THE STATE OF PUNJAB Vs ANSHIKA GOYAL CA NO. 318 OF 2022

M.R. SHAH, J. B.V. NAGARATHNA, J.

25th JANUARY, 2022

LAW POINT- The Courts cannot issue Writs of Mandamus, for the reservation of any class/ category.

FACTS

The Punjab Private Health Sciences Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission, Fixation of fee and making of Reservation) Act, 2006 enacted by State of Punjab regulated subjects such as- admission, fixation of fee and making of reservation in Private Health Sciences Educational Institutions. Section 6 of the Act provided for reservation in open merit category and management category for the socially and educationally backward classes as notified by the State’s Official Gazette of that time.

The State of Punjab framed its Sports Policy in 2018, applicable to Departments and Organizations of Punjab Government, provided  for  reservation  of  3%  for  sports person. The Punjab Government in 2019 took the  Policy  into  consideration  and provided 1% of sports quota.

For academic year 2018-19, for State quota seats in Government  Institutions,1% seats were reserved for sports persons and the children/grandchildren of terrorist affected persons. However, for admission to private institutes similar reservation was not provided. Numerous writ petitions were filed which resulted in High Court partially allowing the writ by stating that reservations applicable to Government institutes would extend to the private institutes. However, a special leave petition observed that this order should not have precedence over any future cases.

For the academic year 2019-20, the notification issued by the State Government was challenged by filling writ petition on following grounds:

1. No reservation was provided for sports persons, children/grandchildren of persons affected by either terrorist or Sikh riots for management quota seats in private institutes;

2. 1% reservation was provided for sports person in government and private Medical/Dental Colleges instead of the 3% stated in the State Policy.

The High Court allowed the writ petition and issued a writ of mandamus directing the State  to provide reservation to sports persons (3%), children/grandchildren of persons affected by terrorist or Sikh riot in all private unaided non-minority Medical/Dental Institutions in the State. The State of Punjab appealed to the Supreme Court submitting that no writ of mandamus can be issued by the High Court directing the State to provide for reservation for the particular class or category.

ISSUE- Whether or not the State Government’s action taking a policy decision  to prescribe a particular percentage of reservation/quota for a particular category of persons, can be interfered with by issuance of a writ of mandamus?

OBSERVATIONS OF HON’BLE SUPREME COURT

Article 15(4) of the Indian Constitution had enabled the State to provide for reservation of a specific class/category. Further no writ of mandamus can be issued regarding the same.

In Gulshan Prakash (Dr.) and others v. State of Haryana and others 2010, the Court had stated that there cannot be any mandamus by the court to provide for a reservation for a specific community.

In Suresh Chand Gautam v. State of Uttar  Pradesh  and  others  2016,  under Article 32 a mandamus was directed to make survey and collect necessary qualitative data of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the services for granting reservation in promotion.

However, in Mukesh Kumar v. State of Uttarakhand 2020, it was pointed that no fundamental right was there for an individual’s claim to reservation.

In Indra Sawhney v.  Union  of  India  1992,  the  court  had  directed  that  when  the State Government had decided  not  to  provide  reservations,  collection  of  data regarding the inadequate representation is not required as the State  didn’t  have  to justify its decision.

DECISION– As the admissions for the academic year 2019-20 were already given, the Supreme Court directed that the said admission should not be disturbed. It further provided for recourse to law to any aggrieved person. The first direction of High Court for providing 1% reservation to children/grandchildren of persons affected by terrorist or Sikh riot was disposed while the second direction for providing 3 % sports quota was quashed and set aside.

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