AIR 1951 SCC 226


Supreme Court of India


Hiralal J, Kania CJ, Saiyad Fazal Ali J, M Patanjali shastri J, Mehr Chand mahajan J, Vivian Bose J, BK mukherjia J.


This was the first landmark case that was concerned with the special provisions for the advancement of backward classes to educational institutions. The new clause (4) was added under Article 15 of the constitution by the 1st amendment Act,1951 due to the supreme court’s decision in the said case.

 The judgment also holds its significance as it discussed the enforceability of directive principles of state policy in courts of law and its overriding ability over the provisions contained in part 3 of the Indian Constitution relating to fundamental rights. The judgment has discussed the constitutionality of communal G.O. where a fundamental right is violated and a directive principle is also in question. The preference will be given to the fundamental rights.


In 1950 in Madras, there existed a quota system for admission in the colleges. The state of Madras maintained four medical colleges and four engineering colleges. And has reserved a certain number of seats for candidates from other states and discretionary allotment by state.  The seats were filled up according to the communal G.O. according to which each set of 14 candidates should have 6 non brahmins Hindu, 2 backward Hindu, 2 Brahmin, 2 Harijan, 1 Anglo Indian, and Indian Christian, and 1 Muslim.  This was before the commencement of the constitution. The admission was based on the reservation of the basis of the caste of a person in government colleges.  These proportions set under communal GO adhered to even after the commencement of the constitution. The government alleged that they were allowed to maintain the order under Article 46 of the Indian Constitution.

On 9th June 1950, Srimati Champakam Dorairajan made a petition in Madras high court under article 226 to protect fundamental rights under Article 15(1) and 29(2) of the Indian Constitution. She requested the court to issue a writ of mandamus to restrain the Madras government from enforcing the communal G.O. A similar petition was filed by CR Srinivasan. The Madras high court struck down the communal government order. Aggrieved by which the Madras government filed the present appeal in the Supreme court.


The court dismissed the appeal of the appellant on the ground that communal G.O. is inconsistent with Article 29(2) of the Indian Constitution and is void under Article 13 of the Indian constitution of India. The court opined that if admission was based on the criteria under the G.O, it will go against the fundamental rights of the citizens. The court also said that the directive principles have to be applied keeping in mind that they do not go against the fundamental rights as they are sacrosanct, and the directives run auxiliary and ancillary to the rights.

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