13 December 2021


Judgments

High Court of Himachal Pradesh

Ramesh Kaundal and Ors. Vs. State of H.P. and Ors.

MANU/HP/0734/2017

20.09.2017

Education

Prospectus is a complete code in itself, candidates seeking admission under the Prospects are bound by the terms contained therein

In facts of present case, Department of Medical Education and Research, issued a Prospectus-cum-Application Form for admission to the Postgraduate Degree (MD/MS) Courses, in Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital, Shimla, and Dr. Rajindra Prasad Medical College and Hospital, Tanda, District Kangra, Himachal Pradesh. It is not in dispute that in terms of the Prospectus, Petitioners were selected and admitted to the respective courses of their choice, on the basis of their respective merit. Subsequent to the date of admission, but prior to commencement of the academic session, Petitioners approached this Court, assailing the condition of furnishing of Bank Guarantee. The challenge is on the grounds that (a) such condition is unreasonable, irrational, illogical and thus illegal, (b) in the past no such condition was imposed, (c) with more and more doctors being available and willing to serve the State, the condition has lost its purpose, (d) the condition is violative of Articles 14 & 21 of the Constitution of India, inasmuch as it restricts admission only to economically affluent candidates, (e) it casts an unnecessary burden upon the students belonging to economically backward families, (f) necessary co-relation with imposition of condition and admission to the degree course is non-existent, (g) nexus with the object sought to be achieved is missing.

It is a settled principle of law that Prospectus is a complete code in itself. It is also settled principle of law that candidates seeking admission under the Prospects are bound by the terms contained therein. In D.N. Chanchala v. The State of Mysore and others, the Apex Court held that, so long as the rules for selection applicable to the colleges run by the Government do not suffer from any constitutional or legal infirmity, they cannot be challenged as the Government can regulate admission to its own institutions. The Government which bears the financial burden of running the Government Colleges is entitled to lay down criteria for admission in its own colleges and to decide the source from which admission would be made, provided of course, such classification is not arbitrary and has a rational basis and a reasonable connection with the object of the rules. So long as there is no discrimination within each of such sources the validity of the rules laying down such sources cannot be challenged.

Reasons leading to the imposition of the condition in the Prospectus is that, ninety percent of the population in the State of Himachal Pradesh resides in difficult/remote areas. Providing medical health is a constitutional duty and obligation of the State. For such object, doctors, who are Specialists, are posted in remote areas. In the past, there had been instances where instead of serving the State, more so in remote areas, with the completion of their Postgraduate Degree from the Medical Colleges of the State, they left the State for greener pastures. Doctors refused to serve the State for at least five years. Previously, the only condition imposed was furnishing of a bond, amounting to Rs. 15,00,000/-, which was rescinded with the doctors not serving the State. Recovery of money was an issue. In view of past experience, a conscious decision was taken to reduce the amount of bond with a condition of furnishing Bank Guarantee, also linking disbursement of the admissible salary/stipend with the same. Candidates seeking admission to MD/PG courses are not adolescents, graduating from school, seeking admission to the first level of a medical degree. They have already undertaken their studies for five years. Some of them are now serving the State in one capacity or the other. While undertaking studies of a Specialist course, they are paid money as salary or stipend on monthly basis ranging from Rs. 35,000/- to Rs. 45,000/-, during the entire course. Also, State spends huge amount of money in imparting education.

Conditions stipulated in the Prospectus deals with different categories of students, i.e. those, who are in regular service of the State; on contractual basis; and direct candidates being part of the All India Quota. Significantly, direct candidates are also paid stipend at the rate of Rs. 35,000/- per month in the first year, with a corresponding increase of Rs. 5,000/- in the next two successive years. Clause 4.3 exempts direct candidates - from All India Quota (who do not choose to take any stipend during the PG course, shall be exempted from the condition of furnishing the bond). Significantly all candidates, in one capacity or the other, are entitled to receive payments/financial assistance from the State. It is in this backdrop, we find the condition to be absolutely reasonable.

For first three years, Bank Guarantee is for a sum of Rs. 3,00,000/- each and only in the fourth year, the amount is increased to Rs. 4,00,000/-. The Bank Guarantee is to be furnished in stages. Noticeably, the amount of bank Guarantee is less than the amount which a candidate would be receiving as a stipend/salary. Thus, the condition of furnishing of bond as also Bank Guarantee with the release of the amount of salary/stipend and the candidate serving the State for more than five years is with the avowed object of ensuring availability of best medical care and facilities to the natives of the State, residing in remote, far flung and tribal areas.

Scope of judicial review of a policy is well settled. Unless and until the policy fails the test of reasonableness; it is not fair or beneficial to the public at large; it impinges upon Part-III of the Constitution of India; it is whimsical and motivated with an ulterior purpose.

Condition of furnishing a bond as also Bank Guarantee, cannot be said to be unreasonable, irrational, illogical and thus illegal. Simply because in the past such condition was not imposed, that fact itself cannot be a reason good enough not to review the Policy. In fact, it is only on the basis of previous experience that, the Policy came to be altered and the Prospectus amended. Under the Constitution of India, State is to provide good health to all residents, in all areas, be it urban or rural. It is with this object, so to say to check the brain-drain, the condition stands imposed. State does require more and more specialists to be posted in remote/rural areas. Under these circumstances, the condition cannot be said to be violative of Articles 14 & 21 of the Constitution of India. It also cannot be said that the condition is violative of Part-III of the Constitution, as it does not restrict admission only to such of those persons, who are economically affluent. Not only the State is incurring expenditures in imparting education, but is also making payment to them in one form or the other. That apart, the Bank Guarantee is required to be furnished in phases and not in one go. Rs. 3,00,000/- per annum is not a huge amount, which a specialist cannot afford to arrange for and that too for the purpose of Bank Guarantee. Bank Guarantee is furnished against some tangible security, but then a sum of Rs. 3,00,000/- is also not such that no doctor can afford. It does not cast any unnecessary burden upon the students belonging to economically backward families. In any case, none has approached the authorities, expressing such concern. Nexus with the object sought to be achieved is very much evident and explained. There is co-relation between the imposition of condition and admission to a degree course. For after all, State is incurring huge expenditure and as already observed the endeavour is to stop brain-drain and enable the specialists to serve the residents of the State to provide benefits to the residents of the State.

Thus, it cannot be said that, the condition of furnishing Bank Guarantee is unreasonable, irrational, illogical and thus illegal, or that it is violative of Articles 14 & 21 of the Constitution of India. Also, it cannot be said that the said condition casts an unnecessary burden upon the students belonging to economically backward families. Hence, all petitions dismissed.

Relevant

D.N. Chanchala v. The State of Mysore and others, MANU/SC/0040/1971
: 1971(2) SCC 293

Tags : Bank Guarantee Condition Legality

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