AFT | Can a defence person change the name of his wife twice in his service records? Tribunal answers

Armed Forces Tribunal

Armed Forces Tribunal (Lucknow Bench): The Division Bench of Justice Umesh Chandra Srivastava, Member (J) and Vice Admiral Abhay Raghunath Karve, Member (A) held that a defence person cannot be permitted to change the name of his wife twice in service records.

“Name of wife of the applicant has already been changed from Malhouthi Devi to Samalti Singh on the basis of affidavit given by the applicant in the year 1973. If there was any clerical mistake, the applicant should have reported the matter to concerned officer within few days.”

The applicant was enrolled in the Army on 13-11-1963. On being discharged from service on 21-11-1980, he had been granted service pension from vide PPO dated 02-03-1981. Later on, he joined the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) and got retired on 31-01-2005. Therefore, he was getting a 2nd pension vide PPO dated 18-02-2005.

The grievance of the applicant was that he had represented his case for change of name and date of birth of his wife in his army service documents which was denied by the respondents-Union of India. The Government noted that there was a mismatch in the date of birth and name of the applicant’s wife mentioned in the service records and appendix containing change and suggested the applicant to forward a few documents for change of name and date of birth.

Ultimately, the Government rejected the request to introduce afore-mentioned change on the following grounds:

  • “Policy allows only change in surname/maidan name.

  • Applicant had already changed the name from Malhouthi Devi to Samalti Singh.

  • No provision to change of name of wife except surname or maiden name and date of birth except typographical/clerical errors and in applicant’s case no such error is found.”

The Government contended that the applicant had already changed his wife’s name from Malhouthi Devi to Samalti Singh during the year 1973 and policy does not allow change of name second time. Similarly, owing to the difference of more than four (4) years in the date of birth as recorded in service and the proposed date of birth the government denied accepting any changes in the date of birth as well.

The Tribunal noted that earlier the applicant had applied for change of name of his wife in the year 1973, which was changed but at that time he had chosen to remain silent regarding the change of date of birth. Similarly, in the year 2001, he again gave another affidavit requesting to change the name of his wife but nothing was mentioned regarding change of date of birth. It was in the year 2019 after about 56 years from the date of entry in army service documents, the applicant applied for change of date of birth. Thus, the Tribunal held that the applicant’s attempt to change the date of birth of his wife at a belated stage was not justified. The Tribunal stated,

“If the date of birth of the wife of applicant was recorded wrong, then applicant should have consulted the competent authority within few months for correction of date of birth of his wife.”

With regard to change in name of the applicant’s wife, the Tribunal observed the following:

  • First affidavit was given while applicant was serving in the army in the year 1973 for change of name of his wife from Malhouthi Devi to Samalti Singh in army service documents.

  • Second affidavit was given by the applicant in the year 2001 while he was serving in DGQA Kanpur for change of name of his wife from Samanti Singh to Shyam Lata Singh in DGQA service documents.

  • Third affidavit was given by the applicant in the year 2019 for change of name and date of birth of his wife in PPO of army service.

Therefore, the Tribunal opined that it is doubtful for someone to give affidavit three times for change of name of spouse. Further, as per policy on the subject, name of spouse can be changed only one time. Hence, observing that the name of the applicant’s wife had already been changed from Malhouthi Devi to Samalti Singh in the year 1973 the Tribunal held that if there was any clerical mistake, as alleged by the applicant, he should have reported the matter to the officer concerned within few days.

In view of the above, the instant application was dismissed.

[Ram Naresh Singh v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine AFT 835, decided on 27-01-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Shailendra Kumar Singh and Ravi Kumar Yadav, Advocates, for the Applicant;

Namit Sharma, Central Government Counsel, for the Union of India.


*Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported the brief.

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