Suppose a < b, for example let a = 3, b= 5, then we can put non-zero entries only in 3 rows and 5 columns. So suppose we put non-zero entries in any 3 rows in 3 different columns. Now we can't put any other non-zero entry anywhere in matrix, because if we put it in some other row, then we will have 4 rows containing non-zeros, if we put it in one of those 3 rows, then we will have more than one non-zero entry in one row, which is not allowed. So we can fill only "a" non-zero entries if a < b, similarly if b < a, we can put only "b" non-zero entries. So answer is ≤min(a,b), because whatever is less between a and b, we can put atmost that many non-zero entries. So option (D) is correct.