State of Madras v. Champakam Dorairajan

Bench: Justice Sudhi Ranjan Das, Justice Hiralal J. Kania (CJ), Fazal Ali Saiyid, Justice M. Patanjali Sastri, Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan, Justice Vivian Bose and Justice B.K. Mukherjea

Appellant: State of Madras

Respondent: Srimathi Champakam Dorairajan and Others

Citation: 1951 AIR  226, 1951 SCR 525

Facts:

  • The State of Madras had four Medical Colleges and 330 seats were available. 17 seats were reserved for students from outside the State and 12 seats for discretionary allotment by State and the remaining seats for four distinct groups of districts in the State.
  • Similarly, the State of Madras had four Engineering Colleges and the total number of seats were 395. 21 seats were reserved for outside the State students, 12 seats were reserved for discretionary allotment by the State and the remaining seats for the same four distinct groups of districts.
  • Before the commencement of the Constitution, the seats in Medical and Engineering Colleges allocated amid the four distinct groups of districts were filled proportionally according to the Communal G. O. Every 14 seats by the selection committee were filled accordingly;

Non-Brahmin (Hindus) ..6

Backward Hindu           ..2

Brahmins                        ..2

Harijans                          ..2

Anglo-Indians and Indian Christians            ..1

Muslims                           ..1

  • Accordingly, the selection was used to be made among the applicants from a particular community from the districts used to be made on some principles that was based on academic qualifications and marks obtained by the candidates.
  • Srimathi Champakam Dorairajan filed an application in the High Court at Madras under article 226 stating that her fundamental rights under Article 15 (1) and article 29 (2) have been violated and asked the court to quash the Communal G.O. by a writ of mandamus or other suitable means.
  • Although Srimathi Champakan Dorairajan had not applied for admission in the medical college, the matter was not disputed but the court did highlight this point.
  • The High Court by its judgment allowed the application of Srimathi Champakam Dorairajan.
  • The State of Madras filed an appeal before the Supreme Court against the High Court of Madras decision.
  • Sri Srinivasan who applied for admission in the Government Engineering College also filed a petition for a writ of mandamus to restrain the Communal G.O. on the grounf=d that it violates her fundamental right under Article 15 (1) and Article 29 (2) of the Constitution.
  • Sri Srinivasan had passed the Intermediate Examination and secured 369 marks out of a maximum of 450 marks. The High Court using the same judgment allowed her application and the State filed an appeal against the decision.

Argument raised by Appellant:

  • The appellant contended that these two applicants would have been admitted to the educational institutions they intended to join and they would not have been denied admission if selections had been made on merits alone.
  • It was contended that the provisions of Article 29 should be read with other articles in the Constitution. It was said that Article 46 puts on State the duty to promote educational and economic interests of weaker sections and in specific the SCs and STs, and protect them from social injustice and exploitation.
  • It was also contended that provisions of Article 46, entitles the state to maintain the Communal G.O. by fixing proportionate seats for different communities and the order is valid in law and does not violate Constitution due to which the respondents failed to get admissions into the colleges, there is no infringement of their fundamental rights; meaning that the that the provisions of Article 46 override the provisions of article 29 (2).

Argument raised by Respondent:

It was contended that although Article 46 is placed in Part IV of the Constitution i.e. the directive principles of State policy and they are not enforceable in any Court but, still the provisions laid down in the DPSPs are nonetheless important for the governance of the nation and according to Article 37 it is obligatory on the part of the State to apply those principles while making laws.

Judgment:

It was held that classification in the Communal G.O. is on the ground of religion, race and caste. The classification in the Communal G.O. is in abuse of the Constitution and it is a clear violation of the fundamental rights under article 29(2). It was held that Article 37 clearly states that the directive principles are non-enforceable in any court of law but according to the Supreme Court the chapter on Fundamental rights in the constitution is sacrosanct and the directive principles have to conform to and run subsidiary to the chapter on Fundamental Rights. It implies that Fundamental Rights are superior to the DPSPs. The apex court ordered that educational institutions shall not discriminate students on any basis.

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