M.L. Jain, J.
(1) The petitioner C.D. Sharma was appointed Headmaster on 16-7-1958 in the Bharti Middle School, Shakti Nagar, Delhi. The petitioner was allowed to be confirmed and to contribute to Provident Fund with effect from 17-7-1959 by the Municipal Corporation, Delhi. This was done under orders of the Corporation dated 25-6-1963. The said School was then taken over by the Corporation w.e.f. 26-11-1963. Later on, with effect from 1-7-1970 the said School was eventually taken over by the Delhi Administration. On 11-1-1971. a draft seniority list of the Headmasters working in the Government Middle Schools taken over from the Corporation was published by the Delhi Administration. In that list. the name of the petitioner was shown at Sr. No. 11, and his date of appointment as Headmaster was shown as 16-7-1958. After consideration of objections, a seniority list was also circulated on 11-8-1972. In that list also the position of the petitioner remained at Sr. No. 11. In March, 1973 the Administration decided to give selection grade to about 50 Headmasters and in that connection a seniority list was again published and objections invited. In that too, the petitioner was shown at Sr. No. 11.
(2) However, in April, 1973, a tentative revised seniority list of special cadre teachers prepared by the Corporation was circulated. It consisted of only 50 persons but in that list, the name of the petitioner did not appear. On 18-9-1973, another revised tentative seniority list of Headmasters received from the Corporation was circulated. In this list, the name of the petitioner was shown at Sr. No. 113 and his appointment date was shown as 25-7-1963. It was stated that any objections to the said list may be sent to the Corporation. The petitioner represented. On 13-2-1974 the Education Officer of the Corporation informed the petitioner that by virtue of the take over resolution of the Corporation dated 31-10-1963, seniority could be given only from the date the School was taken over,
(3) On 2-5-1974, the petitioner filed the present petition praying that the said resolution and the seniority list be quashed. It appears that later on a final seniority list was published by the Delhi Administration on 29-5-1974. That list is of 50 teachers and does not contain the name of the petitioner.
(4) I have seen the counter affidavits of the Corporation and the Administration and heard the arguments.
(5) The terms and conditions of transfer of the Schools of Delhi Municipal Corporation to the Delhi Administration provide that the seniority of the employees of the special cadre, that is the former employees of the Delhi Municipal Corporation as fixed in the Corporation before their absorption in the Delhi Administration, would not be disturbed. If no such seniority list is in existence, such a list will be drawn up in accordance with the Rules for the determination of seniority prevalent in the Corporation immediately before absorption. Employees of the special cadre who were confirmed prior to their absorption in the Administration shall be deemed to have been confirmed. It appears from the aforesaid resume that there was no seniority list maintained earlier by the Corporation and it was only in 1973 that they prepared the one in question and which was adopted by the Delhi Administration.
(6) The Corporation had issued a circular on 7-8-1959 providing for the direction to fix seniority of the Corporation employees. It provides that inter se seniority of members of a grade shall ordinarily be fixed in accordance with the length of their service in that grade unless specifically ordered otherwise in any particular case by the competent authority. 'Grade' was defined to mean a post or group of posts created for the work of similar nature or responsibility in a dapartment or office, and length of service in a grade was defined to mean continuous service in that grade. A member of a grade had been defined broadly to mean an employee of the Corporation. Now, it cannot be said that before his absorption the petitioner was a member of the Corporation, He became a member of the Corporation upon take over of the School and if one were to apply these rules, then the petitioner cannot claim seniority earlier than 26-11-1963. As a matter of fact, when the school was taken over the Municipal Commissioner had proposed that the seniority shall be counted not from the date of the entry into service of the school, but from the date of take over. That recommendation of the Commissioner was accepted by the Corporation as such. No doubt the petitioner was confirmed in 1959, and yet by virtus of the resolution of the Corporation, seniority could not be given from a back date.
(7) Mr. Gupta, the learned counsel for the petitioner, finding that it was not possible to support the contention of the petitioner in face of the conditions of take over and rules of seniority in the Corporation and Delhi Administration, challenged the said resolution on the ground of discrimination. He invited my attention to the take over of the Salwan School by the New Delhi Municipal Committee with effect from 1-5-1956. On the fonnation of the Municipal Corporation, the services of the staff of the above school were transferred to the Corporation. It was pointed out that the Commissioner in all other cases in which services of the teachers of a recognised school were taken over by the Corporation, seniority has been counted from the date of taking over of the School and yet the Corporation by its resolution 854 on 8-1-1973 passed decided that the seniority of the teachers of the Salwan School transferred from N.D.M.C to Mcd be counted from the date of their original appointment in Salwan School. thereforee, no discrimination can be allowed in case of the petitioner. The contention of the respondent is that the Salwan School was a primary school under the jurisdiction of the Corporation. Moreover, each school has to be governed by the terms and conditions of take over. The services of the staff of the Bharti school were protected only for purposes of pay, but not in respect of seniority. If the allegation of the petitioner were to be accepted, it would lead to disastrous results because it will unsettle the seniority of the existing members of the staff. It was apparent from the note of the Commissioner dated 16-2-1972 that different treatment could not be given to the teachers of the Salwan School. The Corporation over ruled him. But since the Corporation has made this discriminatory decision in favor of one school, the Delhi Administration cannot be asked to treat the petitioner in a manner different from a host of other teachers similarly situated. The teachers of taken over schools were put in a special classification based upon a rational and intelligible different in having nexus with the object that is not to allow the earlier employees to suffer in seniority on account of new incumbent. The respondents could have given the benefit if it was agree upon, but it would not amount to hostile discrimination, if not so done. The decision of the Corporation with respect to the seniority of the petitioner's school was taken as far back as 1963 and it could not be quashed after a lapse of ten years. It is not possible to hold that the petitioner had no knowledge of the resolution. I do not think that such decisions require to be published to individual teachers. Moreover. Article 14 of the Constitution does not require authorities to act arbitrarily in all cases if they have done so in one case : T. Venkatsubbiah Setty V. Commissioner, Corporation of the City of Bangalore and Others, Air 1968 Mys. 251. A denial of illegal favor is not discrimination : The Chief Commissioner and others v. Mrs. Kitty Puri and another, : AIR1973Delhi148 .
(8) Mr. Gupta next contended that the petitioner had all along been shown senior with effect from the date of his appointment in the Bharti School and the Corporation and the Delhi Administration are bound by the promissory estoppel and at any rate they could not change his seniority without giving him an opportunity of being heard. Firstly, I have my own reservations about the judicial enactment of the doctrine of promissory estoppel in a country where legislation on contract and evidence holds the field. The rigour of the principle was to some extent mitigated in M/s. Jit Ram Shiv Kumar and others v. The State of Haryana and another, : 3SCR689 . However, here there is no clear and unequivocal promise held out express or implied by the Corporation or the Administration to the petitioner that his seniority shall be or has ever been counted from the date he is claiming. No such legal relationship was created as it would be inequitable to permit the respondents to go back upon it : M/s Motilal Padampal Sugar Mills Co. Ltd. v. The State of Uttar Pradesh and others, : 118ITR326(SC) . Mr. Gupta cited Miss Singeeta Srivastava v. Prof U.N. Singh and others, : AIR1980Delhi27 , and K. Jagannadham v. District Collector, Kurnool and another, : AIR1966AP59 to support the argument that equitable estoppel operated against the respondents. Equitable estoppel means the effect of voluntary conduct of a party whereby he is precluded from asserting right against another who has justifiably relied upon such conduct and changed his position so that he will suffer injury if the former is allowed to repudicate the conduct. The seniority was not at any time given to the petitioner from any back date though his past services were allowed to be counted for all other purposes. How has the petitioner changed his position for worse on the basis of any such understanding, if any What is the right that the respondents seek to assert To determine seniority according to the resolution of take over and various other conditions attached to it. Tentative or draft seniority lists cannot be construed as an estoppel. Final seniority has been fixed for the first time in 1974 and the petitioner has had enough chances to put up his representations which he did and that satisfies the requirements of natural justice, if any : See Gulab Chand v. State of Rajasthan, 1979 (1) Slr 802.
(9) Consequently, I find no merit in this petition and it is hereby dismissed. No costs.