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AS AN EMPOWERMENT RIGHT, EDUCATION IS THE PRIMARY VEHICLE BY WHICH ECONOMICALLY AND SOCIALLY MARGINALIZED ADULTS AND CHILDREN CAN LIFT THEMSELVES OUT OF POVERTY AND OBTAIN THE MEANS TO PARTICIPATE FULLY IN THEIR COMMUNITIES: SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

This particular decision is upheld by the Supreme Court of India through the division bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice M.R Shah in the case of Farzana Batool v. Union of India (UOI), and Ors (2021 SCC online )

FACTS

Two writ petitions were filed by Ms. Farzana Batool & Mr. Mohammad Mehdi Waziri under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution seeking directions to facilitate the students to be admitted in their respective colleges allocated by the central pool.  Two students named Ms. Farzana Batool and Mr. Mohammed Mehdi Waziri from Ladakh were nominated by the Administration of Ladakh for admission into the MBBS degree course under the ‘central pool ‘ seats set apart by the Union Ministry of Health and Family welfare. One of them has been allocated a seat at Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) and the other has got assigned to Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC).  Unfortunately, these students have not yet been admitted to their course of studies due to nomination by the Administration of Union Territory ( UT) of Ladakh and in terms of seats notified by the Union Government.

On 26th March 2021, a notice was issued in the proceeding.  In pursuance of the order, Mr. Rupinder Singh Suri, Additional Solicitor General appears for the Union of India while Mr. K M Nataraj, Additional Solicitor General appears on behalf of the Administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh through the Director of Health Services, Ladakh (“DHSL”). The Office Report indicates that Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) and Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) have been served.

On 9 April 2020, a memorandum was issued in which the Government of India through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (“MHFW”), issued guidelines for the allocation of the general pool MBBS/BDS seats for 2020-2021. By a Notification dated on 23rd November 2020, the MHFW (Department of Health and Family Welfare) allotted, inter alia, one seat at Lady Hardinge Medical College   (LHMC) to the Union Territory of Ladakh from the central pool. A similar allocation of one seat was made at Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC). These allocations were made for the Ladakh central pool medical seats for the year 2020-2021.

In a communication dated 19th February 2021 issued by the Administration of the Union Territory (UT)  of Ladakh, the DHSL forwarded the list of selected candidates from Ladakh to be admitted in the central pool medical seats for the year 2020-2021.

JUDGEMENT

In the above case of Farzana Batool v union of India ( UOI) and others, the Supreme Court held that though education at the professional level has not been spelled out as a Fundamental right in Part III of the Indian Constitution which talks about the Right to equality, including equality before the law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment. Though it bears significance that access to higher education is not a governmental liberality. Instead, the State has a positive obligation to facilitate access to education at all levels and Financial hardship should not prevent the students from getting admission in terms of the allocation which has been made in their favor legitimately under the central pool seats,  so the Supreme  Court directed that the admission formalities for the petitioners, Ms. Farzana Batool and Mr. Mohammed Mehdi Waziri be completed at Lady Hardinge Medical College (“LHMC”) and Maulana Azad Medical College (“MAMC”) respectively within a week from the date of judgment. The Supreme court also said that that all the students whose names were mentioned in Annexure A to the notification dated 19 February 2021 should be granted admission to the concerned institutions, if not already given then the court is issuing the order as a general direction to remove the possibility of each of the similarly placed students being required to move to this court as education is a basic right of an individual and it’s Is of utmost importance.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NAISARGIKA MISHRA

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