Saurabh Chaudri & Ors. Vs Union Of India

Saurabh Chaudri & Ors. Vs Union Of India

CASE BRIEF

Petitioner: Saurabh Chaudri and Others

Respondent: Union of India

STATUES REFERRED:

  • The Constitution of India, 1949

CASES REFERRED:

  • Dr. Pradeep Jain Etc vs. Union of India
  • Jagdish Saran & Ors vs. Union of India & Ors
  • Magan Mehrotra &Ors vs. Union of India & Ors
  •  Dr. Dinesh Kumar & Ors vs. Motilal Nehru Medical College
  • Islamic Academy of Education and … vs. Union of India & Ors.
  • Dr. Prachi Almeida vs, The Dean, Goa Medical College & Ors.
  • Tinsukhia Electric Supply Co. Ltd. vs. State of Assam & Ors.
  • Balram Kumawat vs. Union of India & Ors.
  • Shri Ram Krushna Dalmia vs. Shri Justice S.R. Tendolkar and Ors.
  • Chithra Ghosh and Another vs. Union of India & Ors  
  • State of Uttar Pradesh vs. Pradip Tandon & Ors.
  • Commissioner of Income Tax, Delhi vs. S. Teja Singh
  • Abhinav Aggarwal & Anr vs. Union of India & Ors.
  • D.P. Joshi vs. The State of Madhya Bharat & Another
  • A.I.I.M.S. Student Union vs. A.I.I.M.S. & Ors.
  • Preeti Srivastava & Anr vs. State of Madhya Pradesh
  • K. Duraisamy & Anr., Etc. Etc. C vs The State Of Tamil Nadu
  • Dr. Parag Gupta vs University Of Delhi & Ors
  • T.M.A.Pai Foundation & Ors vs State Of Karnataka
  • L. Chandra Kumar vs Union of India And Others
  • State of U.P. & Ors vs Vineet Singh & Ors
  • Kumari N. Vasundara vs State of Mysore & Anr
  • M. R. Balaji And Others vs State of Mysore
  • M. R. Mini (Minor) Represented by Her Guardian vs State of Kerala And Anr

FACTS:

The petitioner, in this case 52 in number, were residents of Delhi who joined various medical colleges outside of Delhi for undertaking their MBBS course of studies. The appellants intended to join the Medical Colleges in Delhi to pursue their Post Graduate Medical Studies. The All India Medical Entrance Examination provided a 15% quota to all-India students for their admission into Post Graduate Studies. This rule was under challenge in the Supreme Court of India. The appellants applied for and were given admission forms, keeping in regard the decision of the Hon’ble court in the case of Parag Gupta vs. University of Delhi and Ors. But an Information was issued in public by the Delhi University stating that the candidates like the appellants’ admission to the Post Graduate courses was subject to the decision of the Hon’ble Court in the matter of Magan Mehrotra and Ors vs. Union of India.

A three-judge bench in Magan Mehrotra vs. Union of India held that “apart from institutional preference, no other preference including reservation on the basis of residence is envisaged in the Constitution, in view of the decision of this Court in Dr. Pradeep Jain and Ors. v. Union of India and Ors.” The Delhi University guided by this decision issued a circular on or about 31.12.2002 issued a notification that

“for admission of P.G. Courses during the Academic Session 2003, only Delhi University Medical Graduates would be eligible against the 75% reserved seats of the students from Delhi who have taken admission in the University/States under the 15% All-India quota will not be eligible to seek admission in the P.O. Degree/Diploma Courses of Delhi University against the 75% Reserve Seats. All concern may please be note. Accordingly, the students who have done MBBS under 15% All-India quota from the University/States other than Delhi University and have applied for admission to the P.G. Degree/Diploma Courses are not eligible to appear in P.G. Medical Entrance Test 2003 to be held on 9.2.2003. They are advised to apply for the return of the Bank Draft/Cheque.”

Following this the appellants filed a writ petition questioning the aforementioned notification dated 31.12.2002 as also reservation made by way of institutional preference for admission to Post Graduate Medical Courses.

The matter was placed before a three-Judge Bench, but by an order dated 7.2.2003 directed the matter to be placed before a Bench of five Judges considering the importance of the matter; and no reason was assigned therefore.

ISSUES:

The issue in this as quoted by the Apex court are as follows-

  1. Whether reservation made by the way of Institutional Preference ultra vires to Article 14 and Article 15 of Constitution of India
  2. Whether any reservation made by the way of residence or institutional preference constitutionally valid.

CONTENTION OF PARTIES:

Petitioner:

  • The learned Council Contended that, “in view of the equality clause contained in Articles 14 and 15(1) of the Constitution of India, reservation whether based on domicile or institutional preference would be unconstitutional.
  • He contended that the system of reservation on the basis of residence or domicile was in contravention to Article 15(1) and urged that the that the ‘place of birth’ being synonymous with ‘domicile’ the observations made contrary thereto in D.P. Joshi v. The State of Madhya Bharat and Anr. are not correct.
  • He contended that the system of reservation on the basis of residence or domicile was in contravention to Article 15(4) of the Constitution of India which states that reservation is needed for the weaker section of society or a homogeneous class and identified by a presidential order issued in that behalf and asked the court to rely on the decision given by the Hon’ble court in the case of M.R. Balaji and Ors. v. State of Mysore, which held that not more than 50% of the total seats can be reserved.
  • It was also contended that such reservation should be prima facie impermissible in nature and would fall within the purview of ‘suspected classification’ and, thus, must pass the ‘strict scrutiny test’ or ‘intermediate scrutiny test’
  • He also contended that the students like the appellants should not be held to have lost their residential status only because they had gone out of their State of origin for pursuing their MBBS Course for a period of five years.
  • He also stated that the Delhi University or the state were obliged to submit sufficient materials to prove that the differentiation is dine on the basis of Intelligible Differentia.

Respondents

  • The learned council argued that keeping in view the decisions of this Court e.g. D.P. Joshi & Anr vs. The State of Madhya Bharat & Another, Dr. Jagadish Saran and Ors. v. Union of India and Dr. Pradeep Jain Etc. vs. Union of India, it must be held that reservation by way institutional preference has held the field for a long time
  • The council further contended that reservation by way of institutional preference was rather a matter of convenience but also forms part of the educational policy of the state. If such a policy is not allowed to be altered, a student while undergoing different courses of studies may have to take admissions in different parts of the country wherefor he would face problems involving different languages, different cultures and different environments. It may not be feasible even for the parents of middle-class family to send their children out of the State
  • The council relying on the judgment of Shri Ram Krishna Dalmia v. Justice S.R. Tendolkar and Ors, contended that this Court has laid down the law that the constitutionality of a statute must be presumed and onus to prove that the statute is unconstitutional is upon the person who asserts the same.
  • The learned Council submitted that reservation by way of institutional preference is a definite and identifiable criterion and in that view of the matter it satisfies the test of valid classification as contained in Article 14 of the Constitution of India. The reasons assigned in support of the institutional preference in various decisions of this Court are still relevant and as such there being no change in the situation, any fresh look or reconsideration thereof is not warranted

JUDGEMENT:

The five-judge bench pronounced that:

  • The State runs the Universities and has to spend a lot of money in imparting medical education to the students of the State, along with payment of stipends to Post graduate students. Hence, Reservation of some seats to a reasonable extent, would not violate the equality clause.
  • The criteria for institutional preference have now come to stay. It has worked out satisfactorily in most of the States for last about two decades.
  • It goes beyond any civil doubt that institutional preference is based on a reasonable and identifiable classification
  • The provision of such a preference is a matter of State policy which can be invalidated only in the event of being violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and that sufficient materials were not provided to the court to prove the contrary

Concluding with that the Hon’ble Court held the reservation based on Institutional Preference Constitutional and disposed of the writ petition filed.

But Justice Lakshmanan delivered a concurring opinion.

Comment: The court discussed in a great detail the facts of the matter and the constitutionality of the said provisions and rightly discarded the arguments set forth by the petitioner in the case. The court made sure to rely on number previous judgments to substantiate the grounds of constitutionality of the reservation provision.

Conclusion:

In this case the bench considered every possible aspect there could have been in determining the constitutionality of Reservation on the basic of Institutional Preference or Domicile. They also examined its conformity with the relevant Articles such as Article 15(1) and Article 15(4) in order to ensure no violation of any constitutional provision takes place before disposing the writ petition