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Andhra Pradesh Government Technical Education Teachers Association and ors. Vs. Government of Andhra Pradesh and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 5776 of 1983
Judge
Reported inAIR1984AP238
ActsConstitution of India - Article 14
AppellantAndhra Pradesh Government Technical Education Teachers Association and ors.
RespondentGovernment of Andhra Pradesh and anr.
Advocates:J. Chalameswar, Adv. for E. Manohar, Adv.
Excerpt:
.....of reservations - article 14 of constitution of india - writ petition challenging action of state government in issuing go ms no. 169 canceling an earlier go ms no. 881 - go ms no. 881 was issued to benefit children of government servants working in government owned polytechnic without reference to merit - whether government has power to cancel earlier go ms no. 881 - for principles of equality reservations made in favour of children of government servants do not fall under any principle already accepted or recognised by judicial pronouncements - under principle of rule of law it becomes constitutional anathema to grant special privilege to government servant or his children - held, cancellation of go ms no. 881 is right step taken by government to correct serious constitutional..........staff association,' respectively. the other petitioners are all lecturers working in various state government-owned polytechnics. the petitioners have filed this writ petition challenging the action fo the state government in issuing g. o. ms. no. 169. labour, employment. nutrition & technical education (te-1) department dt/- 10th june, 1983 by means of which an earlier g. o. ms. no. 881 has been issued by the government had been cancelled. the earlier g. o. ms. no. 881 has been issued by the government permitting the director of technical education to admit the children of the staff of the polytechnics and technical high schools in the state in each of the faculties such as civil electrical, mechanical etc. that g. o. provided that in each of the above faculties, one seat should.....
Judgment:
ORDER

1. There are eleven petitioners in this writ petition. The first and the second petitioners are the service Associations called, 'The Andhra Pradesh Government Technical Education Teachers' Association' and the 'Telengana Polytechnics. Technical High Schools Teaching and Instructional Staff Association,' respectively. The other petitioners are all Lecturers working in various State Government-owned Polytechnics. The petitioners have filed this writ petition challenging the action fo the State Government in issuing G. O. Ms. No. 169. Labour, Employment. Nutrition & Technical Education (TE-1) Department dt/- 10th June, 1983 by means of which an earlier G. O. Ms. No. 881 has been issued by the Government had been cancelled. The earlier G. O. Ms. No. 881 has been issued by the Government permitting the Director of Technical Education to admit the children of the staff of the Polytechnics and Technical High Schools in the State in each of the faculties such as Civil Electrical, Mechanical etc. That G. O. provided that in each of the above faculties, one seat should be reserved for the children of the staff of these Polytechnics and Technical High Schools and htat seat should be filled up only by the children of those Government servants working in the Polytechnics. A reading of G. O. Ms. No. 881 shows that it was issued on the basis of a proposal made ;by the Director of Technical Education, Govt. of A. P. Hyderabad to the effect that the reservations fro the children of the staff-members should be created on the ground that the children of the staff-members cannot be expected to go elsewhere for their studies. Overlooking the wordy camouflage inwhcih the order is couched and ignoring the false reason assigned for its making, it must be admitted, that G. O. Ms. No. 881 was issued to benefit the children of those Government servants working in these Government-owned polytechnics and for ensuing admission for them in these government-owned educational institutions without reference to merit. Presumably, this G. O. Ms. No. 881 has been in force during these last five years till it was now cancelled by the above mentioned G. O. Ms. No. 169 dt/- 10-6-83. Now, when these reservations are withdrawn these Government-servants felt hurt. They filed this writ petition challenging the withdrawal of those reservations.

2. The only question that arises for consideration is whether the Government has power to cancel the earlier G. O. Ms. No. 881.

3. It is not in dispute that these educational institutions are Government owned and are Government maintained. The Government maintains them at considerable cost to the public exchequer in its attempt to impart technical education to all those competent and deserving. It is the tax-payer's money that supports and sustains these educational institutions. It follows, therefore that admissions into these educational institutions are subject to the fundamental rights Chapter fo the Constitution. It is needless to say that admissions into these technical institutions which have become highly competitive should be open to all on equal terms. No one can be denied admission to those institutes except on the basis of his relative merit or want of it. The Indian culture praises education as the opening of another eye. In Brown v. Board of Education (1953) 98 L ed 873 (Chief Justice Warren emphasizing the importance of education for the upbringing of the present-day children observed:

'Today, education is perhaps the most important function of State and local governments ...... It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It si the very foundation fo good citizenship. Today ti is principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the State has undertaken to provide it is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.'

It follows, therefore, that the State Government consistent with its constitutional duty to ensure equality for all cannot promote the educational opportunities for some while retarding of the others. It follows that reservation in these educational institutions are impermissible, except such of those reservations permitted to be made by Art. 15 of the Constitution in favour of women, children and members of socially and educationally backward classes. But the very purpose and effect of G. O. Ms. No. 881 was to reserve these seats for the children of those working in these Government-owned technical institutions. It is nobody's case that the reservation so made fall under the principle of reverse discrimination embodies in Art. 15 of the Constitution. Thus, if they cannot be supported under the principle of reserve discrimination the valididty fo these reservations should be examined only under Art. 14 of the Constitution, and its great principle fo equality before law and equal protection of laws. Art. 14, no doubt, admits reasonable classification to be made. But in matter of admission to the State-owned educational institutions any classification is inherently suspect, (See Rajendran v. State of Madras, : [1968]2SCR786 ). Fortunately, for the principle of equality the present reservations made in favour of the children of the Government servants, do not fall under any principle already accepted or recognised by our judicial pronouncements. On the other hand, under the principle of rule of law, which the concept of equality before law embodies and by which we are bound and governed it becomes a constitutional anathema to grant any special favours or privileges to a Government servant or his children or to treat a Government servant as a special category. Dicey, in his law of the Constitution says, that the rule of law means, among two other things, that every man whatever be his rank or condition should be subjected to the ordinary law of the realm. The essence of this Dicenian concept of the rule of law is that the Government servants should have no special benefits which are denied to the ordinary citizens. After all, the State is neither made for nor meant for conferring special benefits on these Government servants. No classification recognising the Government servants as a class can be constitutionally vlaid. It is therefore clear that the issuance of the earlier G. O. Ms. No. 881 inhte year 1978 is itself unconstitutional and its withdrawal to-day is a commendable cosntitutional step taken byt eh State Government. Even if the Govt. desires that such special benefits should be given to the Government servant the Constitution disables the Government from doing so. It follows, therefore, that he cancellation of G. O. Ms. No. 881 by G. O. Ms. No. 169 cannot be legally objected to it should be treated as a right step taken by the Government to correct a serious constitutional error committed by it earlier.

4. Inn Patel Rajesh Motibhai v. State : AIR1981Guj30 the Gujarat High Court observated that (at p. 34):

'Sons and daughters of Government servants cannot treat themselves as a separate privileged class......... A son or a daughter of a Government servant by the accident itself claims to steal a march over other kindred persons. The classification is without any 'intelligible differentia without any rational basis, without any nexus between the illusory object of public interest sought to be achieved on the ground of classification.'

5. There is also another reason why this G. O. Ms. No. 881 should be held to be bad. In Balaji's case : AIR1963SC649 the Supreme Court held that total reservations cannot exceed roughly fifty per cent. In other words, the total number of six which are open to merit competition should not fall below fifty per cent. Now G. O. Ms. No. 169 mentions that this permissible constitutional limite of total reservations has already been reached by the existing reservations. And that the reservations made in G. O. Ms. No. 881 are in addition to that total. It follows, therefore, that making further reservations would amount to acting contrary to the decision of the Supreme Court in Balaji's case.

6. But Sri Chalameswar, the learned counsel for the petitioner argued that the withdrawal of G. O. Ms. No. 881 by means of G. O. Ms. No. 169 is arbitrary and capricious. He relied upon Goldberg v. Kelly (1970) 25 L Ed 2d 287 and also read out passages from ramanna v. International Airport Authority of Idia : (1979)IILLJ217SC and also Kasturialal Lakshmi Reddy v. State of Jammu & Kashmir : [1980]3SCR1338 . His argument is that withdrawal of G. O. Ms. No. 881 is invalid, because it is based on irrelevant grounds. He also argued that there are other G. Os. such as those contained in G. O. Ms. No. 65 dated 24-9-1979 granting similar privileges to the children of the Government servants in the matter of admission into Educational institutions and that unless those G. Os. are also withdrawn, G. O. Ms. No. 881 alone can not be withdrawn. I find it difficult to agree with any one of these ssubmissions. The decision in Goldberg (supra) decides nothing more that that welfare benefits cannot be denied on the ground of their being a privilege except in due process of law. I find that case has no application to the present case. The passages referred to in Ramanna : (1979)IILLJ217SC (supra) emphasising the need to adhere to the procedural standards established byt eh administrative directions will have no application to a situation like the present one where the Government is acting in its quasi-legislative capacity and not in its quasi-judicial capacity. Athe Government is not deciding here any particular issue between the parties. This court therefore, will have no occasion to compel the Government to adhere to the earlier established administrative standards. The passages cited from Kasturilal Lakshmi Reddy : [1980]3SCR1338 (supra) wholly support the governmental action in withdrawing G. O. Ms. No. 881. The requirements of Kasturilakl Lakshmi Reddy's case are that there should be public element in law and the law should be informed by reason and be guided by public interest These requirements are completely satisfied in this case. G. O. Ms. No. 169 says, that 'there should be no special reservation for the children of the staff members working in the polytechnics and other institutions and that the Governments cannot themselves be treated as a separate privileged class.' This is an excellent reason, wholly acceptable to our constitutional philosophy.

7. The next argument of the learned counsel for the petitioner is that so long as G. O. 665 dated 24-9-1978 continues to be operative the withdrawal of G. O. Ms. No. 881 alone would not constitutionally be permissible. This argument is based on a fallacy both in law and in fact. Factually speaking after G. O. Ms. No. 881 was obtained from the Government, it appears that another class of Govt. servants working in Industrial Training Institutions and Districtlevel training centres prevailed on the Government and got G. O. 665 issued benefitting the children of the staff working in those Industrial Tranining Institutions and Districtlevel Training centres. One illegality begot another. But never G. O. 665 makes independent claim for its legality. It is expressly mentioned that it was issued ont eh analogy of the orders issued in G. O. 881. It means G. O. 665 recognieses G. O. 881 as its mother G. O. Now in para 9 of the counter-affidavit filed by the Government it is stated that in view of the cancellation of G. O. 881, the orders issued in G. O. 665 will be reviewed by the Government and suitable decision in that behalf would be taken. Further in law, there is no provision or principle that requires the State to combat the whole evil in one blow. In Buck v. Bell (1926) 71 L Ed 1000 Justice Holmes said 'the law does all that is needed, when it does al that it can.' Recently Justice Stewert in Dandridge v. Welliams (1970) 25 L Ed 2d 491 reiterated this principle of constitutional law thus:

'The equal protection clauses does not require that a State must choose between attacking every aspect of a problem or not attacking the problem at all.'

Law allows some play for the State in its joints and permits it to choose suitable strategy in fighting the social evils. It is not its requirement that the whole evil should be wiped out in one battle and unfortunately no such thing may even be possible in several cases. This argument also should therefore fail. In conclusion I should dismiss this writ petition commending the action of the Govt. in issuing G. O. Ms. No. 169 by observing that it is in total consonance with the Egalitarian spirit of our Republican Constitution.

8. The writ petition fails and is accordingly dismissed. No costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 150/-.

9. Petition dismissed.


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