Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: G.R. Swaminathan, J., while addressing the grievance of some qualified doctors, expressed that, Educational Certificate is not a marketable commodity, therefore, there cannot be exercise of any lien in terms of Section 171 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872.

Factual Background

The petitioners were qualified doctors, who obtained their Post Graduate Degrees in respective colleges (respondents 3 to 8) during the academic year 2018-2021. While obtaining the admission, they had undertaken to serve in Government Hospitals for a period of two years.

Further, they had also executed bonds and after successful completion of their PG Courses, they were called upon to do COVID-19 Duty and worked on a contractual basis for about 10 months, after which they were relieved.

Since the petitioners did not receive any posting orders, they wrote to the respondents demanding the return of their original certificates collected by the respective colleges at the time of admission.

The stand of the respondents was that since the petitioners had not served for a full period of 2 years as per the bond terms and conditions, the original certificates could not be returned.

The above necessitated the filing of the present petition.

The Special Government Pleader strongly contested that the petitioners were bound by the terms of an undertaking that they had voluntarily given with open eyes at the time of admission and cannot be allowed to go back on their undertaking.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court noting the submission of the Special Government Pleader stated that the similarly placed candidates were already granted relief and the candidates even though were not able to fulfil the terms and conditions of the bond, they were able to get back their certificates.

The Bench held that the petitioners were entitled to relief for two reasons:

  • It is well settled that an Educational Certificate is not a marketable commodity, therefore, there cannot be exercise of any lien in terms of Section 171 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872. In a catena of decisions, it has been held that the management cannot retain the certificates of the students.
  • A Statutory Authority will have to treat similarly placed persons in the same manner. Failure to do so would be an infraction of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

Therefore, in view of the above two reasons, the petition was allowed, and the respondents were directed to return the original certificates to the petitioners within 15 days. [Dr S. Giridharan v. State of T.N., 2022 SCC OnLine Mad 2394, decided on 13-5-2022]

Advocates before the Court:

For Petitioners: Mr E. Manoharan

For Respondents: Mr D. Ravichander, Special Government Pleader

Armed Forces Tribunal
Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Armed Forces Tribunal: Resolving a date of birth related controversy, the Division Bench of Justice Umesh Chandra Srivastava and Vice Admiral Abhay Raghunath Karve, Member (A) stated,

“If we take date of birth recorded in educational certificate of the applicant as correct i.e. 05-07-1992 and date of birth in respect of his younger brother being 20-02-1992 as per service records, one can imagine as to how it could be possible that an elder brother comes to this world later than his younger brother.”

The applicant-son of the deceased had applied for a job in place of his deceased father’s post under ‘Employment Assistance under Indigent Circumstances Scheme’ and the same could not be processed due to mismatch of applicant’s name and date of birth in educational certificates and service records.

The application having certain defects was returned to applicant which he never re-submitted to respondents duly rectified. The raised by the respondent were that there was mismatch in name and date of birth recorded in educational certificates and Personal Occurrence Report maintained by the respondents as per declaration given by father of the applicant. On the basis of educational certificate and service record, it could easily be held that there was forgery with regard to date of birth as applicant being elder was born on 05-07-1992 (as per Educational Certificate) and his younger brother Deepak Kumar was born on 20-02-1992 i.e. prior to birth of his elder brother. The details of the applicant were as follows:

“Educational certificate: Name: Suneel Kumar, DOB: 05-07-1992

Service Records: Name:  Sunil, DOB: 27-03-1990”

The policy letter dated 27-01-2014 with regard to correction of name and change of date of birth in respect of children of Central Govt Employees states that if there is a typographical error while publishing Part II Order/Personal Occurrence Report, it can be corrected by approval of Officer-in-Charge. However, in the instant case names and dates of birth published through Personal Occurrence Report were entirely different to that of educational certificate. The Bench opined,

“The typographical error may be in date or month or year but complete date of birth cannot be totally different which creates a doubt in mind that there is other motive for change in complete date of birth.”

The Supreme Court in Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. v. Shyam Kishore Singh, (2020) 3 SCC 411, had held that, “while spelling in name can be corrected being a typographical error, date of birth as entered in service register of an employee cannot be changed at the fag end of the service even if there is good evidence to establish that the recorded date of birth is erroneous, the correction cannot be claimed as a matter of right.”

The Tribunal observed that,

“It has become a trend that parents are getting recorded lesser age of their children in school certificates than the actual age to get undue advantage of age. When the children grow up, they try to get it corrected either by submitting applications or by approaching before the court. In this regard, we are of the opinion that correct date of birth is that which is declared by parents and notified by Part II Orders/Personal Occurrence Report published as per declaration made by parents.”

In view of the above, the Bench declined to interfere in the matter of correction in date of birth in respect of applicant. However, the Air Force authorities were directed to make correction of name in respect of applicant by changing it from “Sunil” to “Suneel Kumar”. Similarly, the Board of High School and Intermediate Education, U.P. was directed to make correction in date of birth in respect of applicant and change it to 1990.

Applicant is directed to submit corrected application to Air Force authorities for processing. Respondent authorities (Air Force) are directed to consider his application on merit. [Suneel Kumar v. Union of India, Original Application No. 135 of 2020, decided on 05-10-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance by:

For the Applicant: Ruby Singh, Advocate.

For the Respondent: Ashish Kumar Singh, Advocate

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): Justice V.K. Jain (Presiding Member) set aside the order of District Forum and State Commission and set aside their orders holding a national bank liable for returning educational certificates of the complainant.

Respondent herein had taken a loan from the petitioner bank under Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Yojana (PMRY) Scheme in 1984. He stated that he had deposited his educational certificates with the bank on the assurance that after repayment of the loan, the said documents would be returned to him. After repayment of the loan, respondent approached the bank for return of his original documents; but the same were not returned to him. Being aggrieved, he approached District Forum by way of a consumer complaint. District Forum allowed the complaint, and the bank’s appeal against the said order was dismissed. Thus, the bank approached filed the instant revision petition.

The Commission noted that no documentary proof of the alleged deposit had been filed by the respondent. Petitioner, being a nationalized bank and respondent being an educated person, it was difficult to accept that he deposited such important documents with the bank, without even taking an acknowledgment from it. Moreover, no evidence had been led by the respondent to prove that the submission of such documents was necessary under rules of the bank or PMRY Scheme.

In the absence of any evidence, it was opined that the view taken by the fora was perverse, and therefore the impugned orders could not be sustained.[Allahabad Bank v. Subhash Kumar Mittal, 2019 SCC OnLine NCDRC 25, Order dated 01-03-2019]