Dr. Gulshan Prakash & Ors V/s State Of Haryana & Ors

When protective discrimination for promotion of equalisation is pleaded, the burden is on the party who seeks to justify the ex facie deviation from equality.

Case name: Dr. Gulshan Prakash & Ors V/s State Of Haryana & Ors
Case number: Writ petition (c)- 69 OF 2009
Court: The Supreme Court of India
Bench: Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P. Sathsivam, Justice J.M. Panchal
Decided on: December 02, 2019
Relevant Act/Sections: Article 15(4), 16(4), 29(2) of Indian constitution
  • State of Haryana directed Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU), Rohtak to conduct the entrance examination for MD/MS/PG Diploma and MDS courses in Government Medical and Dental Colleges in the State of Haryana for the session 2008-2009 and instructed Pt. B.D. Sharma PGIMS, Rohtak to conduct the counseling and to finalize the admission in the said courses.
  • In pursuance of the direction by the state government, the University published a prospectus for holding entrance examination for the MD/MS/PG Diploma and MDS Courses in Government Medical and Dental Colleges in the State of Haryana for the year 2008-2009.
  • Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU), Rohtak in their prospectus, for admission for the MD/MS/PG Diploma and MDS Courses, does not provide reservation of seats for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe candidates.
  • The petitioner represents his view, for implementing of SC/ST candidate reservation in Post-Graduate Courses (MD/MS/MDS/Diploma) PGIMS in accordance with the guidelines issued by the State Government on 19.03.1999, to the Commissioner and Health Secretary, Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Government of Haryana.
  • The commissioner and the government did not response to the petitioner representation due to which he preferred to file the writ petition before the Hon’ble High court and got dismissed and hence file special leave petition before the Supreme Court of India.
  • Whether Article 15(4) is an enabling provision or mandate State to provide reservation in post graduate courses?
  • Whether any reservations can be provided outside clause (4) i.e., under clause (1) of Article 16? Whether clause (4) is exhaustive of the very concept of reservations?
  • The court observed that the Article 15 directs state to not discriminate against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them. Sub-clause 4 of Article 15 and 16 is only an enabling provision and mandate State Government to bring forward legislation for the benefit of social and backward class of citizens of country.
  • The court was of the opinion that clause (4) is not, and cannot be held to be, exhaustive of the concept of reservations; it is exhaustive of reservations in favor of backward classes alone. Merely because, one form of classification is stated as a specific clause, it does not follow that the very concept and power of classification implicit in clause (1) is exhausted thereby. To say so would not be correct in principle. But, at the same time, one thing is clear. It is in very exceptional situations, — and not for all and sundry reasons — that any further reservations, of whatever kind, should be provided under clause (1).
  • In such cases, the State has to satisfy, if called upon, that making such a provision was necessary (in public interest) to redress a specific situation. The very presence of clause (4) should act as a damper upon the propensity to create further classes deserving special treatment. The reason for saying so is very simple. If reservations are made both under clause (4) as well as under clause (1), the vacancies available for free competition as well as reserved categories would be a correspondingly whittled down and that is not a reasonable thing to do.
  • The Government possesses the power and right to legislate the law for reservation for backward class group. They authorize to decide the source of admission, particular disciplines and educational policy. They obliged to proportionate the ratio for the seats. The consistent view of the court in the foregoing case is that at such Super Seniority level of education and in post graduation courses, reservation of the seats for backward class should be avoided as it creates protective discrimination among the candidates.
  • In the case of K. Duraisamy and Another vs. State of T.N. and Others, a three-bench judge dealing with the reservation at the Post-Graduate level and super-specialty level, observed that the government possess the right and authority to decide the source of admission, their entrance examination and other counseling session. Providing reservation to backward class groups creates inequality among candidates by not counting those selected in open competition on the basis of their own merit as against the quota reserved on communal considerations
  • The court considered the case of – AIIMS Student’s Union vs. AIIMS and Others, while considering the similar issue, where it was held “The rationale of reservation in the case of medical students must be removal of regional or class inadequacy or like disadvantage. Even there the quantum of reservation should not be excessive or societally injurious. The higher the level of the specialty the lesser the role of reservation.”
  • The principle behind Article 15(4) is that a preferential treatment can be given validly when the socially and educationally backward classes need it. This article enables the State Government to make provisions for upliftment of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes including reservation of seats for admission to educational institutions. It was also held that Article 15(4) is not an exception but only makes a special application of the principle of reasonable classification.
  • The court held that, Article 15(4) is an enabling provision and the State Government is the best judge to grant reservation for SC/ST/Backward Class categories at Post-Graduate level in admission and the decision of the State of Haryana not to make any provision for reservation at the Post-Graduate level suffers no infirmity.
  • They further observed that every State can take its own decision with regard to reservation depending on various factors. Since the Government of Haryana has decided to grant reservation for SC/ST categories/Backward Class candidates in admission at MBBS level i.e. under graduate level, then it does not mean that it is bound to grant reservation at the Post-Graduate level also. As stated earlier, the State Government, in more than one communication, has conveyed its decision that it is not in favor of reservation for SC/ST/Backward Classes at Post-Graduate level.
  • In such circumstances, Court cannot issue mandamus against their decision and their prospectus also cannot be faulted with for not providing reservation in Post-Graduate Courses. However, we make it clear that irrespective of above conclusion, State of Haryana is free to reconsider its earlier decision, if they so desire, and circumstances warrant in the future years.

In the result, the Civil Appeal as well as the Writ Petition fail and the same are dismissed accordingly with no order as to costs

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