Lingaraja Rath, J.
1. These two appeals arise out of the common judgment in Writ Petition Nos. 12403 of 1987 and 5614 of 1988 dated 31st July, 1990 which relate to the same set of facts and hence are disposed of by this common judgment.
2. The question that falls for consideration in these appeals is whether a person who has been appointed to a job in a public sector undertaking on the basis of the being a scheduled tribe if is lateron found as not having that status because of subsequent decision of the High Court clarifying that die sect to which he belongs is not a scheduled tribe, his caste certificate can be cancelled, without notice to him, and his appointment which he has held for about 10 years can be terminated, though the appellant did not at any time made any misrepresentation of his status. A few facts necessary to consider the question raised are: on 22-11-1976 a certificate was issued by the Head Mistress of S.R.R. Prasad Multipurpose School, Nuzvid, describing the appellant as belonging to 'Manya Kapu' Community. Prior to that, on 6-1-1975, the Government had issued Memo No. 2451-F2/73-15 clarifying that 'Manya Kapu' is synonymous with 'Konda Kapu' and that Government of India had already been requested to incorporate 'Manya Kapu' in the list of Scheduled Tribes and that the Government of India had conveyed its acceptance to include the community as a synonym for 'Konda kapu' when the Bill in respect of that will be introduced in the Parliament. On 29-11-11976, the Tahsildar, Nuzvid issued the caste certificate in favour of the appellant as belonging to 'Manya Kapu' community which is recoginized as a Scheduled Tribe under the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1966, the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1956/ the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) part 'C Status Order, 1956. The appellant in pursuance of his application, where he described himself as 'Manya Kapu', was appointed on 7-5-1979 as Junior Engineer in the Respondent-Corporation in the vacancy reserved for scheduled tribes and was promoted thereafter on 25-3-1983 as Assistant Engineer in the reserved category. Prior to the issue of the memo by the Government on 6-1-1975 decision has been rendered by this Court in Writ Petition No. 5379 of 1973 on 6-2-1974 holding that 'Manya Kapu' is sub-section of 'Kondakapu' which is a Scheduled Tribe. While that judgment was holding the field another decision was rendered by this Court in Writ Appeal No. 864 of 1982 on 18-1-1983, which arose out of Writ Petition No. 5317 of 1982 which had followed the judgment in Writ Petition No. 5379 of 1973, holding 'Manya Kapu' as ineligible to be treated as a sub-section of 'Kondakapu' and that no evidence can be led for the purpose unless the community itself mentioned as scheduled tribe in the Scheduled Tribes Order. In reversing the decision in Writ Petition No. 5317of 1982, the Division Bench, in fact, over-ruled the earlier decision in Writ Petition No. 5379 of 1973 rendered on 6-2-1974 though that decision was not referred to by the Bench. Subsequently a letter was addressed by Respondent No. 1 in his letter Rc.No. 920/86-TRI-VC-6, dated 25th June, 1986 to Respondent No. 2 informing that 'Manya Kapu' is not a scheduled tribe as per the decision of the High Court by the Division Bench and the appointment of the appellant being invalid steps should be taken against him. A charge memo was issued by Respondent No. 2 on 6-6-1987 alleging that the appellant had produced false caste certificate on the basis of which he had been offered the job as a scheduled tribe and that he should show cause for having made a false declaration and had thereby contravened the conduct Rules. The appellant submitted his explanation on 1-8 1987 to have not given any false declaration and claiming that the certificate issued to him was genuine. On 22-8-1987 the appellant filed Writ Petition No. 12403 of 1987 questioning the letter issued by Respondent No. 1 on 25th June, 1986 and the charge memo issued to him on 6-6-1987. The Writ Petition was admitted on 26-8-1987 and interim order was passed staying further proceedings in the disciplinary action which was modified on 16-11-1987 to the effect that the enquiry may go on but no other action should be taken. Out of that writ petition Writ Appeal No. 1019 of 1990 arose. In the meantime, on 28-10-1987 notification was issued by the Revenue Divisional Officer (Respondent No. 3 in Writ Appeal No. 1054 of 1990) cancelling the caste certificate issued to the appellant by the Tahsildar in 1976 challenging which Writ Petition No. 5614 of 1988 was filed on 9-4-1988. Writ Appeal No. 1054 of 1990 relates to that Writ Petition. The learned single Judge in dismissing the writ petitions was of the view that the caste mentioned in the School Certificate of the appellant would have been naturally the result of the declaration made by the parents or guardian at the time of admission and at any rate the certificate had been issued on the erroneous impression that 'Manya Kapu' community comes under the Scheduled Tribes but as that community does not find place in the Presidential Order, the certificate must be treated as void ab initio. Reliance was placed......upon the decision of the Division Bench in Writ appeal since reported in Principal, Guntur Medical College v. Y. Panduranga Rao, 1983 (2) ALT 121 = AIR 1983 A.P. 339 to hold the earlier single Judge decision in Writ Petition No. 5379 of 1973 delivered on 6-2-1974 to have been overruled. It was held that no principle of estoppel arises in the case and that the certificate being a false one under which the appellant had enjoyed the benefits reserved for scheduled tribe candidates for several years, he has to lose his job.
3. Mr. Ramana Reddy, learned counsel appearing for the appellant has urged that the authorities as well as the learned single Judge had missed the essence of the case inasmuch as the appellant had never produced any false caste certificate and that he had always held himself out as belonging to 'Manya Kapu' community. He had never claimed himself as Schedule Tribe and that it is not his fault that he was recruited to the job as a scheduled tribe. It is his further submission that at the time the appellant was appointed there was the judgment of this Court declaring 'Manya Kapu' as scheduled tribe which held the field until the decision in Principal, Guntur Medical College v. Y. Panduranga Rao, 1983 (2) ALT 121 = AIR 1983 A.P. 339 came, and that the appointment of the appellant cannot be retrospectively invalidated.
4. Before the questions raised by Mr. Reddy are considered it must be made clear that, as was correctly held by earlier Division Bench in Principal, Guntur Medical College v. Y. Panduranga Rao, 1983 (2) ALT 121 = AIR 1983 A.P. 339. 'Manya Kapu' community could not be treated as a scheduled tribe by Law is fairly well settled that only the communities specified in the Presidential Order are entitled to be regarded as either Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe as the case may be and that no other community or group can be added to the list by adducing any evidence that it forms a sub-caste or sub-group of the community mentioned in the order. To that extent the finding of the learned single Judge is unassilable and indeed the authorities cannot be found-fault with to treat the appellant as not belonging to Scheduled Tribe.
5. But while that is so, the question which is streneously urged and calls for our serious consideration is, what is the consequence of the appellant being found as not being a Scheduled Tribe and whether any question of equities is involved in the case. Out of the issues, the problem which poses itself is, what is the right or disability of persons who run their affairs in accordance with the existing law as declared by a Court of Record competently but subsequently the judgment is reversed at later point of time. At the outset, it is to be made clear that so far as the caste certificates are concerned, a false certificate or wrong certificate, on the basis of which certain benefits are given, does not create estoppel in favour of the beneficiary of the certificate. On the first hand, there is no estoppel against the statute or a legal provision and on the second, benefits which have been received in the shape of appointment or admission or the like on the basis of the certificate cannot be said of having been conduct undertaken to the detriment of the person taking the benefit. Reservations made on the basis of enabling constitutional provisions to give a beneficial treatment to non-advanced groups in the society is a constitutional right in favour of those persons and it can hardly be said that a person who has got the benefit erroneously being described as a member of the privileged community can be allowed to plead estoppel to defeat the constitutional protection afforded to the protected groups. We are not required to elaborate upon the question in view of the decision in Lingadhari Koya v. The Union of India, and S.C. Railway v. B. Veera Raju,
which have gone into the question in detail, but even, though we hold so, yet we do not think so far as the appellant is concerned, that is the end of the question.
6. As has been seen, the appellant had never made any false representation with regard to his social status, About seventeen years have elapsed by now from the date of his first appointment. His appointment as well as promotion under the reserved category was the action of the departmental authorities who treated him as a member of scheduled tribe and appointed/promoted him as such. Their action was based upon the decision of this Court rendered on 6-2-1974 . Until the decision of the Division Bench on 18-1-1983 came, every body was under the impression that 'Manya Kapu' was a Scheduled Tribe. As noted, it was also acknowledged by the Government in its communication in Memo dated 6-1-1975 saying that it had written to the Government of India to include the community as Schedule Tribe and that the Government of India had conveyed its approval to the same and that it was taking steps to include in the next Bill before the Parliament. The appointing/promoting authorities have also been in knowledge of the Govt. memo.
7. A similar problem though not the same was considered by one of us (Lingaraja Rath J.,) in S. Venugopal Reddy v. Registrar of Co-operative Societies, 1996 (1) An.W.R.175 = 1996 (1) ALD 460 where certain persons had been promoted to the next higher cadre basing upon a relaxation issued by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies which was later on found by the High Court as invalid. Finding that the promotion of the respondents 4 and 5 in that case had been effected about ten years ago, it was observed:
"...But, at any rate, in view of the decision of this Court in W.P. No. 16367/87 on 7-7-1987, the promotions could not have been made if the judgment had been available at the time of the promotions. Any decision of any Court of law on the validity of any law is not effective from the date of its pronouncement as the decision is only an interpretation and exposition of the law as it existed at the time of its enactment. The relaxation made by the Registrar in the second Circular hence must be taken to have been incompetent right from the inception. But all the same, since the promotions were made and when made were thought of as being made legally in accordance with the relaxation, they are not ipso facto liable to be disturbed because of the interpretation and declaration of the law as was given out by the court in its decision on 7-7-1987.........." (Para 5).
8. In another case, Writ Petition No. 449 of 1991 decided on 23rd November, 1995, a learned Single Judge of this Court took the same view, where the writ petitioner had not cheated the department or had furnished any false information, that though he was occupying the post reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates from 1974 onwards, yet it would be unfair to revert him after a period of more than twenty years and that in the circumstances and interest of justice it would be proper that the petitioner should be continued in his present post without resorting to any reversion or reduction either in the status or seniority, but that in respect of the next promotion post, he should be considered only in the quota reserved General Candidates (O.C).
9. Basing upon these observations, it is the submission of Mr. Ramana Reddy that the appellant is not liable to be reverted or removed of his job since he never played any fraud upon the department though he cancedes that the appellant is not entitled to any further benefit in his service career as belonging to a Scheduled Tribe.
10. The question as to how the rights of the parties, which had accrued on the basis of the then existing state of law, which is subsequently reversed or modified, would be largely a question of equity so far as the exercise of jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is concerned. There cannot be a straight jacket formulae for dealing with all cases as facts of each case would warrant the particular approach to be adopted, keeping in view the equities of the situation. It is well settled that so far as the parties to any adjudication by court are concerned, their rights so determined by a final judgment are not liable to be interfered with because of the subsequent change of the law due to a fresh judgment delivered in another case. Similarly, when a state of affairs have come into existence over a number of years on the basis of the existing law, to allow it to be suddenly upset because of a changed position would almost certainly create hardship which in given situations may be unremediable. It is not to say that in no cases such rights should not be unsettled, as indeed it can be done where the justice of the situations so demands. Having given our anxious consideration to the facts of the case we feel, the interest of justice would be subserved if the same approach as was taken in S. Venugopal Reddy V. Registrar of Co-operative Societies (4 supra) and the unreported decision is adopted, viz., no action is taken against the appellant, making out a case of his having produced a false caste certificate, getting his appointment and promotion on the basis of such certificate, and he is allowed to retain the present post; but that caste certificate issued in his favour though has been cancelled without affording him opportunity to contest, yet would be treated as non est in the eye of law and no further benefit either to him or his offspring would be allowable on its basis in any field whatsoever and that the appellant and his offspring would not be treated as scheduled tribes for any purpose hereafter.
11. So far as Writ Appeal No. 1054 of 1990 is concerned we find the cancellation of the caste certificate to have not been properly done as no notice of the proceedings was given to the appellant. Though Mr. Reddy is justified in his submissions to question the proceedings of the Tahsildar dated 28th October, 1987 yet in view of our findings earlier we hold that the caste certificate issued in his favour on 29-11-1976 showing him as Scheduled Tribe was still born, (and) has to be treated as non est in the eye of law.
12. In the result, the appeals are allowed. The impugned judgment is set aside and orders are passed accordingly.