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Unni Krishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh | Important Acts and Laws for Judiciary Exams PDF Download

Facts of Unni Krishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh

  • The case of Unni Krishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh challenged the Supreme Court's decision in Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka, 1992 AIR 858, 1992 SCR (3) 658. Mohini Jain, a non-Karnataka student, sought admission to a private medical college in Karnataka for the M.B.B.S. program. She was asked to pay Rs. 60,000 for the first year's fees and provide a bank guarantee for the remaining years. Due to financial constraints, she was denied admission.
  • In response, Mohini filed a petition with the Supreme Court under Article 32, challenging the notification issued by the Karnataka Government and requesting admission on the same terms as Karnataka students admitted under "Government Seats."
  • The Court in Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka highlighted the interrelation between Parts III and IV of the Constitution. The right to education outlined in Article 41 is crucial for realizing the fundamental rights in Part III for the illiterate majority. Article 21, encompassing the right to live with dignity, was interpreted to imply that "the right to education derives directly from the right to life."
  • The Court concluded that the Karnataka Government's notification exceeded its legal authority, leading to Mohini's successful appeal. Private institutions contended that following this judgment would force them to shut down.

Significance of Unni Krishnan Case

  • In the subsequent case of M.C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors, the Supreme Court declared that Article 45 had become a fundamental right following the Constitutional Bench's decision in Unni Krishnan. This ruling underscored that a right need not be expressly mentioned in Part III to be considered a fundamental right.
  • The Court emphasized the complementary nature of provisions in both Part III and Part IV of the Constitution. It rejected the idea that rights under Part III take precedence over the moral claims in Part IV, highlighting the equal importance and interdependence of both sets of provisions.

Key Issues in Unni Krishnan Case

  • Is there a fundamental right for a citizen to pursue a degree in fields like medicine and engineering?
  • Does the Indian constitution ensure a fundamental right to education for its citizens?
  • Is it considered a fundamental right for a citizen to establish and manage an educational institution under Article 19(1)(g)?
  • Does the authorization for affiliation by a university create an obligation for an educational institution to ensure fair treatment in student admissions?

Petitioner's Arguments

  • The petitioners in the Unni Krishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh case argued that the state has a responsibility to provide education to all citizens, irrespective of their social or financial status.
  • They referenced the Mohini Jain case to support their stance, which had expanded the interpretation of the right to education.
  • The petitioners claimed that the state was deficient in essential educational infrastructure.
  • They contended that building such infrastructure might be viewed as a violation of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, which treats education as a commercial enterprise.
  • The petitioners alleged that state intervention had disrupted market dynamics by affecting the balance of supply and demand.
  • In the view of the petitioners, establishing an educational institution is analogous to launching a business venture, whether for profit or not.
  • They believed that schools should have the autonomy to set fees and receive funding independently from students, with differing arrangements like development, removal, and diversity among institutions.
  • The petitioners stressed that merely affiliating with or being recognized by a public authority does not automatically convert educational institutions into instruments of the state.

Question for Unni Krishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh
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Is there a fundamental right for a citizen to pursue a degree in fields like medicine and engineering?
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Respondent's Arguments

  • The respondents in the Unni Krishnan Case provided a sworn statement detailing the efforts made by the state to meet the requirements of Article 45 of the Constitution.
  • They contended that the state was only obligated to offer free and mandatory education to children aged 14 and below.
  • Questioning the extension of this responsibility to higher education, they raised concerns about the substantially higher costs associated with tertiary education compared to primary education.

Judgement of Unni Krishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh

  • The case of Unni Krishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh involved a legal challenge by private professional educational institutions against state laws that regulated capitation fees.
  • Key rulings from the Supreme Court included:
    • The Court highlighted that the right to basic education is implied within the fundamental right to life (Article 21) in conjunction with the directive principle on education (Article 41).
    • Emphasis was placed on understanding the right to education within the context of Directive Principles of State Policy, particularly Article 45, which aims to provide free and compulsory education for all children under 14 within ten years of the Constitution's commencement.
    • While there is no fundamental right to professional degree education under Article 21, the Court recognized that the non-justiciable right to education for children under 14 had become enforceable after 44 years of the Constitution's enactment.
    • Beyond the age of fourteen, the right to education is dependent on the state's economic capacity and development, as outlined in Article 41.
    • Referring to Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Court stated that the state is obligated to provide higher education progressively, within its available resources, to realize the right to education for all individuals.

This case underscores the importance of education as a fundamental right intertwined with the broader principles of life and state policy. By considering these directives, the Court aimed to ensure equitable access to education while acknowledging the evolving nature of educational rights within the legal framework.

Conclusion

  • In the Unni Krishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh case, the Supreme Court of India deliberated on the constitutionality of state laws governing capitation fees in private professional educational institutions. The Court determined that although there is no explicit fundamental right to education for professional degrees under Article 21, the right to basic education can be inferred under the right to life (Article 21) when considered alongside the directive principle on education (Article 41).
  • Furthermore, the Court rejected the notion that rights in Part III (fundamental rights) supersede those in Part IV (directive principles). It emphasized that Article 45 had evolved into a fundamental right, and the state is obligated to progressively work towards realizing the right to education at all levels within its means. The ruling in the Unni Krishnan case had a significant impact on education-related rights in India.

Question for Unni Krishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh
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What was the main argument raised by the respondents in the Unni Krishnan case?
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FAQs on Unni Krishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh - Important Acts and Laws for Judiciary Exams

1. What is the significance of the Unni Krishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh case?
Ans. The Unni Krishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh case is significant as it involves the issue of reservation in private unaided educational institutions and the right to education.
2. What were the key issues presented in the Unni Krishnan case?
Ans. The key issues in the Unni Krishnan case included the reservation policy in private unaided educational institutions and the right to education for all individuals.
3. What were the arguments put forward by the petitioner in the Unni Krishnan case?
Ans. The petitioner in the Unni Krishnan case argued for the right to education for all individuals, including the reservation of seats in private unaided educational institutions.
4. What were the arguments presented by the respondent in the Unni Krishnan case?
Ans. The respondent in the Unni Krishnan case may have argued against the reservation policy in private unaided educational institutions, citing issues of autonomy and freedom.
5. What was the judgement rendered in the Unni Krishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh case?
Ans. The judgement in the Unni Krishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh case may have addressed the issues of reservation in private unaided educational institutions and the right to education, setting a precedent for future cases.
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