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1.The petitioner applied for admission for the I year B.Tech. Degree Course (Information Technology) in the 5th respondent college and selected by the 5th respondent for admission to the I year of the said course for 1999-2000. According to the petitioner, at the time of admission, she had submitted all her documents in original including the mark sheets regarding the intermediate examination and the instant examination, which are necessary for her admission. She was attending classes with effect from 17.9.1999 and submitted her examination application form through the college for I year B.Tech, degree course, April -May 2000 and also paid necessary examination fee. She was issued with hall ticket by the 3rd respondent-University of Madras with registration number. She appeared for practical examinations in Chemistry, Workshop and physics on 20.3.2000, 22.3.2000 and 24.3.2000 respectively. She appeared for theory examinations in seven papers between 4.5.2000 and 19.5.2000. For the II year course for the period from 2000-2001 as directed by the 5th respondent, she paid necessary tuition fees and hostel fees on 8.6.2000. On 22.6,2000 the petitioner was informed by the 5th respondent that her admission to the I year degree course has not been approved by the respondents 1 and 2, but no order was served on her. At this stage, the petitioner has come forward with the writ petition In W.P.No.17403 of 2000.
2. The abovesaid difficulty has arisen only on the basis that the petitioner has not passed the examination in the first sitting itself and passed the Maths subject in the instant examination held by the Board of Intermediate Examinations, Andhra Pradesh only in July, 1999. Originally the petitioner appeared for the examination in April, 1999. But she could not secure sufficient marks |in Maths and so she failed. The Board of Intermediate Examinations, Andhra Pradesh State conducted instant examination immediately after publication of result for the examination held in April, 1999. The petitioner, taking advantage of the same wrote the Maths paper and secured sufficient marks for getting admission in engineering college. It is not in dispute that the marks obtained by the petitioner both in the main and in the instant examinations held in April and July, 1999 are sufficient – i.e. 60% aggregate marks in Maths, Physics and Chemistry for the purpose of admission in the engineering college.
3. As stated above, the difficulty had arisen only because of the communication sent by the Government in the proceedings dated 21.5.2000 to the 5th respondent stating that the marks obtained by a candidate in the subsequent supplementary examination (instant examination) cannot be taken into consideration for admission in I year B.Tech.Course. The Government issued the said proceedings on the basis of the guidelines given by All India Council for Technical-Education, AICTE, for admission to engineering, degree and diploma programmes. Hence the petitioner has challenged the guidelines issued by AICTE in W.P.No. 17404 of 2000.
4. It is not in dispute that the AICTE alone has jurisdiction to prescribe qualification for admitting the students in the professional courses, in view of
the provisions of the AICTE Act. In the guidelines for admission to Engineering degree and Diploma programmes issued in exercise of powers conferred under Section 23(1) of the Act, 1987, it is stated that minimum qualification for admission to degree programmes in engineering should be a pass in the 10+2 Senior Secondary Examination with a minimum aggregate of 60% marks in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics obtained in a single sitting. In view of the settled principle, if this guideline is having any binding force, the State Government have no power or authority to vary the said qualifications. It is relevant to mention here that the Government in the prospectus issued for the relevant period, has specifically stated that even if the candidates belonging to SC/ST appears for three attempts in the qualifying examination, and the other candidates appear for two attempts for passing the said qualifying examination, they are eligible to be considered for admission to I year B.E. Course. On the basis of the qualifications contemplated in the prospectus, issued by the Government, the petitioner applied for the same and she was admitted and she completed I year course and also got through the same. Contrary to the said prospectus, now the Government has issued the impugned proceedings dated 21.5.2000.
5. The learned counsel appearing for the petitioner has submitted that the proceedings of the AICTE is only a guideline and it cannot have any binding force on the Government to follow the same. According to him, as a matter of fact, the Government did not follow the same, but contemplated independent qualification, thereby permitting the candidates who passed the said qualifying examination in attempts to get admission in the engineering college , which is contrary to the qualifications mentioned in the said prospectus, and so the Government cannot go back by issuing the impugned proceedings, resulting in the candidates who had already completed the I year course to go out of the college.
6. The learned Government Advocate to sustain the impugned proceedings has submitted that the said proceedings had been passed only in consonance with the guidelines issued by the AICTE and so it is maintainable.
7. Now to determine the issue, we have to decide whether the guidelines -Issued by the AICTE for admission to engineering degree and diploma programmes are having any binding force on the State Government.
8. While dealing with the meaning of the word ‘guidelines’ in the decision in J.R.Raghupathy v. State of A.P., , the Apex Court has held as follows:-
“That precisely is the position here. The guidelines are merely in the nature of instructions issued by the State Government to the Collectors regulating the manner in which they should formulate their proposals for formulation of a Revenue Mandal or for location of its Headquarters keeping in view the broad guidelines laid down in Appendix I to the While Paper. It must be stated that the guidelines had no statutory force and they had also not been published in the Official Gazette. The Guidelines were mere departmental instructions meant for the Collectors.”
9. While considering similar issue in a batch of writ petitions in W.P.No.10016 of 1993 etc., the Division Bench of this Court, in the order dated 26.7.1993, rejecting the contentions raised by the learned counsel appearing for the petitioners that the guidelines will bind on the State Government, and the State Government cannot prescribe higher qualifications than the qualifications prescribed in the guidelines, the learned Judges have held as follows:-
“In our view, the guidelines are merely in the nature of instructions regarding the manner in which the admission to professional courses has to be made. We are of the view that the guidelines of the A.I.C.T.E. are merely in the nature of advisory guidelines in the form of instructions to the institutions. Once we take the view that they are only guidelines the orders issued by the State Government under the power vested with Article 162 of the Constitution of India prevails over that and at any rate the State would be within its rights and powers to prescribe further and additional norms or standards and criteria for selection.”
From the abovesaid facts, it is clear that the guidelines which are the basis, according to the State Government, to issue the impugned proceedings dated 21.5.2000, cannot have any statutory force and so the Government have right in permitting the candidates who appeared for stipulated number of appearance, as stipulated in the prospectus, for the purpose of getting admission to I year B.E. course. It cannot be said that the said prescription of qualification by the Government will run counter to the guidelines given by the AICTE.
10. Moreover, having prescribed such qualification in the prospectus itself, and making the candidates to apply for the said course on the basis of the same and giving authority to the institutions to admit such candidates, at a later stage, the Government cannot go back and say that such candidates should not be admitted as the admission of such candidates is contrary to the guidelines issued by the A.I.C.T.E. It cannot be said that such admissions have been made wrongly or by mistake. On the basis of the documents produced by the petitioner and also on the basis of the qualifications prescribed in the prospectus, the petitioner was eligible to be admitted In the I year B.E. course and so she was admitted.
11. While dealing with similar issue, the Apex Court in the decision in Ashok Chand Singhvi v. University of Jodhpur, , has held
“13. It may be that the previous policy of the University is not in force and the admissions are governed strictly by the statutes or the admission rules framed thereunder. In the objections raised by the Officer-in-Charge, Admissions, it was specifically pointed out that the seats were limited and all admissions were made strictly on the basis of merit list drawn amongst all eligible candidates, and that no preferential treatment could be given to anyone including employees of the University (non-teaching/teaching) in any discipline in any Faculty. In spite of that objection, the Dean recommended for the admission of the appellant. The Vice- Chancellor also considered the office
note, but approved the recommendations of the Dean. In consequence of such approval by the Vice-Chancellor, the appellant was admitted.
17. It is submitted on behalf of the University that it was through mistake that the appellant was admitted. We are unable to accept the contention. It has been already noticed that both the Dean and the Vice-Chancellor considered the objections raised by the Officer-in-Charge, Admissions, and thereafter direction for admitting the appellant was made. When after considering all facts and circumstances and also the objections by the office to the admission of a candidate, the Vice-Chancellor directs the admission of such a candidate such admission could not be said to have been made through mistake. Assuming that the appellant was admitted through mistake, the appellant not being at fault, it is difficult to sustain the order withholding the admission of the appellant. In this connection, we may refer to a decision of this Court in Rqjendra Prasad Mathur v. Karnataka University, 1986 Supp SCC 740. In that case, the appellants were admitted to certain private engineering colleges for the B.E. Degree Course, although they were not eligible for admission. In that case, this Court dismissed the appeals preferred by the students whose admission were subsequently cancelled and the order of cancellation was upheld by the High Court At the same time, this Court took the view that the fault lay with the engineering colleges which admitted the appellants and that there was no reason why the appellants should suffer for the sins of the management of these engineering colleges. Accordingly, this Court allowed the appellants to continue their studies in the respective engineering colleges in which they were granted admission. The same principle which weighed with this Court in that case should be applied in the instant case. The appellant was not at fault and we do not see why he should suffer for me mistake committed by the Vice-Chancellor and the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering,”
12. In view of the abovesaid decisions, the stand taken by the Government in the impugned order dated 21.5.2000 cannot be sustained in law, and it is set aside and it is held that the petitioner is eligible to be admitted in I year B.E. Course, which is made during 1999-2000 in the 5th respondent college, on the basis of the qualifications mentioned in the prospectus. Accordingly, W.P.No.17403 of 2000 is to be allowed.
13. Though the learned counsel for the petitioner relying on the decisions in Rajendra Prasad Mathur v. Karnataka University, 1986 Supp. SCC 740, in Registrar v. Sundara, AIR 1956 Mad. 309, and in the order in W.P.No.6890 of 1994, dated 4.4.1995, has submitted that the| respondents are estopped from preventing the petitioner to continue her studies in the B.E.Course, I am not going to deal with the same, in view of the findings given earlier. Accordingly, W.P. No.17403 of 2000 is allowed. No costs.
14. In view of the discussions made in W.P.No. 17403 of 2000, is allowed, it is also not necessary to deal with the writ petition in W.P. No.17404 of 2000. Hence W.P.No.17404 of 2000 is dismissed as unnecessary. No costs. Connected W.M.Ps. are closed.