Ajay Hasia & Ors. V. Khalid Mujib Sehravardi & Ors. 1981 AIR 487

Brief Facts

The Regional Engineering College, Srinagar is one of the fifteen Engineering College in the nation supported by the Government of India. The College is established and its administration and management are carried on by a Society registered under the Jammu and Kashmir Registration of Societies Act, 1898.

The Petitioner in this Case challenged the procedure of Admission in the Regional Engineering College. The admission process was that they were two tests directed one was a Written test and the other was a Viva test. The viva trial of the Petitioner endured uniquely for 2 to 3 minutes where formal identifying with their parentage, living arrangement were and no inquiries identifying with the subject.

At the point when the Admissions were declared, the Petitioner found that however they had gotten generally excellent imprints in the qualifying Examination, they did not had the option to tie down admission to the school in light of the fact that the imprints granted to them at the viva assessment were exceptionally low and applicants who had considerably less checks at the passing assessment, had prevailing with regards to getting good grades at the Viva assessment and consequently figured out how to tie down affirmation in inclinations to the Petitioners.

The Petitioner in this way filed a writ Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution against the school and testing the legitimacy of the confirmations on different grounds. One of the justifications for affirmation was that their entitlement to uniformity under Article 14 of the Constitution was disregarded.

Issues

  1. Whether the impugned college falls within the ambit of Article 12 of the Constitution.
  2. Whether the Selection Procedure for admission violates Article 14 of the Constitution.

Observation

In the present case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has laid down the following tests to adjudge whether a body is an instrumentality of the government or not:

  • If the entire share capital of the body is held by the government, it goes a long way towards indicating that the body is an instrumentality of the government.
  • Where the financial assistance given by the government is so large as to meet almost entire expenditure of the body, it may indicate that the body is impregnated with governmental character.
  • It is a relevant factor if the body enjoys monopoly status which is conferred or protected by the state.
  • Existence of deep and pervasive state control may afford an indication that the body is a state instrumentality.
  • If the functions performed by the body are of public importance and closely related to governmental functions, it is a relevant factor to treat the body as an instrumentality of the government.

Further, in respect of the selection procedure being adopted by the college P.N Bhagwati, J. observed that the entrance exam that was conducted by the college cannot be said to be arbitrary only on the ground that it does not take into account the marks obtained in the qualifying examination. According to him, the entrance exam is always preferable than the qualifying exams held by two different authorities since it helps in assessing the comparative talent of the appearing candidate by applying a uniform standard.

On the question of the validity of viva voice as the ground for selection of candidates, Justice Bhagwati after relying on the cases of R. Chitralekha and Ors. v. State of Mysore and Ors.[1] and A. Peeriakaruppan v. State of Tamil Nadu[2] observed that although viva voce is not a very satisfactory test for the assessment of a candidate’s calibre but since there is no other alternative test for assessing personal characteristics, the oral test should not be regarded as irrelevant or irrational. However, it should be treated as an additional test and the person assessing the candidate should be men of high integrity, calibre and qualification.

Judgment

The college was declared to be a “State” under Article 12 of the Constitution and was ordered to obey all the constitutional mandates under Part III of the Constitution which deals with Fundamental Rights. Further, the court held that not more than 15% of the total marks should be allotted for the viva voce and to prevent arbitrariness, it must be tape recorded. However due to the lapse of considerable amount of time, the court did not quash the selection procedure.

[1] (1964) 6 SCR 368

[2] (1971) 2 SCR 430

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