M/S Bharat Coking Coal Ltd vs. Shyam Kishore Singh (2020 Latest Caselaw 114 SC)
Updated: Dec 11, 2020
M/S Bharat Coking Coal Ltd vs. Shyam Kishore Singh
2020 Latest Caselaw 114 SC
Supreme Court of India
Division bench - Justice R. Banumathi and Justice. A.S. Bopanna.
ALSO KNOWN AS
POINT OF CONSIDERATION
Even if there is good evidence to establish that recorded date of birth is erroneous, change in service record not permissible at fag end of service.
The brief facts are that the respondent herein was appointed as a trainee in the appellant’s company. He was allotted Personnel No. 00473470 and joined service as Trainee Dozer Operator with effect from 27.02.1982. Though the respondent claims that he had declared his date of birth as 20.01.1955 in terms of the entry contained in his matriculation certificate the fact remains that his date of birth entered in the service record was 04.03.1950 and had remained so from the date of his appointment on 27.02.1982 till his retirement on 31.03.2010.
In the year 1998 the respondent has submitted the Provident Fund Nomination Form wherein he has indicted the details of his family and shown his wife as his nominee. In the relevant Form also, the respondent had indicated his date of birth as 04.03.1950. The respondent thus having continued in service till the age of superannuation had retired from service on 31.03.2010.
Just prior to his retirement, in the year 2009, a representation had been made by the respondent seeking change of the date of birth entered in the records, which was declined by the appellants. The respondent not having agitated the matter further at that point of time and having retired on 31.03.2010 has after the lapse of four years filed the W.P.(S) No.6172/2014 before the High Court of Jharkhand at Ranchi. The appellants herein having appeared, filed their objection statement.
On verification it was confirmed that the date of birth in the school records was 20.01.1955. The said verification made by the appellants herein has been held against them by the learned Single Judge and it was observed that if the date 04.03.1950 as entered by the respondent in the service records was correct, there was no occasion for the appellants to verify the same from Bihar School Examination Board. In that circumstance the learned Single Judge being of the opinion that the respondent had passed the matriculation prior to joining the services and in that circumstance the entry of date of birth in the matriculation certificate being 20.01.1955 even before joining the service, has accepted the contention put forth by the respondent and in that background arrived at the conclusion that the appellants are to be directed to make appropriate corrections and pass consequential orders.
The Division Bench had taken note that the respondent herein had filed the writ petition four years after his retirement for restoration of his employment. It has further taken note that the respondent had filled up several forms in the course of his services where the respondent had not disclosed his educational qualification. In that view, the Division Bench was of the opinion that the learned Single Judge had not properly dealt with the aspect of delay in approaching the Court. In that circumstance the Division Bench had limited the attendant benefits payable to the respondent to the salary for one year between the period April, 2010 to March, 2011 as prevailing at that point. It is in that background the appellants being aggrieved both by the order passed by the learned Single Judge as also the Division Bench are before this Court in this appeal.
ISSUES RAISED & RATIO
The respondent appealed to change his date of birth in 2009. Were there opportunities before to do this?
- There was a change in the method of maintaining the service register, all the employees were provided an opportunity to verify and seek for change in the service record in the year 1987. At that stage also the respondent did not seek for any change. Therefore, in that circumstance, when the opportunity available at the first instance in 1987 had not been availed and thereafter on 25.05.1998 when the respondent himself in the Provident Fund Nomination Form had indicated the date of birth as 04.03.1950 which corresponds to the date of birth entered in the service register as on the date of commencement of the employment, merely because a verification was made from the Bihar School Examination Board and even if it was confirmed that the date of birth was 20.01.1955 such change at that stage was not permissible.
Is there any evidence that indicates that appellant were aware for the different date of birth before 2009?
- The fact that the respondent had joined the services of the appellants on 01.03.1982 is the accepted position. Though the respondent relies on the matriculation certificate to indicate that the date of birth stated therein is 20.01.1955, there is no material on record to indicate that the said document had been produced before the employer at the time of joining employment. In that background, the service record maintained by the appellants will disclose that the date of birth indicated in the document is 04.03.1950 which had been furnished by the respondent himself as the relevant forms under his signature contain the said date. Though the learned counsel for the respondent contended that the High Court had noticed certain alteration of the date of birth as indicated in Form B the relevance of the said document cannot be considered without reference to the other documents in the service records. The very fact that the respondent through his representation made in the year 2009 was seeking for change of the entry relating to date of birth will indicate that what was contained in the service records is 04.03.1950, which was the position from 27.02.1982.
Whether the judgement by district court and division bench are sustainable?
- The position is well established that if a particular date of birth is entered in the service register, a change sought cannot be entertained at the fag end of service after accepting the same to be correct during entire service. In the instant facts the position is that the respondent entered service on 01.03.1982. The date of birth entered as 04.03.1950 has remained on record from the said date. The requirement to submit the nomination form indicating the particulars of the family and the nominee was complied and it was submitted by the respondent on 25.05.1998. In the said Nomination Form the date of birth of the employee was required to be mentioned, wherein the respondent in his own handwriting has indicated the date of birth as 04.03.1950.
- Supreme Court has consistently held that the request for change of the date of birth in the service records at the fag end of service is not sustainable.
- on the date of joining and as also in the year 1987 when the respondent had an opportunity to fill up the Nomination Form and rectify the defect if any, he had indicated the date of birth as 04.03.1950 and had further reiterated the same when Provident Fund Nomination Form was filled in 1998. It is only after more than 30 years from the date of his joining service, for the first time in the year 2009 he had made the representation. Further the respondent did not avail the judicial remedy immediately thereafter, before retirement. Instead, the respondent retired from service on 31.03.2010 and even thereafter the writ petition was filed only in the year 2014, after four years from the date of his retirement. In that circumstance, the indulgence shown to the respondent by the High Court was not justified.
- Due to reasons mentioned above the order dated 13.10.2017 passed by the learned Single Judge in WP(S) No.6172 of 2014 and the order dated 19.02.2019 passed by the Division Bench in LPA No.115 of 2018 are not sustainable.
IMPORTANT CASES REFERRED
Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. And Ors. V. Chhota Birsa Uran
State Of M.P. V. Premlal Shrivas
State Of Maharashtra V. Gorakhnath Sitaram Kamble .
U.P. Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad V. Raj Kumar Agnihotri
Union Of India V. Harnam Singh
The author is a Bsc (Statistics) student at Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi.