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Access To Professional Education Is Not A Governmental Largesse; State Has An Affirmative Obligation To Facilitate Access To Education, At All Levels: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court has recently observed that access to professional education is not a Governmental largesse and the State has an affirmative obligation to facilitate access to education, at all levels.

The Court was hearing pleas filed by two students from Ladakh who were not admitted to medical college in Delhi despite due nomination by the Administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh and in terms of the seats notified by the Union Government.

The bench of Justice D. Y. Chandrachud and Justice M. R. Shah said, “We would like to take this opportunity to underscore the importance of creating an enabling environment to make it possible for students such as the petitioners to pursue professional education. While the right to pursue higher (professional) education has not been spelt out as a fundamental right in Part III of the Constitution, it bears emphasis that access to professional education is not a governmental largesse. Instead, the State has an affirmative obligation to facilitate access to education, at all levels.”

Further the bench stated that this obligation assumes far greater importance for students whose background (by virtue of such characteristics as caste, class, gender, religion, disability and geographical region) imposes formidable obstacles on their path to accessing quality education.

The Supreme Court directed that the admission formalities be completed immediately and, in any event, within a week. It further asked the Union MHFW and the DHSL to appoint a nodal officer tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that students who are duly nominated under the central pool seats are in fact admitted in their chosen course of study.

We are issuing these general directions in order to obviate the possibility of each of the similarly placed students being required to move this court. 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, the bench said.

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