter published the final select list nominating 2 -7 general candidates, 12 Scheduled Tribes and 1 Scheduled Caste candidates for admission to different medical colleges as shown against their names. However, all the three petitioners were not nominated. Total number of candidates shown nominated by the government came to 40. Out of the 40 candidates so nominated, 30 were for the Regional Medical College at Imphal and 10 were for other colleges outside the State of Manipur from the Central Pool. It is stated by the petitioners that the Desk Officer of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India, New Delhi by his letter dated 22 -6 -84 informed the Secretary to the Govt. of Manipur, Medical Department that 15 seats from the Central Pool had been allocated to the State of Manipur for the year 1984 -85 as per list annexed to this petition. It is stated by the petitioners that the State of Manipur disclosed only 10 seats at the time of nomination of the candidates out of the select list prepared by the Selection Board. On 14 -8 -84 the Government of Manipur issued 5 orders allocating seats to respondents Nos. 3, 4, 5 & 6 and another in the B. R. D. Medical College at Gorakhpur, Regional Medical College. Silchar and Rajendra Medical College, Ranchi. These 5 orders are the main target of attack by the petitioners in this writ application. It is stated by the petitioners that they came to know about the allocations of the seats to the Respondents Nos. 3 to 6 and another in the month of Oct. 1984. But as the High Court was closed on account of long vacation during that period, the petitioners moved an application under Article 32 of the Constitution of India before the Hon'ble Supreme Court on 18 -10 -84. It is submitted by Mr. Medhi, the learned counsel for the petitioners that when the application was moved on 7 -11 -84 before the Hon'ble Supreme Court, the Gauhati High Court then reopened. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court, as stated by Mr. Medhi, by order dated 7 -11 -84 directed the petitioners to move this Court by filing a writ application under Article 226 of the Constitution of India challenging the orders dated 14 -8 -84 passed by the Government and the corrigendum dated 21 -7 -84 purporting to amend Rule 18(2) of the Admission Rules. Mr. Medhi, the learned counsel for the petitioners could not show any order of their Lordships of the Supreme Court though he has verbally submitted the above facts. However, we do not disbelieve the statements made by Mr. Medhi, learned counsel for the petitioners in this regard.
(2.)FOR the purpose of allocation and nomination of candidates for admission into M. B. B. S. course, the Government of Manipur in the Health Department has framed a set of Rules known as "The Manipur M. B. B. S. Course (Selection of Candidates) Rules, 1984". The said set of Rules were published under notification dated 2 -7 -84 in the Manipur Gazette Extraordinary dated 11 -7 -84. Thereafter, the Government of Manipur felt it necessary to amend the Rules 16(2) & 18(2) of the said Rules and with that end in view, a corrigendum was published on 21 -7 -84. By the said corrigendum, Rule 18(2) was amended to the following effect: - -
"2. Rule 18(2) :
The words 'whose names appear in the Select List' appearing in the 5th and the 6th lines between the words 'circumstances', and 'not' be deleted".
The expression "Whose names appear in the Select List" was deleted.
It is submitted by the petitioners that names of none of the respondents, namely, Respondents Nos. 3 to 6 appeared in the Select List as prepared by the Selection Board. It is further submitted that there is no record to show that they appeared in the selection test held on 22 -7 -84. Therefore, the main grievance of the petitioners B that the Respondents Nos. 3 to 6 and another would not have been nominated by the Government for getting admission to the Medical Colleges outside the State of Manipur under Rule 18(2) of the Rules.
(3.)IN this writ application the petitioners have challenged the allocation of seats by the Government of Manipur in favour of Respondents Nos. 3 to 6 and another on the ground of gross violation of the provisions of Rule 18(2) of the Rules. The corrigendum published by the Secretary to the Government of Manipur on 21 -7 -84 has been challenged in this petition as illegal, void and ultra vires, being violative of Articles 14, 15(4) and 29(2) of the Constitution.
Before embarking on any further discussions, let us consider few relevant provisions of the Rules, namely, the Manipur M. B. B. S. Course (Selection of Candidates) Rules, 1984 (in short 'the Rules'). Rule 5 in Chapter II of the Rules prescribes the method of nomination which is quoted herein below :
"5. Nomination of candidates to the available seats shall be by selection in accordance with the provisions of these rules."
Rule 6 lays down the provision for competitive test which is quoted below :
"6. For selection of candidates for nomination, the Selection Board shall hold and conduct a competitive test (hereinafter referred to as the Competitive Test) on such date and place as it may, in consultation with the Government, specify."
Rule 9 of the Rules says about disqualification for nomination as under : - -
"9. No person shall be qualified for nomination under these rules unless - -
(i) he has appeared in the Competitive Test.
(ii) he is found by the Medical Examination Board to be in good mental or bodily health and free from any mental or physical defect likely to interfere with medical studies and profession.
(iii) he is a domicile of Manipur by birth or either of his parents has been continuously residing in Manipur for a period of not less than 20 years or has been in the service of the Government, Manipur University or Regional Medical College, Imphal, and
(iv) he has not been found, by any competent court, guilty of misconduct or convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude."
However, the relevant Rules for our purpose would be Rules 16, 17 and 18. We quote below the Rules 16, 17 and 18.
"16. (1) The Selection Board shall forward to the Government a list, (hereinafter referred to as 'Select List') arranged in the order of merit, of the general candidates and of the candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, who are found by the Selection Board to be suitable for nomination with due regard to the maintenance of standard and efficiency of medical studies and profession. The list shall also be published for general information,
(2) For the purpose of Sub -rule (1), 80% of the marks obtained in the Competitive Test shall be aggregated with 20% of the marks obtained in English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology in the qualifying Examination.
17. Subject to the provision of rules 9 and 18, candidates will be considered by the Government for nomination to the available seats in the order of merit in which their names appear in the Select List
18. (1) The Government may, by order, reserve seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as per rules for the time being, in force.
(2) The Government may, after taking into consideration the backwardness of any area or community or of other special circumstances, nominate in any Medical College outside Manipur, such number of candidates belonging to such area, community or, as the case may be, relating to the special circumstances, whose names appear in the Select List, not exceeding 10% of the available seats."
The changes brought by corrigendum dated 21st July, 1984 with regard to Rule 16(2) and Rule 18(2) of the Rules are quoted herein below : - -
For the purposes of Sub -rule (1), 80% of the percentage of marks obtained in the Competitive Test shall be aggregated with 20% of the percentages of marks obtained in English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology in P. U. Science or equivalent Examination.
18(2) The Government may, after taking into consideration the backwardness of any area or community or of other special circumstances, nominate in any Medical College outside Manipur, such number of candidates belonging to such area, community or, as the case may be, relating to the special circumstances, not exceeding 10% of the available seats."
Rule 18(2) with the corrigendum of amendment appears to be the key Rule for nomination of the students by the Government in the medical colleges outside the State of Manipur.