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  • Interpretation
  • No.626
  • Date
  • 2007/06/08
  • Issue
    • Is it unconstitutional to deny color-blind people the opportunity to be enrolled in the Central Police Academy under the general regulation issued by said school in respect of student admission?
  • Holding
    •        Article 7 of the Constitution provides that all citizens of the Republic of China shall be equal before the law.  Article 159 thereof further provides that all citizens shall have an equal opportunity to receive education, which is intended to ensure that the people shall have a fair opportunity to receive education at various stages.  According to Point 7 (ii) and Point 8 (ii) of the Central Police University General Regulation in Respect of the 2002 Graduate School Admission Examinations for Master’s Programs, whether a person is color-blind will determine if he or she is eligible to enroll in said school.  The purposes of said provisions are to train professional police talents who are equipped with both theoretical knowledge and real-world techniques, and to attain effective use of educational resources, thus improving the quality of police administration and fostering the development of a rule-of-law nation.  As such, the purposes are no doubt important public interests.  In light of the wide range of police tasks, complexity of police work, and frequent transfer of posts, a police officer may be required to distinguish colors at any given moment.  Therefore, a legitimate reason indeed exists when a color-blind person is considered to be unsuitable for the police profession.  Given the above, the provisions of said General Regulation for student admission and the purposes thereof are substantially related and thus are not in conflict with Articles 7 and 159 of the Constitution.
  • Reasoning
    •        When a citizen, whose constitutional right was infringed upon and for whom remedies provided by law for such infringement had been exhausted, has questions on the constitutionality of the statute or regulation relied thereupon by the court of last resort in its final judgment, he or she may petition for interpretation of the Constitution.  The foregoing is expressly provided under Article 5-I (ii) of the Constitutional Interpretation Procedure Act.  It should be noted that the Central Police University (hereinafter “CPU”) General Regulation in Respect of the 2002 Graduate School Admission Examinations for Master’s Programs at issue is a general legal norm prescribed and announced by the CPU regarding its 2002 graduate school admission for master’s programs.  As such, it falls within the term “regulation” as defined in the aforesaid Article 5-I (ii) of the Constitutional Interpretation Procedure Act.
      
    •        University self-government is within the scope protected by the freedom of teaching under Article 11 of the Constitution.  Universities are entitled to the right of self-government in teaching, research and learning.  The scope of self-government covers not only such matters as internal organization, curriculum models, research topics, scholastic aptitude evaluations, examination rules, and graduation requirements (see J.Y. Interpretations Nos. 380, 450 and 563), but also qualifications for admission so that a university may thereby select its students, maintain its quality, improve its competitiveness, develop its characteristics, and realize its educational ideals.  Since a university has the right of self-government in regards to qualifications for admission, it may hence set forth relevant qualifications and requirements for admission by means of self-governing regulations to the extent that they are reasonable and necessary.  No violation of the principle of legal reservation as provided for under Article 23 of the Constitution should arise as a result.  The CPU is a university established by the Ministry of the Interior to achieve the dual purposes of studying advanced police academics and of training professional police recruits (see Article 8 the Organic Act of the Ministry of the Interior and Article 2 of the Organic Act of the Central Police University).  The said university is subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior and is in charge of the training and education of the police and thus is involved in the improvement of the nation’s police administration and the maintenance of social order and safety.  Although it may be different from ordinary universities due to the specialty of its organization and missions, the CPU may nonetheless have the right of self-government to a certain extent when it comes to such matters as the teaching, research and learning regarding the police academics, including the qualifications and requirements for admission, since its mission statement includes the “research and study of advanced police academics.”  Therefore, in respect of the qualifications and requirements for admission, the CPU set forth the Central Police University General Regulation in Respect of the 2002 Graduate School Admission Examinations for Master’s Programs at issue, which, in nature, is a university’s self-governing regulation.  Where it specifically provides that passing the physical examination is a condition for admission, no violation of the principle of legal reservation can be found since it does not go beyond the scope of self-government.  However, the CPU’s exercise of its right of self-government should be subject to the nature of its function.  For instance, it should not establish a department that has nothing to do with police administration.  Besides, it goes without saying that it should be subject to more state supervision than ordinary universities so as to make sure that it achieves functions mandated under the state’s policy.  Taking qualifications for admission as an example, if the law authorizes the Ministry of the Interior to formulate certain qualifications and criteria for the CPU’s graduate school admission for master’s programs based on the specific requirements of its police policies and hence the CPU can only set forth its general regulation for student admission and select its students based on such qualifications and criteria, or if it further requires that the general regulation for student admission prepared by the CPU be submitted to the Ministry of the Interior in advance, it is not unconstitutional despite the significant restriction of the CPU’s right of self-government with respect to student admission.
      
    •        The Central Police University General Regulation in Respect of the 2002 Graduate School Admission Examinations for Master’s Programs at issue is a self-governing regulation set forth by the CPU for the purpose of formulating its qualifications and requirements for admission.  Where it does not go beyond the scope of self-government, there is no violation of the principle of legal reservation.  Nonetheless, it is still subject to the fundamental rights provided for by the Constitution.  Point 7 (ii) of the General Regulation at issue provides, “2. Items for Second Examination: oral examination and physical examination…”  Point 8 (ii) thereof provides, “Others: The following tests must be passed; those who fail these tests will not be admitted…3. An examinee who has any of the following conditions shall be deemed to have failed the physical examination:…ability to distinguish colors – color blindness (provided that a person suffering from dyschromatopsia will not be admitted to the Graduate School for Criminology and the Graduate School for Forensic Science)…”  Under the aforesaid provisions, whether a person is color-blind will determine if he or she is eligible to enroll in said school, thus preventing a color-blind examinee from being able to attend the CPU for education.  Further review should be conducted to decide on its constitutionality since it is likely to infringe upon the individual’s right to education and right of equality.
      
    •        In respect of the people’s right to education, it may be further divided into the “right to receive a civil education” and the “right to receive education other than a civil education.”  The former right is expressly provided for under Article 21 of the Constitution, which is intended to enable the people to demand that the State provide civil education benefits and to obligate the State to so perform.  As for the people’s right to receive education other than a civil education, Article 22 of the Constitution also guarantees it (see J.Y. Interpretation No. 382).  Nevertheless, in light of the limited educational resources, it is the student’s right to ensure that the State does not arbitrarily restrict or deprive him or her of the right to receive education at school that is guaranteed, but not the right to demand the grant of admission to school or provision of any particular education benefits.  Therefore, if a school other than a civil-education school sets forth specific admission qualifications to preclude unqualified examinees from admission (e.g., the CPU’s general regulation for admission’s preclusion of a color-blind examinee from being admitted to said university), it does not necessarily infringe upon such examinees’ constitutionally guaranteed right to education.  Except where any relevant qualification or requirement for admission violates Article 7 of the Constitution, which provides that all citizens of the Republic of China shall be equal before the law, and Article 159 thereof, which provides that all citizens shall have an equal opportunity to receive education, thus unjustifiably restricting or depriving the people of a fair opportunity to receive education, there is no conflict with the Constitution.
      
    •        As for the issue of whether the discriminatory standards for classification based on color blindness as provided for in the General Regulation in question infringes upon the fair opportunity of all people to receive education and hence violates the principle of equal protection by precluding color-blind examinees from being admitted to the school, said General Regulation should be subject to strict scrutiny because color blindness is a biological defect beyond human control, the discrimination concerns the constitutionally guaranteed equal opportunity to receive education, and education plays a profound role in an individual’s choice of jobs, career planning and sound development of personality, and is even closely related to a person’s social status and the distribution of the State’s resources.  Therefore, in order to judge whether the General Regulation at issue is contrary to the principle of equal protection, one should determine whether the purposes to be achieved are important public interests, and whether the standards for classification and discriminatory treatment are substantially related to such purposes.
      
    •        Since the CPU is charged with the dual missions of studying advanced police academics and training professional police recruits, all of its students are expected to join the police force after graduation to devote themselves to the maintenance of the social order and peace of the State, and to combine theoretical knowledge and real-world techniques in carrying out police tasks.  If a student is enrolled in a police education program but is not able to perform the real-life job of a police officer and the maintenance of social order and peace, the purposes of the CPU’s establishment will simply be defeated.  In order to achieve said purposes and effectively use the educational resources, freedom from color blindness is a condition for admission, thus precluding those who are not suitable for the position of police officer.  Since the said purposes, if achieved, would be conducive to the improvement of the quality of police administration, and would help maintain or improve social order and peace, human rights protection, the police image and the prestige of law enforcement, thus furthering the development of a rule-of-law nation, they are certainly important public interests.  In light of the wide range of police tasks, complexity of police work, and frequent transfer of posts, a police officer may be required to distinguish colors at any given moment.  Therefore, a legitimate reason indeed exists when a color-blind person is considered to be unsuitable for the police profession.  Given the above, the provisions of said General Regulation for student admission, in precluding color-blind people from admission and concentrating limited educational resources on training and cultivating those students who are suitable for the police profession, are substantially related to the purposes to be achieved.  Under the current system, the CPU’s graduates still have to take the specific examination for the police profession and will qualify as police officers only after passing said examination.  Besides, the CPU’s students do not have any public fund appropriated for their tuition, nor are they required to perform the police functions upon their graduation.  As such, the CPU neither guarantees any graduate a police job nor compels any graduate to perform such job after their graduation.  Despite the above, the CPU may still pursue the purposes of fulfilling its missions and effectively using the educational resources as long as it falls within its decision-making power.  In addition, the means of precluding color-blind people from admission indeed is conducive to the achievement of the aforesaid purposes.  Given the above, the provisions of said General Regulation for student admission and the purposes thereof are substantially related and thus are not in conflict with Articles 7 and 159 of the Constitution.
      
    • *Translated by Vincent C. Kuan.
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