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Daya Ram Gope vs Central Coalfield Ltd. And Ors. on 7 July, 2001

Jharkhand High Court
Daya Ram Gope vs Central Coalfield Ltd. And Ors. on 7 July, 2001
Author: S Mukhopadhaya
Bench: S Mukhopadhaya, L Uraon


JUDGMENT

S.J. Mukhopadhaya, J.

1. The case relates to date of birth of appellant. He was in the services of Central Coalfields Ltd. (C.C.L. for short), as Mining Sirdar in its Urimari Project, Hazaribagh. The Project Officer, Urimari Project, vide letter No. 1935 dated 21st September, 1996 informed the appellant that his date of birth as recorded in service sheet being 17th March, 1937 he will retire w.e.f. 17th March, 1997.

2. The appellant being not satisfied filed writ petition being CWJC No. 4235 of 1997(R) and claimed his date of birth as 15th June, 1942. The learned single Judge on hearing the parties and on perusal of record by impugned judgment and order dated 24th October, 1997 held that there being disputed question of date of birth, the correctness and genuinity of the certificate filed by the petitioner having challenged, it was not possible for him to accept the version of any one of the parties without entering into the evidence minutely and opined that the question raised cannot be determined under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The appellant-writ petitioner was allowed to avail appropriated remedy approaching the civil Court of competent jurisdiction. With the aforesaid observations, the writ petition having dismissed, the present appeal has been preferred against the judgment of the learned single Judge.

3. The counsel for the respondents C.C.L. raised objection that the appellant-writ petitioner should not have raised the disputed question of date of birth at the fag end of service career.

4. In this context, the counsel for the appellant placed reliance on an Instruction No. 76 of National Coal Wage Agreement (NCWA for short), wherein certain stipulation made to determine the age in accordance with the requirement of “Medical Jurisprudence”, if dispute raised between the parties relating to age/date of birth.

Reliance was also placed by her on an order dated 14th June, 2002 passed by the learned single Judge in CWJC No. 3514 of 2000. Dhanmatia Mahali No. II v. C.C.L. and Ors.

From plain reading of Instruction No. 76 of NCWA, it will be evident that the said Instruction relates to assessment of age to be recorded at the time of “initial appointment”. Therein, it is stipulated to assess the age by a Medical Board, if there is no evidence in support thereof and dispute raised between the parties. The aforesaid Instruction No. 76, NCWA is not applicable in respect to dispute if raised subsequently much after the date of birth recorded in the Service Book.

The decision in Dhanmatia Mahali No. II, (supra) as referred by the counsel for the appellant is not applicable in the present case, as no ratio laid down in the said case and the court passed the order to constitute a Medical Board to assess the age of said writ petitioner, as per Instruction No. 76, NCWA, the writ petitioner of the said case having raised the correctness of the date of birth as recorded in the service record within a reasonable period of ten years.

5. In the present case, the appellant-writ petitioner was appointed on 23rd February, 1961 but raised dispute relating to date of birth, for the first time, on 21st September, 1988 i.e. 27 and half years after his appointment and though the dispute raised on 21st September, 1988 was not redressed, he did not choose to move before a Court of law till notice of retirement was given in the year 1997.

6. The counsel for the appellant-writ petitioner placed reliance on different enclosures, including the appointment letter dated 23rd February, 1961; Sirdar’s Certificate dated 23rd February, 1975 and School Leaving Certificate to suggest that the respondents also accepted the date of birth of appellant-writ petitioner as 15th June, 1942, as recorded therein. However, I feel that no finding can be given by this court on the basis of photo stat copies of such documents for the reasons mentioned here under.

From the photo copy of the School Leaving Certificate, it appears that it was issued on 26th January, 1991, which is the date shown against signature and seal of an Officer of Azamgarh. It does not bear any serial Number which is blank. Further, this certificate appears to have been obtained by the appellant for the first time after he raised an objection on 21st September, 1988, i.e. after 30 years of his appointment.

7. The counsel for the appellant submitted that the School Leaving Certificate was issued before 1961 and the photo stat copy enclosed is Duplicate one. This submission is also rejected as in the Duplicate Certificate, the original date of issue is shown, serial number of certificate is mentioned and not a subsequent date of issue. The certificate also does not bear a seal “Duplicate”.

So far as the photo stat copy of the appointment letter dated 23rd January, 1961 is concerned, curiously, the date of birth seems to have been printed. Generally, no authority prints the date of birth in the letter of appointment. However, even if it is accepted that the date of birth was given in the letter of appointment, one may raise doubt relating to the said date as in the main letter of appointment, the other date is shown in small letters, whereas against the date of birth printed in bigger letters, which can be construed to have been added latter on by some other Typewriter Machine.

Similar doubt can be raised in respect to photo stat copy of Sirdar’s Certificate, wherein against the word “born on” the date of birth in the year 1937 in bold letters seems to have been typed which was cut/crossed by Typewriter Machine and the date 15th June, 1942 Inserted therein is by small letters of a different Typewriter Machine. Signature of S. Prasad put therein is also different from the signature “S. Prasad”, as printed above the photograph of the appellant.

8. The aforesaid facts have been dealt by me only to show that the aforesaid disputed question of facts and genuinity of one or other documents cannot be determined by this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, except with the help of Expert Body by a civil Court of competent jurisdiction.

9. For the reasons aforesaid, the appellant cannot derive any benefit of Division Bench decision of Patna High Court in Murli Manohar Tiwary v. State of Bihar, reported in 1986 PLJR 1180, nor the Division Bench decision of this Court dated 13th February, 2000 in LPA No. 649 of 2001, Central Coalfields Ltd. v. Shri Ram Krishun Pandey.

10. I find no reason to differ with the finding of the learned single Judge who held that there being challenge to the correctness of genuineness of the certificates filed by the petitioner-appellant. It is not possible for this Court to accept the version of any one of the parties without entering into the evidence minutely.

11. There being no merit, the appeal is dismissed. However, in the facts and circumstances, there shall be no order, as to costs.

Lakshman Uraon, J.

I agree.

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