Allahabad HC strikes down ordinance granting 80% institutional reservation in LLM course

Allahabad High Court: The petitioner approached the Court under Article 226 challenging the validity of the Ordinance for Admission to LLM Course insofar as it provides that 80% seats shall be filled up from amongst Lucknow University Law Graduates that is, the petition challenged the institutional reservation in the University.

The counsel for petitioner cited Dr. Pradeep Jain v. Union of India,  (1984) 3 SCC 654, in which the Supreme Court though upheld the institutional reservation, but only to a reasonable extent i.e. up to 50% of the total seats contending that the ordinance ran contrary to this judgment and also, the subsequent judgment, Saurabh Chaudri  v. Union of India, (2003) 11 SCC 146, which reiterated what the Court held in Pradeep Jain. It was further contended that the twin test of reasonable classification is not satisfied if the ordinance comes into operation. The twin test is (i) reasonable classification based on some intelligible differentia and (ii) the justifiability on the basis of the nexus between the classification and the object sought to be achieved.

The counsel for respondent contended exactly opposite of what the petitioner contended and further argued that the National Law Universities and other Universities including private Universities have adopted grading system in their Universities and as such the students of these Universities are securing more marks (up to 90%) in LL.B. Examination, whereas the students of the University are generally securing 70-75% marks and hence, in absence of grading system in the University, students of the University are not in a position to get admission in other Universities.

On hearing both the parties, the Court observed that by the impugned Ordinance two classes of the applicants, who appeared for Admission to LLM Course run by the University as identifiable groups of candidates have been created; the one class of candidates are those who are Lucknow University Law Graduates and other class of applicants are those who are having their Bachelor’s Degree in Law from other institutions/Universities.

The Court noticed that the reason given is that institutional reservation to the extent of 80% seats is being provided to secure the interest of students passing their Bachelor’s Degree Course from the University and even, no statistical data was submitted by the University as a step in defending the ordinance. As a result, the writ petition was allowed and ordinance was accordingly struck down and it was directed to re-frame the ordinance in consonance with the laws laid down by the Supreme Court. [Atul v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2017 SCC OnLine All 444, decided on 14.02.2017]


One comment

  • The above mentioned order was passed by High Court of Allahabad at Lucknow by Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyay and the case number is MISC. SINGLE No. – 17721 of 2016. Is of year 2016 not 2017.
    Perhaps, thanks for sharing this information.

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