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correction of date of birth = the decision of the High Court, holding that the respondent was entitled to get his date of birth corrected in the service record, cannot be sustained=the High Court has allowed the writ petition preferred by the respondent, directing the appellants to correct the service record of the respondent, incorporating his date of birth as 30th June, 1945 in place of 1st June, 1942, within a period of one month from the date of the impugned order. = The respondent was appointed to the post of a Police Constable in the year 1965. In the service book, prepared at the time of his entering the service, his date of birth was recorded as 1st June, 1942. His father’s name was recorded as Gayadin. This position continued till 1990, when he made a representation to the appellants seeking correction of his father’s name and date of birth in the service record. The plea of the respondent was that at the time of joining the service, his date of birth as also the name of his father was wrongly recorded on the basis of the information furnished by his maternal grandfather, who was accompanying him at that point of time as he was living with him after the death of his father. According to the respondent, he came to know about the mistake when he was promoted as Head Constable. In support of his application, the respondent submitted his class IV marksheet, transfer certificate of class VIII and a certificate from a local MLA.

A primary school in a village in Madhya Pradesh.

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 REPORTABLE

 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2331 OF 2004

STATE OF M.P & ORS. -- APPELLANTS

 VERSUS

PREMLAL SHRIVAS -- RESPONDENT

 J U D G M E N T

D.K. JAIN, J.:

1. This appeal is directed against the judgment and order dated 17th 

 January, 2002 passed by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Jabalpur 

 Bench, in Writ Petition No. 2561 of 2001. By the impugned 

 judgment, the High Court has allowed the writ petition preferred by 

 the respondent, directing the appellants to correct the service record of 

 the respondent, incorporating his date of birth as 30th June, 1945 in 

 place of 1st June, 1942, within a period of one month from the date of 

 the impugned order.

2. To appreciate the controversy involved, a brief reference to the facts, 

 as stated in the impugned judgment, would suffice. These are: 

 The respondent was appointed to the post of a Police Constable in 

the year 1965. In the service book, prepared at the time of his entering the 

service, his date of birth was recorded as 1st June, 1942. His father's 

name was recorded as Gayadin. This position continued till 1990, when 

he made a representation to the appellants seeking correction of his 

father's name and date of birth in the service record. The plea of the 

respondent was that at the time of joining the service, his date of birth as 

also the name of his father was wrongly recorded on the basis of the 

information furnished by his maternal grandfather, who was 

accompanying him at that point of time as he was living with him after 

the death of his father. According to the respondent, he came to know 

about the mistake when he was promoted as Head Constable. In support 

of his application, the respondent submitted his class IV marksheet, 

transfer certificate of class VIII and a certificate from a local MLA.

3. By order dated 8th March 1995, the representation came to be rejected, 

 inter-alia, on the ground that the service record of the respondent was 

 prepared on the instructions of his maternal grandfather, 

 accompanying the respondent at the time of enrolment, the same 

 carries his finger and thumb impressions and was duly attested by the 

 2

 then Superintendent of Police on 7th September, 1976. Moreover, at 

 the time of enrolment, the respondent had been subjected to a medical 

 examination on 27th September 1965, when the Examining Medical 

 Authority had certified his age to be 23 years. 

4. Being dissatisfied, the respondent preferred an application before the 

 M.P. Administrative Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as "the 

 Tribunal"). Referring to several documents brought on record by the 

 appellants, which included some documents which had been filled up 

 by the respondent himself and showing the date of his birth as 1st June, 

 1942 and father's name as Gayadin, the Tribunal dismissed the 

 application vide order dated 18th April, 2001. 

5. Having failed before the Tribunal, the respondent filed a writ petition 

 before the High Court which set aside the order of the Tribunal and 

 allowed the writ petition. Being aggrieved, the State of Madhya 

 Pradesh and two of its functionaries are before us in this appeal.

6. Despite service of notice, the respondent remains unrepresented. 

 Accordingly, we have heard learned counsel for the appellants.

7. The learned counsel, appearing on behalf of the appellants, 

 strenuously urged that the High Court ought not to have directed a 

 change in date of birth of the respondent, on his request, made after a 

 3

 lapse of over two decades of his joining the service. It was asserted 

 that some of the documents in which his father's name was shown as 

 Gayadin, bore his signatures and, therefore, the plea of the respondent 

 that he was not aware of the contents of his service record cannot be 

 accepted. It was also submitted that as per Rule 84 of the M.P. 

 Financial Code, the date of birth recorded in the service record is 

 conclusive and only a bonafide clerical mistake in the said record can 

 be corrected. To bolster his submission, learned counsel commended 

 us to a recent decision of this Court in Punjab & Haryana High 

 Court at Chandigarh Vs. Megh Raj Garg & Anr.1, wherein it has 

 been held that the declaration of age made at the time of or for the 

 purpose of entry into government service is conclusive and binding on 

 the government servant.

8. Having considered the issue at hand in light of the afore-stated factual 

 scenario, and the principles of law on the point, we are convinced that 

 the High Court was not justified in directing change in date of birth of 

 the respondent. 

9. 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 

1 (2010) 6 SCC 482

 4

 Tribunal has to be circumspect, cautious and careful while issuing 

 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. Time and again this Court has expressed the view 

 that if a government servant makes a request for correction of the 

 recorded date of birth after 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 the Tribunal can come to the 

 aid of those who sleep over their rights (See: Union of India Vs. 

 Harnam Singh2). 

10. In Secretary And Commissioner, Home Department & Ors. Vs. R. 

 Kirubakaran3, indicating the factors relevant in disposal of an 

2 (1993) 2 SCC 162

3 1994 Supp (1) SCC 155

 5

application for correction of date of birth just before the 

superannuation and highlighting the scope of interference by the 

Courts or the Tribunals in such matters, this Court has observed thus :

 "An application for correction of the date of birth should not 

 be dealt with by the tribunal or the High Court keeping in 

 view only the public servant concerned. It need not be 

 pointed out that any such direction for correction of the date 

 of birth of the public servant concerned has a chain reaction, 

 inasmuch as others waiting for years, below him for their 

 respective promotions are affected in this process. Some are 

 likely to suffer irreparable injury, inasmuch as, because of 

 the correction of the date of birth, the officer concerned, 

 continues in office, in some cases for years, within which 

 time many officers who are below him in seniority waiting 

 for their promotion, may lose their promotions for ever. 

 Cases are not unknown when a person accepts appointment 

 keeping in view the date of retirement of his immediate 

 senior. According to us , this is an important aspect, which 

 cannot be lost sight of by the court or the tribunal while 

 examining the grievance of a public servant in respect of 

 correction of his date of birth. As such, unless a clear case, 

 on the basis of materials which can be held to be conclusive 

 in nature, is made out by the respondent, the court or the 

 tribunal should not issue a direction, on the basis of 

 materials which make such claim only plausible. Before any 

 such direction is issued, the court or the tribunal must be 

 fully satisfied that there has been real injustice to the person 

 concerned and his claim for correction of date of birth has 

 been made in accordance with the procedure prescribed, and 

 within the time fixed by any rule or order. If no rule or 

 order has been framed or made, prescribing the period 

 within which such application has to be filed, then such 

 application must be filed within the time, which can be held 

 to be reasonable. The applicant has to produce the evidence 

 in support of such claim, which may amount to irrefutable 

 proof relating to his date of birth. Whenever any such 

 question arises, the onus is on the applicant, to prove the 

 wrong recording of his date of birth, in his service book. In 

 many cases it is a part of the strategy on the part of such 

 6

 public servants to approach the court or the tribunal on the 

 eve of their retirement, questioning the correctness of the 

 entries in respect of their dates of birth in the service books. 

 By this process, it has come to the notice of this Court that 

 in many cases, even if ultimately their applications are 

 dismissed, by virtue of interim orders, they continue for 

 months, after the date of superannuation. The court or the 

 tribunal must, therefore, be slow in granting an interim relief 

 for continuation in service, unless prima facie evidence of 

 unimpeachable character is produced because if the public 

 servant succeeds, he can always be compensated, but if he 

 fails, he would have enjoyed undeserved benefit of extended 

 service and merely caused injustice to his immediate junior."

 (Emphasis supplied)

11. In State of U.P. & Anr. Vs. Shiv Narain Upadhyaya4, while 

 reiterating the aforesaid position of law, this Court has castigated the 

 practice of raising dispute by the public servants about incorrect 

 recording of date of birth in their service book on the eve of their 

 retirement.

12. Viewed in this perspective, we are of the opinion that the High Court 

 committed a manifest error of law in ignoring the vital fact that the 

 respondent had applied for correction of his date of birth in 1990, i.e., 

 25 years after his induction into service as a constable. It is evident 

 from the record that the respondent was aware ever since 1965 that his 

 date of birth as recorded in the service book is 1st June, 1942 and not 

 30th June, 1945. It had come on record of the Tribunal that at the time 

 of respondent's medical examination, his age as on 27th September, 

4 (2005) 6 SCC 49

 7

1965 was mentioned to be 23 years and his father's name was 

recorded as Gayadin; and in his descriptive roll, prepared by the 

Senior Superintendent of Police as well, his father's name was shown 

as Gayadin and his date of birth as 1st June, 1942 and this document 

was signed by the respondent and the form of agreement known as 

"Mamuli Sipahi Ka Ikrarnama" was filled up by the respondent 

himself with the very same particulars. Therefore, it cannot be said 

that the decision of the Tribunal rejecting respondent's plea that it 

was for the first time in the year 1990, when he was promoted as 

Head Constable, that he noticed the error in the service record was 

vitiated. 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. It is trite that even in 

such a situation such an application should be filed which can be held 

to be reasonable. The application filed by the respondent 25 years 

after his induction into service, by no standards, can be held to be 

reasonable, more so when not a feeble attempt was made to explain 

the said delay. There is also no substance in the plea of the respondent 

that since Rule 84 of the M.P. Financial Code does not prescribe the 

 8

 time-limit within which an application is to be filed, the appellants 

 were duty bound to correct the clerical error in recording of his date of 

 birth in the service book. 

13.Rule 84 of the M.P. Financial Code, heavily relied upon by the 

 respondent reads as under :

 "Rule 84. Every person newly appointed to a service or a 

 post under Government should at the time of the 

 appointment declare the date of his birth by the Christian era 

 with as far as possible confirmatory documentary evidence 

 such as a matriculation certificate, municipal birth certificate 

 and so on. If the exact date is not known, an approximate 

 date may be given. The actual date or the assumed date 

 determined under Rule 85 should be recorded in the history 

 of service; Service book or any other record that may be 

 kept in respect of the Government servant's service under 

 Government. The date of birth, once recorded in this 

 manner, must be deemed to be absolutely conclusive, and 

 except in the case of a clerical error no revision of such a 

 declaration shall be allowed to be made at a later period for 

 any purpose whatever."

14.It is manifest from a bare reading of Rule 84 of the M.P. Financial 

 Code that the date of birth recorded in the service book at the time of 

 entry into service is conclusive and binding on the government 

 servant. It is clear that the said rule has been made in order to limit 

 the scope of correction of date of birth in the service record. 

 However, an exception has been carved out in the rule, permitting the 

 public servant to request later for correcting his age provided that 

 9

 incorrect recording of age is on account of a clerical error or mistake. 

 This is a salutary rule, which was, perhaps, inserted with a view to 

 safeguard the interest of employees so that they do not suffer because 

 of the mistakes committed by the official staff. Obviously, only that 

 clerical error or mistake would fall within the ambit of the said rule 

 which is caused due to the negligence or want of proper care on the 

 part of some person other than the employee seeking correction. Onus 

 is on the employee concerned to prove such negligence. 

15. In Commissioner of Police, Bombay and Anr. Vs. Bhagwan V. 

 Lahane5, this Court has held that for an employee seeking the 

 correction of his date of birth, it is a condition precedent that he must 

 show, that the incorrect recording of the date of birth was made due to 

 negligence of some other person, or that the same was an obvious 

 clerical error failing which the relief should not be granted to him. 

 Again, in Union of India Vs. C. Rama Swamy & Ors.6, it has been 

 observed that a bonafide error would normally be one where an officer 

 has indicated a particular date of birth in his application form or any 

 other document at the time of his employment but, by mistake or 

 oversight a different date has been recorded.

5 (1997) 1 SCC 247

6 (1997) 4 SCC 647

 10

16. As aforesaid, in the instant case, no evidence has been placed on 

 record by the respondent to show that the date of birth recorded as 1st 

 June, 1942 was due to the negligence of some other person. He had 

 failed to show that the date of birth was recorded incorrectly, due to 

 want of care on the part of some other person, despite the fact that a 

 correct date of birth had been shown on the documents presented or 

 signed by him. We hold that in this fact situation the High Court 

 ought not to have directed the appellants to correct the date of birth of 

 the respondent under Rule 84 of the said rules.

17.In view of the foregoing discussion, the decision of the High Court, 

 holding that the respondent was entitled to get his date of birth 

 corrected in the service record, cannot be sustained. Resultantly, the 

 appeal is allowed and the impugned judgment is set aside, leaving the 

 parties to bear their own costs throughout. 

 ...........................................

 (D.K. JAIN, J.) 

 ..............................................

 (ASOK KUMAR GANGULY, J.)

NEW DELHI; 

SEPTEMBER 19, 2011.

RS

 1112

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