Per Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, J.(a) Constitution of Pakistan (1973) Arts. 25, 2A, 22 & 37-C-
Brief facts giving rise to instant petitions are that in pursuance of Prospectus of Bolan Medical College, Quetta for the year 2000-2001 petitioners and private respondents being bona fide local/domicile students applied for admission in the first year M.B.B.S. professional against the seats allocated as per the provisions of paragraph 7 of the Prospectus, it may be noted that as per the scheme of this paragraph the Government of Balochistan has allocated seats in the College on the basis of open competition, however, with a distinction that 70% seats were reserved for those students who got their education (Matriculation and F.Sc.) from outside their native Districts and 30% were allocated for those candidates who got their education (Matriculation and F.Sc) from their native districts. The respondents did receive education outside their native districts but could not compete on merits against 70% seats, whereas the petitioners got admission on 30% reserved seats as they had passed F.Sc Examination from their native districts. The petitioners were admitted in the Bolan Medical College and they have started receiving education but in the meanwhile the respondents challenged their admissions principally on the ground that of 30% seats out of the total seats for the students who heave qualified their Matriculation and F.Sc. Examinations from their native Districts is discriminatory, unreasonable and irrational. The petitioners contested the petitions on various grounds. A learned Division Bench of Balochistan High Court issued Writs against them as well as official respondents by means of impugned judgment. As such instant petitions have been filed.
It is to be noted that learned High Court has read Article 25 together with articles 22(4), 37 and 38 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan (hereinafter referred to as the “Constitution”) to form opinion that classification between candidates who passed examinations of Matriculation and F.Sc. from their non-native and native districts is unreasonable whereas according to majority opinion in Mst. Attiyya Bibi Khan (ibid) was that reading of Article 25 alongwith Articles 2-A and 37-C of the Constitution would show that only such classification could be deemed reasonable which fosters the objects of he Constitution i.e. to make higher education available on merits and at the same time to accommodate the interests of the socially or economically disadvantage section of the people for the purpose of fostering genuine rather than nominal equality. In this sequel reference to the case of Gul Khan v. Government of Balochistan through Secretary, Education and 4 others (PLD 1989 Quetta 8) would not be out of context because in this report a learned Division Bench of Balochistan High Court examined provisions of Article 22(4) of the Constitution with reference to admission policy regulating admission to an educational institutional and held that this Article empowers a public authority for making provisions for advancement of socially backward class of citizens. It was further held in this case with reference to Article 25 of the Constitution that a citizen’s rights as a human being are not affected by reason of his descent, religion, social or official status, economic condition or place of birth or residence and further that all citizens are equally subject to the general law of the land. It was further held, that equal protection of law envisages that no person or class of persons shall be denied the same protection of laws, which are enjoyed, by other person or persons or class or classes in same circumstances. It would be beneficial to reproduce hereinbelow the principles of equal protection of law referred to hereinabove as it has been recapitulated by this Court in the case of I.A. Sherwani v. Government of Pakistan 1991 SCMR 1041:-
(i) That equal protection of law does not envisage that every citizen is to be treated alike in all circumstances, but it contemplates that persons similarly situated or similarly placed are to be treated alike;
(ii) that reasonable classification is permissible but it must be founded on reasonable distinction or reasonable basis;
(iii) that different laws can validly be enacted for different sexes, persons in different age groups, persons having different financial standings, and persons accused of heinous crimes;
(iv) that no standard of universal application to test responsibilities of a classification can be laid down as what may be reasonable classification in a particular set of circumstances, may be unreasonable in the other set of circumstances ;
(v) that a law applying to one person or one class of persons may be Constitutionally valid if there is sufficient basis or reason for it, but a classification which is arbitrary and is not founded on any rational basis is no classification as to warrant its exclusion from the mischief of Article 25 ;
(vi) that equal protection of law means that all persons equally placed be treated alike both in privileges conferred and liabilities imposed ;
(vii) tat in order to make a classification reasonable, it should be based –
(a) on an intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons or things that are grouped together from those who have been left out;
(b) that the differentia must have rational nexus to the object sought to be achieved by such classification”.
The above principles have been reiterated in number of judgments prominently in the cases of Government of Balochistan through Additional Chief Secretary v. Azizullah Memon and 16 others PLD 1993 SC 341 and Mehram Ali and others v. Federation of Pakistan and others PLD 1998 SC 1445. It may be noted that Principle NO. (vii) quoted hereinabove provides two bases for reasonable classification i.e. an intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons or things that are grouped together from those who have been left out and that the differentia must have rational nexus to the object sought to be achieved by such classification. [p. 166, 167 & 168] A, B, C, D, E
K.N. Kohli, Advocate Supreme Court for Petitioners
(in C.Ps Nos. 59-Q, 60-Q & 67-Q of 2002)
Raja M. Afsar, Advocate Supreme Court for Petitioners
(in C.Ps. No. 61-Q of 2002)
Raja Abdul Ghafoor, Advocate Supreme Court (in all Petitions)
(for the Official Respondnets).
H. Shakil Ahmad, Advocate Supreme Court for Respondent
No. 1 (in C.Ps. NOs. 59-Q and 60-Q of 2002)
Dae of hearing : 17th October, 2002