‘Birth records changes only on irrefutable proof’

Correction of date of birth records relating to government employees can be considered only on "irrefutable" evidence, SC ruled.

New Delhi: Correction of date of birth
records relating to government employees on the eve of their
"superannuation or fag end of the career" can be considered
only on "irrefutable" evidence, the Supreme Court has ruled.
"It needs to be emphasised that in matters involving
correction of date of birth of a government servant,
particularly on the eve of his superannuation or at the
fag-end of his career, the court or the tribunal has to be
circumspect, cautious and careful while issuing a direction
for correction of date of birth recorded in the service book
at the time of entry into any government service.

"Unless, the court or the tribunal is fully satisfied on
the basis of the irrefutable proof relating to his date of
birth and that such a claim is made in accordance with the
procedure prescribed or as per the consistent procedure
adopted by the department concerned, as the case may be, and a
real injustice has been caused to the person concerned, the
court or the tribunal should be loath to issue a direction for
correction of the service book," the apex court ruled.

A bench of justices D K Jain and A K Ganguly passed the
ruling while upholding an appeal filed by Madhya Pradesh
government challenging the state High Court`s direction to
change the date of birth certificate of a police constable 25
years after his recruitment.

The apex court`s ruling assumes significance in the wake
of the controversy surrounding Army Chief V K Singh`s claim
that his date of birth has been wrongly mentioned in the
official records.

Gen Singh had sought a change in his date of birth from
May 10, 1950, to May 10, 1951, but this was rejected by the
government.
While his matriculation certificate shows May 10,1951, as
his date of birth the UPSC application form filled for entry
into the Army has May 10, 1950, as the date of birth. With May
1950 being considered as his date of birth, Gen Singh will
have to retire in May next year when he will complete 62 years
of age.

In the instant case, the high court had ordered
correction of the date of birth records of a police constable
Premlal Shrivas as 30th June, 1945, in place of 1st June,
1942.

The constable had claimed the date of birth was wrongly
entered on the basis of the statement made by his maternal
uncle.

The high court passed the order despite the fact that
Shrivas sought correction of the records in 1965, 25 years
after joining the service. Aggrieved, the state had appealed
in the apex court.

Allowing the appeal, the apex court, citing its earlier
judgement, said a government servant makes a request for
correction of the recorded date of birth after a lapse of a
long time of his induction into the service, particularly
beyond the time fixed by his employer.

"He cannot claim, as a matter of right, the correction of
his date of birth even if he has good evidence to establish
that the recorded date of birth is clearly erroneous.

"No court or tribunal can come to the aid of those
who sleep over their rights. Be that as it may, in our
opinion, the delay of over two decades in applying for the
correction of date of birth is ex-facie fatal to the case of
the respondent, notwithstanding the fact that there was no
specific rule or order, framed or made, prescribing the period
within which such application could be filed," Justice Jain,
writing the judgement, said.

PTI

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