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The Gujarat University, ... vs Krishna Ranganath Mudholkar And ... on 21 February, 1962
Showing the contexts in which doctrine of pith and substance appears in the document
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The State has the power to prescribe ;he syllabi and courses of study in the institutions named in Entry 66 (but not falling within entries 63 to 65) and as an incident thereof it has the power to indicate the medium in which instruction should be imparted. But the Union Parliament has an overriding legislative power to ensure that the syllabi and courses of study prescribed and the medium selected do not impair standards of education or render the co-ordination of such standards either on an All India or other basis impossible or even difficult. Thus, though the powers of the Union and of the State are in the Exclusive Lists, a degree of overlapping is inevitable. It is not possible to lay down any general test which would afford a solution for every question which might arise on this head. On the' one hand, it is certainly within the province of the State Legislature to prescribe syllabi and courses of study and, of course, to indicate the medium or media of instruction. On the other hand, it is also within the power of the Union to legislate in respect of media of instruction so as to ensure co-ordination and determination of standards, that is to ensure maintenance or improvement of standards. The fact that the Union has not legislated, or refrained from legislating to the full extent of its powers does not invest the State with the power to legislate in respect of a matter assigned by the Constitution to the Union. It does not, however, follow that even within the permitted relative fields there might not be legislative provisions in enactments made each in pursuance of separate exclusive and distinct powers which may conflict. Then would arise the question of repugnancy and paramountcy which may have to be resolved on the application of the "doctrine of pith and substance" of the impugned enactment. The validity of the State legislation on University education and as regards the education in technical and scientific institutions not falling within Entry 64 of List I would have to be judged having regard to whether it impinges on the field reserved for the Union under Entry 66. In other words, the validity of State legislation would depend upon whether it prejudicially affects co-ordination and determination of standards, but not upon the existence of some definite Union legislation directed to achieve that purpose. If there be Union legislation in respect of co-ordination and determination of standards, that would have paramountcy over the State law by virtue of the first part of Art. 254(1) ; even if that power be not exercised by the Union Parliament the relevant legislative entries being in the exclusive lists, a State law trenching upon the Union field would still be invalid. Counsel for the University submitted that the power conferred by item No. 66 of List I is merely a power to co- ordinate and to determine standards i. e. it is a power merely to evaluate and fix standards of education, because, the expression "co-ordination" merely means evaluation, and "determination" means fixation. Parliament has therefore power to legislate only for the purpose of evaluation and fixation of standards in institutions referred to in item