Cidco Vs. Vasudha
Gorakhnath Mandevlekar  INSC 1082 (15 May 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3615 OF 2009 [Arising
out of SLP (Civil) No. 20794 of 2008] CIDCO ...Appellant Versus Vasudha
Gorakhnath Mandevlekar ...Respondent
S.B. SINHA, J :
Date of Birth of the respondent is in question in this appeal which arises out
of a judgment and order dated 17.04.2008 passed by the High Court of Judicature
at Bombay in Writ Petition No. 6962 of 2006.
herein joined the services of the appellant - Corporation on 18.01.1971. She
disclosed her date of birth to be 2.10.1950.
to the appellant - corporation, in the year 1975, in response to a memo dated
25.07.1975, the respondent submitted a form giving the details of her date of birth,
educational qualification and experience wherein the date of birth was typed as
2.10.1948. However, the year was corrected in handwriting as 1950 by way of
was posted in the Personnel Department in various capacities during the period
from 14.01.1980 to 6.07.1988.
16.01.1997, a letter was issued to the respondent for production of copies of
school leaving certificate, but she did not submit the same. Again, an office
order was issued on 26.02.2004 and 16.06.2004 asking the respondent to submit
the documents. However, the respondent did not submit copies of the school
leaving certificate and claimed that her original certificates including the
school leaving certificate had been misplaced.
11.04.2005, the respondent was again asked to produce the required documents
and the respondent by a letter dated 19.04.2005 informed that she had submitted
all the documents at the time of joining the service and these documents had
the respondent submitted a copy of the birth certificate dated 3.04.2000 issued
by the Chief Officer, Panvel Nagar Parishad. The said certificate shows the
date of birth of the respondent to be 2.10.1950 as recorded in the register of
births maintained by the Parishad.
has also produced various documents issued by the appellant - corporation,
viz., seniority list, gradation list, retirement list, etc.
In all these
documents, the date of birth of the respondent was shown as 2.10.1950.
Manager (Personnel) of the appellant - Corporation by an order dated 26.12.2007
held the date of birth of the respondent as 2.10.1948. For arriving at the said
conclusion, the appellant - Corporation took into consideration various
documents, including application made at the time of admission to the school
for the respondent and her sisters, the school leaving certificates of the
producer and her sisters, the admission register given by the Head Mistress of
the School indicating the date of birth record of the respondent, etc. In all
these documents, the date of birth of the respondent was shown as 2.10.1950.
The Manager (Personnel) in support of his order dated 26.12.2007 assigned the
4 "She states
that the birth certificate issued by the Panvel Municipal Council based on the
entry in the v.f. no. 14 Register of Births and Deaths is the proof of the
birth date. Similarly, these certificates are issued as per the Birth and Death
Act, 1886 and the Maharashtra Birth Death Registration Rules, 1976, as such she
also says that these should be accepted as proof. However, when Shrimati
Mandwilkar or her sisters were born, the above mentioned Act was not in
existence at all.
The v.f. no. 14 is a
form of the Revenue Department and the same used to be kept with the police
patil of the village for census. In this form the names of the girl children
born and the dates are written with different handwriting. Therefore, it cannot
be said that the name of the same girl has been written against the date of which
she was born and therefore this is not a credible proof. As the Panvel
Municipal Council has given the birth certificates based on that register only,
those also cannot be believed. Shri Narayan Shrirang Surve, the father of
Shrimati Mandwilkar has himself admitted his children in school and has stated
the exact dates of birth of the daughters instead of telling approximate dates.
When birth date is stated approximately at the time of taking admission in
school, it is a practice to generally record 1st June as the birth date.
However, it has not happened in this case. The father himself has mentioned the
birth dates of his children at the time of admission in school and, therefore,
those should be considered as more trustworthy."
In the said order, it
is no substance in this statement of hers. The date mentioned in the seniority
list or 5 the date mentioned in the details attached with the order of the
housing loan cannot be considered as a proof of the birth date. Whatever details
are mentioned in the personal file of the concerned employee, the same details
are mentioned by the lower grade employees doing this work while preparing the
seniority list or the order for the housing loan. If the original detail is
wrong and is not corrected, it continues to be as it is. Therefore, no employee
can lay claim on anything on the basis of that detail."
by and dissatisfied by the said order, the respondent filed a Writ Petition
before the High Court of Judicature at Bombay which by reason of the impugned
judgment has been allowed, observing:
Consequently, whenever there is a variance between an unproved private document
or its copy and a certified extract of a public record, the latter must prevail
as it has more probative value, carrying the presumption as it does under
Section 79 of the Evidence Act. This presumption would continue to hold until
it is rebutted. It can be rebutted only by production of the original public
record from which the extract is made out and certified to be true by the
relevant authority. Only if it is so rebutted such certified copy issued by a
public authority would stand nullified."
Bhasme, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant, would submit:
(i) The register of
births and deaths maintaining, inter alia, the date of birth is not conclusive
and in any event the Municipal Council having been constituted in the year
1976, i.e., much after the entry in service by the respondent, no reliance can
be placed thereupon.
(ii) Respondent being
in the Personnel Department of the appellant, interpolation in the record was
not brought to the notice of the authorities and when it came to their notice,
they issued the memo and obtained the certificate from the school authorities.
Vinay Navare, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent, on the
other hand, urged:
(i) In all the
records maintained by the Corporation, the date of birth of the respondent has
been shown to be 2.10.1950.
Municipal Council came into being in 1976, but, earlier the records used to be
maintained by the panchayat under the provisions of the Births, Deaths &
Marriage Registration Act, 1886 and as such the entries made in terms of the
statutory provisions shall prevail over the entry made in the school leaving
7 (iii) The reasons
assigned by the Manager (Personnel) of the appellant - Corporation holding that
the respondent's date of birth is 2.10.1948 are wholly perverse and are based
on conjectures and surmises.
(iv) As the records
of the appellant clearly show that the date of birth of the respondent is
2.10.1950, it was not necessary for him to make a representation.
(v) Entries made in
terms of the statutory provisions shall prevail over the entry made in the
school leaving certificate particularly when the details of dates of birth of
the brothers and sisters of the respondent had clearly been provided by the
Chief Officer, Panvel Municipal Council by a letter dated 28.12.2007 addressed
to the Manager (Labour) of the appellant - Corporation.
have noticed hereinbefore that what for the so-called charge of interpolation
of service records in regard to the year of birth, the office records
categorically shown that the date of birth of the respondent was 2.10.1950. A
large number of documents have been produced in support of the said contention
by the respondent. We may notice some of them. In the gradation list of Field
Officer as on 1.4.1986 issued on 11.4.1986, the 8 respondent's name figured at
serial No.17 showing his date of birth to be 2.10.1950. The same date of birth
has been shown in the seniority list as on 1.4.1987 published on 11.4.1986
(sic) at serial No.16. Yet again, in the retirement list of CIDCO employees,
the respondent's date of birth has been shown to be 2.10.1950.
list of employees retiring in the year 2006 was published on 30.9.2005 wherein
the respondent's name did not figure. In fact, it was shown that in other
documents, the year of her superannuation was shown to be 2008. Appellant had
issued a memo. The respondent replied thereto by a letter dated 19.4.2005
wherein she categorically mentioned that she had produced the copy of the birth
certificate issued by the Panvel Municipal Council on many occasions. She had
also produced copy of the graduation certificate and birth certificate from the
said Council. She, therefore, requested the appellant to accept her date of
birth as 2.10.1950.
has been made by Shri Bhasme in regard to the certificate issued by the Panvel
Municipal Council on the premise that it having itself been constituted in the
year 1976, could not have issued the said certificate; we may notice that the
Municipal Council in its letter dated 28.12.2007 issued to the Manager (Labour)
CIDCO, not only disclosed the 9 date of birth of the respondent but also her
other sisters brothers. Veracity and/or genuineness of the said certificate is
not in question.
Navare furthermore appears to be right in contending that although the
Municipal Council came into being in 1976, the statutory records of birth and
death used to be maintained by its predecessor, the Gram Panchayat. The said
statement appears to be correct as would appear from a letter dated 3.11.2006
by the Panvel Municipal Council addressed to the Manager (Labour) of the
appellant stating that the said certificate is issued as per the original
record of deaths and birth with the Municipal Council.
is of some significance to notice that the appellant for the first time, by its
office letter dated 4.10.2006 stated that the employees mentioned therein
including the respondent would retire in the month of October 2006.
We have been taken
through the order dated 26.2.2007 passed by the Manager (Personnel) of the
appellant holding the date of birth of the respondent as 2.10.1948 which runs
into 23 pages.
We may, however,
notice that the reasons assigned by the said authority are wholly unacceptable.
Some of the reasons assigned by him are perverse.
because the respondent for some time had been working in the personnel
department, the same by itself, in our opinion, cannot be held to constitute
sufficient proof to show that an interpolation was made at her instance
particularly when the certificate issued by the Panvel Municipal Council was
available with the Corporation as far back as in the year 1976.
If an allegation is
made that a lower grade employee was responsible for withholding the said
document from the higher authorities, proof therefor was necessary. It is
wholly unlikely that the seniority list of the officers which are prepared by
the higher authorities would contain the same mistake as purported to have been
committed by the lower authorities.
prima facie is bound by its own records. If any fraud is alleged, it must be
proved. Only because there appears to be a so-called interpolation, the same by
itself would not lead to a conclusion that the respondent had supplied a wrong
date of birth.
Deaths and Births register maintained by the statutory authorities raises a
presumption of correctness. Such entries made in the statutory registers are
admissible in evidence in terms of Section 35 of the Indian Evidence Act. It
would prevail over an entry made in the school register, particularly, in
absence of any proof that same was recorded at the instance of the guardian of
the respondent. [See Birad Mal Singhvi v. Anand Purohit [AIR 1988 SC 1796]
the reasons aforementioned, we do not find any merit in this appeal which is
dismissed accordingly with costs. Counsel's fee assessed at Rs.50,000/-.
[Asok Kumar Ganguly]