G.M. Lodha, J.
1. Rajeshwar Nath, a low paid employee of the Railway was appointed in the Western Railway, Electrical Department, since January 1, 1960. Though there is some controversy about the exact period of his service, because, whereas the employee says that he has been continuously working since then, the case of the Railway is that he was a casual labour w.e.f. August 20, 1962, and then since August 17, 1968, he has been working against temporary sanction, having obtained temporary status on February 17, 1969. The basic fact is not in dispute that he is working at least since August 20, 1962 as per the admission of the Railway and till June 3, 1977 when his services were terminated.
2. The termination of the petitioner came in a very unusual way by Annexure-1 which is a notice of retrenchment as per its main caption, 'Chhatni-Ka Notice' Annexure 1 is as under: (In Hindi) Though, it uses 25-H of the Industrial Disputes Act, it is obvious that retrenchment is done under 25-F of the Act, and therefore, the petitioner was sought to be retrenched under 25-F of the Industrial Disputes Act. The reason given for the alleged retrenchment is that on August 20, 1962, when he was appointed, he was more than 25 years of age because his date of birth is August 17, 1936.
3. The Railway's contention is that Class-IV employees in Railway can be appointed only upto the age of 25 years and since the petitioner was 25 years and 2 months on th date of his appointment, his appointment was illegal.
4. Undoubtedly, from 1962 to 1977 more than one and a half decade has passed. The petitioner who is a verv low paid employees is now sought to be thrown out from the employment on a very hyper technical ground, that now it has been discovered that his age was little more than the maximum eligible age for appointment. This cannot be allowed to be done. In Shiv Dass Khajuria v. State of Jammu and Kashmir: AIR 1959 Jammu and Kashmir 13, in a similar situation the Court observed as under:
The contention that the petitioner misrepresented his age to the Department at the time of his appointment and the appointment was, therefore itself ultra vires cannot be entertained in Writ proceedings against the order of dismissal of the petitioner for the simple reason that it was the duty of the department to satisfy itself about the competency of the candidate before his appointment. After the department had chosen to appoint the petitioner he would certainly be clothed with all the rights and safeguards that the Constitution provides and these rights cannot be taken away merely by the fact that there was some misrepresentation at the time of appointment. These matters are absolutely extraneous and irrelevant for the purposes of the case.' In the case, the petitioner was appointed on March 10, 1955 and he was discharged from service on August 27, 1957, just after about 2 years of his appointment. In the instant case, as I have mentioned above, 15 long years have rolled in, and the petitioner must have built up all his future plans of his life and career on the basis of this ensured employment in Railway. If the Railway had not been vigilant at the time of appointment, to ensure eligibility, it is not open to them at least in the facts and circumstances of the present case, after a period of 15 years, to throw a railway employee out of employment in this casual manner. Whether the doctrine of promissory estoppel applies or not, the speaking facts of this case leave no doubt that the railway cannot be allowed to take advantage of its own negligence or any inaction or indefference at the time of employment to the detriment of a small, low paid employee like the petitioner.
5. Even otherwise the notice Annexure-1 would have been liable to be quashed on the ground that the reason given in it cannot be a legitimate reason for retrenchment under Section 25F of the Industrial Disputes Act. In reply, the Railway has stated that 25-H Industrial Disputes Act has been used wrongly and even the form of the order is mistaken or has been used by mistake. Be that as it may, but for all these mistakes it is not the petitioner, who is required to suffer.
6. Under the above facts and circumstances, I am convinced that the order Annexure-1 is liable to be quashed. The writ petition is therefore, accepted. The respondents are directed to re-instate the petitioner as of order Annexure 1 dated May 2, 77 was never passed and also pay him all the emoluments which he was entitled to under the Rules. The petitioner would also get the costs from the respondents.