Supreme Court in Central Airmen Selection Board vs. Surender Kumar Das (Civil Appeal No. 251 of 1994, decided on 21.11.2002) and reported as (2003) 1 SCC 152), dealt with the issue of applicability of promissory estoppel. It is well known that the principle of promissory estoppel is based on equitable principles. A person who has himself misled the authority by making a fake statement, cannot invoke this principle, if his misrepresentation misled the authority into taking a decision which on discovery of the misrepresentation is sought to be cancelled.
In the instant matter the High Court had proceeded on the basis that the Petitioner had not made any misrepresentation in his application to the effect that he had passed the Intermediate examination. Finding of the High Court was held to be erroneous and contrary to record. In this matter, the applicant had claimed that he had passed the Secondary examination as well as the Higher Secondary +2 examination, and it was clear from the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the Appellants that his candidature was considered on the basis that he had passed the Higher Secondary +2 examination, as in that case he was entitled to claim relaxation in the matter of age. However, the mark sheet annexed to the application disclosed that the Respondent had failed in the subject Chemistry and therefore, his claim in the application, that he had passed the Higher Secondary +2 examination, was factually incorrect and a clear misrepresentation. In such circumstances he could not be permitted to invoke the principle of promissory estoppel, and the High Court was incorrect in law to invoke the said principle in the facts of this case.
It was observed based on submissions that even in the absence of any misrepresentation, in a case of such nature where a candidate not eligible for appointment is selected by mistake contrary to the terms of the advertisement and the rules, when such mistake is detected the authorities are bound to correct the mistake and recall the order of selection. The principle of promissory estoppel cannot be invoked in such cases.