New Delhi: Passport authorities are legally obliged to have a citizen`s date of birth corrected in his or her passport if the same has been inadvertently mentioned wrong, a Delhi court has ruled.
Civil Judge Ashish Aggarwal gave the verdict while asking the Ministry of External Affairs (MoEF) and the passport office to rectify a citizen`s date of birth in his passport.
The order came on an appeal by Civil Lines resident Salar Ahmed, challenging imposition of a fine on him by passport authorities for seeking rectification of his date of birth in his new passport after the lapse of his old one.
The passport authorities had fined him saying he had furnished incorrect information in his application form.
"The plaintiff has a right to have his correct date of birth mentioned in the passport. Correspondingly, there is an obligation on the defendants (MoEF and regional passport officer) to state the correct date of birth of the applicant in his passport. Injunction may be issued to enforce this obligation," the court said.
Setting aside the fine, it also directed MoEF to mention the correct date of birth on the fresh passport.
Ahmed had applied for renewal of passport after his passport issued on December 16, 1999 expired. Furnishing CBSE and MCD certificate as proofs of his correct date of birth, he had also requested that his wrong date of birth, mentioned as February 11, 1988 in old passport be replaced with the correct one - April 11, 1988 in the new passport. Considering Ahmed`s plea that the earlier passport was issued when he was 11-year-old and mistake was made by the agent, the court said, "The previous passport was issued on December 16, 1999, when the plaintiff was only 11."
"He could not have understood the contents of the passport application. Nor could he have affirmed the correctness of the declarations made in the form. Therefore, the assertions made in the form cannot be stated to incorrect," the court said.
"It is the obligation of the Passport Authority to mention the correct date of birth notwithstanding such errors and particularly after the error has been discovered. To continue to mention a wrong date of birth in the passport despite knowing that it is incorrect tantamount to perpetuating the illegality," the court said.
It rejected the MoEF and regional passport officer`s argument that Ahmed had concealed material facts from them. "Mere mention of erroneous date of birth in the application made to the passport authority does not denote concealment of material facts.”
"Even if it is assumed, though not supported by material, that the plaintiff had deliberately mentioned the wrong date of birth in his application for issuance of first passport, that by itself is no ground to deny relief to the plaintiff," the court said.