1. The petitioner herein had sought employment with the respondent-Bank as a Clerk Grade II/Coin/Note/Examiner by his application dated 22nd December, 1978 in response to the advertisement given by the respondent-Bank in December, 1978. The petitioner was asked to appear for a written examination in June, 1979 and was given personal interview in November, 1979. The petitioner was directed to appear for his medical examination in August, 1981 and again in December 1981. Initially there were some doubts about the physical fitness of the petitioner, but subsequently all the doubts were removed and was medically cleared for employment in the aforesaid service. The respondent Bank had prepared a select list in which the name of the petitioner appeared and he was among those who were to be sent for training at Bombay beginning from 7th February, 1983.
2. On 2nd February, 1983 the petitioner went personally to the respondent-Bank where the petitioner is said to have behaved in an undignified manner. The petitioner was asked to fill in the application form for appointment which he did not do. It is the case of the respondent-Bank that the petitioner took away the application form with him instead to filling it and submitting it to the Bank authorities. It is undisputed that the petitioner did not complete the form and submit it to the Bank prior to the date on which the batch selected for training was to be sent to Bombay. The petitioner states that he completed the application form and sent it by registered post on 19th February, 1983. On the 2nd February, 1983 the unfortunate incident that occurred on the Bank premises led to certain results which are the subject matter of this petition. The petitioner was asked to deposit a sum of Rs. 500/- at Navrangpura Post Office. The petitioner contends that when the went to Navrangpura Post Office on 3rd February, 1983 and offered the deposit amount of Rs. 500/- the Officer concerned told him that there were instruction from the respondent-Bank not to accept his deposit amount. The petitioner contends that he went to the office of the respondent-Bank where the concerned officer refused to entertain his complaint. Hence the petitioner filed the present petition on 3rd February, 1983. The petitioner claims that he is entitled to be sent for training and given the appointment. He also claims damages by way of compensation for the loss of wages which he would have earned if he had been sent for training and had been appointed as a Clerk.
3. The petitioner has mainly contended that the respondent-Bank is bound by a promissory estoppel in as much as the petitioner was selected for appointment and was to be sent for training and that he had been asked to go through the pre-recruitment formalities such as medical examination, filling in necessary forms, making deposit etc. His second contention is that as other persons who were junior to him in the select list have been sent for training while he is not sent which is, according to him, violative of Art. 16 of the Constitution of India.
4. Mr. S. B. Vakil, the learned Counsel for the respondent-Bank has urged that the doctrine of promissory estoppel is not applicable to the facts and circumstances of this case for several reasons. His preliminary contention is that the challenge on the ground of promissory estoppel is not taken in the petition but has been brought in subsequently in the affidavit-in-rejoinder. Mr. Vakil has also contended that there is no clear and unequivocal promise to appoint the petitioner in the post he seeks. According to him, the petitioner was merely an applicant who was being considered for induction course which would have resulted into his appointment. Mr. Vakil has also contended that the petitioner had not complied with all the pre-recruitment formalities. According to him, the petitioner had not filed in the application form duly signed and submitted to the appropriate authority. Hence in the absence of his application he could not have been sent for training. Mr. Vakil has also raised the point that there is no equity in favour of the petitioner.
5. As regards the contention of the petitioner that the respondent-Bank is bound by the promissory estoppel it has to be rejected because there is no clear and unequivocal promise which can be said to be binding on the respondent The pre-recruitment formalities such as medical examination, direction to deposit some money as security, does not amount to a promise to appoint a candidate. In this case the material circumstance is that the application form which the petitioner had to fill in, sign and submit to the proper authority was not done. Although there is some dispute with regard to when the application form was given or sent to the petitioner, when he received the same and whether he took it away from the Bank premises on 2nd February, 1983 it is admitted by both the sides that the petitioner did not send the application form duly filled in and signed before this petition was filed. Even the petitioner himself admits that he had sent it by registered post on 19th February, 1983. Therefore, there was no application before the respondent-Bank till it was received by the Bank sometime after 19th February, 1983. The principles governing the doctrine of promissory estoppel are quite clear. Mere expectancy of being taken an service or the pre-recruitment formalities being gone through does not necessarily create a promise which the employer would be estopped from ignoring or refusing to act upon. It is true that in public service a candidate who is otherwise fit, able and appropriate person for appointment cannot be ignored on any extraneous consideration, but at the same time every applicant or every person who is being considered for appointment cannot claim that he or she is, as a matter of right, entitled to be appointed on the post for which he or she is a candidate just because he or she has gone through some pre-recruitment formalities. It is upto the employer to keep the question of suitability of the would-be employee open upto the last moment before the appointment. A candidate may be dropped from being considered for being appointed on the ground of unsuitability at any stage before appointment.
6. In this case it is on record that there were 17 posts of Grade II Clerks for which a batch of 20 applicants was to be sent for training which means that all those who were sent for training would not be appointed for the respective posts as a matter of right. It may be that the employer may want to select suitable candidate from among a larger number of persons who may be otherwise eligible and duly qualified. It is an admitted position that all the pre-recruitment formalities were not completed by the present petitioner in as much as the application form was not filled in nor signed and was not submitted by the petitioner in time and hence he was not included in the batch which was to proceed for training on 7th February, 1983. When the petitioner's application was received by the respondent-Bank after 19th February, 1983, a reply was sent to him stating that as the matter was subjudice before this Court no action could be taken on that application which means that the application of the petitioner is still pending before the respondent-Bank and will probably be considered on merits after the present petition is disposed of. This reply of the respondent-Bank also suggests that the petitioner has not been rejected from being considered for the post he aspires to. In that respect, perhaps the present petition can be regarded as pre-mature, but in any case, it is not possible to grant the petitioner the relief which he is claiming namely to direct the respondent-Bank to send the petitioner for training or to award him compensation by way of damages. The question of damages does not arise because, the petition fails on the first point namely that the petitioner is entitled to be appointed as a matter of right.
7. Although it is open to the employer to consider the question of suitability of the candidate even till the last moment before the appointment the respondent-Bank being a public body directly under the Government control, it is expected that the authority concerned will be fair and just while dealing with the petitioner's application and that they will not allow themselves to be influenced by some trivial events that may have happened wherein the petitioner may have appeared to be somewhat uncivil. It is hoped that the petitioner's aforesaid application will be considered strictly on merits and disposed of fairly. In the result, the petition fails and is rejected. In the circumstances of the case, there shall be no order as to costs. Rule discharged.
8. Petition dismissed.