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Susan Thomas Vs. Govt. of Kerala and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberOriginal Petn. Nos. 4597 and 4633 of 1977 and 42 of 1978
Judge
Reported inAIR1978Ker199
ActsConstitution of India - Article 14
AppellantSusan Thomas
RespondentGovt. of Kerala and ors.
Appellant Advocate G. Janardhana Kurup, Adv.
Respondent Advocate Govt. Pleader and; K.P. Radhakrishna Menon, Adv.
DispositionPetitions dismissed
Cases ReferredJoseph Thomas v. State of Kerala
Excerpt:
.....that the mere reference to the functioning of certain social and educational institutions in the malabar area (such as the muslim educational society, the nair service society and the sree narayana dharma paripalana sangham) in greater volume and measure- than what prevailed before, makes any difference to the situation. but strangely enough, the petitioners did not choose to give the percentage of literacy in the travancore-cochin area of the state, but have left it for a process of arithematical inference by disclosing the percentage of literacy in the state (60.42), and the percentage of literacy in malabar (52.45). 6. in the result, we are satisfied that no additional material has been placed before us to examine the question of the validity of the reservations in favour of the..........appeals dealt with by the full bench, where we dealt with the grounds of attack raised by the writ petitioners on their merits irrespective of the pleadings in these writ petitions too, we have examined the so-called additional material placed before us by the writ petitioners. we are satisfied that it is wholly insufficient.4. it is a permissible irony that while in the previous cases before the five judge full bench the refrain of the argument was that article 14 had been pleaded, now before us, the stand is that it was not, and the deficiency is made good now by pleading as well as material. the fact is that on the earlier occasion we permitted arguments on article 14, despite deficient pleading -- or even the lack of pleading -- and the arguments ranged for four days. in effect,.....
Judgment:

Gopalan Nambiyar, C.J.

1. These three writ petitions attack the validity of the reservations in favour of the Malabar area of this State for the purpose of admission to educational institutions, and, with particular reference to these O. Ps., to the medical colleges of the State. The validity of the said provision was recently examined by a Full Bench of five Judges of this Court in W. A. Nos. 309 and 312 of 1977 (reported in AIR 1978 Ker 176) and the reservation in respect of the Malabar area was upheld as a valid and permissible geographical classification based on historical reasons under Article 14 of the Constitution. It was pointed out in that judgment that the writ petitions which were dealt with in the appeals had wrongly attacked the reservations on the basis of Article 15(4) of the Constitution, and that judgment of the learned Judge also appeared to have proceeded on that basis. However, the Full Bench did not preclude the appellants from urging their attack against the reservations with reference to Article 14 of the Constitution. This the appellants did; and after elaborate arguments ranging for over four days, the appeals were allowed and reservation was upheld.

2. The attempt of the petitioners in the present Original Petitions is to cover the same ground over again. The justification for what was rightly characterised by my learned brother as an 'audacious attempt', is that in the cases disposed of by the Full Bench previously, Article 14 had not been expressly pleaded and therefore the appellants had no occasion to place the relevant materials for directing their attack on the basis of Article 14. It was stated that in these writ petitions a wealth of material had been placed before the Court.

3. We are satisfied that there is absolutely no justification for this contention. However, as in the previous appeals dealt with by the Full Bench, where we dealt with the grounds of attack raised by the writ petitioners on their merits irrespective of the pleadings in these writ petitions too, we have examined the so-called additional material placed before us by the writ petitioners. We are satisfied that it is wholly insufficient.

4. It is a permissible irony that while in the previous cases before the five Judge Full Bench the refrain of the argument was that Article 14 had been pleaded, now before us, the stand is that it was not, and the deficiency is made good now by pleading as well as material. The fact is that on the earlier occasion we permitted arguments on Article 14, despite deficient pleading -- or even the lack of pleading -- and the arguments ranged for four days. In effect, what is now urged by the writ petitioners is that since the pronouncement of the Division Bench of this Court in Joseph Thomas v. State of Kerala, 1957 Ker LT 971 : (AIR 1958 Ker 33), considerable leeway has been made to establish parity in the educational sphere between the Malabar and Travancore-Cochin areas, and disparity between the two areas had been bridged. The statistics and the figures supplied by the petitioners in their affidavits which were read out to us in extenso do not justify this contention. On the other hand, they show that there still exists an appreciable gap in the percentage of literacy as between the Travancore-Cochin area and the Malabar area. We are not satisfied, and it has not been established, that the mere reference to the functioning of certain social and educational institutions in the Malabar area (such as the Muslim Educational Society, the Nair Service Society and the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Sangham) in greater volume and measure- than what prevailed before, makes any difference to the situation. Attention was called to the Nettur Damodaran Commission Report. For more reasons than one we find the Report unhelpful. This Report has not yet been accepted by the Government. Besides the scope of investigation of that Commission was limited. It was not concerned with the question of reservations to be made in the matter of admissions to educational institutions.

5. In their affidavits the petitioners purport to give statistics as to the percentage of literacy in Malabar, how it has progressed since the. re-organisation of States, and how it stands higher than the percentage of literacy in most of the other States in this country. But strangely enough, the petitioners did not choose to give the percentage of literacy in the Travancore-Cochin area of the State, but have left it for a process of arithematical inference by disclosing the percentage of literacy in the State (60.42), and the percentage of literacy in Malabar (52.45).

6. In the result, we are satisfied that no additional material has been placed before us to examine the question of the validity of the reservations in favour of the Malabar area of the State on the basis of Article 14 of the Constitution. The so-called additional material does not warrant any different conclusion. Following the Full Bench ruling in W.A. Nos. 309 and 312 of 1977 (reported in AIR 1978 Ker 176), we dismiss these original petitions with no order as to costs.


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