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In Re: M. Thomas by Father and Natural Guardian S. Masilamani - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 149 of 1952
Judge
Reported inAIR1953Mad21; (1952)2MLJ450
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 14, 15(1), 16, 37 and 46; Madras Education Rules - Rule 92
AppellantIn Re: M. Thomas by Father and Natural Guardian S. Masilamani
Advocates:A.R.C. Albuquerque, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
- - we fail to see how the state has made any discrimination in making this provision. but for the note the petitioner would not have had any right at all and would not have any reason to complain......either the pupil or the student or of his parent or guardian'.the petitioner will not under this rule be entitled to the fee concession because it was his grandfather who was converted to christianity.2. the ground on which interference by this court is sought under article 226 of the constitution is that the above said note is repugnant to arts. 14, 15(1), 16 and 46 of the constitution because it makes a discrimination between persons on the ground of their religion.3. the contention of the petitioner appears to us to be entirely untenable. the basis of the argument appears to be that the petitioner has some sort of right and he has been deprived of it toy the discriminatory treatment of the state. in the first place, it must be remarked that the petitioner is not entitled as of right.....
Judgment:

Rajamannar, C.J.

1. The petitioner in this application is a minor aged about 13 years and the affidavit filed in support of the petition has been filed on his behalf by his father and natural guardian. The petitioner is an Indian Christian, but claims to be a Harijan. The petitioner is studying in Form I in the Hindu High School, Madurantakam which is a State-aided school. His father applied on his behalf to the Manager of the school for a grant of a full school-fee concession; but his request was not complied with and the manager of the school drew the attention of the petitioner's father to a note under appendix 17 (A) of Rule 92 of the Madras Educational rules. The effect of this note can be understood only by a reference to the substantive provision in the Madras Educational Rules, in particular Rule 73 and Rule 92. Under Rule 73 of these rules, it is inter alia provided that boys belonging to the classes and castes specified in Appendix 17 (A) may be admitted without the payment of fees. Rule 92 also makes a similar provision. Appendix 17 gives a list of backward classes under 2 categories (1) Harijans and (2) Castes other than Harijans. Note (1) to this appendix runs as follows :

'Converts to Christianity or to any other religion from the castes included in Group I above shall toe eligible for all fee concessions including fee concessions in colleges, for which the scheduled castes are eligible under the Madras Educational Rules provided however, that the conversion was of either the pupil or the student or of his parent or guardian'.

The petitioner will not under this rule be entitled to the fee concession because it was his grandfather who was converted to Christianity.

2. The ground on which interference by this court is sought under Article 226 of the Constitution is that the above said note is repugnant to Arts. 14, 15(1), 16 and 46 of the Constitution because it makes a discrimination between persons on the ground of their religion.

3. The contention of the petitioner appears to us to be entirely untenable. The basis of the argument appears to be that the petitioner has some sort of right and he has been deprived of it toy the discriminatory treatment of the State. iN the first place, it must be remarked that the petitioner is not entitled as of right to any concession. It is true that Article 46 of the Constitution enunciates one of the directive principles of State policy, viz., that the State shall promote with special Care the educational and economic interest of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. But this provision is not enforceable by any court -- Tide Article 37.

4. The petitioner's claim is entirely based on the fact that he belongs to the Harijan community. That assumption itself is wrong. It may be that his grand-father before his conversion, belonged to one of the Harijan castes, enumerated in appendix 17 A. But the moment he was converted to Christianity, he ceased to belong to any caste because the Christian religion does not recognise the system of castes. It follows therefore that the petitioner cannot claim today to be a member of the Harijan community, since he is a Christian.

5. Though in law any member of the castes enumerated in Appendix 17-A would cease to belong to that caste on his conversion to Christianity or to any other religion, and therefore, will not be entitled to any of the concessions given to members of that caste, nevertheless the State made an exception in the case of recent converts from the castes enumerated therein. It is not for us to speculate on the reasons for the policy underlying this exception. Note 1 which embodies the exception confers the concession on persons who would ordinarily be otherwise not entitled to the concession because they had ceased to be members of the enumerated castes. In making the exception the State is certainly entitled to fix limits to its operation. After all, the State was granting an indulgence and it was for the State entirely to decide how far the indulgence would go. The policy or the State evideutly was to allow the concession to pupils or students who themselves had been converted or whose parent or guardian had been converted. But the State apparently was not willing to extend the concession where the conversion was more than one generation old. We fail to see how the State has made any discrimination in making this provision. It is not as if the petitioner's religion has been the reason for not coming within the scope of the note. But for the note the petitioner would not have had any right at all and would not have any reason to complain. In our opinion, the petitioner has entirely misconceived his remedy. It is certainly open to him to impress upon the State the desirability of extending the concession even to persons in his position. But as a court of law we are unable to see how we can give any relief to the petitioner under Article 226. (6) The petition is therefore dismissed.


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