Chandigarh Administration & Anr Vs. Manpreet
Singh & Ors  INSC 298 (18 November 1991)
P.B. Sawant, P.B. Jeevan Reddy, B.P. (J)
1992 AIR 435 1991 SCR Supl. (2) 322 1992 SCC (1) 380 JT 1991 (4) 436 1991 SCALE
Engineering College--Admissions---Union Territory of Chandigarh Memo dated
19.5.1982/6.9.1990--Reservation of seats for children/spouses of military/para-military
person- nel-College prospectus dividing them in 5 sub-categories--Admissions to
be given in order of priority in descending order---High Court's direction to
switch the categories affecting the order of priority Legality of.
of India 1950:
226--High Court's jurisdiction-Whether supervisory in nature- objectives of
writ jurisdiction explained-High Court not to sit/act as an appellate authority
over the rule making authorities.
admissions--Whether High Court should stay for 3-4 weeks implementation of its
order admitting a student, if so prayed.
Union Territory of Chandigarh, by its Memo dated 19.5.1982 as modifited by
another Memo dated 6.9.1990, reserved 5% of seats for children/spouses of
military/pars- military personnel. Pursuant thereto the Punjab Engineering College, reserved 15 seats for such
candidates. For the purpose of admission the college categorised in its prospec-
tus these candidates into 5 sub-categories. These belonging to the respective
categories and obtaining qualifying marks in the entrance examination were to be
admitted meritwise in the order of priority in descending order: sub-category 1
consisted of children/spouses of defence personnel who were awardees of
gallantry decorations of Paramvir/Mahavir/Vir Chakra in person or posthumously,
or, dependent children/spouses of defence/pars military personnel who were
killed or totally incapacitated in action while in service.
childern/spouses of defence/pars military person- nel who died in service were
put in sub-category 2. Subcate- gory 3 comprised the dependent children/spouses
of defence/pars military personnel incapacitated while in service, Dependent
children/spouses of Ex-servicemen (mili- tary and pars military) were 323
placed in sub-category 4; and those of serving defence/pars military personnel
found place in sub-category 5.
the academic year 1991-92 out of the 15 seats, 9 seats went to all the 9
qualified candidates belonging to sub-categories 1 to 3, and remaining seats
were allotted to 6 candidates meritwise out of 90 qualified candidates be-
longing to sub-category 4. Sub-category 5 went unprovided.
no.1 in SLP No.16066/91, who appeared in the entrance examination for the
academic year 1991-92 but did not get admission, filed a writ petition before
the High Court contending that his father was an awardee of 'Shaurya Chakra'
which was equivalent to Vir Chakra and therefore his case ought to have been
considered in sub-category 1. On behalf of the College it was stated that 'Shaurya
Chakra' award was not covered under the rules and regulations and, therefore,
respondent no.1, being the son of an Exservice- man, could be considered only
in sub-category 4.
no.1 and 2 in SLP No.16065/91, the sons of the serving defence personnel, filed
another writ petition before the High Court challenging the categorization of defence
personnel as unreasonable and contended that chil- dren of serving defence
personnel should have been preferred over the children of Exserviceman.
High Court allowed both the writ petitions and directed the College to admit
all the three petitioners. It ordered that subcategory 5 should be treated as
sub-category 4 and sub-categery 4 should be treated as sub-category 5, and the
admissions should be made accordingly.
petitioner in SLP No.16451/91, being the son of an serviceman, was initially
entitled to be considered under sub-category 4 which by the order of the High
Court was converted into sub-category 5. He challenged the said con- version of
categories by yet another writ petition which was dismissed by the High Court.
Administration and the College filed SLPs No.16066 and 16065 of 1991 against
the orders of the High Court allowing the two writ petitions, whereas SLP No.
16451 of 1991 was filed by the petitioner in the third writ peti- tion which
was dismissed by the High Court.
was contended on behalf of Chandigarh Administration and the College that the
High Court exceeded its jurisdic- tion in granting the impugned order in as
much as in writ jurisdiction the High Court does not sit as an appellate
authority over the rule making body nor can it re-write the rules.
15.11.1991 the three Special Leave Petitions were dis- posed of.
reasons in support of its order dated 15.11.1991 this Court,
1. While acting under Article 226 of the Constitu- tion, the High Court does
not sit and/or act as an appellate authority over the orders/actions of the
subordinate author- ities/tribunals. Its jurisdiction is supervisory in nature.
335 H; 336 A] One of the main objectives of this jurisdiction is to keep the
government and several other authorities and tribu- nals within the bounds of
their respective jurisdiction. The High Court must ensure that while performing
this function it does not overstep the wellrecognised bounds of its own
jurisdiction. [p. 336 A]
the instant case, the High Court should not have indulged in the exercise of
'switching' the categories and that too without giving any reasons therefor.
Thereby, it has practicably assumed the role of rule-making authority, or, at
any rate, assumed the role of an appellate authority.
is clearly not the function of the High Court acting under Article 226 of the
Constitution of India. IP. 334 G-H1
the High Court was satisfied that the rule was discriminatory and bad, the only
course open to it was to strike down the offending rule. It could also have
directed the authorities to reframe the rule and make admissions accordingly.
[p. 333 F] By directing that category 4 should be treated as cate- gory 5 and
conversely category 5 should be treated as cate- gory 4, the High Court has
prejudicially affected the rights of candidates falling under category 4
without even hearing.them, particularly when these categories were men- tioned
in the order of priority. [p. 335 A]
rule making authority need not observe the rule of hear- 325 ing, but the High
Court exercising its judicial power cannot dispense with the requirement. [p.
Although the orders and directions made by the High Court were totally
unsupportable in law, yet, in view of the subsequent developments, the Special
Leave Petitions could not be allowed. By the time the SLPs were taken up and
stay granted, the respondents were already admitted in the Col- lege and they gave up their seats which they had
obtained in other colleges. Depriving them of their admission in the College at
such a late stage would result in grave and irreparable prejudice to them. The
Administration and the College authorities ought to have acted with more
alacrity and approached this court earlier than they did. [p. 336 B- D]
matters where the High Court directs the students to be admitted in educational
institutions it would be advisable if the High Court stays the operation of its
order for a period of about 3 to 4 weeks if a request therefor is made by the
educational institution or the State as the case may be. [pp. 336 GH; 337 A]
APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Special Leave Petition Nos. 16066. 16065 & 16451 of
the Judgment and Order dated 28.8.1991,30.8.1991 & 9.10.1991 of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in C.W.P .Nos.
12644, 12485 and 14606 of 1991 respectively.
Ranjit Kumar, J.D. Jain, Mrs. Kawaljit Kocher, Dr. Balram Gupta, Ms. Yasmin Tarapore,
J. Lal Kai- lash Vasdev, Ms Nandini Sawhney, R.K. Kapoor, A.A. Khan and Anil Verma
for the appearing parties.
following Order of the Court was delivered:
Union Territory of Chandigarh, 5% of the seats are reserved in favour of
sons/daughters/spouses of Mili- tary/Para-Military personnel. Orders in this
behalf are issued by the Administration in its memo dated 19th May, 1982 which were later modified in memo
dated 6.9.1990. In accordance with the said orders, Punjab Engineering College (a College run by the Chandigarh
Administration and affili- ated to Punjab University) reserved 15 seats in favour of
sons/daughters/spouses of Military/ParaMilitary Personnel.
College published a prospectus for the session 1991-92.
contains inter alia the rules governing the admission of stu- 326 dents to the
said college. So far as the reservation in favour of children and spouses of
Military/Para-Military Personnel is concerned, the rule, (printed at pages 23
and 24 of the Prospectus) reads as follows:
of Military/Para- military Personnel etc.:
Admission of the candidates against the reserved seats under this category will
be made on the basis of merit list prepared according to the priorities given
below in the descending order:-
Sons/Daughters/Spouses of defence personnel who are awardees of gallantry
decorations of Paramvir/Mahavir/Vir Chakra in person or posthumously.
Sons/daughters/spouses of defence personnel and para-military personnel like
CRPF, BSF etc. who are killed or are total incapacitated in action while in
service and were wholly dependent on them.
Sons/daughters/spouses of defence person- nel and para-military personnel like
CRPF/BSF etc. who die while in service and were wholly dependent on them;
Sons/daughters/spouses of defence per- sonnel and para-military personnel like
CRPF/BSF incapacitated while in service and were wholly dependent on them;
Sons/daughters/spouses of exservicemen (military and para-military personnel
like CRPF/BSF who are wholly dependent on them;
Sons/daughters/spouses of serving de- fence personnel and paramilitary
personnel like CRPF/BSF who are wholly dependent on them:
candidates claiming admissions under the category 1 above are required to
submit the photo-copy of citation for the gallantry award, failing which the
application will not be considered in this category, The candidates claiming
admission under category I are required to submit a certificate from the
respective Head- quarters regarding death/total incapacitation in action while
candidates claiming admission under category 2 and 3 are required to submit a
certificate from the respective Headquarters regarding death/total incapacitation.while
The candidates claiming admission under category 4 are required to submit
discharge certificate from sevice and certificate of dependence from the
District Magistrate of the district concerned.
candidates claiming admission under category 5 are required to submit the
certificate of dependence from the unit in which parent/spouse is serving.
candidates who apply for admission against this category will also be
considered for admission against the seats allocated for Chandigarh/ General
Pool to which they may belong as per their merit." A perusal of the rule
shows that the five categories are mentioned in the order of priority in the
is no allocation of seats as between these five cate- gories. It means that in
the first instance, all the quali- fied and eligible candidates falling in
category 1 will be given admission and if any seats are left unfilled, quali- fied
candidates failing in category 2 will be admitted. If there are any seats still
left unfilled, qualified candi- dates falling in category 3 will be given
admission and so on. In a given year, it may well happen that all the avail-
able seats reserved for children/spouses of defence person- nel are taken away
by the candidates in the first or first and second categories. As a matter of
fact, for the year 1990-91, only 6 candidates belonging to sub-category 4 out
of 90 candidates could be admitted and not the others and category 5 'went unprovided
altogether. It is stated that all candidates obtaining the specified minimum
marks in the common entrance test were treated as qualified for being
considered for admission.
16066/91: The first respondent in the S.L.P. applied for admission to Punjab Engineering College under this quota. He appeared in
the common Entrance Test along with other applicants. The College Authorities
considered his case placing him in category 4 since his father was an
Ex-serviceman. He could not, however, be given the admission because the 15
seats reserved for children and spouses of Military/ParaMilitary Personnel in
this College were allo- cated in the following manner:
There were three candidates falling in category 1 (i.e., children of Defence
Person- nel who are awardees of gallantry decoration, Paramvir Chakra/Mahavir
Chakra, in person or posthumously). All the three were given admis- sion.
There were 5 candidates falling in catego- ry 2. They were admitted.
Only one candidate falling in category 3 appeared and was given the seat;
There were 90 candidates failing in category 4. But only 6 seats were available
(nine seats having been taken away by sub- categories a to c). These six seats
were allotted on the basis of inter-se merit among the candidates failing in
this category. The first respondent being at a fairly lower position in this
merit list could not be given the admission.
seats were left for being allotted to candidates failing in category 5.
that he has not been given admission in this Col- lege, the first respondent
filed a writ petition in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana being C.W.P.
No.12644 of 1991.
contention was that his father Major Kuldip Singh Malik was awarded Shaurya
Chakra for acts of gallantry, that Shaurya Chakra is equivalent to Vir Chakra,
in all respects and, therefore, his case ought to have been considered in
category 1 and not in category 4. He submitted that along with his application
for admission he had enclosed a copy of the citation awarded by the President
of India to his father showing that his father Major Kuldip Singh Malik was
awarded Shaurya Chakra for displaying exemplary courage and leader- ship in the
course of his duties in the Mizo Hills. He complained that two of the
candidates admitted under catego- ry 1 have received less marks than he.
High Court has allowed the Writ Petition on the following reasoning:
to Regulation 695 of the Defence Services Regulations relating to the Army,
issued by the Ministry of Defence, Government of India, Shaurya Chakra is
awardable for gallantry and comes after Ashoka Chakra and Kirti Chakra.
Further, according to Regulation 717, in order of precedence, this award of Shaurya
Chakra is at number thirteen. that is immediately below Vir Chakra and Param Vir
Chakra is at number two and Maha Vir Chakra is at number seven. Despite all
this, the re- spondents, while considering the candidature of the petitioner,
did not grant him admission to the Bachelor of Engineering Course in the
current session even though he was higher in academic merit as compared to
respondent Nos. 3 and 4 who have been granted such admission.
reply, the respondents have pleaded that no doubt the father of the petitioner
was deco- rated with Shaurya Chakra award in 329 1969, but it is gallantry
award and is not strictly covered by the rules, regulations and the prospectus
of the College, though it is admitted that both respondents Nos.3 and 4, who
have been granted admission, were lower in merit than the petitioner, so far as
the academic record is concerned.
hearing the learned counsel for the parties, we find that the approach of the
respondents in rejecting the candidature of the petitioner is neither legally
correct nor just and fair. However, as respondent Nos.3 and 4 who are lower in
academic merit than the petitioner, happen to be the sons of the awardees of Vir
Chakra and Maha Vir Chakra respectively, it would be unfair if the admis- sion
already granted to them by the Chandigarh Administration and the Punjab
Engineering College, Chandigarh, is set aside.
we allow this petition and issue a direction to respondent Nos. 1 and 2 to
admit the petitioner against the category of sons/daughters of awardees of
gallantry deco- rations, without disturbing the admission of respondents Nos.3
and 4. In case no such seat is available for the petitioner, the respond- ents
shall create a seat for the purpose forthwith. This shall also be deemed to be
a direction to the Punjab University for accord- ing necessary approval for the
creation of the additional seat. There shall be no order as to costs." The
decision of the High Court was rendered on 28th August, 1991. The present
S.L.P. was filed in this court on 7th October, 1991. In fact, it appears that
having waited for one month and not having been admitted in the college in
pursuance of the Judgment, the first respondent took pro- ceedings for Contempt
against the College Authorities. The first respondent, was admitted in the
college on 28th Octo- ber, 1991. It is now stated by his counsel that the first
respondent has given up his seat in another college (Jamia Millia), on being
admitted to this College. The writ peti- tion came up for final hearing before
us on 15.11.1991. We disposed of the SLPs on that day stating that reasons for
our orders will be given today.
No. 16065/91 Respondents 1 and 2 in this S.L.P. also applied for admission to
Punjab Engineering College as children of serving Defence Personnel. They too
appeared for the common Entrance Test along with other applicants. Since the
parents of the two respondents were serving Defence Personnel, their case was
considered under category 5, As stated herein 330 before, no seats were left
for being allocated to candidates falling in category 5. Respondents I and 2
were, therefore, not given admission in this College whereupon they ap- proached
the Punjab and Haryana High Court by way of a writ petition being C.W.P. No.
12485 of 1991. Their case was that the categorisation of Defence Personnel was
unjust and unreasonable in as much as while the children and spouses of serving
Defence Personnel are placed in category 5, children and spouses of Exserviceman
are placed above them in catego- ry 4. According to the respondents. children
of serving Defence Personnel must be preferred over the children of Exservicemen.
In a short order, the High Court allowed the writ petition and directed'that
category 5 should be treated as category 4 and category 4 should be treated as
Court directed that admissions for the current year (1991-1992) shall be made
accordingly. The order of High court is a short one and may be set out in its entirity:
hearing the learned counsel for the parties and having gone through their
plead- ings, we are of the considered view that sub- categories No. 1, 2 and 3
deserve to be re- tained at their appropriate present places. So far as
sub-categories No.4 and 5 i.e. relating to the sons, daughters and spouses of
the exservice personnel ,as well as the sons, daughters and spouses of service Defence
personnel are concerned, we find that the ends of justice would be adequately
met and the object for which the reservation has been provided would be
achieved if the sons, daugh- ters and spouses of serving Defence personnel are
placed at sub-category No.4 i.e. above the category of Exservicemen. This
conclusion has been arrived at by us after considering the circumstances that
the wards and spouses of serving Defence personnel are at a disadvan- tage in
the absence of their guardians serving at far off/distant places defending the coun-
try vis-a-vis who have retired from the mili- tary and are now living with
these considerations in view, we dispose of this writ petition by issuing a
direction to the respondent Union Territory Chandigarh and Principal, Punjab Engineering College, to go ahead with the admission of
this reserved category. Therefore, so far as such categories 1,2 and 3 are
concerned, there shall not be any change. However, we direct that so far as
sub-category No.4 is concerned, persons covered in this shall be considered at
No. 5 and those covered in sub-category 5 are concerned, shall be considered at
No. 4. The admission, which are going to be finalised tomorrow, shall not be
made in accordance with these directions. A copy of the order be supplied Dasti
also to the learned counsel for the parties." 331 This order was made on 30th August, 1991 whereas the present SLP was filed
in this Court on 7th
respondents too took proceedings for contempt against the college for not
implementing the direction of the High Court. They were admitted on 28th October, 1991. These respondents also say that on
being admitted to this college they have given up their admission in other
colleges. This SLP was heard alongwith SLP. No.16066 of 1991 on 15.11.91.
No. 16451 of 1991 This petition for Special Leave is directed against the order
dated 9th October, 1991 passed by a Division Bench of the Punjab ,and Haryana
High Court dismissing the writ petition filed by the petitioner. The petitioner
(writ petitioner) applied for admission to the Punjab Engineering College for the year 1991-92 under category 4 being the son of an Exserviceman.
By virtue of the directions given by the High Court in its order dated
30.8.1991 in C .W.P. No. 12485 of 1991, category 4 became category 5 and
category 5 became category 4 and admissions were being made on that basis. The
petitioner who fell in category 4 (,as per the prospectus of the College) and
which was now converted to category 5 by virtue of the decision of the High
Court aforesaid applied to the High Court to consider his case in category 4
itself and grant him admission. His writ petition was dismissed by the High
Court on 9th October,
1991 under a short
order which reads thus:
are being done as per the direc- tions issued in Civil Writ Petition No.12485
of 1991, decided by the Division Bench on August 30. 1991. In view of the said
decision, we do not find any merit in the contentions raised by the learned
counsel for the peti- tioner. The Writ petitions dismissed. A copy of this
order be given dasti." The petitioner is in fact questioning the
correctness of the directions given by the High Court in C.W.P.No.12485 of 1991
disposed of on August
for Chandigarh Administration and the College (petitioners in SLP's 16066 and
16065 of 1991) contended that the High Court has exceeded its jurisdiction in
grant- ing the impugned directions. He submitted that High Court, while
exercising the writ jurisdiction conferred upon by Article 226 of the
Constitution of India, does not sit as an Appellate Authority over the rule
making authority nor can it re-write the rules. If the rule or any portion of
it was found to be bad, the High Court could have struck it down and directed
the rule-making authority to re-frame the 332 rule and make admissions on that
basis but the High Court could not have either switched the categories or
directed that Shaurya Chakra should be treated as equivalent to Vir Chakra By
its directions, the High Court has completely upset the course of admissions
under this reserved quota and has gravely affected the chances of candidates
failing in category 4 by down-grading them as category 5 without even hearing
them. These are good reasons for the categorisation done by the Administration
which was adopted by the College.
submitted that while Paramvir Chakra, Mahavir Chakra and Vir Chakra are awarded
for gallantry in war, Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra are awarded
for gallantry otherwise than in war. Shaurya Chakra was awarded to the father
of the first respondent in SLP.No. 16066 of 1991 for his gallant conduct in
counter-insurgency operations in Mizo Hills. It was not a war. He placed,
before us, the true extract of order of precedence of awardees. It reads thus:
EXTRACT OF ORDER OF PRECEDENCE OF AWARDS.
Order of Precedence of Awards- The order of precedence of various awards is as
Ratna Param Vir Chakra Ashoka Chakra Padma Vibhushan Padma Bhushan Param Vishisht
Seva Medal Maha Vir Chakra Kirti Chakra Padma Shri Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak
Ati Vishisht Seva Medal Vir Chakra Shaurya Chakra The President's police and
Fire Service Medal for gallantry. Sena/Nao Sena/Vayu Sena Medal Vishisht Seva
Medal The Police Medal for gallantry Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak Wound Medal The
General Service Medal 1947.
Samar Seva Star 1965 Poorvi Star Paschimi
Star Raksha Medal 2965." 333 Counsel says that by its directions contained
in the two orders impugned herein, the High Court has exercised a jurisdiction,
which really did not belong to it. We are inclined to agree with him.
for the petitioner in S.L.P.No. 16451 of 1991 supported the aforesaid
other hand, the counsel for respondents (writ petitioners in the High Court) in
the first two SLPs. sup- iported the order of the High Court and submitted
further that since the said respondents have given up their seats in other
colleges and have been admitted in the Punjab Engi- neering College any order
throwing them out from the Punjab Engineering College, at this juncture would
cause them irreparable prejudice. They submitted that the Chandigarh
Administration and the College authorities have been sleep- ing over the matter
until a contempt petition was filed and that they moved this Court only after
they were summoned in the Contempt proceedings. They should be held dis-entitled
to any relief on account of laches, submitted the counsel.
of the considered opinion that the orders of High Court are wholly
unsustainable. We shall consider both the directions separately. Let us first
consider SLP 16066 of 1991, arising from C.W.P. 12644/91.
rule as framed by the Chandigarh Administration and as published by the College
in its prospectus in the year 1991-92 placed in category I children and spouses
of only those Defence Personnel who were awardees of gallantry decorations of Paramvir
Chakra, Mahavir Chakra or Vir Chakra in person or posthumously. It did not
include Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra or Shaurya Chakra. The validity of the rule
was not expressly questioned before the High Court. Assuming that it was so
questioned and assuming that the High Court was satisfied that the rule was
discriminatory and bad for the reason of not including Ashok Chakra etc., the
only course open to it was to strike down the offending rule. It could also
have directed the authorities to reframe the rule and to make admissiions
accordingly. High Court however did not choose to do so. It merely directed
that since Shaurya Chakra is immediately below Vir Chakra in the order of
precedence and since respondents 3 and 4 in the writ peti- tion admitted under
sub-category I have obtained lesser marks than the writ petitioner, he should
be given admission without disturbing the admission given to respondents 2 and
3 in that writ petition. The entire reasoning of the High Court has been
extracted by us herein above. It shows that absolutely no reason is assigned
for granting the said direction. All that it says is that since Shaurya Chakra
is also awardable for gallantry and is placed imme- 334 diately below Vir
Chakra, the writ petitioner should be granted admission. If really the High
Court was of the opinion that Shaurya Chakra is equivalent to Vir Chakra and
should be treated on the same par as Vir Chakra then it should spelt out the
position also of Ashok Chakra and Kirti Chakra. which are above Shaurya Chakra.
According to the Rules notified children/spouses of Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra
& Shaurya Chakra awardees did not fall under category 1 nor under
categories 2 or 3. They would fail under catego- ry 4 or category 5, as the
case may be, depending upon whether their parent/spouse was an ex-service
person or a serving person. There may have been other candidates who are the
children/spouses of Shaurya Chakra awardees and for that matter, Ashok chakra
and Kirti Chakra awardees who may have obtained more marks than the writ
petitioner (first respond- ent in SLP 16066 of 1991) but who did not claim a
seat under category 1 nor were considered as such. They may not have stated the
fact of their parent/spouse being a Ashok chakra/Kirli Chakra Shaurya Chakra awardee,
nor filed the relevant citation, since it was not relevant as per the published
Rules. Had the proper course been followed, all of them could have applied
properly and could have been consid- ered. By saying this we do not mean to say
that the Rule is bad. We do not mean to say so at all. There may be good
reasons for the Rule as published - or there may not be.
is not the issue. What we are saying is that if the High Court was of the opinion
that all the gallantry awar- dees (including Ashok, Kirti and Shaurya Chakra)
should be placed in category 1, it should have said so, struck down the
category-and, may be, directed reframing of rule and admissions made on that
to SLP 16065 of 1991, the position appears to been even worse. Without
assigning any reason the High Court has directed that category 4 should be made
category 5 and category 5 should be made category 4. In short, it has switched
these two categories. Again, we must say that if the High Court thought that
this categorisation was discrim- inatory and bad it ought to have struck down
the categorisa- tion to that extent and directed the authority to' re-frame the
rule. It would then have been open to the rule making authority either to merge
these two categories or delete one or both of them, depending upon/he opinion
they would have formed on a review of the situation. We must make it clear
again that we express no opinion on the question of validity or otherwise of the
rule. We are only saying that the High Court should not have indulged in the
exercise of 'switch- ing' the categories, - and that too without giving any
reasons thereafter. Thereby. it has practicably assumed the rule of rulemaking
authority, or. at any rate, assumed the role of an Appellate Authority. That is
clearly not the function of the High Court acting under Article 226 of the
Constitution of India. Now, let us notice the implications and consequences of
the said 'switching'.
directing that category 4 should be treated as category 5 and conversely
category 5 should be treated as category 4, the High Court has prejudicially
affected the rights of candidates falling under category 4 without even hearing
them. It must be remembered that these categories are mentioned in the order of
priority as emphasised herein- before. A rulemaking authority need not observe
the rule of hearing, but the High Court exercising its judicial power cannot
dispense with the requirement and that is precisely the grievance of the
petitioner in S.L.P. 16451/91 arising from V.W.P. 14606 of 1991. He was
entitled to be considered under category 4 (as per the prospectus) whereas by
virtue of the High Court's order his category has become category 5, the result
of which is that no seat may be left for his category, whereas the said
category was entitled to some seats at least according to the Rules as framed
and pub- lished by the Administration and College. Suffice is to say that the
giving the said direction, while the admission were in progress, the situation
has been confounded beyond re- call.
226 of the Constitution of India empowers the High Court to issue to any person
or authority (including the government) directions, orders or writs including
writs in the nature of Habeas Corpus, mandamus, Prohibition, quo warrants and
certiorari, or any of them for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred
by Part III and for any other purpose.
the Article itself does not contain any restric- tive words, the Courts have,
ever the years, evolved certain self-constraints though, we are not bound by
the procedural technicalities governing these high prorogative writs in English
law. As observed by a Constitution Bench in Bassappa v. Nagappa  1 S.C.R.
250 at 256:
view of the express provisions in our Constitution we need not now look back to
the early history or the procedural technicalities of these writs in English
law, nor feel op- pressed by any difference or change of opin- ion, expressed
in particular cases of English Judges. We can make an order or issue a writ in
the nature of certiorari in all appropriate cases and in appropriate manner, so
long as we keep to the broad and fundamental princi- ples that regulate the
exercise of jurisdic- tion in the matter of granting such writ in English
law." While this is not the place to delve into or detail the
self-constraints to be observed by the Courts while exercis- ing the
jurisdiction under Article 226, one of them, which is relevant herein, is
beyond dispute viz. while acting under Article 226, the High Court does not sit
and/or act as an Appellate Authority over the orders/actions of the Subor- dinate
Authori- 336 ties/Tribunals. Its' jurisdiction is supervisory in nature.
the main objectives of this jurisdiction is to keep the government and several
other authorities and Tribunals within the bounds of their respective
jurisdiction. The High Court must ensure that while performing this function it
does not overstep the well-recognized bounds of its own jurisdiction.
we are satisfied that the orders and directions made by the High Court are
totally unsupportable in law, the subsequent developments dissuade us from
allowing these SLPs. As stated above, the three respondents-writ-petition- ers
(first respondent in SLP. 16066/91 and respondents I and 2 in SLP. 16065/91)
have been admitted into this college (Punjab Engineering College) on 28th
October, 1991, where- upon they have given up the seats which they had obtained
in other colleges. This statement of theirs is not disputed either by the Chandigarh
Administration or the college authorities. Depriving the said respondents of
their admis- sion in this college at this stage would result in grave and
irreparable prejudice to them. We think that the Administra- tion and College
authorities ought to have acted with more alacrity and approached this Court
earlier than they did. By the time, these SLPs were taken up by us and stay
granted, the said respondents were already admitted into the College and, they
say, they had given up their seats in the other colleges. On this score alone,
we decline to interfere with the orders in C.W .P. 12644/91 and 12485/91.
coming to SLP 16451 of 1991, the situation is this:
virtue of the orders of the High Court, three students who were not entitled to
admission according to rules have been given admission against the three
vacancies which had arisen since the finalization of the admissions. The
college authorities say that but for the orders of the High Court, these three
vacancies would have gone to the first three candidates in the waiting list.
The petitioner in SLP 16451 of 1991 says that he is one such person in the
waiting list and he would have obtained admission but for the admission given
to the three candidates in pursuance of the High Court orders. We do not know
whether the petitioner's case is true. All the same, we think it appropriate to
make the following direction: the college authorities shall create three more
seats in the said course and admit the first three available students in the
waiting list against those seats. The Chandigarh Administration shall pass the neces-
sary orders in this behalf. Action in terms of this direc- tion shall be taken
forthwith by the Chandigarh Administra- tion and the college authorities.
we part with this case we wish to make an obser- vation. In matters of this
nature where the High court directs students to be admitted in Educational
would be advisable if the High Court stays 337 the operation of its order for a
period of about 3 to 4 weeks, if a request therefor is made by the Educational
Institution or the State, as the case may be.
disposed of accordingly.
Petitions disposed of.