Minor P. Rajendran Vs. State of Madras
& Ors  INSC 10 (17 January 1968)
17/01/1968 WANCHOO, K.N. (CJ) WANCHOO, K.N.
(CJ) BACHAWAT, R.S.
CITATION: 1968 AIR 1012 1968 SCR (2) 786
CITATOR INFO :
F 1968 SC1379 (6) D 1970 SC 35 (10,11) R 1971
SC1439 (5,7,8) D 1971 SC1762 (20,21,22,47,48) R 1971 SC2303 (3,9,11,30,31) R
1971 SC2560 (12) R 1972 SC1375 (36,47,90,93,94) R 1975 SC 563 (37) C 1980 SC
820 (26) R 1984 SC1420 (11,15,16,19) F 1985 SC1495 (119) RF 1986 SC1362 (3,4,6)
R 1987 SC 400 (21) RF 1990 SC 334 (33)
Constitution of India Arts. 14, 15-State
Government promulgating rules for selection of candidates to medical course-One
rule providing for district-wise allocation of seats on basis of population-If
discriminatory when object is to attract best talent-Socially and educationally
backward classes specified by reference to castes-Whether Art.
15(1) infringed-Interview by selection
committee-extent to which criterion for allotting marks can be indicated.
The petitioners challenged an order of the
State Government by which rules were promulgated for selection of candidates
for admission to a medical course. These rules provided for reservations of
seats for various categories of candidates, i.e. for he Scheduled Tribes and
Scheduled Castes, for 'socially and educationally backward classes', and for
women; the remaining seats were placed in the general pool available to all.
One rule provided for the appointment of a selection committee of not more than
three persons to interview the candidates and another, Rule 8, provided that
the, seats reserved in the general pool and for the 'socially and educationally
backward classes' would be allocated among the various districts of the State on
the basis of the ratio of the population of each District to the total
population of the State. It was contended,, inter alia, on behalf of the
petitioners that r. 8, in providing for district-wise distribution of the
seats, violated Art.
14 of the Constitution because such
allocation of seats might result in candidates of inferior caliber being
selected in one District and those of superior caliber not being selected in
another District. Furthermore, the provision in the application form for the
candidates as to "nativity claimed" was a camouflage for
discrimination on the ground of place of birth and therefore violative of Art.
15(1). It was also claimed that the
reservation for 'socially and educationally backward classes' infringed Art.
15(1) because it was made by reference to a
list of such classes specified in another context and that this list was
nothing but a list of certain castes; and that there was no objective test laid
down in the Rules for interview and the question that were put were unrelated
to s. 10(d) which lays down certain criteria for the purpose. On behalf of the
respondent State it was contended that there were better educational
'facilities in Madras city as compared to/other districts and therefore if
district-wise selection was not made candidates from Madras city would secure
many more seats than was justified on the basis of the proportion of the
population of Madras city; furthermore, candidates coming from various District's
would settle down in those Districts and thus medical help would be available
in sufficient measure in all the Districts.
HELD : Rule 8 providing for district-wise
allocation was discriminatory and violative of Art. 14. The State had made out
no case for such district-wise allocation and there was no nexus shown between
such distribution and the object to be achieved, namely, admission of the best
talent among the candidates. [794 E, F] The district-wise distribution on the
basis of population was not justified even assuming that candidates from Madras
city Would get a larger number 787 of seats in proportion to the population of
'Mat would happen because a candidate from
Madras city was better. Even if the respondent's contentions were to be
accepted that would only justify allocation of seats between the city of Madras
on one side and the rest of the State on the other and not a district-wise
[793 G, H] There were no facts and figures
given to suggest that candidates from a particular district would by and large
settle down in that district. Furthermore, the provisions as to "nativity
claimed" by candidates showed that candidates would have a number of
districts to choose from depending upon where they thought that their chances
were best and therefore the argument that district-wise allocation was
justifiable on this ground had no merit. [794 D] If the reservation in question
had been based only on caste and had not taken into account the social and
educational backwardness of the caste in question, it would be violative of
Art. 15(1). But a caste is also a class of citizens and if the caste as a whole
is socially and educationally backward, reservation can be made in favour of
such a caste on the ground that it is a socially and educationally backward
class of citizens within the meaning of Art. 15(4). [790 F-G] M.R. Balaji v.
State of Mysore,  Supp. 1 S.C.R. 439 at pp. 45960, 'referred to.
There was no substance in the argument that
there was no test provided for marking. Rule 10(d) indicates what matters have
to be taken into consideration for allotting marks provided under that rule. It
would be difficult to provide any further guidance in the matter and the rest
must be left to the selection committee. It cannot be held that the committee
did not follow the criterion indicated in r. 10(d) in allotting the marks
provided in that rule. [794 H-795 B]
ORIGINAL JURISDICTION : Writ Petitions Nos.
194, 196 and 202 of 1967.
Petitions under Art. 32 of the Constitution
of India for the enforcement of fundamental rights.
AND Civil Appeal No. 1456 of 1967.
Appeal by special leave from the judgment and
order dated August 16, 1967 of the Madras High Court in Writ Appeal No. 308 of
H. R. Gokhale, Shyamala Pappu, M. K.
Ramamurthi and Vineet Kumar, for the petitioner (in W.P. No. 194 of 1967).
M. K. Ramamurthi, Shyamala Pappu and Vineet
Kumar, for the petitioners (in W-Ps. Nos. 196 and 202 of 1967).
Abdul Karim and K. Rajendra Chaudhuri, for
the appellant (in C.A. No. 1456 of 1967).
C. K. Daphtary, Attorney-General, G.
Ramanujam and A. V. Rangam, for the respondents (in W.Ps. Nos. 194 and 196 of
1967) respondents Nos. 2 to 6 (in C.A. No. 202 of 1967) and respondent No. 1
(in C.A. No. 1456 of 1967).
788 C. K. Daphtary, Attorney-General, K. N.
Mudaliar, Advocate General for the State of Madras, A. V. Rangam and G. Ramanujam,
for respondent No. 1 (in W.P. No. 202 of 1967).
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
Wanchoo, C.J. The three petitions and the civil appeal challenge the same order
of the State of Madras by which rules were promulgated for selection of
candidates for admission to the First Year integrated M.B.B.S. Course. We shall
briefly refer to the provisions of the Rules to understand the attack made
thereon. It appears that there was a large rush of candidates for admission to
the medical colleges in the State of Madras while the seats therein were
limited. In consequence, the State of Madras which runs these colleges framed
rules for admission to them. It is not necessary to refer to all the Rules and we
shall confine ourselves to those Rules which have a bearing on the challenge
made in these cases. Rule 2 provides for reservation of 10 seats for certain
categories. We are however not concerned with it as it is not challenged. Rule
3 provides for appointment of a Selection Committee of not more than three
persons. The Committee has to interview all candidates who are qualified and
eligible for admission to the course and the interview is for verifying the
data and allotting marks for extracurricular activities. Rule 4 provides for
reservation of seats for Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes, with which also
we are not concerned in the present cases. Rule 5, which is one of the rules
under challenge, provides for reservation for socially and educationally
backward classes, and lays down that for the purpose of this rule
"socially and educationally backward classes" will mean those classes
which have been specified in Group III of the revised Appendix 17-A to the
Madras Educational Rules, issued with G.O. (Ms) 839 Education, dated 6th April,
1951, as subsequently amended. Rule 6 provides for reservation for women, which
is also not under challenge, and the remaining seats, under r. 7, go to the
general pool available to all.
Rule 8, which is another rule under
challenge, provides that the seats reserved in the general pool and the seats
reserved for the socially and educationally backward classes will be allocated
among the various districts on the basis of the ratio of the population of each
districts to the total population of the State. This district wise allocation
will not apply to seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes
provided under r. 5. Then follows r. 9 as to the procedure for selection and
qualifications of candidates. Rule 10(d) provides for a maximum of 75 marks for
extracurricular activities which have been specified under five heads. Further
the Rules also prescribe the form of 789 application, and as the selection is
on a district wise basis, the form has a column to the effect: "NATIVITY
CLAIMED". It further appears from the form that nativity depends on the
S.S.L.C. Register, i.e., the district from which the candidate passed the
S.S.L.C. Examination, or on the nativity certificate of parents. Further for
the purpose of nativity, the place where the candidate's parents were born or
the place where they possessed immovable property has to be considered. The
candidate may choose the district from which he passed the S.S.L.C.
Examination, but he may, in the alternative, choose some other district on the
ground of nativity, and this choice leaves it open to him to choose the
district of permanent residence of the father or the mother. Further the form
of certificate shows that where the parents are dead even the guardian's nativity
can be the basis of the district which a candidate may claim.
On the basis of these rules, a number of
Selection Committees were appointed, each consisting of three members. It is
not in dispute that the three members of the Selection Committee did not sit
together to interview candidates; each member was allotted 25 marks out of the
total of 75 prescribed for the interview and interviewed each candidate
separately. This method of selection has also been attacked as against the
Four main contentions have been raised before
us in these cases. It has been urged that r. 5, which provides for reservation
for socially and educationally backward classes is bad, as it violates Art. 15
of the Constitution on the ground that it is based entirely on consideration of
The second attack is on the district wise
allocation under r. 8 on the ground that it violates Articles 14 and 15. It is
urged that in effect the selection is made to a large extent on the basis of
the place of birth and this violates Art.
15. It is also urged that district wise
allocation of seats for medical colleges is discriminatory, for such allocation
has no nexus with the object of selection, namely, to secure the best talent
for admission to medical colleges. Thirdly, it is urged that the procedure
evolved by the Selection Committee for interview, which we have already
referred to, was in violation of the Rules. It is also urged that there was no
objective test laid down in the Rules for interview and the questions that were
put were unrelated to r. 10(d), which lays down certain criteria for the
purpose. Lastly, it is urged that the selection was mala fide inasmuch as the
two official members contrived to secure caste representation in the matter of
The petitions have been opposed on behalf of
State of Madras as also the civil appeal. It has been urged that there is no
substance in any of the contentions raised in these cases. It is 790
unnecessary to refer to the stand taken by the State of Madras in detail at this
stage for it will appear at appropriate places when we consider the various
points raised in these cases.
Before we consider the points raised in these
cases, we may refer to a preliminary objection raised on behalf of the
respondents. It is urged that the selected candidates whose number is in the
neighbourhood of 1,100 have not been made parties in these cases and therefore
the cases should be rejected on that ground alone. Learned counsel for the
petitioners appellant however, accepted that so far as the present selections
are concerned, they would not press for quashing them, for in any case it would
be too late for these petitioners/appellation to get admission in medical
colleges this year. They therefore pray that the points raised may be decided
for the future and the selection made this year may not be disturbed. On that
basis it is urged on behalf of the petitioners and the appellant that it would
not be necessary to make the candidates selected for this year parties. In view
of this statement at the bar we propose to decide the points raised in these
cases but shall not disturb the selections made this year.
The first challenge is to r. 5 on the ground
that it violates Art. 15 of the Constitution. Article 15 forbids discrimination
against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of
birth or any of them.
At the same time Art. 15 (4) inter alia
permits the State to make any special provision for the advancement of any
socially and educationally backward classes of citizens.
The contention is that the list of socially,
and educationally backward classes for whom reservation is made under r. 5
nothing but a list of certain castes. Therefore, reservation in favour of
certain castes based only on caste considerations violates Art. 15(1), which
prohibits discrimination on the ground of caste only. Now if the reservation in
question bad been based only on caste and had not taken into account the social
and educational backwardness of the caste in question, it would be violative of
Art. 15(1), But it must not be forgotten that a caste is also a class of
citizens and if the caste is a whole is socially and educationally backward
reservation can be made in favour of such a caste on the around that it is a
socially and educationally backward class of citizens within the meaning of
Art. 15(4). Reference in this connection may be made to the observations of
this Court in M. R. Balaji v. State of Mysore(1) to the effect that it was not
irrelevant to consider the case of a class of citizens in determining their
social and educational backwardness. It was further observed that though the
caste of a class of citizens may (1)  Supp. 1 S.C.R. 439 at p. 459-460.
791 be relevant its importance should not be
exaggerated; and, if classification of backward classes of citizens was based
solely on the caste of the citizen, it might be open to objection. It is true
that in the present cases the list of socially and educationally backward
classes has been specified by caste. But that does not necessarily mean that
caste was the sole consideration and that persons belonging to these castes are
also not a class of socially and educationally backward citizens. In its reply,
the, State of Madras has given the history as to how this list of backward
classes was made, starting from the year 1906 and how. the list has been kept
upto date and necessary amendments made therein. It has also been stated that
the main criterion for inclusion in the list was the social and educational
backwardness of the caste based on occupations pursued by these castes. Because
the members of the caste as a whole were found to be socially and educationally
backward, they were put in the list. The matter was finally examined after the
Constitution came into force in 'the light of the provisions contained in Art.
15(4). As it was found that members of these castes as a whole were
educationally and socially backward, the list which had been coming on from as
far back as 1906 was finally adopted for purposes of Art. 15 (4). In short the
case of the State of Madras is that the castes included in the list are only a
compendious indication of the class of people in those castes and these classes
of people had been put in the list for the purpose of Art. 15(4) because they
had been found to be socially and educationally backward.
This is the position as explained in the
Affidavit filed on behalf of the State of Madras. On the other hand the only
thing stated in the petitions is that as the list is based on caste alone it is
violative of Art. 15(1). In view however of the explanation given by the State
of Madras, which has not been controverted by any rejoinder, it must be
accepted that though the list shows certain castes, the members of those castes
are really classes of educationally and socially backward citizens. . No
attempt was made on behalf of the petitioners/appellant to show that any caste
mentioned in this list was not educationally and socially backward. No such
averment was made in the affidavit in support of their cases, nor was any
attempt made to traverse the case put forward on behalf of the State of Madras
by filing a rejoinder affidavit to show that even one of the castes included in
the list was not educationally and socially backward. In this state of the
pleadings, we must come to the conclusion that though the list is prepared
caste-wise, the castes included therein are as a whole educationally and
socially backward and therefore the list is not violative of Art. 15. The
challenge to r. 5 must 792 The next attack is on r. 8, which provides for
districtwise distribution of seats according to population of the district.
This is attacked first on the ground that it violates Art. 15 ( 1) which lays
down that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of place of birth and
it is urged that the provision for "nativity claimed" in the form is
really a camouflage, for discriminating on the ground of place of birth. We
have already referred to the provisions relating to nativity certificate. We
must say that these provisions are as complicated and confusing as possible and
there may be some force in the contention raised that this has been done to get
over the prohibition in Art. 15(1) with respect to discrimination on the basis
of place of birth.
What exactly "nativity" means is
not clear from the rule-,;
it may be the place from where. the candidate
passed his S.S.L.C. Examination; it may be the place where his father was born
or his mother was born it may be the place where his father has property or his
mother has property; or it may be the place of permanent residence of the
parents or guardian, for the words "permanent residence" appear in
the form of nativity certificate. But the dictionary meaning of the word "
nativity" is birth and when the Rules provide for nativity certificate
they really mean the place of birth.
However, it appears 'that the place of birth
of the candidate is nowhere mentioned in the Rules. Even though there may be
some substance in the charge that all this complicated and confusing method has
been provided in order to get over the prohibition in Art. 15(1) by a
camouflage, we cannot say that there is a clear violation of Art. 15(1) for the
district which the candidate may claim does not depend upon the place of his
birth. We cannot therefore strike down r. 8 on the ground that it discriminates
on the basis of place of birth of the candidate concerned.
In the alternative, it is urged that
district-wise distribution violates Art. 14 of the Constitution because it
denies equality before the law or equal protection of the laws, inasmuch as
such allocation of seats may result in candidates of inferior calibre being
selected in one district while candidates of superior calibre cannot be
selected in another district. It has not been denied on behalf of the State
that such a thing cannot happen, though there are no statistics available in
this behalf because the mark-sheets were all destroyed after the interviews.
The question whether districtwise allocation
is violative of Art. 14 will depend on what is the object to be achieved in the
matter of admission to medical colleges. Considering the fact that there is a
larger number of candidates than seats available, selection has got to be made.
The object of selection can only 793 be to secure the best possible material
for admission to colleges subject to the provision for socially and
educationally backward classes. Further whether selection is from the socially
and educationally backward classes or from the general pool, the object of
selection must be to secure the best possible talent from the two sources. If
that is the object, -it must necessarily follow that that object would be
defeated if seats are allocated district by district. It cannot be and has not
been denied that the object of Selection is to secure the best possible talent
from the two sources so that the country may have the best possible doctors. If
that is the object, the argument on behalf of the petitioners/appellant is that
that object cannot possibly be served by allocating seats district wise.
It is true that Art. 14 does not forbid
classification, but the classification has to be justified on the basis of the
nexus between the classification and the object to be achieved, even assuming
that territorial classification may be a reasonable classification. The fact
however that the classification by itself is reasonable is not enough to
support it unless there is nexus between the classification and the object to
be achieved. Therefore, as the object to be achieved in a case of the kind with
which we are concerned is to get the best talent for admission to professional
colleges, the allocation of seats district wise has no reasonable relation with
the object to be achieved. If anything, such allocation will result in many
cases in the object being destroyed, and if that is so, the classification,
even if reasonable, would result in discrimination, inasmuch as better
qualified candidates from one district may be rejected while less qualified
candidates from other districts may be admitted from either of the two Sources.
Let us now look to the justification which
has been put forward on behalf of the State of Madras in support of this
district wise allocation. It is said that there are better educational
facilities in Madras city as compared to other districts of the State and
Therefore if district wise selection is not made, candidates from Madras city
would have an advantage and would secure many more seats than justified on the
basis of proportion of the population of Madras city compared to the population
of the State as a whole. This in our opinion is no justification for district wise
allocation which results in discrimination, even assuming that candidates from
Madras city will get a larger number of seats in proportion to the population
of the State. That would happen because a candidate from Madras city is better.
If the object is to attract the best talent, from the two sources, district wise
allocation in the circumstances would destroy that object. Further even if we
were to accept this contention that would only justify allocation of seats
between the city of Madras on one side and' 794 the rest of the State on the
other and not a district wise allocation throughout. But apart from this, we
are of opinion that the object being what we have indicated, there is no reason
why there should be discrimination which would go against the Candidates from
Madras city. We may add that candidates who pass from Madras city need not all
be residents of the city for it is common knowledge that schools and colleges
in the capital city attract students from all over the State because of better
Another justification that has been attempted
is that candidates coming from various districts would settle down in those
districts and thus medical help would be available in sufficient measure in all
the districts. Now this was not stated in the affidavit on behalf of the State
Besides there are no facts and figures to
suggest that candidates from a particular district would by and large settle
down in that district. Further the various options in the matter of nativity
certificate to which we have referred, show that candidates will have a number
of districts to choose from depending upon where they think that their chances
are best and therefore the argument that districtwise allocation is justifiable
on this ground is in our opinion of no merit. We are satisfied therefore that
the State of Madras has made out no case for districtwise allocation of seats
in medical colleges. We are also satisfied that such allocation results in
discrimination and there is no nexus between this territorial distribution and
the object to be achieved, namely, admission of the best talent from the two
sources already indicated. We are therefore of opinion that allocation of seats
on districtwise basis is violative of Art. 14. We may add that we do not mean
to say that territorial classification is always bad under all circumstances.
But there is no doubt that districtwise classification which is being justified
on a territorial basis in these cases is violative of Art. 14, for no
justification worth the name in support of the classification has been made
out. We therefore hold that r. 8 providing for districtwise allocation is bad,
as it violates Art. 14 and we hereby strike it down.
In view of our decision as to r. 8 and in
view of the fact that there is no question of disturbing the selection made
this year, we do not think it necessary to decide finally whether the procedure
for selection followed in the present cases to which we have already referred
is in accordance with the Rules or not. All that we need say is that it
certainly looks odd that the members of the selection committee should sit
separately. But we do not propose 'to decide the point finally in the present
We do not find any substance in the argument
that there is no test provided for marking. Rule 10(d) indicates what matters
795 have to be taken into consideration for allotting marks provided under that
rule. We do not think that it is possible to provide any further guidance in
the matter and the rest must be left to the Selection Committee. It may be
added that we are not prepared to accept that the Committee did not follow the
criterion indicated in r. 10(d) in allotting the marks provided in that rule.
This leaves the question of mala fide. Only
two points are urged in this connection. The first is that the official members
of the Selection Committees contrived to get caste representation in the matter
of selection at the behest of the Government. There is in our opinion no proof
of this and we are not prepared to accept that this was done. The second point
in support of mala fides is that mark-sheets were destroyed after the selection
was over. It does look odd that mark-sheets were so destroyed and we should
have thought that mark-sheets would be kept for some period at any rate after
the selection was over. But from this it is not possible to infer that the
selection itself was mala -fide. Moreover the attack on the selection on the
ground of mala fides will affect the current selection only and therefore in
view of the stand taken at the bar by the petitioners this ground does not now
avail them. The ground that the selection was mala fide must therefore fail.
We now come to the civil appeal. Learned
counsel for the appellant wished to raise an argument based on Art. 21, which
deals with protection of life and personal liberty.
Apart from the question whether admission to
professional colleges results in deprivation of life and liberty, we did not
allow learned counsel to develop this point because no such case was made out
before the Division Bench of the High Court which heard the appeal. We told
learned counsel that he could argue only those points which had been urged
before the Division Bench. The only point urged before the Division Bench was
on the basis of a provision in the University Act as to eligibility and
qualification of candidates for admission to medical colleges. There is however
no substance in the contention raised in this behalf, for the Rules as to
eligibility and qualification as framed by the University have been followed.
So far as admission is concerned, it has to be made by those who are in control
of the Colleges,-in this case the Government, because the medical colleges are
Government colleges affiliated to the University. In these circumstances, the
Government was entitled to frame rules for admission to medical colleges
controlled by it subject to the rules of the university as to eligibility and
qualifications. This was what was done in these cases and therefore the
selection cannot be challenged on the ground that it was not in accordance with
the University Act and the Rules framed there under.
796 We therefore partly allow the petitions
and strike down rule 8 of the Rules for admission to medical colleges, which
deals with district wise allocation. The appeal is also allowed to the same
extent. We have already indicated that so far as the selection for the current
year is concerned, it will stand; how-ever, r. 8 will not be enforced when
selection is made hereafter. -The petitioners/Appellant will get their costs,
one set of hearing fee.
R.K.P.S. Petitions and Appeal allowed in