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Report No. 108

2.13. N. Rarmanatha v. State of Kerala.-

The appellant was appointed as Vigilance Commissioner which was a temporary post. There was an agreement between the parties that the appellant's term was to be for 5 years from Oct, 3, 1968, or till he attained 60 years, whichever was earlier. The post was abolished in Feb. 1970. One of the contentions raised by the appellant was that the respondent was precluded from altering the terms of the agreement by promissory estoppel. Rejecting the contention, the Court held1 that appellant knew the post was temporary and that the courts exclude the operation of doctrine of estoppel, when it is found that the authority against whom estoppel is pleaded has owed a duty to the public against whom the estoppel cannot fairly operate, and relied on the following passage:2

"As a general rule the doctrine of estoppel will not be applied against the State in its governmental, public or sovereign capacity. An exception however arises where it is necessary to prevent fraud or manifest injustice."

1. AIR 1973 SC 2641 (2649).

2. American jruisprudence, 2nd, p. para. 123.

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