Loading...

Govindarajulu vs The Chairman, Neyveli Lignite … on 25 October, 2002

Madras High Court
Govindarajulu vs The Chairman, Neyveli Lignite … on 25 October, 2002
Equivalent citations: (2003) 1 MLJ 129
Author: K Gnanaprakasam
Bench: K Gnanaprakasam


JUDGMENT

K. Gnanaprakasam, J.

1. The plaintiff is the appellant. The plaintiff filed a suit for declaration to declare his date of birth as 16.8.1935 and for a direction to the defendants to effect the corrections in their official records.

2. The case of the plaintiff is that he was the only son to his parents and he was born in the month of August, 1935. The plaintiff lost his father when he was nine months old and his mother was illiterate. At the time when the plaintiff was admitted in the school, his date of birth was wrongly given by his mother as 8.10.1932 and the same was not correct. The plaintiff completed his school final in the year 1956 and in the certificate issued by the second defendant, his date of birth was wrongly entered as 8.10.1932. The plaintiff joined in the first defendant-Corporation on 26.5.1961 and there also, he has given his date of birth as 8.10.1932. It is stated that on 3.10.1988, he has obtained a certified extract of birth from the Taluk office, Villupuram and then only he came to know that his correct date of birth was 16th August, 1935 and not 8.10.1932. With the help of the certificate issued by the Tahsildar, the plaintiff applied to the first defendant on 25.1.1989 seeking to correct the records with regard to his date of birth as 16.8.1935, to which the first defendant gave a reply on 3.3.1989 stating that as per Rule 10(d) of the Standing order of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation, the date of birth cannot be altered contrary to school records. It is only thereafter, the plaintiff has filed the suit.

3. The first defendant, in his written statement, has stated that the plaintiff joined duty on 26.5.1961 and his Service Register was opened, in which, based upon his SSLC certificate, his date of birth was recorded as 8.10.1932. The plaintiff has also accepted the said date of birth and signed in the Service Register. Thereupon, a circular was sent on 30.12.1975 to confirm the date of birth wherein also his date of birth was mentioned as 8.10.1932 and the plaintiff acknowledged the same and did not raise any objection. Thereafter, only in the year 1989, the plaintiff gave a petition seeking to change his date of birth as 16.8.1935 instead of 8.10.1932 and the same was not accepted.

4. The second defendant filed a separate written statement almost adopting the statement of the first defendant.

5. The trial Court accepted the case of the plaintiff and decreed the suit. On appeal by the first defendant in A.S.No.121 of 1991, the learned Subordinate Judge, Villupuram set aside the judgment and decree of the trial Court and allowed the appeal. Aggrieved by the same, the plaintiff has preferred this second appeal.

6. At the time of admission, the                                                following  substantial question of law was formulated for   consideration:
 
  Whether the lower Appellate Court is right in dismissing the suit after finding that the plaintiff's claim that he was born on 16.8.1935 was true? 

 

7. The suit is one for a declaration to declare the date of birth of the plaintiff as 16.8.1935 instead of 8.10.1932 as recorded in the school certificate and other official records. The plaintiff has studied upto SSLC and in the school certificate, his date of birth was entered as 8.10.1932. Based upon the said certificate, the plaintiff joined duty with the first defendant on 26.5.1961. The first defendant gave a memo on 20.12.1975 to the plaintiff with regard to Establishment-Service Records-Date of Birth-Regarding, wherein it is stated as follows:

(i) “Thiru L Govindarajulu Son of Lakshmana Naidu employed as Steno in the P & M Division of the fertiliser unit/branch is informed that his date of birth as entered in his service record is 8.10.32.

(ii) He is directed to acknowledge receipt of this communication in the duplicate copy.

This memo was duly acknowledged by the plaintiff on 20.12.1975 and the said acknowledgement is available at the bottom of Ex.B1. Even after this memo, the plaintiff has not chosen to question the correctness of his date of birth. But, however, the plaintiff, on his own, obtained a certificate from the Tahsildar on 3.10.1988 and thereafter gave a petition to the first defendant on 25.1.1989 seeking to change his date of birth. It is not known as to why the plaintiff has applied for the birth certificate in the year 1988 from the Tahsildar and nothing has been stated in the plaint as to what prompted or tempted the plaintiff to obtain a certificate in the year 1988. The plaintiff blames his mother for having given a wrong date on the pretext that she was an illiterate. But, however, the plaintiff had completed his school final and joined duty in the year 1961 and he was appointed as Typist and subsequently promoted as Steno. It is not known as to what the plaintiff was doing from 1961 to 1988. The laches on the part of the plaintiff seeking to alter the date of birth in the Service Register are unexplained. It is also not known why all of a sudden the plaintiff applied for the birth certificate to the Tahsildar. Nothing has been stated in the plaint nor has he produced any acceptable evidence justifying the same. In the absence of a sufficient explanation, it is very difficult for us to accept the case of the plaintiff that his date of birth was wrongly given as 8.10.1932, whereas his correct date of birth was 16.8.1935.

8. The plaintiff is governed by the Standing Orders of the first defendant. Order 10(d), which deals with regard to age is as follows:

“The age of a workman, as recorded with the Company at the time of employment, shall not thereafter be sought to be altered by the workman.”

This Standing order is also binding upon the plaintiff.

9. Apart from all these facts, we have to bear in mind that the plaintiff joined duty with the first defendant on 26.5.1961 and sought for the alteration of his date of birth only in the year 1988, i.e. After a lapse of 27 years. The delay and laches are not at all explained. In a case of this nature, the Supreme Court has held that the request for the correction of the date of birth at a belated stage cannot at all be entertained. In the case of UNION OF INDIA VS. RAM SUA SHARMA (1996(3) SC 72), the Supreme Court has held as follows:

“The controversy raised in this appeal is no longer res integra. In a series of judgments, this Court has held that a Court or Tribunal at the belated stage cannot entertain a claim for the correction of the date of birth duly entered in the service records. Admittedly, the respondent had joined the service on December 16, 1962. After 25 years, he woke up and claimed that his correct date of birth is January 2, 1939 and not December 16, 1934. That claim was accepted by the Tribunal and it directed the Government to consider the correction. The direction is per se illegal.

The appeal is accordingly allowed.”

10. The principle laid down by the Supreme Court in the above case squarely applies to the case on hand. In this case also, the delay is more than 27 years old in making the request for the alteration of the date of birth, which cannot at all be entertained.

11. In the result, the second appeal is dismissed. No costs.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. More Information