Valsamma Paul v. Cochin University

Estimated Reading Time: 15 minutes


Our Constitution is federal. It empowers rights and liberties to all individuals and ensures equal protection of Rights for everyone so that there is no such discrimination.  The narratives of ladies being knocked up for drawing water from wells, people being attacked if their shadow falls on other fellows, followers being stopped from accessing the temple, and beaten up for encountering idols of gods have become a typical everyday business for the newspaper headlines whenever I finish one. Article 15[1] of the Indian Constitution talks about the ban of discrimination, i.e., little differentiation.

Discrimination happens when you are identified or managed less favourably than another person under similar situations or non-beneficial by being set on the same footing as another under various situations, such as being disabled or pregnant. This procedure cannot be rationally and accurately explained. When the concept that a reasonable classification can never amount to discrimination is clear, we suddenly get stuck by the idea of reservation.

In Ajay Kumar v. the State of Bihar[2] The question was proposed regarding granting reservation under Article 15(4) in PG medical courses. The allegations raised by the Petitioner were that Article 15(4) neither addresses nor sanctions reservation in educational organisations. While particular preferences and concessions can be given, the reservation of seats exceeds the limits of clause (4) of Article 15 of India’s Constitution. The court dismissed the application as special provisions also include reservation laws and not just decisions and concessions.

Article 15(4) refers to disadvantaged classes of people who have faced discrimination and racism from the privileged class. 

This category covers the section of people who belong to underprivileged classes but are not related to SCs or STs. OBCs have been included under this phrase of socially and educationally underdeveloped classes as a section for reservation.

Article 15 has always overcome its way out to reach the one really in need. The provision of the abused has highly improved since its beginning in 1949. It provides a groundwork for each and everything that the government needs to express to promote the piece.

Article 15 truly is the guardian of the oppressed and a shield against discrimination, and it has supported the Indian society to stand tall and grand despite such a vast diversity and all kinds of sexism, bigotry and inflexible caste system and will proceed to offer to India’s unity and equality, regularly.

Facts of the Case

There were positions of professors empty in the Law Department of Cochin University, held in reserve for Latin Catholics who came under the category of Backward Class-Fishermen[3]. The Appellant, a Syrian Catholic who was a forward class, had conjugated a Latin Catholic and used it against the reserved chair. The University nominated her in contradiction of the said stake. Her selection was challenged by registering a Writ Petition demanding the Petitioner’s nomination instead of choosing the Petitioner. The writ petition was permissible. The way was given for the nomination to firmly agree with Rules 14 to 17 of the Kerala State Subordinate Service Rules, and against this rule, the plaintiff filed the appeal in the Court. 

Articles 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution[4] are destined for the progression of socially and educationally regressive classes of citizens. The same would be beaten if applicants, who by association or by any other style, has joined that public, avail the advantage. Accordingly, the Full Bench claims superiority on the verdict of the Division Bench and the sole Judge. The plea questioning the Division Bench Judgement was moved together with these pleas.

Issues Raised

The Issue raised in the case of S. R. Bommai case:

Whether the Court should complement the specific rule of the inhabitants and the lawful goal of conferring equal chance to the socially and academically backward courses as foreseen in Articles 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution.

Arguments Advanced

From the Petitioner

The Petitioner argued that an individual’s birth should not be the sole ground to have a reservation. It was contested that the birth itself is not a formative aspect for acquiring defensive discrimination, and conservational and social incapacities are also to be used in to which the Appellant was exposed to willingly making her permitted to the equal action is conferred to other associates of the backward class. Thus, the Full Bench has gone wrong. The Petitioner is a fellow member of the Latin Catholic Community who is a fisherman by custom. She would face social detrimental loss and discrimination as she should be treated with dignity when getting reservation assistance. The Petitioner said that as she was from an upper caste before and now after her wedding with a Latin catholic, she should be acknowledged with the same behaviour that they obtain so as not to deliver her with the advantages of reservation, and that would be discrimination supporting article 16(4) of the Indian Constitution.

From the Respondent

It was argued by the Respondent that Articles 15(4) and 16(4) are planned for the advantages of backward class people due to community and enlightening backwardness such as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and hence biological is the influential factor for the privilege of assistances under these Articles. No other way can serve.

Also Read  Kotla Venkataswamy versus Rammurthy, AIR 1934 Mad 579

It is applicable to note that the foundation behind it is the insufficiency of illustration of that lesson into an office or service under the State. As the Appellant existed as an associate of the upper class with the admission of all such benefits, an intended marriage to a Latin Catholic would not entitle her to receive the assistance and only if she can demonstrate that she and other fellows of her class had faced such discrimination in the history, only then can such protective discrimination can be used by her. Mere acknowledgement and receipt by the community are not applicable enough.

Summary of Judgement

The Court disposed of the petition for the appeal, and the orders of the Additional Bench and the solitary Judge stood aside. The Full Bench’s verdict is upheld as it rightly settled that the Appellant is not permitted to the advantage of reservation under Article 15(4) and Article 16(4). The cultured Judge and the Division Bench proceed exclusively on the grounds of Standard Rule of Law, and getting in the community on matrimonial and constitutional order is unnoticed.

Article 14 assures the principle of equality before the law and equivalent safety of the laws. Articles 15(4) and 16(4) are auxiliary to it, aiming to gain social and economic fairness and eradicate discriminations in status. They are meant to endorse the advantages of the lower segments of culture and stop them from all forms of mistreatment. By gaining social consensus and the Union of the trio of liberty, equality, and fraternity is the constitutional goal line. The Court stated that the Constitution is founded on the basis of secularism and collectivism, which assistances in considering that until all sections of the society are given equivalent services and occasions to give their part in political agreement despite being of caste, religion, and sex, the radical injustice cannot live. Individuals belonging to the upper caste by birth cannot entitle the backwards class’s advantages using various relocating methods into that caste. The public’s sole acknowledgement in that caste is not sufficient for a forward caste member to enable himself to the reservation. 

 In the forward hike of founding a democratic, secular communal instruction based on equality and self-esteem, Article 15(1) forbids discrimination based on religion or caste identities to substitute national individuality, which does not deny a variety of Indian culture but rather to save it. Indian culture is a creation or mixture of several strains or elements resulting from various sources, despite the unimportant variety of forms and kinds.

The Court has forbidden it to investigate whether such an individual is casually or academically backwards, which is a limited function of the command or the consultant nominated under Article 340 of the Constitution. At the same period, the Court needed to interpret the Act and the Constitution’s necessities to resolve the correctness of the individual and the civilization’s right, namely, community justice. The gratitude of the Appellant as a fellow member of the Latin Catholic would not, therefore, be applicable for the aim of her power to have the reservation under Article 16(4), for the motive that she, as a part of the upper caste, had a benefit at the start in life and after her finishing education and fetching major married Yesudas. So, she is not permitted to the capability of reservation given to the Latin Catholic, a backward class.

Analysis of the Judgement

The Court affirmed the fundamental freedom of equality given by India’s Constitution, which is further envisioned by equal chances in education and employment employing supporting effects granting reservation to the lower section of the society who are not sufficiently expressed in the service of the State. The persons who are acknowledged by the backward classes a member notwithstanding about a forward class may not be allowed to profess advantages of the backward class for the very purpose that they have not experienced life with problems and impediments as the previous and investing them with such advantages would only lead to violation of the fundamental principles that our Constitution stands for.

 Article 15(4) tells the State to make appropriate laws for the promotion of any socially and educationally backward classes of subjects, including the Dalits and Tribes and Article 16(4) grants reservation for divisions which in the view of the State are not sufficiently described in the services under the State. The Court explained that equal protection guaranteed by Articles 14, 15(1) and 16(1) is expected to operate consistently with Articles 15(4), 16(4), 38, 39, 46, and 335 of the Constitution and equal security requires supporting action for irregular who are socially and educationally backwards.

The Mandal case is essential for this Court to settle. It involved caste in being clean but a social status. It held that reservation under Article 16(4) is not made favouring a caste but an underprivileged section that is not sufficiently embodied in the State’s duties. To approach the question of whether a claimant, by marriage, adoption or obtaining a false certificate of social standing would be entitled to identification as such fellow of the section for employment to a position maintained under Article 16(4) or for an entrance in an educational organization under Article 15(4), the Court pointed to several authoritative statements where the Court has disentitled the characters belonging to forward class by birth, the right to reservation by gaining entitlement through forged documents of the situation of backward section.

Also Read  The State Trading Corporation of India Ltd. & Ors v. The Commercial Tax Officer

The trials of shifting of upper classes to underprivileged classes to demand reservations are not permissible. The Court approached whether a lady mating a member of the backward section by adoption or any other deliberate act becomes advantageous to maintain reservation under Article 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution. All the underprivileged sections such as OBCs, STs and SC suffered cultural and financial disadvantages perceived by Articles 17 and 15(2) and were enhanced ethically, culturally and academically behind.

The purpose of reservation is to eliminate these impediments to which the community members were enslaved. It has been remarked, in this honour, that any personality who would endeavour, utilizing authority and endeavours to obtain the status of such an underprivileged class should provide that he/she experienced the same handicaps or difficulties due to social, institutional and developmental backwardness. A person born in an upper caste and having early education benefits is not allowed to the benefits. Acquisition of such a situation would be considered as cheating the Constitution.

In Murlidhar Dayandeo Kesekar v. Vishwanath Pandu[5] and R. Chandevarappa v. the State of Karnataka[6]. This Court had held that financial enablement is a fundamental right to the poor and the State is commanded under Articles 15(3), 46 and 39 to deliver them opportunities. Thus, education, employment and economic empowerment are some of the programmes. The State has changed and also provided reservation in entrance into educational organizations, or in case of other financial benefits under Articles 15(4), or nomination to a workplace or a position under the Government under Article 16(4). Therefore, when a person is shifted into the Dalits, Tribes and OBCs, that person must also have had the same hindrances and must have been subject to the same infirmities, difficulties, and indignities or sorrows to enable the person to avail the ability of reservation.

 As identified by this Court in Mohan Rao’s case, the Court also bought with whether acceptance by the population would profit the reservation. The concerned individual referred to a Scheduled Case but changed to Christianity and then further changed to Hinduism, claiming back his caste. The Court held acceptance by the community is a prerequisite for a valid reconversion, and there was an actual purpose on his behalf. Presently, the identification of the plaintiff as a part of the Latin Catholic would not be appropriate for her benefit to the reservation following Article 16(4) because she is a part of the upper cast, had a valuable life, and after her completing education and becoming important married voluntarily to a member of backward class and so, she is not authorized to the facility of reservation given to him.


Human rights are a consequence of the self-respect and worth characteristic in the human person. Human rights and fundamental liberties have been repeated in the Universal statement of Human Rights. Fairness, growth and admiration for Human Rights and essential liberties are inter-reliant on and have mutual strengthening. The human rights for women, including girls, are fundamental, essential and an undividable part of widespread human rights. The full growth of character and principal liberties and equal contribution by women in political, social, economic and educational life are accompaniments for national growth, social and family stability and growth-cultural, social and economic. All types of discrimination on the reason of gender are offensive of fundamental liberties and human rights.

The women belonging to an upper-caste section marry an underprivileged category of people, i.e., a non-reserved class changed by adoption or any other procedure which belonged to a specific class.

The Court, in this case, concluded that acknowledgment of plaintiff as a member of Latin Catholics would not be entitled reservation under Article 16(4), as she belonged to a foreign class and has been given all the advantages in her life and never faced any such problems in her life. If she is made a part of an underprivileged class, it would be injustice and set as the wrong precedent in the Court of law. The Court in this case concluded that acknowledgment of plaintiff as a member of Latin Catholics would not be entitled reservation under Article 16(4), as she belonged to a foreign class and has been given all the advantages in her life and never faced any such problems in her life. If she is made a part of an underprivileged class then it would be injustice and set a wrong precedent in the Court of law.

[1] The Constitution of India, 1949, Article 15.

[2] Ajay Kumar Singh v. State Of Bihar,  1994 SCC (4).

[3] Valsamma Paul v. Cochin University, 1996 SC 1011.

[4] PTI, Maharashtra government passes bill for 16 per cent Maratha reservation, 29th November, 2018,

[5] Murlidhar Dayandeo Kesekar vs Vishwanath Pandu Barde & Anr 1995 SCC, Supl. (2) 549 JT 1995 (3) 563.

[6] R. Chandevarappa Etc. Etc vs State Of Karnataka & Ors. Etc., 1995 SCC (6) 309.