AFT | Change in DoB cannot be claimed as a matter of right merely because the same had been changed in academic records

Armed Forces Tribunal

Armed Forces Tribunal: The Division Bench of Justice Umesh Chandra Srivastava and  Vice Admiral Abhay Raghunath Karve, Member (A) held that the a government servant cannot claim change in Date of Birth as a matter of right merely because the same had been changed in academic records.

Brief facts of the case were that the applicant’s date of birth was mentioned as 23-05-1964 when he was enrolled/commissioned in the Army and by a decree of City Civil Court of Chennai, dated 23-07-2007 he had got changed his date of birth from 23-05-1964 to 28-06-1965 and accordingly, his educational certificates were endorsed with 28-06-1965 as his date of birth.

After having his educational documents corrected the appellant approached the Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services, Ministry of Defence on several occasions requesting him to make correction in his date of Birth, but the same were alleged to be unheard by the respondent. Subsequently, the applicant superannuated on 31-05-2021. The applicant contended that the decree of Civil Court, declaring the correct date of applicant’s birth as 28-06-1965 was binding upon respondents as respondent 2 and 3 were party in the Suit in which decree had been passed and were, therefore, under legal obligation to carry necessary amendment in date of applicant’s birth in his service records.

On the other hand, the stand taken by the respondent was that as per rules, any change with regard to date of birth could possibly be made based on representation made within two years from the date of enrolment/commissioning only, and not thereafter.

The Bench observed that in the civil suit the main respondents, though were made party but they were absent and the order was passed ex-parte and the recall application filed by the respondents was dismissed being filed belatedly. Further, in ex-parte order there was no direction to the respondents to incorporate change of date of birth in service record of applicant.

Relying on the decision of the Supreme Court in Union of India v. Harnam Singh, (1993) 2 SCC 162, wherein it had been held that, “A Govt servant who makes an application for correction of date of birth beyond the time, so fixed, therefore, 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”, the Bench stated that the applicant’s representation for change in date of birth was rejected by competent authority by giving  cogent reasons for its rejection; i.e. the applicant ought to have applied for change in date of birth in service record within the stipulated period of five years after enrolment/commission which he had failed to do so.

Therefore, the Bench was of the view that after passing of ex-parte judgment in the year 2007 and thereafter despite the reasoned order passed by the respondent 10 years prior to filing of this O.A., applicant had been silent on this point and had only preferred the O.A. in the year 2021 knowing well that there was a vacancy of Brigadier on 01-08-2021 and he would retire on 31-05-2021 with date of birth as 23-05-1964. The Bench stated that the whole story of the applicant having come to know of his real date of birth later in a family discussion was nothing but a concocted story to remain in organization for some more time for further promotion.

Hence, the Bench held that applicant’s ex-parte judgment could not be binding on the respondents, especially when the applicant had slumbered for over a decade to file the O.A. Accordingly, the instant application was dismissed.[P Yesudian Sugumar v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine AFT 4258, decided on 09-08-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance by:

For the Applicant: Yashpal Singh, Advocate

For Union of India: Sunil Sharma, Central Govt. Counsel

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