As the row over army chief’s age remains unsettled, the Supreme Court has ruled a government servant’s request for correction of his date of birth, recorded in his service books at the time of induction, cannot be accepted if he/she makes the claim after a long time had lapsed.
This, particularly beyond the period fixed by his employer.
A bench of Justice DK Jain and Justice AK Ganguly said such an employee cannot claim his right over correction of his date of birth, “even if he has good evidence to establish that the recorded date was clearly erroneous.”
Setting aside a Madhya Pradesh High Court judgment, directing the state to correct the service record of a constable 25 years after his recruitment, the bench held observed: “No court or tribunal can come to the aid of those who sleep over their rights.”"It needs to be emphasized 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 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," the bench stated.
Courts must, it stated, direct correction of the date on the basis of “irrefutable proof” relating to the applicant’s date of birth. Also, such a claim must be made in accordance with the procedure prescribed by the department concerned.
Unless “real injustice” was caused to the person concerned, the court or tribunal should “not issue” a direction for correction, the court said.
The SC’s verdict came on the Madhya Pradesh government’s appeal against the January 12, 2002, order of the HC, directing the state police department to correct the service record of a constable from June 1, 1942, to June 30, 1942.
The constable, who joined service in 1965 but gave a representation only in 1990, claimed that his maternal grandfather had given incorrect information regarding his date of birth and father’s name. According to the constable, he came to know about the mistake when he was promoted as head constable.
In support of his claim, he produced Class 4 and Class 8 documents.
The SC found no merit in the constable’s submissions: “It is evident from the record that the respondent was aware of his date of birth recorded in the service book since 1965.”