Author: Ms. Riya Kumar, DME, Noida.
Srimathi Champakam Dorairajan v. The State of Madras,27 July, 1950
Equivalent citations: AIR 1951 Mad 120, (1950) IIMLJ 404
Bench: Rajamannar (CJ), V Sastri (J), Somasundaram (J)
In the case of SrimathiChampakamDorairajan v. The State of Madras, the apex court clarified the importance of the Fundamental Rights of citizens mentioned in the Indian Constitution. According to rights to Education, every citizen has the right to have access to education without any discrimination.
Awareness regarding the rights we have is important so that anyone can raise voice due to infringement of the same. Nowadays, many educational institutions try to discriminate between students on the various basis and also these institutions are turning more into business source due to selfish intentions of their authorities, thereby playing with the future of innocent students.
Constitutional Provisions involved:
- Article 15 in The Constitution Of India 1949:
Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
- Article 29 in The Constitution Of India 1949:
Protection of interests of minorities
*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.
- Article 46 in The Constitution Of India 1949:
Promotion of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other weaker sections. The State shall promote 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, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
- Article 14 in The Constitution Of India 1949
Equality before law The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
Facts of the case
Smt. ChampakamDorairajan was a Brahmin girl from the Madras state. In 1951, she could not get admission in a medical college even though she had scored sufficient marks due to a communal GO issued by the government. In 1950 Madras state, the quota system was very different than what it is today. The court states:
With regard to the admission of students to the Engineering and Medical Colleges of the State, the Province of Madras had issued an order (known as the Communal G. O.) that seats should be filled in by the selection committee strictly on the following basis, i.e., out of every 14 seats,
- 6 were to be allotted to Non-Brahmin (Hindus),
- 2 to Backward Hindus,
- 2 to Brahmins,
- 2 to Harijans.
- 1 to Anglo-Indians and Indian Christians and
- 1 to Muslims
So she moved the case to Supreme Court and claimed she had been discriminated based on her caste, the court agreed and struck down the entire GO.
Major agitations broke out in Tamil Nadu – leading to political and social upheaval. India had just been formed, the loksabha had not even met, and the government amended the constitution for the first time.
The amendment added a “clause 4 to Section 15”:
Article 15(4) in The Constitution of India 1949
(4) Nothing in this article or in clause (2) of Article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes
The Supreme Court held that Article 37 expressly says that the directive principles are not enforceable by the court. Supreme Court mandated that the chapter on Fundamental rights in the constitution is sacrosanct and the directive principles have to conform to and run subsidiary to the chapter on Fundamental Rights.
This means that Fundamental Rights were given superiority over the Directive Principles.
Therefore the apex court ordered all the educational institutions not to discriminate students on any basis and to provide them with admission if they deserve it.
The decision held by the full court that the Communal G.O. constituted a violation of the fundamental right guaranteed to the citizens of India by Art. 29 (2) of the Constitution, namely, that “no citizen shall be denied admission to any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of the State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them”.
It is a landmark case as it led to the amendment in article 15 of the Indian constitution and also clarified all the educational institutions to do not discriminate any student in the name of the law. The judgment rendered justice to Smt. ChampakamDorairajanbecause of fundamental right was being violated.
This verdict of the Supreme Court led to the major decision regarding the Reservation system in India.