SC ticks off judge for changing birth date 20 years later

Last Updated: Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 21:48

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday ticked
off an Additional Sessions Judge of Punjab for seeking a
change of his date of birth records 20 years after joining the
judicial service.

The apex court quashed the Punjab and Haryana High Court
judgement, which had upheld the judge`s plea, and said it was
refraining from imposing any penalty on the judge keeping in
view the fact that he had already retired in 2003.
A vacation bench of the apex court comprising Justices G
S Singhvi and C K Prasad wondered whether Additional Sessions
Judge(since retd) Megh Raj Garg was so ignorant that being a
judge he was not even aware of his own age!

The bench said Garg, being a judge and dealing with the
cases of the general public, ought to know his own date of
birth at the time of joining the service.

"You are a judge dealing with the public. Don`t you know
you own date of birth?" You want to change your date of birth
after 20 years?" the bench snapped at Garg`s counsel.

Interestingly, though the Punjab and Haryana High Court
had ruled in the judge`s favour, the administrative wing of
the high court chose to appeal in the Supreme Court against
its own judgement through counsel Ajay Pal.

The service conditions of the judicial officers in the
state are governed by the respective high courts.
Garg joined the Punjab judicial services in 1973 as a sub
judge-cum-judicial magistrate, II class and indicated his date
of birth as March 27, 1936. In fact, twice prior to joining
the services when he vied for the post, he had indicated the
same date.

However, in 1983, he made a representation to government
for changing his date of birth to March 27, 1938, which was
rejected by the authorities as a rectification is permissible
only within two years of joining the service.

In 1993, Garg filed a civil suit challenging the
rejection. By concurrent findings, the Senior Sub Judge,
Chandigarh, the Additional District Judge and thereafter the
Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the authorities to
effect the change of date as sought by the judge.

Quashing the judgements of the three courts, the apex
court noted that Garg had thrice applied for the post and on
all occasions had mentioned the date of birth as March 27,
1936.

"We would have saddled the respondent with costs
(penalty) but since he has retired from services, we are
refraining from doing so," Justice Singhvi said in his order.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 21:48

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