Lever Ltd. Vs. S.M. Jadhav & Anr  Insc 156 (21 March 2001)
Babu & S.N. Variava. S.N.Variava,J
Appeal is against the Order dated 24th June, 1998.
stated the facts are as follows:
of February, 1952, the 1st Respondent joined the services of M/s. Brooke Bond
Lipton India Limited (which is now amalgamated with the Appellant) as a
Salesman. In the application submitted by him the 1st Respondent showed his
date of birth as 12th of June, 1927 and his age to be 25 years. The Manager of
M/s. Brooke Bond Lipton India Ltd. issued a certificate dated 19th February, 1952 certifying that he had examined the
Matriculation Certificate and that the date of birth was 12th of June, 1927.
The Manager also certified that the age of the 1st Respondent, at that time,
was 24 years 8 months.
1st Respondent has worked with M/s. Brooke Bond Lipton India Ltd. till his
retirement. His service record, at all times, showed the date of birth as 12th
of June, 1927. The Provident Fund Booklet showed his date of birth as 12th of
June, 1927. The Annual Reports, published by the Company under Section 217 of
the Company Act, showed his date of birth as 12th of June, 1927.
from the above on 16th of November, 1981 there was a settlement between the
management of M/s. Brooke Bond Lipton India Ltd. and the All India Brooke Bond
Employees Federation. By this it was, interalia, agreed that the age of the
employees would be decided on the basis of the birth certificate and school or
university certificate. It was agreed that in future no fresh cases would be
brought up for consideration about the date of birth of an employee. The 1st
Respondent raised no dispute in respect of his date of birth at this time.
1st Respondent's date of birth was 12th of June, 1927 he was to retire, as per
the Company rules, on 1st of April, 1987. M/s. Brooke Bond Lipton India Ltd
sent a notice dated 11th November, 1986 intimating 1st Respondent that he was
due to retire on 1st of April, 1987. They eqnuired whether he wished to encash
his leave. In reply to this, the 1st Respondent, by his Advocate's letter dated
14th November, 1986, for the first time raised a
contention that his date of birth was 29th August, 1930 and not 12th June, 1927. The 1st Respondent claimed that the date of birth in the
SSC Certificate had been corrected and that the corrected date had been
informed to the Company in the year 1953 itself. At this stage to be noted that
in the Advocate's letter it is not claimed that a written intimation had been
given to the Company. M/s Broke Bond India Ltd. point out that the date of
birth in the Provident Fund Booklet and the Service record is 12th June, 1927. They reiterate that the 1st Respondent
would be retiring on 1st
1st Respondent then filed a suit in the Court of the III Additional Munsiff, Belgaum praying for a declaration that his
date of birth be corrected. In this suit he applied for an interim injunction.
The trial Court by a detailed and reasoned order refused interim injunction. In
so refusing the trial Court, interalia, observed as follows:
is the say of the plaintiff that in the year 1953 itself this was informed to
the defendant company for due correction in his service records. No documents
have been produced by the plaintiff do not disclose the fact that such an
information was given to the defendant company, if really such an information
was given, the plaintiff ought to have followed it up with some enquiry etc.,
in this connection.
is before the court to show that any correspondence was done with the defendant
company in this regard." On 1st of April, 1987, the 1st Respondent retired
and accepted his retiral benefits and dues. Thereafter on 2nd of June, 1987,
the 1st Respondent raised an industrial dispute claiming that his correct date
of birth was 29th of August, 1930. The Industrial Tribunal by its Award dated 4th October, 1993 allowed the claim of the 1st
Industrial Tribunal directed M/s Brooke Bond India Ltd. to pay full back wages
for 3 years along with consequential benefits to the 1st Respondent.
Appellant filed a Writ Petition in the High Court of Karnataka. The Writ
Petition was allowed by a Single Judge on 13th June, 1996. The Single Judge noted that the
material on record was sufficient to show that the 1st Respondent's date of
birth in the records was 12th
June, 1927 and that
only at the fag end of his career he could not be allowed to raise a dispute
regarding his date of birth.
1st Respondent filed a Writ Appeal which has been allowed by a Division Bench
by the impugned Order dated 24th June, 1998.
The Appellant have thus filed this Appeal.
have heard the parties. It is settled law that at the fag end of career, a
party cannot be allowed to raise a dispute regarding his date of birth. The
case of the 1st Respondent that he had intimated the Company in 1953 itself is
not believable. In the application, which had been filed by the 1st Respondent
he himself had given his date of birth as 12th of June, 1927 and also mentioned
that his age as 25 years. On the basis of this application and the
Matriculation Certificate the Manager had issued a certificate. Thereafter his
service record, Provident Fund Booklet and even the Annual Reports contained
the 1st Respondent's date of birth as 12th June, 1927. It is impossible to believe that
for all these years the 1st Respondent was not aware of the date of birth in
his service record or the Provident Fund Booklet. It is impossible to believe
that he has not read a single Annual Report in all these years. If, as claimed
by him, he had informed the Company in 1953, he would surely have made some
enquiry whether the service record was corrected. This would have been done, if
not earlier, at least at the time when the settlement took place between the Union and the Company.
was the time when other employees were getting their age corrected and
therefore it is impossible to believe that the 1st Respondent would not have at
that time ascertained what his date of birth was in the service record.
reliance can be placed on the letter dated 15th May, 1953. This is produced for the first
time in the High Court. There is no reference to this letter in the Advocate's
reply. In the suit, which had been filed by him, there was no reliance on any
such written intimation. The learned Judge hearing the interim application
noted that no document was produced. Significantly there is no endorsement of
the Company or proof of service of such a letter on the Company.
view, the impugned Order cannot be sustained at all. The 1st Respondent cannot
be allowed to raise such a dispute at the fag end of his career. Accordingly,
the Appeal is allowed. The impugned Order dated 24th June, 1998 is set aside. The Order of the learned Single Judge dated 13th June, 1996 is restored. There will be no order
as to costs.