Case BriefsHigh Courts

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]


Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the case where the validity of the Rules made in respect of the 6th Pay Commission by State of Maharashtra in the year 2009 was in question which dealt with the pay structure of the non-teaching employees of the educational institutions but exclude the non-teaching employees of the unaided non –government colleges, the bench of J. Chelameswar and Abhay Manohar Sapre, JJ said that the objects sought to be achieved by the periodic revision of the pay-scales is obviously to comply with the constitutional mandate emanating from Article 43 of the Constitution of India and hence, there is no rationale behind the classification made by the State of the Maharashtra between aided and unaided colleges.

The Court said that the people employed in educational institutions run by non-State actors are not treated any kindlier by the market forces and the economy than the people employed either by the Government or its instrumentalities or institutions administered by non-State actors receiving the economic support of the State. The very fact that the Government of India thought it fit to revise the pay scales of its employees and also thought it fit to accept the suggestions of the UGC to revise the pay scales of various Universities and other bodies whose maintenance expenditure is met by the UGC (in other words virtually by completely convinced that there is a definite need to revise the pay scales of not only its employees, but also the employees of its instrumentalities. The Constitution of India bestows considerable attention to the field of education. It recognizes the need for regulating the various facets of activity of education and also the need for not only establishing and administering educational institutions but also providing financial support for the educational institutions run by private/non-state actors.

Regarding the question as to whether a constitutional court could compel the executive to exercise its statutory authority to make subordinate legislation in a manner which would be consistent with the command of Article 14 and other provisions of the Constitution, the Court said that if a law (whether primary or subordinate legislation) is found to be untenable on the touchstone of Article 14 by the constitutional court, one clear option for a constitutional court is that it can declare such law to be unconstitutional and strike down the law. But, striking down a law, which confers some benefit on a class of people ignoring others who are otherwise similarly situated in our opinion is not to be done as a matter of course. If the benefit sought to be conferred by such a law is not repugnant to the directive principles of the State policy, striking down the same would virtually amount to throwing away the baby with bath water. [Secretary Mahatama Gandhi Mission v. Bhartiya Kamgar Sena, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 22, decided on 05.01.2017]