FACTS: In 1950 in Madras, there existed a quota system for admission to colleges. The State maintained four medical colleges and four engineering colleges. The admission in that was on the basis that for every fourteen seats, 6 were to be given to non-Brahmins, 2 to backward classes, 2 to Brahmins, 2 to Harijans, 1 to Anglo-Indians and Indian Christians, and 1 to Muslim.
This was based on the order issued by the Province of Madras or Madras Presidency in 1927, before independence, which was called as Communal Government Order (Communal G. O.). The admission was based on the reservation on the ground of the caste of a person in government colleges and in jobs.
The State of Madras alleged that they were allowed to maintain and enforce the Communal Government Order as under Article 46 which is the Directive Principles of State Policy, they are entitled to maintain the order for the promotion of the educational interest of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and other weaker sections in the society.
Shrimathi Champakam Dorairajan, a Brahmin, filed a petition in the High Court of Madras under Article 226 relating to the infringement of her fundamental right of admission to the college. She alleged that she was not able to get admission to the Medical College without her scoring enough marks. Shrimathi Champakam alleged that her fundamental rights under Article 15(1) and Article 29(2) were violated.
She requested for the writ of Mandamus to be issued restraining the State of Madras from enforcing the Communal G. O. Another petition was filed in the High Court of Madras by C. R. Srinivasan relating to his admission to the Engineering College. He also alleged the issue of a Writ of Mandamus. The High Court of Madras struck down the impugned Communal Government Order as it was a caste-based reservation and against the Constitution of India. Aggrieved by the judgment of the High Court, the present appeal was filed in the Supreme Court.
The issues in this case are:
- In case of conflict between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy, which one will prevail over the other?
- Whether the Communal Government Order of 1927 was against the Constitution or not?
This is a landmark constitutional judgment that paved the way for the 1st Amendment in the Constitution of India. The 1st Amendment in the Constitution included the addition of reservation policy in the Constitution by introducing clause 4 in the Constitution. Clause 4 of the Constitution as it stands today where the state is given the right to work for the backward classes or Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe through the provision which is educationally and socially favorable. The 1st Amendment in the Constitution came at the time when the Lok Sabha was not formed as yet. It was formed in 1952. It was the first judgment that resolves the conflict between fundamental rights and directive principles of state policy. It acts as a mediator if and when the conflict between fundamental rights and directive principles of state policy arises.
This judgment proves to be of major significance as to have initiated as a method to distinguish when there is a conflict between fundamental rights and directive principles of state policy. The court also struck down the Communal Government Order that still existed even after the Constitution was in force.
That communal order was against the fundamental right of the Constitution and was thus, declared void. Article 13 became operation where legislation is proved to be not in conformity with the Constitution and was enacted before it came in force, will be struck down
S. R. Das J – This judgment covers both cases No. 270 of 1951 (State of Madras v. Srimathi Champakam Dorairajan) and case No. 271 of 1951 (State of Madras v. C. R. Srinivasan) which are appeals from the judgment passed by the H. C. of Judicature at Madras on 27-7-1950, on two separate apples. under Art. 226 of the Constitution complaining of breach of the petitioner.’ fundamental right to get admission into educational institutions maintained by the State.
The State of Madras maintains four Medical Colleges and only 330 seats are available for students in those four Colleges. Out of these 330 seats, 17 seats are reserved for students coming from outside the State and 12 seats are reserved for discretionary allotment by the State and the balance of the seats available are apportioned between four distinct groups of districts in the State.
Likewise, the State of Madras maintains four Engineering Colleges and the total number of seats available for students in those Colleges is only 395. Out of these, 21 seats are reserved for students coming from outside the State, 12 seats are reserved for discretionary allotment by the State and the balance of the seats available are apportioned between the same four distinct groups of districts.
For many years before the commencement of the Constitution, the seats in both the Medical Colleges and the Engineering Colleges so apportioned between the four distinct groups of districts used to be filled up according to certain proportions set forth in what used to be called the Communal G. O.
Thus, for every 14 seats to be filled by the selection committee, candidates used to be selected strictly on the following basis:
Non-Brahmins (Hindus) … 6
Backward Hindus … 2
Brahmins … 2
Harijans … 2
Anglo-Indians and Indian Christians … 1
Muslims … 1
Subject to the aforesaid regional and what have been claimed to be protective provisions selection among the applicants from a particular community from one of the groups of districts used to be made on certain principles based on academic qualifications and marks obtained by the candidates
In the case of the Medical Colleges, not less than 20 percent. of the total number of seats available for students of the State were filled by women candidates separately for each region,
It is open to the selection committee to admit a larger number of woman candidates in any region if qualified candidates were available in that region and if they were eligible for selection on merits vis-a-vis the men candidates in accordance with the general principles governing such admissions as laid down in those rules. It appears that the proportion fixed in the old Communal G. O. has been adhered to even after the commencement of the Constitution on 26-1-1950. Indeed, G. O. No. 2208, dated l6-6-1950, laying down rules for the selection of candidates for admission into the Medical Colleges substantially reproduces the communal proportion fixed in the old Communal G. O.
Sri Srinivasan who had actually applied for admission into the Govt. Engineering College at Guindy filed a petitioner praying for a writ of mandamus or any other writ restraining the State of Madras and all officers thereof from enforcing, observing, maintaining, or following the Communal G. O. in and by which admission into the Engineering College was sought to be regulated in such manner as to infringe and involve the violation of the fundamental right of the petitioner under Art. 15 (1) and Art. 29 (2) of the Constitution, in the affidavit filed in support of his petitioner. The Petitioner. has stated that he had passed the Intermediate Examination held in March 1950 in Group 1, passing the said examination in first-class and obtaining marks set out in para. 1 of his affidavit.
It will appear that in the options which are taken into consideration in determining the academic test for admission to the Engineering College the petitioner. Srinivasan secured 369 marks out of a maximum of 450 marks. The H. C. has by the same judge allowed this application. also and the State has filed an appeal which has been numbered 271 of 1951.
The learned counsel appearing for the State of Madras conceded 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.