State of Madras vs. Smt. Champakam Dorairajan is a landmark case delivered by the Supreme Court of India that, along with Romesh Thappar vs State of Madras (1950), led to the first amendment to the Indian Constitution In 1951.
The State of Madras was the petitioner in the case and Smt. Champakam Doralrajan was the respondent.
In 1927, the Province of Madras had issued a government order, known as the Communal Go, with regard to the admission of students to the Engineering and Medical Colleges of the state. The order stated that the seats in Engineering and Medical Colleges should be filled on the following basis out of every fourteen seats, six were to be allotted to Non-Brahmin (Hindus), two were to be allotted to Backward Hindus, two were to be allotted to Brahmins, two were to be allotted to Harijans, one to Anglo Indians and Indian Christians and one to Muslims
At that time, the State of Madras maintained had only four Medical Colleges with a total of 330 seats Out of these seats, 17 were reserved for students coming from outside the state and 12 for discretionary allotment by the state.
Similarly, the Madras state maintained four Engineering Colleges and only 395 seats were available in those colleges. Out of these, 21 seats are reserved for students coming from outside the state and 12 for discretionary allotment by the state.
Rest of the seats in the Medical and Engineering colleges were apportioned on the basis of Communal GO of 1927.
In 1950, Srimathi Champakam Dorairajan made an application to the High Court of Madras under Article 226 of the Constitution. She complained of a breach of her fundamental right to get admission into educational institutions maintained by the state. 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, and sought the protection of her fundamental rights under Article 15(1) and Article 29(2) of the Constitution.
Srimathi Champakam Dorairajan prayed for the issue of a writ of mandamus ‘restraining the State of Madras and all officers and subordinates thereof from enforcing, observing, maintaining or following on requiring the enforcement, observance, maintenance or following by the authorities concerned of the notification or order generally referred to as the Communal.
The High Court of Madras delivered its judgment and ruled in favour of Champakam Dorairajan The State of Madras appealed this ruling in the Supreme Court, and thus the case came before the Supreme Court of India.
Smt. Dorairajan argued that the denial of admission into the educational institution maintained by the state on the grounds of caste violated her fundamental rights under Article 15(1) and Article 29(2) of the Constitution Article 15(1) prohibits discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.
The State of Madras contended that the provisions of these articles have to be read along with other articles in the Constitution. The state argued that the ‘Article 46 charges the state with promoting with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. The State of Madras further argued that Article 46 under Part IV of the Constitution, though not enforceable by any court of law, is fundamental for the governance of the country Article 37 puts an obligation on the state to apply those principles in making laws. The state is entitled to maintain the Communal Go, fixing proportionate seats for different communities, and the order is valid in law and not in violation of the Constitution.
Thus, if any person is unable to get admission into the educational Institutions because of the Communal G.O, there is no infringement of their fundamental rights.
The Supreme Court held that the Communal o constituted a violation of the fundamental right guaranteed to the citizens of India by Article 29(2) of the Constitution and was therefore void under Article 13.
Supreme Court held that the ‘Clause (2) under Article 29 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 client and not as a member of any community or class of citizens. This right is not suppose to be denied to the citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.
In other words, if a citizen who seeks admission into any educational institution maintained by the state or receiving aid out of state funds, he/she cannot be refused admission only on grounds of religion, race, caste, language or any of them provided he/she has the requisite academic qualifications. If the admission is denied only on such grounds then that amounts to a breach of the fundamental right.
The Supreme Court further held that the directive principles of State policy laid down in Part IV the Constitution cannot in any way override or abridge the fundamental rights guaranteed by Part I.
The Supreme Court said that the Directive Principles of State Policy, which by Article 37 are expressly made enforceable by a Court cannot override the provisions found in Part III which notwithstanding other provisions are expressly made enforceable by appropriate Writ, Orders or directions under Article 32.
Thus, the Court held that the classification in the Communal GO proceeds on the basis of religion, race, and caste The classification made In the Communal Co s opposed to the Constitution and constitutes a clear violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizen under Article 29(2), the Communal to being inconsistent with the provisions of Article 29(2) In Part II of the Constitution is void under Article 13 Thus, it upheld the Judgment of the High Court of Madras.
Champakam Dorairajan’ case decided the question of supremacy between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy.
It is one of the first case that dealt with the question of reservation in admission to the educational institutions.
Champakam Dorairajan’ case along with Romesh Thappar’ case necessitated constitutional amendments. The first amendment to the Indian Constitution undid the effect of the two cases.
The first amendment, among other changes, inserted Clause (4) to Article 15.
Author(s) Name: Rajdev Mishra (BBD University)