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common questions of fact and law relating to the eligibility of the Special Leave Petitioners, who are members of the Haryana Civil Medical Services, to be admitted to the Post-Graduate Courses conducted by the Pt. B.D. Sharma University of Health Sciences, Rohtak, Respondent No.2 herein, against the reserved quota for such candidates. = once the results had been declared and a select list had been prepared, it was not open to the State Government to alter the terms and conditions just a day before counselling was to begin, so as to deny the candidates, who had already been selected, an opportunity of admission in the aforesaid courses. It is no doubt true that the benefits of admission in the reserved category are many, but the same is the result of the policy adopted by the State Government to provide for candidates from the reserved category and since the Appellants had been selected on the basis of merit, in keeping with the results of the written examination, the submission made by Mr. Patwalia that such admissions in the reserved category will have to be made keeping in mind the necessity of upholding the standard of education in the institution, as was observed in Mamata Mohanty’s case (supra), is not applicable in the facts of this case. The Appellants have shown their competence by being selected on the basis of their

REPORTABLE

Medical



 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

 CIVIL APPEAL NO.9717 OF 2011

 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.15974 of 2011)

PARMENDER KUMAR & ORS. ... Appellants 

 Vs.

STATE OF HARYANA & ORS. ... Respondents

 WITH

 C.A.NO.9718/2011 @ SLP(C)NO.16075/2011,

 C.A.NO.9719/2011 @ SLP(C)NO.16346/2011,

 C.A.NO.9720/2011 @ SLP(C)NO.16228/2011,

 C.A.NO.9721/2011 @ SLP(C)NO.16229/2011 &

 C.A.NO.9722/2011 @ SLP(C)NO.16230/2011.

 J U D G M E N T

ALTAMAS KABIR, J.

1. Six Special Leave Petitions, being 

SLP(C)No.15974/2011, SLP(C)No.16075/2011, SLP(C)No. 

16346/2011, SLP(C)Nos.16228-30/2011, have been 

taken up together for hearing, as they involve 

common questions of fact and law relating to the 

eligibility of the Special Leave Petitioners, who 

are members of the Haryana Civil Medical Services,


to be admitted to the Post-Graduate Courses 

conducted by the Pt. B.D. Sharma University of 

Health Sciences, Rohtak, Respondent No.2 herein, 

against the reserved quota for such candidates. 

2. Leave granted.

3. Before proceeding further, I.A.Nos.4 and 5 of 

2011, filed by Dr. Rajeev Kumar and 10 others in 

SLP(C)No.15974 of 2011, for impleadment in these 

proceedings as respondents, are allowed.

4. For the sake of convenience, we shall refer to 

the facts from SLP(C)No.15974/2011, filed by Dr. 

Parmender Kumar and others. As indicated 

hereinabove, the Appellants in all these appeals 

are candidates for admission to the Post-Graduate 

Courses conducted by the Respondent No.2 University 

against the Haryana Civil Medical Services (HCMS) 

reserved quota. As provided for by the prospectus 

dated 6th January, 2011, a common entrance 

examination was held for candidates who applied for 

admissions against seats reserved for the HCMS 

quota, as also seats under open merit category. 

The prospectus sets out the total number of seats 

in each course and the seats earmarked for the HCMS 

reserved category and also in respect of open 

merit. According to the prospectus, seats 

available for the Post-Graduate Course in the 

different disciplines indicate a total number of 

145 seats available, of which 73 seats were 

reserved for the All India quota, 29 seats were 

reserved for the HCMS reserved quota and 43 seats 

were reserved for the open merit category. As per 

the prospectus, the last date of receipt of 

application was 24th January, 2011 within 5 p.m. 

The common entrance examination was held as per 

schedule on 2nd March, 2011 and results were 

declared on 3rd March, 2011. Counselling was 

scheduled for 6th April, 2011 and the academic 

session was due to commence on 10th May, 2011. 

5. The eligibility criteria laid down in the 

prospectus for candidates appearing in the entrance 

examination in respect of the HCMS reserved quota 

was included in Clause 5 of the prospectus, which 

reads as follows :

 "5. HCMS doctors sponsored by the State 

 Govt. will be eligible to appear in the 

 entrance examination against the reserved 

 seats for this category, provided they 

 submit the application through their 

 employer or submit their applications for 

 getting NOCs to the department/State 

 Government well in time and the 

 Department/State Govt. will ensure that 

 the NOCs where ever eligible, are issued 

 before the date of 1st Counselling i.e. 

 06.04.2011." 

6. What is of importance is the method of 

selection and admission which was made a part of 

the prospectus, wherein, in Clause 6 relating to 

determination of merit, in Sub-Clause (iii), it was 

indicated as follows : 

 "6.(iii) The conditions for NOCs fixed by 

 the Govt. of Haryana vide letter 

 No.2/123/05/I-HB-I dated 5.12.2008 for 

 HCMS doctors who want to join PG-courses 

 are given at Annexure-D. (However, latest 

 Govt. instructions issued from time to 

 time will be followed)."

7. For, as per the aforesaid Sub-Clause, HCMS 

doctors who wanted to join the PG-courses against 

the HCMS reserved quota, required NOC in terms of 

Government of Haryana instructions dated 5th 

December, 2008. As per the said instructions, one 

of the eligibility conditions was contained in 

Clause 3, which is extracted hereinbelow : 

 "3. The basic condition for eligibility is 

 three years regular service with 

 successful completion of probation period 

 out of which two years service is 

 essential in rural areas for both reserved 

 and open seats in the case of HCMS 

 doctors. However, the condition of rural 

 service will not be applicable in the case 

 of a member of the HMES."

8. The Appellants were allowed to participate in 

the selection process on the basis of the above 

criterion and as per the cases made out in the 

several appeals, their names were published in the 

merit list dated 3rd March, 2011. From the said 

list it will appear that out of the total number of 

38 candidates in the HCMS quota in the 

M.D./M.S./P.G. Diploma course and 3 candidates in 

the MDs course, all the Appellants in the various 

appeals stood admitted along with similar 

candidates. 

9. However, on 31st March, 2011, the Government of 

Haryana issued an instruction, which was circulated 

on its website on 5th April, 2011, that changed the 

eligibility conditions and applied the same to the 

process of admission which had already been set in 

motion on the basis of the Government instructions 

dated 5th December, 2008, and that too just one day 

before the date of counselling, i.e., 6th April, 

2011. The amended provision is extracted 

hereinbelow :

 "MBBS doctors will be eligible for doing 

 Post-Graduate Course, both degree as well 

 as Diploma after completion of 5 years of 

 regular satisfactory service including 2 

 years of probation, out of which 3 years 

 service should be in one of the District 

 Hospital or a Sub-Divisional Hospital and 

 2 years in rural area institutions. Only 

 the persons fulfilling this condition will 

 be eligible for sponsorship against 

 reserved seat in PGIMS Rohtak or other 

 Government institution and against the 

 open seats in the Government Colleges of 

 Haryana or similar Government institutions 

 anywhere else in the country." 

10. It is the changed conditions relating to 

admission in the Post-Graduate Courses which 

resulted in the filing of CWP No.6168 of 2011, by 

Dr. Parmender Kumar and others and other writ 

petitions were filed by the other Appellants in the 

Punjab and Haryana High Court. Upon consideration 

of the original conditions relating to eligibility 

for admission in the Post-Graduate Course and the 

changes effected by the Government instruction 

dated 31st March, 2011, the learned Single Judge of 

the High Court by order dated 6th April, 2011, while 

listing the matter on 13th May, 2011, passed an 

interim order to the effect that in the meantime 

the Appellants would be permitted to take part in 

the counselling as against the HCMS quota 

candidates, subject to their own risk and 

responsibility. It was made clear that the said 

order would not confer any equitable right in 

favour of the Appellants. It was further directed 

that the result of the counselling of the 

Appellants should be kept in a sealed cover and 

would be subject to the outcome of the writ 

petition. 

11. Aggrieved by the interim order passed by the 

learned Single Judge, Dr. Parmender Kumar and 

others filed Letters Patent Appeal Nos.983 and 995 

of 2011, before the Division Bench of the Punjab 

and Haryana High Court. The appeals were disposed 

of by the Division Bench by its order dated 2nd 

June, 2011, upholding the order of the learned 

Single Judge rejecting the challenge to the new 

policy relating to grant of NOC, on the ground that 

it was evident that the State had every right to 

prescribe a policy for the grant of NOC, especially 

when it was dealing with the cases of sponsorship 

of in-service candidates for higher studies. The 

logic behind the same is that the State was 

committed to bear the expenses for the selected 

HCMS candidates, as such incumbents were entitled 

to full pay and the period spent by them in 

pursuing these courses was to be treated as having 

been spent on duty. The Division Bench also noted 

that the underlying principle in accepting the 

prospectus as correct is that the State does not 

indulge in nepotism, nor has any allegation of mala 

fide being made, nor are they even visible. The 

Division Bench observed that the Appellants had not 

been excluded from the zone of consideration, but 

they had been denied consideration in HCMS 

category. The Division Bench also took note of the 

fact that in the prospectus it had been made clear 

that NOC was to be issued by the State as per its 

policy applicable from time to time and as a result 

even if the Appellants passed the test for 

admission to the Post-Graduate Courses, no vested 

right accrued to them to either get the NOC from 

the State of Haryana or to get full salary during 

the period of Post-Graduate studies. The Division 

Bench distinguished the decision of this Court in 

State of Punjab & Anr. Vs. Dr. Viney Kumar Khullar 

& Ors. [(2010) 13 SCC 481], by observing that 

provisional NOC had already been issued before the 

policy was revised, which was the distinguishing 

feature of the judgment in its applicability to the 

present case.

12. Appearing for the Appellants, Mr. Altaf Ahmad, 

learned Senior Advocate, as also Mr. K.K. Tyagi, 

learned Advocate, questioned the decision of the 

learned Single Judge, as well as the Division Bench 

of the High Court, on the ground that once a 

criterion had been laid down in the prospectus, the 

Respondents concerned had no authority to alter the 

same once the process under the said prospectus had 

already commenced and a select list of candidates 

had also been published. Change of such conditions, 

one day prior to counselling as to the discipline 

to be pursued, was to the prejudice of the 

candidates who had been selected, as they had been 

selected on the basis of the unamended prospectus. 

Mr. Ahmad submitted that one could possibly have 

accepted the change in the criterion for admission, 

if it had been made before the prospectus was acted 

upon, but once the prospectus was acted upon, the 

entire process of admission to the Post-Graduate or 

Diploma Courses would be governed by the said 

prospectus and any change and/or alteration of the 

conditions of the prospectus thereafter, would 

seriously prejudice the candidates who had already 

been selected. 

13. In this regard, reliance was placed on the 

decision of this Court in Dr. Viney Kumar Khullar's 

case (supra), wherein, while dealing with almost a 

similar case altering the terms and conditions for 

selection, this Court held that besides the earlier 

circulars, the Amendment Circular ought to have 

been mentioned in the prospectus. It was observed 

that nothing prevented the Government from stating 

that the NOC should be subject to the conditions 

mentioned in the Circular dated 13th May, 1996, as 

amended by Circular dated 30th July, 2007, which was 

issued after the 2007 admissions and was sought to 

be made applicable for the first time in respect of 

2008 admissions. Consequently, the candidates for 

the 2008 admissions would have no knowledge about 

the Amendment Circular dated 30th July, 2007, unless 

it was mentioned in the prospectus. This Court 

further held that the candidates would have bona 

fide proceeded on the basis of eligibility for the 

NOC, in terms of the Government Circular dated 13th 

May, 1996. Learned counsel submitted that a 

similar view had been taken by this Court in Vinay 

Rampal (Dr.) Vs. State of J & K & Ors. [(1984) 1 

SCC 160], wherein this Court had held that since no 

reference had been made in the advertisement about 

the subsequent Government Order dated 23rd March, 

1979, it was the requirement set out in the 

advertisement which should have provided the basis 

for selection and eligibility for admission of the 

petitioner therein. 

14. Mr. Altaf Ahmad pointed out that in yet another 

case, namely, Rajiv Kapoor & Ors. Vs. State of 

Haryana & Ors. [(2000) 9 SCC 115], this Court had 

observed that the mess that had occurred leading to 

the litigation seemed to be more on account of the 

inept drafting and publication of the prospectus by 

the University and not properly carrying out the 

binding orders of the Government and of too many 

orders passed from time to time, being allowed to 

stand piecemeal independently. In fact, it was 

also observed that the Government would do well in 

future to publish at the beginning of every 

academic year, even before inviting applications, a 

compendium of the entire scheme and basis for 

selection carrying out amendments up to date and 

the prospectus also, specifically adopting them as 

part of the prospectus, to avoid confusion in the 

matter of selection, every year. 

15. Mr. Ahmad submitted that since the subsequent 

alteration of the criterion for admission to the 

Post-Graduate and Diploma Courses in the various 

disciplines had not been included in the prospectus 

for admissions to the current year, no reliance can 

be placed on the same and the submissions made on 

that behalf are liable to be rejected. 

16. Mr. P.S. Patwalia, learned Senior Advocate, 

appearing for the added respondent Nos.2 to 11, on 

the other hand, submitted that the object of 

directing NOC to be obtained by the candidate 

before he could be allowed to join a new session 

was that the choice had to be made extremely 

carefully before such candidates would get full 

salary for the period during which they were to 

pursue Post-Graduate studies and they would also be 

deemed to be in service during the entire period. 

Mr. Patwalia submitted that prior to the amendment 

in the prospectus, Clause 3 thereof provided that 

the basic conditions for eligibility would be 3 

years' regular service, with successful completion 

of probation period, out of which 2 years' service 

was essential in the rural areas. An exception was 

made in the case of a candidate who was a member of 

HCMS. The said criteria was altered by the 

Government Instruction dated 5th December, 2008, 

whereby it was indicated that MBBS members would be 

eligible for doing the Post-Graduate and Diploma 

Courses after completion of 5 years of regular 

service in place of 3 years, as stipulated earlier, 

including 2 years of probation, out of which 3 

years of service would have to be one of the 

District Hospitals or the Sub-Divisional Hospital 

and 2 years in a rural area institution. Mr. 

Patwalia submitted that the said change was not a 

change in regard to the criterion of eligibility 

for admission, but it was a change of conditions of 

service as the Government always has the power to 

make such changes. In this regard, reliance has 

been placed by Mr. Patwalia on two decisions of 

this Court in i) Union of Public Service Commission 

Vs. Gaurav Dwivedi & Ors. [(1999) 5 SCC 180] and 

(ii) State of Orissa & Anr. Vs. Mamata Mohanty 

[(2011) 3 SCC 436], in which it was emphasized that 

the necessity of possession of prescribed 

qualification by teachers, was extremely crucial 

for an educational institution, since excellence of 

instruction provided by an educational institution 

mainly depends directly on excellence of teaching 

staff. Hence, unless teachers themselves possess a 

good academic record, the standard of education can 

neither be maintained nor enhanced. 

17. Mr. Patwalia also referred to the decision of 

this Court in Rajiv Kapoor's case (supra), in which 

the question of the right of in-service candidates 

to be admitted from the reserved category of Post-

Graduate Courses was under consideration. It was 

held that in regard to the method and procedure to 

be followed in selection from amongst HCMS 

candidates, the Government Orders providing 

procedure other than those contained in the 

prospectus were quite valid, since it had power to 

issue such orders and the prospectus could not 

prevail in exclusion of the Government Orders. The 

learned Judges observed that both should be so 

construed that inter se merits of the in-service 

candidates were assessed on the basis of their 

credentials and performance in service. It was 

categorically held that even if the latest 

Government Order was issued after declaration of 

results of the entrance examination, the earlier 

Order would still be required to be complied with. 

18. Mr. Patwalia submitted that in view of the 

aforesaid decision, the appeals were liable to be 

dismissed.

19. On behalf of the State of Haryana, Mr. Vikas 

Singh, learned Senior Advocate, pointed out that 

the NOCs, which were given by the Government on 4th 

April, 2011, had been given to the candidates from 

the reserved HCMS category for 5 years, while NOC 

was given for 3 years to the candidates from the 

open category. As far as the Appellants are 

concerned, they were given NOCs for the open 

category and not for the reserved category and, 

hence, their claim for being considered for 

admission in the reserved HCMS category was without 

any basis and was liable to be rejected. 

20. From the facts as disclosed, the only question 

which emerges for decision in these appeals is 

whether the State Government had any jurisdiction 

and/or authority to alter the conditions relating 

to admission in the Post-Graduate or Diploma 

Courses in the different disciplines in medicine 

which had earlier been indicated in the prospectus, 

once the examination for such admission had been 

conducted and the results had been declared and a 

select list had also been prepared on the basis 

thereof. In other words, once the process of 

selection had started on the basis of the terms and 

conditions included in the prospectus, was it 

within the competence of the State Government to 

effect changes in the criterion relating to 

eligibility for admission, when not only had the 

process in terms of the prospectus been started, 

but also when counselling was to be held on the 

very next day, which had the effect of eliminating 

many of the candidates from getting an opportunity 

of pursuing the Post-Graduate or Diploma Courses in 

the reserved HCMS category. 

21. Although, Mr. Patwalia had placed a good deal 

of reliance on the decision of this Court in Rajiv 

Kapoor's case (supra), wherein, the facts were 

almost similar to the facts of this case, there is 

a singular distinction between the two. It has, no 

doubt, been held by this Court in Rajiv Kapoor's 

case (supra), that the High Court fell into serious 

error in sustaining the claim of the petitioners 

before the High Court that selection and admissions 

for the course in question had to be only in terms 

of the stipulations contained in Chapter V of the 

prospectus issued by the University. It was further 

held that such an error had been committed by 

assuming that the Government had no authority to 

issue any directions laying down any criteria other 

than the one contained in the prospectus and that 

the marks obtained in the written entrance 

examination alone constituted proper assessment of 

the merit performance of the candidates applying 

for selection and admission. This Court also 

observed that the High Court in allowing the writ 

petitions had purported to follow an earlier 

judgment of the Full Bench of the same High Court 

reported in Amardeep Singh Sahota Vs. State of 

Punjab [(1993) 4 SLR 673 (FB)], which, in fact, did 

not doubt the competency or authority of the 

Government to stipulate procedure for admission 

relating to courses in professional colleges, 

particularly, in respect of reserved category of 

seats. This Court also observed that ultimately 

the Full Bench had directed in the case decided by 

it that selections for admission should be 

finalised in the light of the criteria specified in 

the Government Orders already in force and the 

prospectus, after ignoring the offending 

notification introducing a change at a later stage. 

22. If the aforesaid decision of this Court is to 

be relied upon, it, in fact, favours the case of 

the Appellants, since, while observing that 

selections or admissions for the Courses in 

question will have to be effected only in terms of 

the stipulation contained in the prospectus issued 

by the University, the orders issued by the 

Government from time to time would also have to be 

taken into consideration. An exception was, 

however, made by this Court in relation to orders 

which came to be issued after the declaration of 

results of the written entrance examination. In 

that context, it was observed as follows :

 "............The further error seems to be in 

 omitting to notice the fact that the 

 orders dated 21-5-1997, which came to be 

 issued after the declaration of results of 

 written entrance examination, even if 

 eschewed from consideration the orders 

 dated 20-3-1996 and 21-2-1997 passed in 

 continuation of the orders of the earlier 

 years, continued to hold the field, since 

 the orders dated 21-5-1997 were only in 

 continuation thereof." 

23. As has also been pointed out hereinbefore, this 

Court took notice of the fact that the Full Bench, 

on whose decision the High Court had relied, 

ultimately directed that the selections for 

admission should be finalised in the light of the 

criteria specified in the Government Orders already 

in force and the prospectus, "after ignoring the 

offending notification introducing a change at a 

later stage." In fact, this is what has been 

contended on behalf of the Appellants that once the 

process of selection of candidates for admission to 

the Post-Graduate and Diploma Courses had been 

commenced on the basis of the prospectus, no change 

could, thereafter, be effected by Government Orders 

to alter the provisions contained in the 

prospectus. If such Government Orders were already 

in force when the prospectus was published, they 

would certainly have a bearing on the admission 

process, but once the results had been declared and 

a select list had been prepared, it was not open to 

the State Government to alter the terms and 

conditions just a day before counselling was to 

begin, so as to deny the candidates, who had 

already been selected, an opportunity of admission 

in the aforesaid courses. It is no doubt true that 

the benefits of admission in the reserved category 

are many, but the same is the result of the policy 

adopted by the State Government to provide for 

candidates from the reserved category and since the 

Appellants had been selected on the basis of merit, 

in keeping with the results of the written 

examination, the submission made by Mr. Patwalia 

that such admissions in the reserved category will 

have to be made keeping in mind the necessity of 

upholding the standard of education in the 

institution, as was observed in Mamata Mohanty's 

case (supra), is not applicable in the facts of 

this case. The Appellants have shown their 

competence by being selected on the basis of their 

results in the written examination. The submission 

made by Mr. Vikas Singh for the State, that the 

NOCs had been given to the Appellants from the open 

category, also does not appeal to us, since the 

Appellants were candidates in respect of the 

reserved category of the HCMS.

24. We, accordingly, have no hesitation in allowing 

the appeals and setting aside the judgment and 

order of the Division Bench of the Punjab and 

Haryana High Court. However, we appear to be 

facing the same problem, as was faced by this Court 

in Dr. Vinay Rampal's case (supra). The 

counselling process in these appeals was to be 

conducted on 6th April, 2011 and the academic 

session was to commence on 10th May, 2011. In other 

words, the Appellants have already lost about six 

months of the courses in question. As was observed 

in Dr. Vinay Rampal's case (supra), the sands of 

time had run out which is inevitable in judicial 

process. Following the same reasoning, as was 

adopted in the aforesaid case, we direct that the 

Appellants shall be admitted in the Post-Graduate 

or Diploma Courses, for which they have been 

selected, for the new academic year without any 

further test or selection. 

25. The Appeals are disposed of accordingly. There 

will be no order as to costs. 

 ...............................................................J.

 (ALTAMAS KABIR)

 ...............................................................J.

 (CYRIAC JOSEPH) ...............................................................J. (SURINDER SINGH NIJJAR)New DelhiDated: 14.11.2011

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