Avasthi & Ors Vs. University of Delhi & Ors  INSC 122 (27 April 1988)
Rangnath Misra Rangnath Dutt, M.M. (J)
1988 SCR (3) 762 1988 SCC (2) 572 JT 1988 (2) 220 1988 SCALE (1)813
Colleges-Medical Colleges-Post Graduate Medical courses Admission to-Delhi
University adopting three year P.G. degree and two year diploma courses from
1988-As a transitory measure old system continued for the 1988 academic session
only-Candidates with one year housemanship made ineligible-Common selection
list for both seniors and freshers-Validity of-Directions issued.
to the directions of the Supreme Court in Dr. Dinesh Kumar & Ors v. Motilal Nehru Medical College Allahabad, & Ors.  4 SCC 459
regarding uniformity in post-graduate medical education, respondent No. 1-the
University of Delhi, decided to adopt the three years course for the
post-graduate degree and a two years course for the diploma commencing from the
academic session of 1988.
with a view to mitigating hardship to candidates/students who had already
completed the house job and had become entitled to undergo the post-graduate
course in two years, as a transitory provision, the respondent- University decided to continue the practice prevailing prior to 1988
for a year. It evolved a scheme where under, the number of seats for the
post-graduate course and diploma course available in the previous year for a
student who had completed one year's house man ship were left untouched. As a
transitional provision, the University agreed to fix 75% quota, for the 1988
session only. As per a Note in the scheme, candidates who had done house
job/Junior Residency for period of one year were not eligible for admission to
3 years post-graduate degree and 2 years post-graduate diploma course.
prospectus, however, prescribed one common selection test for both the
of writ petitions were filed before the High Court challenging the scheme of
the University mainly on the basis that when there was one selection test,
merit should prevail and classification in the manner indicated by the scheme
was bad. The High Court made an interim 763 order requiring the University to
have the selection completed on the basis of merit adjudged in the common
of the Writ Petitions and some cases transferred from the High Court, ^
The seniors who have already done one year's housemanship and freshers belong
to two categories and cannot be said to be equal. The question of test of
comparative merit would not have arisen if the University had not prescribed a
common selection test for these two categories. If the merit list of the
selection test is followed, more seniors are entitled to admission and the
scheme of reservation would not work. [765F-G] While selection in the higher
course should be on the basis of merit in the peculiar facts and circumstances
of this case, purely confined to a transitory measure, the situation has to be
handled not by first principles but by a somewhat informed pragmatic adhocism
especially because the situation would not reoccur. [766D] The impasse created
on account of rival claims by freshers and seniors has to have a rough and
ready solution- yet not arbitrary and as acceptable and satisfying as possible.
[766F] With a view to providing some more seats for seniors, the respondent
University should create one seat in every speciality. Thus, 21 additional
seats will be available over and above the seats fixed by the University
representing 75%. From the reserved seats made for the freshers, 21 seats,
being one from every speciality, should be taken away and made available to the
seniors. Thus, 42 seats in all will be available for the seniors in the
Post-Graduate course to be filled up on the basis of inter se merit, keeping
the senior group apart. [766G-H; 767A-B] The Central Government should make the
necessary provisions for funds. The Indian Medical Council may provide the
necessary accommodation by relaxing the requirements.
Dr. Dinesh Kumar v. Motilal Nehru College, Allahabad & Ors.,  4 SCC 459, referred to.
ORIGINAL JURISDICTION: Writ Petition (Civil) NO. 194 of 1988. etc etc.
(Under Article 32 of the Constitution of India).
T.S. Krishnamurthi Iyer, Rajesh Mitra, Ms. Santosh Kalra, H.K. Puri, R.L. Roshan,
S.S. Sabharwal, S.K. Sabharwal, and M.K.D. Namboodiri for the Petitioners.
S.N. Kacker, G. Rath, Mrs. A. Mathur, A. Mariarputham, C.M. Nayyar, D.S. Narula,
Kailash Vasudev, Mrs. Uma Jain and P.K. Mehta for the Respondents.
following Order of the Court was delivered:
O R D
writ application under Article 32 and the transferred writ petitions from the
Delhi High Court relate to selection of medical graduates for undertaking post
graduate study for the year 1988 under the Delhi University.
Dinesh Kumar v. Motilal Nehru College, Allahabad & Ors., this Court emphasised
the desirability of post graduate education in the Medical Faculty as far as
possible to have uniformity throughout the country. It, therefore, commended to
the educational institutions which followed the system of one year house job
followed by two years' post- graduate course to switch over to the pattern of a
three year post-graduate course with house job in the first year.
September 25, 1987, in the very same matter, when the Court made an order
reported in 1987 4 SCC 459, it was pointed out that in some States the post
graduate course is for a term of two years with one year housemanship while in
the other States it is a full term of three years. This Court, therefore,
directed with a view to bringing about uniformity on the basis of the principle
accepted in the earlier decision that for admission beginning from 1993, there
would be only one pattern, namely, a three year integrated course without any
separate housemanship. The University of Delhi decided to adopt the three year
course for the post-graduate degree and a two year course for the diploma
commencing from the academic Session of 1988. With a view to mitigating
hardship to candidates/students who had already completed the house job and had
become entitled to undergo the postgraduate course in two years, as a
transitory provision, the University decided to continue the practice
prevailing prior to 1988 for a year. The University evolved a scheme where
under the number of seats for the post-graduate course and diploma course
available in the previous year for a student who had completed one year's housemanship
were left untouched. The number of such seats are 198 for the degree course 765
and 111 for the diploma course. Out of these 25% being placed at the disposal
of the Government of India to be filled-up on all India selection basis, the exact number
available to be filled-up by the University worked out to 149 and 84
respectively. As a transitional provision intended for the 1988 Session only
the University agreed to fix 75% quota (representing 139 seats in the
three-year degree course and 66 seats in the two-year diploma course).
following was specified a part of the Scheme:
Note Candidates who have done house job/junior Residency for a period of one
year are not eligible for admission to 3 years Post-Graduate Degree and 2 years
Post Graduate Diploma Course." The prospectus, however, prescribed one
common selection test.
of writ petitions were filed before the Delhi High Court challenging the scheme
of the University mainly on the basis that when there was one selection test,
merit should prevail and classification in the manner indicated by the scheme
was bad. Reliance was placed before the High Court on observations of this
Court that for post graduate degree the test of excellence should prevail and
the level of high proficiency should be maintained. The High Court made an interim
order requiring the University to have the selection completed on the basis of
merit adjudged in the common selection test.
is a dispute essentially between the University and the freshers who have not
done housemanship on one side and the seniors who have already completed housemanship
for one year on the other. There can be no dispute that the seniors and the freshers
belong to two separate categories and cannot be said to be equals. If the
University had not prescribed a common selection test for these two categories,
the question of test of comparative merit would not have arisen. If that had
not been done perhaps the High Court would not have made its direction and the
difficulty which has arisen would not have cropped up.
classification of freshers and those who have completed a year's housemanship,
though a perceptible one, loses its importance in view of the traditional
situation that in the system prevailing prior to 766 1987, both the groups were
treated as qualified for appearing at the selection test for post graduate
study. We are told by learned members at the Bar that after transitory Note
extracted above disappears in the coming year, the old practice shall again
revive. This is an unfortunate situation. There being no limit to participation
in the selection test for post-graduate study candidates who become
unsuccessful year after year, in the absence of any limit, keep on taking
chances. This certainly is not a desirable feature and should be looked into by
the appropriate authorities quickly.
merit list of the selection examination is followed, more of seniors are
entitled to admission and the scheme of reservation would not work. As we have
already pointed out in the name of what counsel calls convenience (and how inconvenient
it was is not known), the Delhi University made an initial mistake of having a
common selection test for two categories of candidates. While we reiterate the
view expressed by this Court on more than one occasion that selection in the
higher courses should be on the basis of merit, in the peculiar facts and
circumstances arising in this case purely confined to a transitory measure, the
situation has to be handled not by first principles but by a somewhat informed
has to be so because the situation would not reoccur.
the initial mistake of the Delhi University had brought some amount of
confusion and it has mounted up following the intervention by the High Court.
The time available is too short as under the Scheme intended to apply to the
whole country the course has to begin on the 2nd of May, 1988.
this background we are of the view that the impasse created on account of the
rival claims advanced by the freshers and the seniors has to have a rough and
ready solution-yet not arbitrary and as acceptable and satisfying as possible.
We find that the two-year degree course speciality-wise has 149 seats while the
three-year degree course has 139 seats. For convenience we extract the
particulars made available at page 4 of the Bulletine of Information. It may be
pointed out that there are 1003 candidates as against total 270 vacancies
(degree and diploma courses together) for the seniors; and there are 331
candidates as against 205 vacancies for the two courses for the freshers. With
a view to providing some more seats for seniors we suggested to Mr. Rao
appearing for the University that the number of seats may be increased and he
has on instructions agreed, provided the Union of India provides funds and the
Medical Council agrees to accommodate. There are 21 specialities as indicated
above. We direct that the University shall create one seat in every speciality
and thus 21 additional seats will 767 be available over and above the 149 seats
fixed by the University representing the 75% quota. To this enhanced number of
seats the 25% reservation of All India Selection shall not apply. From the
reserved seats made for the freshers, 21 seats being one from every speciality
shall be taken away and made available to the seniors. Thus 42 seats in all
will be available for the seniors in the Post- Graduate course to be filled up
on the basis of inter se merit keeping the senior group apart.
creation of the 21 seats will involve additional funds to be provided by the
Union of India. It will also require approval of the Medical Council of India
and there will perhaps also be necessity for permitting the variation of
guide-student ratio. Since it is for one year and there would be no scope for
recurrence and this has arisen in peculiar circumstances explained above, we
direct the Government of India to take our order made without hearing it with a
sense of understanding and make the necessary provisions. We also suggest to
the Indian Medical Council to provide the necessary accommodation by relaxing
the requirements. These may be done quickly so that the time schedule may not
Petitions disposed of.