M.L. Pendse, J.
1. The dispute involved in this petition lies in a very narrow compass and the petitioner Railway, servant has died during the pendency of the petition, but his legal representatives are prosecuting the petition as they would be entitled to a small monetary advantage in case the petition succeeds.
2. The original petitioner was appointed in the Western Railway as a Ticket Collector in the year 1951. The petitioner belongs to caste Varma (Mina) and the said caste was recognised as a Scheduled Tribe by the Government of India in the year 1956. The petitioner, at the time of his initial appointment, was selected from the general quota. Till the year 1957 the reservation to the Scheduled Tribes was not open in respect of promotion from the post of Ticket Collector to Head Ticket Collector and Chief Ticket Inspector. In 1957, the Government of India took a decision to reserve posts for the Scheduled Tribes in respect of promotion also. The decision of the Government was communicated to the Western Railway in the year 1959 with the rider that the promotion should be made effective from the year 1957.
3. In the year 1960, a Selection Committee was constituted for filling up that post reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the cadre of Head Ticket Collector. On October 7, 1960, the Western Railway invited applications for the post which was a permanent post and on October 15, 1960 the petitioner applied for the post and was selected in the year 1961. The petitioner claimed that he is entitled to claim his selection from January 4, 1957 when the post of the Head Ticket Collector reserved for Scheduled Tribe became vacant. The claim made by the petitioner was kept pending for more than 18 years and it was only on May 6, 1978 the petitioner was informed that his claim was correct and he is entitled to get the benefit of the selection scale from the year 1957.
4. The petitioner thereafter received a notice from the Head Quarters Office, Churchgate of Western Railway to show cause as to why the earlier order dated May 6,1978 should not be revoked and the petitioner should deemed to be eligible for the post meant for Scheduled Tribe in the selection held on September 5, 1963. After the interview granted by the General Manager, the petitioner was informed by the letter dated November 30,1978 that he would be eligible for the post from September 3, 1953 and not from January 4,1957. Copy of that letter is annexed as Exh. E to the petition, and the petitioner challenges the validity of the same.
5. Shri Masand, the learned Counsel appearing in support of the petition, very rightly submitted that the action of the Western Railway in coming to the conclusion that the petitioner was eligible for the appointment only on September 5,1963 is incorrect. In answer to the petition, Shri Sethna, appearing for the Western Railway, submits that the petitioner had not disclosed that he belongs to Scheduled Tribe till October, 15,1960 and, therefore, he was not entitled to the reserve point for the year 1957 to 1959. It is the claim of Shri Sethna that the post of Scheduled Tribe was not filled in the selection for the year 1957 to 1959. It is true that in the selection for the year 1957 to 1959 the point reserved for Scheduled Tribe was not filled, but in the year 1959 the Railway took a decision to carry forward the posts reserved for the Scheduled Tribe. The next selection was held only in October 1960 and the petitioner applied for the same and was selected. As the post reserved for Scheduled Tribe was carried forward for the year 1957 onwards, the petitioner is entitled to claim that he was eligible for the point from January 4,1957 itself. In my judgment, it was not proper for the Railway Administration, in the first instance, to inform the petitioner only on May 6,1978 that he was eligible for selection from the year 1957, and secondly, it was improper to cancel that order by letter dated November 30,1978. The letter dated November 30,1978 requires to be quashed.
6. Accordingly, the petition succeeds and it is declared that the petitioner was eligible for the point meant for the Scheduled Tribe from January 4,1957. As the petitioner has died during the pendency of the petition, the legal representatives of the petitioner would be entitled to the consequential reliefs, which is the monetary benefit, and the Railway Administration shall give that benefit within a period of three months from today.
In the circumstances of the case, there will be no order as to costs.