D SRIDEVI Vs. ANDHRA PRADESH AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
A.P. AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY
Click here to view full judgement.
(1.)The writ petitioner Miss D. Sridevi is a candidate who was denied admission to the Ph.D. Course in Entomology in the first respondent-University. In the M.Sc. (Ag) Entomology she secured OGPA 9.07 and no other candidate in the three agricultural colleges secured a higher rank than her. In addition to that, in the selection for the Ph.D. Course with Entomology as major field, she was Rank No. 1 having secured 158.70 marks. When the list of candidates selected for admission was announced on 20/03/1992, she found that the two seats meant for Ph.D. (Entomology) were allotted to respondent No. 3, a BC-B candidate who secured only 151.55 marks and to respondent No. 4, a S.C. candidate who secured only 139.65 marks. Aggrieved by the denial of admission, she has come forward with this writ petition. In this writ petition, she does not challenge the validity of G.O.Ms. No. 158, Education(c) Department dated 20/02/1982, under which the rule of reservation was made applicable for admissions to M. Phil./Ph.D. Courses. She claims that even if the rule of reservation is to be applied, only 50% of the seats in each major field can be reserved and the University is not entitled to allot both the seats to candidates belonging to reserved category. In fact, the G.O. itself requires that one seat is required to be filled up by a candidate belonging to the Open Category. She prayed for a writ directing that the denial of a seat to her in Ph.D. (Entomology) is illegal and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution and she prayed for the consequential direction to admit her into the Ph.D. Course with Entomology as major field for the academic year 1991-92.
(2.)The writ" petition was filed on 25-3-1992 and it was admitted by this Court on 26-3-1992. This Court in W.P.M.P. 5296 of 1992 granted interim order on 26-3-1992 to the following effect. "There shall be a direction to reserve one seat in Ph.D. Course with Entomology as Major Field." On 29-4-1992, this Court granted another interim order directing the respondents to permit the petitioner to attend the Ph.D. classes with Entomology as major field until further orders in the writ petition. On 27-3-1992, the petitioner filed W.P.M.P. No. 6610 of 1992 to amend the prayer in the writ petition. She claimed that by oversight, she did not question the constitutional validity of Paragraph 6 of the Prospectus for Admission to Ph.D. Courses for the academic year 1991-92. She claimed that in paragraph 6 of the Prospectus which prescribes that 15%, 6% and 25% of the seats in each Faculty as indicated in para 4 of the Prospectus are reserved for candidates, belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes respectively is an instance of giving unguided, arbitrary power which is clearly unconstitutional. As the qualifications prescribed for candidates for admission to Ph.D. Courses require specialisation in a particular field, an M.Sc., (Ag.) candidate with Entomology as a major field is eligible for a seat only in Ph.D. (Entomology) and such a candidate cannot be considered for admission into any other Ph.D. Course. G.O.Ms. No. 158 dated 28/02/1982 took only a policy decision. It never prescribed that the rule of reservation should be applied for seats in each faculty. The rule of reservation should have been applied for each discipline/major field. If the reservation rule is applied for each discipline in a faculty, there will be scope for admitting, at least, one O.C. candidate in that discipline. In paragraph 6 of the Prospectus, these are no guidelines as to how the seats reserved for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes should be distributed among the various disciplines in the faculty. In the absence of any guidelines, there is scope for exercising the power arbitrarily and this conferment of naked absolute power, uncontrolled and untrammeled, is clearly in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution. The petitioner's case is a striking example as to how that power is applied arbitrarily so as to deny the first rank-holder in the University and first in the merit list of the Selection Committee, a seat in the Ph.D. Course with Entomology as major field. She prayed for a direction declaring the Prospectus of 1991-92 as violative of Article 14 of the Constitution and for a direction that the action of respondents 1 and 2 in selecting respondents 3 and 4 for Ph.D. Course in Entomology is arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional and for a direction to allot one seat in Ph.D. Course with Entomology as major field to her.
(3.)Respondents 1 and 2 do not dispute the averments in the writ petition regarding her merit and her ranking as No. 1 in the merit list prepared by the selection committee. It is claimed that while implementing the reservation rule as per G.O. Ms. No. 158 dated 20-2-1982, the total seats that will have to be given to the various categories of reserved candidates is as indicated in paragraph 5 of the counter and the rule of reservation is to be applied on the basis of the number of seats available in each faculty. It is claimed that the lists of candidates belonging to S.C., S.T., B.C-A., B.C-B., B.C-D. from among the merit panels approved by the selection committee have been separately drawn in order of merit and the meritorious among them have been granted admissions in the disciplines to which they are applicants to the extent of the reserved seats in each faculty. It is claimed that though the petitioner is first in the merit list of the candidates in the discipline of Entomology, due to operation of rule of reservation, the petitioner could not get a seat. It is claimed that the rule of reservation is to be applied on the basis of total number of seats' in each faculty and the University had seen to it that the number of seats reserved in the faculty is strictly in conformity with the percentages prescribed and saw to it that the reservation did not exceed 46% of the seats available in the faculty of agriculture. It is claimed that the rule of reservation cannot be applied discipline-wise as the number of seats in each discipline is just two or three. Reservation has to be made for candidates belonging to six reserved categories. Normally candidates belonging to reserved categories were available only in one or two disciplines and in order to fulfil the statutory quota of reservation, the reserved candidates had to be accommodated in those disciplines only. In view of the practical difficulty involved, the rule of reservation is applied faculty-wise and not discipline-wise. If it is applied discipline-wise, the quota of reservation cannot be filled up. It cannot be said that rule of reservation implemented faculty-wise is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. Hence para 6 of the Prospectus is valid and constitutional. It cannot be struck down. While granting admission to the candidates belonging to the reserved categories, merit among such candidates also has to be ensured. The procedure that is being followed by the University has been upheld by this Hon'ble Court in W.P. No. 2474 of 1990 (Sri S.Shamsunder v. Registrar, APAU). In these circumstances the admissions made by the University to Ph.D. Course for the year 1991-92 are in accordance with the law and they did not violate any constitutional mandate. Hence the writ petition may be dismissed and the interim orders granted may be vacated.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.