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Caste based Admissions for Professional course

State of Madras v. Champakam Dorairajan, C.R. Srinivasan
AIR 1951 SC 226: (1951) 2 SCR 525
Judges: M.H. Kania, C.J. and S. Fazl Ali, M. Patanjali Sastri, M.C. Mahajan, B.K. Mukherjea, S.R. Das and Vivian Bose, JJ.
Date of Decision: 9-4-1951

Srimathi Champakam Dorairajan made an application to the High Court of Judicature at Madras under article 226 of the Constitution of India for protection of her fundamental rights under article 15(1) and article 29(2) of the Constitution and prayed for the issue of a writ of mandamus or other suitable prerogative writ restraining the State of Madras and all officers and subordinates thereof from enforcing, observing, maintaining, following or requiring the enforcement, observance, maintenance or following by the authorities concerned of the notification or order, generally referred to as the Communal G.O., in and by which admissions into the Madras Medical Colleges were sought or purported to be regulated in such manner as to infringe and involve the violation of her fundamental rights. From the affidavit filed in support of her petition, it did not appear that the petitioner had actually applied for admission in the Medical College. She stated that on inquiry she came to know that she would not be admitted to the College as she belonged to the Brahmin community. No objection, however, was taken to the maintainability of her petition on the ground of absence of any actual application for admission made by her. On the contrary, the State had agreed to reserve a seat for her, should her application before the High Court succeed. In the peculiar circumstances, the Court did not consider it necessary to pursue this matter any further. But it desired to guard itself against being understood as holding that it approves of a person who has not actually applied for admission into an educational institution coming to Court complaining of infringement of any fundamental right under article 29(2).

It was argued by the petitioner that the communal G.O. was violative of articles 15(1) and 29(2) of the Constitution of India and violative of her fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

Article 29 which occurs in Part III of the Constitution under the head “Cultural and Educational Rights” runs as follows:
“(1) Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.

(2) No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.”

It will be noticed that while clause (1) protects the language, script or culture of a section of the citizens, clause (2) guarantees the fundamental right of an individual citizen. The right to get admission into any educational institution of the kind mentioned in clause (2) is a right which an individual citizen has as a citizen and not as a member of any community or class of citizens. This right is not to be denied to the citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them. If a citizen who seeks admission into any such educational institution has not the requisite academic qualifications and is denied admission on that ground, he certainly cannot be heard to complain of an infraction of his fundamental right under this article. But, on the other hand, if he has the academic qualifications but is refused admission only on grounds of religion, race, caste, language or any of them, then there is a clear breach of his fundamental right.

For the reasons stated above, the communal G.O. being inconsistent with the provision of article 29(2) in Part III of the Constitution is void under article 13. In the result, these appeals were dismissed with costs.

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