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Union Of India (Uoi) Through … vs Dr. Lalit Varma S/O Late Shri M. … on 24 October, 2007

Allahabad High Court Union Of India (Uoi) Through … vs Dr. Lalit Varma S/O Late Shri M. … on 24 October, 2007Author: B Chauhan Bench: B Chauhan, A Tandon

JUDGMENT

B.S. Chauhan, J.

1. This writ petition has been filed challenging the judgment and order dated 10.02.2005 (Annex.5) passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Allahabad Bench, Allahabad (hereinafter called the ‘Tribunal’) by which a direction has been issued by the learned Tribunal to change the date of birth of the applicant-respondent No. 5 (hereinafter called the applicant-respondent) from 01.03.1959 to 13.02.1962.

2. The facts and circumstances giving rise to this case are that applicant-respondent filed an Original Application before the Tribunal seeking a direction to the respondent-petitioner to make the aforesaid correction in his date of birth on the ground that he was born in St. Stephen’s Hospital, Tis Hazari, New Delhi on 13.02.1962, however, his date of birth had been recorded as 01.03.1959 in matriculation certificate in view of the entries made in the Scholar’s register on the basis of information given by his grandfather at the time of his admission in the school. The Central Board of Secondary Education (hereinafter called the ‘CBSE’) issued a certificate in 1975 showing the date of birth of the application-respondent as 01.03.1959. He appeared in the Civil Services (Mains) Examination – 1983 wherein he mentioned in his application form that his actual date of birth was 13.02.1962. He was selected and appointed to Indian Administrative Service (hereinafter called the ‘IAS’) in the year 1984 and allocated the State of Uttar Pradesh. After completion of probation period, he made a representation on 07.08.1987 for correction of his date of birth, followed by a reminder dated 24.12.1987. The said representation was rejected by the Government of India vide order dated 22.04.1988 and the same was communicated to the applicant-respondent on 07.10.1989. The applicant-respondent made another representation dated 26.09.1990 seeking correction of his date of birth. As the said representation was not dealt with, he filed the Original Application No. 22 of 1991 before the Lucknow Bench of the Tribunal, which was later on transferred to the Allahabad Bench and registered as Original Application No. 54 of 1999. In the meanwhile, the applicant-respondent filed Civil Suit No. 870 of 1993 in the Court of Munsif, Azamgarh for declaration that his correct date of birth was 3.02.1962. The sole defendant therein CBSE did not enter appearance. The Civil Court passed an exparte judgment and decree dated 06.01.1994 declaring that his correct date of birth was 13.02.1962 and not 1st March, 1959. The CBSE was directed to make necessary amendment/correction in the certificate. The CBSE filed an application under Order 9 Rule 13 of the Code of Civil Procedure (hereinafter called the ‘CPC’) for setting aside the exparte decree, however, the said application was rejected vide order dated 02.02.1996. Against the said order, a revision was preferred by the CBSE which was also dismissed by the VIIth Additional District Judge, Azamgarh vide order dated 06.12.1996 and, in pursuance thereof, appropriate corrections had been carried out by the CBSE. Therefore, applicant-respondent was entitled for the benefits of the said Civil Court’s decree.

3. The Union of India contested the application on various grounds, inter-alia, that the said judgment and decree of the Civil Court, Azamgarh was not binding on it as the Union of India was not a party to the Suit; the said applicant-respondent had passed all the examinations, i.e. Higher Secondary, MBBS in 1975 and 1980 respectively showing his date of birth as 1st March, 1959. The applicant-respondent appeared in the Combined Medical Services Examination – 1981 and was selected, however, he did not join the service. He was selected and appointed in Indian Police Service (hereinafter called the IPS’) in 1983 on the basis of Civil Services Examination – 1982 and thereafter, he was selected and appointed in Indian Administrative Service (hereinafter called the ‘IAS’) in 1984 on the basis of the Civil Services Examination – 1983. Had his correct date of birth been 13.02.1962, he could not have even applied what to talk of selection in the IPS on the basis of Civil Services Examination – 1982. The affidavit filed by the petitioner’s father dated 27.08.1965 before the Appropriate Authority made it clear that the applicant-respondent has three brothers and sisters. His sister Kapila was born on 05.03.1955, his brother Rakesh was born on 27.03.1957, the applicant-respondent was born on 01.03.1959 and his younger brother Sudhir was born on 14.02.1962. In case the Judgment of the Civil Court is upheld, the petitioner would be only one day elder to his younger brother Sudhir. No satisfactory proof in respect of age of his younger brother Sudhir Prasad has been adduced before this Court. The application filed by the him for correction of date of birth was rejected in view of the provisions contained in Sub-rule (1) of Rule 16-A of the All Indian Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules, 1958 (hereinafter called the ‘Rules 1958’), which provides that the date of birth once accepted by the Central Government shall not be subject to any alteration except where it is established that a bona fide clerical mistake has been committed in accepting the date of birth under Sub-rule (2) or sub-rule (3) thereof. Further reliance has been placed upon the notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms dated 17th December, 1983, according to which once a date of birth claimed by a candidate is entered in the record of the Commission for the purposes of admission to an examination, no change shall be allowed subsequently or at any other examination of the Commission. Therefore, it had been contended on behalf of the Union of India that once he had shown his date of birth in the Civil Services Examination – 1982 as 01.03.1959, in subsequent examinations, it could not have been altered or the applicant-respondent could not have been permitted to give any other date of birth or two dates of birth.

The Tribunal allowed the Original Application issuing a mandamus to the Union of India to alter the date of birth of the applicant-respondent from 01.03.1959 to 13.02.1962. Hence the present writ petition.

4. We have heard Shri K.C. Sinha, learned Assistant Solicitor General of India for the petitioner; Shri R.N. Singh, learned Senior Advocate, with Shri Arjun Singhal, and Shri G.S. Hajela for the respondents.

5. The main thrust of the argument on behalf of the writ petitioner has been that the judgment and decree of the Civil Court was not binding on the Union of India as it was not a party before the Civil Court. The territorial jurisdiction of the Civil Court at Azamgarh to correct the date of birth in the school certificate issued by the CBSE at New Delhi remained doubtful as the applicant-respondent was born in Delhi, got the education at the School in Delhi. No cause of action, partly or fully, had arisen within its jurisdiction and the same was not examined by the said Civil Court. In such a fact situation, the exparte judgment and decree could not be held to be a judgment in remain view of the provisions of Sections 40 and 42 of the Evidence Act. The judgment and decree had been obtained on the basis of horoscope which itself is a document of very weak nature and any document procured subsequent to the date of birth entered in the service book is not worth reliable. The date of birth is to be corrected at the earliest, i.e. within a reasonable period from the date of entry in service. Once the Union of India has rejected the application for correction of date of birth in view of the provisions contained in Sub-rule (4) of Rule 16-A of the Rules 1958 vide order dated 22.04.1988, the question of entertaining the repeated representations could not arise as the order of rejection had been communicated to the applicant-respondent on 07.10.1989. The applicant-respondent did not challenge the order dated 22.04.1988 at any stage before any appropriate forum, which had attained finality and, therefore, the question of issuing any mandamus by any Court or Tribunal without setting side the said order could not arise. During the pendency of the Original Application, there was no occasion for the applicant-respondent to file a Civil Suit and get an exparte judgment and decree in respect of the same subject matter and that too without impleading the Union of India as a party as it amounted to abuse of process of the Court. The Tribunal had erred in holding that the applicant-respondent did not take any benefit from the date of birth disclosed in the earlier forms and applications, as admittedly the applicant-respondent had been appointed to IPS and remained in active service till the date of his termination from IPS vide order dated 06.12.1984 for joining in IAS, therefore, the judgment and order impugned is liable to be set aside.

6. On the contrary, Shri R.N. Singh, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the applicant-respondent has submitted that insufficiency or inadequacy of evidence cannot be a ground of judicial review. Once the Tribunal has examined all the documents and contentions raised by the present petitioner, this Court cannot act as an appellate forum. There was sufficient material before the Tribunal in addition to the judgment and decree of the Civil Court on the basis of which the application has been allowed. Therefore, there is no occasion for this Court to interfere with the findings of fact recorded by the Tribunal. The petition is liable to be dismissed.

7. We have considered the rival submissions made by learned Counsel for the parties and perused the record. So far as the issue of correction of date of birth is concerned, the law is crystal clear as the said issue has been examined by the Courts time and again.

8. It is settled proposition of law that the date of birth entered in the service-record cannot be corrected at a belated stage. Where the date of birth entry remains in existence for a long time, the same does not require to be disturbed on any ground whatsoever. The onus is on the employee-applicant to prove about the wrong recording of his date of birth in his service record by adducing irrefutable evidence. Court has to insist for clear, clinching and unimpeachable evidence in this regard because the relief sought by an employee, if granted, may entail chain reaction hampering promotional prospects of junior officers and may cause an irreparable injury to them. Vide Union of India v. Harnam Singh ; Secretary & Commissioner, Home Deptt. and Ors. v. R. Kirubakaran ; Chief Medical Officer v. Khadeer Khadri ; Union of India and Ors. v. Kantilal Hematram Pandya ; Burn Standard Co. Ltd. and Ors. v. Dinabandhu Majumdar and Anr. ; Collector of Madras and Anr. v. K. Rajamanickam ; Union of India and Ors. v. Saroj Bala (Mrs) ; Union of India v. Ram Suia Sharma ; State of Orissa and Ors. v. Shri Ramanath Patnaik ; G.M. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. West Bengal v. Shib Kumar Dushad and Ors. ; Hindustan Lever Ltd. v. S.M. Jadhav and Anr. ; Cement Corporation of India Ltd. v. Raghbir Singh and Anr. ; State of U.P. v. Smt. Gulaichi ; State of U.P. and Anr. v. Shiv Narain Upadhyaya ; and State of Gujarat v. Vali Mohd. Dosabhai Sindhi .

9. In U.P. Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad v. Raj Kumar Agnihotri , the Apex Court held that an application for correction of date is to be dealt with giving strict adherence to the Rules, if any, framed in this regard and particularly in respect of limitation etc.

10. In State of Madhya Pradesh and Ors. v. Mohan Lal Sharma , the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that while examining the issue of correction of date of birth, the Court must be very slow in accepting the case of applicant if issue has been agitated at a much belated stage and it must examine the pros and cons involved in the case even if not raised by the parties. In the said case the Tribunal had allowed application for correcting the date of birth placing reliance on the Horoscope and a certificate issued by the retired Head Master of the School showing a different date of birth. The Apex Court reversed the said judgment observing that if it was allowed the applicant would have joined the service when he was less than 18 years of age, and therefore, accepting such an application would amount to sanctifying his illegal entrance in service. The Court further observed that no reliance could be placed upon the said certificate and Horoscope at all.

11. In State of Punjab v. Mohinder Singh , the Supreme Court held that horoscope is a very weak piece of material to prove age of a person. A very heavy onus lies on the person, who wants to press it into service, to prove its authenticity. It requires to be proved in terms of Section 32(5) of the Evidence Act by examining the person having special means of knowledge as regards authenticity of date, time etc. mentioned therein, and in that context, horoscopes have been held to be inadmissible for proof of age. For that purpose, reliance has been placed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on the judgments in Mt. Biro v. Atma Ram and Ors. AIR 1937 PC 101 and also on the judgment of the Calcutta High Court in Satish Chandra, Mukhopadhyaya v. Mohindra Lal Pathak ILR 97 Cal 849.

12. In Union of India v. Kantilal Hemantram Pandiya , the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that the Court must be very vigilant in placing reliance on a document or certificate of date of birth which had been brought into existence for the benefit of the pending proceedings as the correctness and genuineness of such a certificate is not free from doubt and the same might have been obrained for getting the relief by such an applicant. Similar view has been reiterated in R.S. Mehrotra v. Central Government Industrial Tribunal 1991 (63) FLR 76; Maharastra State Electricty Board v. Sakharam Sitaram Shinde 1996 (72) FLR 562; and Nagar Mahapalika Bareilly v. Labour Court, Bareilly and Anr. 1995 (71) FLR 950.

13. In Union of India v. C. Rama Swami and Ors. , the Apex Court considered the application of the provision of Rule 16-A of the Rules 1958 while examining a similar issue and held that the date of birth as recorded in the service book as declared by an officer in the application for recruitment has to be accepted as correct by the Central Government and, this can be altered only if under Sub-rule (4) of the Rules 1958, it is established that a bona fide clerical mistake had been committed in accepting the date of birth and once an application has been rejected, it would be a case that there was no bona fide clerical mistake which had been committed. The Court further held as under: In such a case, even in the absence of a statutory rule, like Rule 16-A, the principle of estoppel would apply and the authorities concerned would be justified in declining to alter the date of birth…. Once having secured entry into the service, possibly in preference to other candidates, then the principle of estoppel would clearly be applicable and relief of change of date of birth can be legitimately denied.

14. In view of the above, the law can be summarised that an application for correcting the date of birth can be entertained at the initial stage of service and if any statutory Rule/Executive Instructions/Government Order provides for a limitation within which the application can be entertained, it is not permissible for the employer to entertain the application after expiry of the said limitation. There must be evidence of unimpeachable character to support the application. Horoscope or certificate issued by the third parties should not be preferred over the date of birth mentioned in the school certificates. Documents prepared/procured at a stage subsequent to joining the service should not be relied upon without examining their genuineness as there is always a possibility of fabricating the documents to support a bogus claim by an employee. Such an application is liable to be rejected, if as per the correction sought, entry of the applicant in service itself becomes bad, i.e. being minor or below the age prescribed in the relevant Rules. The onus to prove about the wrong recording of the date of birth is always on the employee-applicant.

Rule 16-A of the Rules 1958 reads as under:

16-A Acceptance of date of birth-

16A(1) For the purpose of determination of the date of superannuation of a member of the service, such date shall be calculated with reference to the date of his birth as accepted by the Central Government under this rule.

16A(2) In relation to a person appointed, after the commencement of the All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Amendment Rules, 1971

(a) Indian Administrative Service under Clause (a) or Clause (aa) of Sub-rule (1) of Rule 4 of the Indian Administrative Service (Recruitment) Rules, 1954; or

(b) the Indian Police Service under Clause (a) or Clause (aa) of Sub-rule (1) of Rule 4 of

the Indian Police Service (Recruitment) Rules, 1954; or

(c) the Indian Forest Service under Clause (a) or Clause (aa) of Sub-rule (2) of Rule 4 of the Indian Forest Service (Recruitment) Rules, 1966;

the date of birth as declared by such person in the application for recruitment to the service shall be accepted by the Central Government as the date of birth of such person.

16A(3) In relation to a person to whom Sub-rule (2) does not apply, the date of birth as recorded in the service book or other similar official document maintained by the concerned government shall be accepted by the Central Government, as the date of birth of such person.

16A(4) The date of birth as accepted by the Central Government shall not be subject to any alteration except where it is established that a bonafide clerical mistake has been committed in accepting the date of birth under Sub-rule (2) or (3).

15. The relevant part of the notification dated 17th December, 1983 which provides for rules for competitive examination – Civil Services Examination to be held by Union Public Service Commission, provides as under:

The date of birth accepted by the Commission is that entered in the Matriculation or Secondary School Leaving Certificate or in a certificate recognised by an Indian University as equivalent to Matriculation or in an extract from a Register of Matriculates maintained by a University, which extract must be certified by the proper authority of the University or in the Higher Secondary or an equivalent examination certificate. These certificates are required to be submitted only at the time of applying for the Civil Services (Main) Examination.

No other document relating to age like horoscopes, affidavits, birth extracts from Municipal Corporation, service records and the like will be accepted.

Note 1. – …. ….

Note 2.- Candidates should also, note that once a date of birth has been claimed by them and entered in the records of the Commission for the purpose of admission to an Examination, no change will be allowed subsequently or at any other Examination of the Commission.

16. In the instant case, the petitioner’s date of birth had been shown in all the school registers as 1st March, 1959, he filled up his application form pertaining to Indian Civil Services examination – 1982 showing his date of birth as 1st March. 1959. Even after joining the service, his first objection was filed in 1987 and it was rejected. The said applicant-respondent did not challenge the said order dated 22.04.1988 and the same attained finality. Therefore, there was no question to entertain any representation subsequent thereto.

14. So far as the issue of repeated representations are concerned, a Constitution Bench of the Hon’ble Apex Court in Rabindra Nath Bose and Ors v. Union of India and Ors. , while considering the case of repeated representations, held as under: He says that the representations were being received by the government all the time. But there is a limit to the time which can be considered reasonable for making representations. If the Government has turned down one representation, the making of another representation on similar lines would not enable the petitioners to explain the delay.

In Swatantar Singh v. State of Haryana and Ors. . while dealing with a similar case as is in hand, the Hon’ble Apex Court held as under:

The Appellate Authority duly considered and rejected the contention of the petitioner. Repeated representation could render little service. Rejection, therefore, is neither arbitrary nor illegal.

18. In view of the above, we fail to understand that in case the applicant-respondent did not challenge the order dated 22.04.1988 passed by the Government of India, how he could submit further representation and how the exparte judgment and decree of the Civil Court could help him, particularly in view of the fact that the Union of India was not impleaded as party. Our view stands fortified by the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Director of Technical Education and Anr. v. Smt. K. Sitadevi wherein the Court has categorically held that the judgment and decree of a Civil Court was not binding on the Department for the reason that it was not a party to the Suit. The said judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court was followed by the Division Bench of this Court in Prof. Mohd. Zameeruddin Siddiqui v. Executive Council, Aligarn Muslim University, Aligarh and Anr. 1996 (1) ESC 239. This Court also held that in such a fact situation, it becomes the duty of the party to furnish particulars regarding the date of birth of his other family members as in the said case, this Court refused to accept the averments made on behalf of the petitioner therein as he would become younger to his younger brother as per the date of birth shown in the service book of his younger brother. The said judgment has been upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court as is evident from the judgment in Mohd. Zameeruddin Siddiqui v. Executive Council Aligarh Muslim University and Anr. .

19. The question of binding nature of the certificate duly corrected by the CBSE on the basis of judgment and decree of the Civil Court is also not reliable/worth consideration for the simple reason that we are very much doubtful about the territorial jurisdiction of the Civil Court at Azamgarh as neither the said applicant-respondent got education in the said district or in the State of Uttar Pradesh or the CBSE was having any office at Azamgarh. More so, in view of the provisions contained in Section 20 CPC, the Court may not have jurisdiction as no cause of action, partly or fully, had arisen within its territorial jurisdiction. It is beyond our imagination as for what purpose, the suit had been filed in 1993 when the applicant-respondent had already filed the Original Application before the Tribunal in 1991 and even in that application, the applicant-respondent did not ask for quashing of the order of the Government of India dated 22.04.1988.

20. The provisions of Sections 41 to 43 of the Evidence Act make it clear that if a judgment of the Court is a judgment in rem, it is binding in subsequent proceedings on that issue though the parties may not be the same. But if it is a judgment in personam, it does not have any binding effect in subsequent proceedings. This issue was considered by the Privy Council in Mahomed Saddique Yousuf v. Official Assignee of Calcutta AIR 1943 PC 130, wherein it was held that in proceedings of insolvency, an order passed on adjudication is of a binding nature being a judgment in rem and a person, who may not be a party in the insolvency proceedings, cannot challenge the said order for the reason that the order of adjudication was conclusive in nature and cannot be disputed.

21. In Surinder Kumar and Ors. v. Gian Chand and Ors. , the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that probate of the Will operates as a judgment in rem, therefore, the objection that the parties in any subsequent proceedings were not parties to it, is not sustainable because of the nature of the judgment.

22. In Gurdit Singh and Ors. v. State of Punjab and Ors. , the Supreme Court explained as under:

A judgment of a court is an affirmation, by the authorised societal agent of the State, speaking by the warrant of law and in the name of the State, of the legal consequences attending of proved or admitted state of facts. Its declaratory, determinative and adjudicatory function is its distinctive characteristic. Its recording gives an official certification to a pre-existing relation or establishes a new one on pre-existing grounds.

23. In State of Bihar and Ors. v. Sri Radha Krishna Singh and Ors. , the Hon’ble Supreme Court, while considering the scope of provisions of Sections 13 and 41 to 43 of the Act, to prove the admissibility of the earlier judgment, observed as under:

Some courts have used Section 13 to prove the admissibility of a judgment as coming under the provisions of Section 43…. We are, however, of the opinion that where there is a specific provision covering the admissibility of a document, it is not open to the court to call into aid other general provisions in order to make a particular document admissible. In other words, if a judgment is not admissible as not falling within the ambit of Sections 40 to 42, it must fulfil the conditions of Section 43 otherwise it cannot be relevant under Section 13 of the Evidence Act. The words ‘other provisions of this Act’ cannot cover Section 13 because this section does not deal with judgments at all.

It is also well settled that a judgment in rem like judgments passed in probate, insolvency, matrimonial or guardianship or other similar proceedings, is admissible in all cases whether such judgments are inter parties or not. In the instant case, however, all the documents consisting of judgments filed are not judgments in rem and, therefore, the question of their admissibility on that basis does not arise. As mentioned earlier, the judgments filed as Exhibits in the instant case, are judgments in personam and, therefore, they do not fulfil the conditions mentioned in Section 41 of the Evidence Act.

The Court further summarised the law as under:

(1) A judgment in rem e.g. judgments or orders passed in admiralty, probate proceedings, etc., would always be admissible irrespective of whether they are inter parties or not.

(2) Judgments in personam not inter parties are not at all admissible in evidence except for the three purposes mentioned above.

(3) On a parity of aforesaid reasoning, the recitals in a judgment like findings given in appreciation of evidence made or arguments or genealogies referred to in the judgment would be wholly inadmissible in a case where neither the plaintiff nor the defendant were parties.

(4) The probative value of documents which, however ancient they may be, do not disclose sources of their information or have not achieved sufficient notoriety is precious little.

(5) Statements, declarations or depositions, etc., would not be admissible if they are post litem motam.

While deciding the said case, the Court took into consideration the judgments in Kesho Prasad Singh Bahadur v. Bhagjogna Kuer AIR 1937 PC 69; and Coco-cola Company of Canada Ltd. v. Pepsi-Cola Co. of Canada Ltd. AIR 1942 PC 40.

24. In Raje Anandrao v. Shamrao and Ors. , the Supreme Court held that suit under Section 92 of the Code is of public nature and unless the scheme of administration or modification thereof regarding administration of the temple not affecting the private rights of Pujaris who are not parties to the suit, is binding on them. Similar view has been reiterated in Ahmed Adam Sait and Ors. v. M.E. Makhri and Ors. AIR 1964 SC 107, observing that when a representative suit is brought and decree is passed in such a suit, law assumes that all persons, who have the same interest as the plaintiffs in the representative suit, were represented by the said plaintiffs and, therefore, are constructively barred, by the res-judicata, from re-agitating the matters directly or substantively in issue in the said suit. A similar rule follows if the suit is either filed or defended under Order 1 Rule 8 of the Code. In that case, persons either suing or defending an action, are doing so in a representative capacity and, so, the decree passed in such a suit binds all those whose interests were represented either by the plaintiffs or by the defendant.

25. In Sunni Central Board of Waqf, U.P. v. Sirajul Haq Khan and Ors. , a Division Bench of this Court held that a suit under Section 92 of the Code can be maintained only in respect of public trust of a permanent character and the judgment in such a suit would be a judgment in rem and not a judgment in personam. Therefore, such a judgment is admissible in any other subsequent suit and it is not open to any party to challenge the permanent public nature of the trust.

26. In Vempa Sunanda v. Vempa Venkata Subbarao AIR 1957 AP 424, the Division Bench of Andhra Pradesh High Court held that a decree dissolving a marriage determines the status of the parties and is equivalent to a judgment in rem.

27. Therefore, it depends upon the nature of the proceedings and where the matters are of public nature, the judicial decision may be evidence though not conclusive of what they say, but where the matters are not of public nature, such evidence is not admissible as having binding effect. Therefore, decree like declaration of marriage as or nullity in probate or insolvency proceedings, determination of customary rights, being matters of public nature, the judgments are in rem and, therefore, may be admissible but where the question of status of joint family or a suit for restitution of conjugal right, order in lunacy, judgment under Section 42 of the Specific Relief Act or declaration of a person to be a partner in a firm or proceedings of partition suit or in case of adoption, as the judgments are not of a public nature, the same are in personam and the judgments are not admissible if the parties are not the same.

28. A judgment in rem means an adjudication pronounced upon the status of a person or thing, by a competent court to the word generally. But it is not conclusive proof of the facts constituting the reasons for the decision. In such circumstance, the order is conclusive only as regards the status but not as regards the grounds on which it is based.

29. Section 41 of the Evidence Act deals with the judgment in rem. Section 42 of the Evidence Act deals with matters relating to public nature and forms The exception in the general principle of res-judicata is partially embodied in Section 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

30. However, in Smt. Satya v. Teja Singh , the Supreme Court placing reliance upon its earlier judgment in R. Viswanathan v. Rukn-UI-Mulk Syed Abdul Majid , held as under:

Section 41 of the Indian Evidence Act provides, to the extent material, that a final judgment of the competent court, in the exercise of matrimonial jurisdiction, is conclusive proof that a legal character, which it confers or takes away, accrued or ceased at the time declared in the judgment for that purpose. But the judgment has to be of a competent court, i.e. a court having jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter. Even a judgment in rem is, therefore, open to attack on the ground that the Court, which gave it, had no jurisdiction to do so.

(Emphasis added).

In the instant case the Tribunal referred to the issue in a cursory manner but did not examine it in an appropriate manner as to whether the Court had jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

31. The specific plea taken by the Union of India before the Tribunal had been that in case the applicant’s date of birth was 13.02.1962, he was ineligible to appear in the examinations of the CBSE in 1975 at the age of 13 years or the Medical College or for the Civil Services Examination – 1982 for the reasons that for each examination, a minimum age has been prescribed. The Tribunal has made an observation that even if there was a bar for appearing in the CBSE prior to completing a particular age, the Board could have relaxed the age and the Union of India failed to produce any specific Rules prescribing the minimum age for appearance in the said examination. It was the duty of the applicant-respondent to prove his case by adducing sufficient material and to provide the Rules. The Tribunal has also brushed aside another averment, that is, in case his date of birth was 13.02.1962, he could not apply for the Civil Services Examination – 1982 as he was selected and remained in active service of IPS till 06.12.1984, without dealing with it. The Tribunal failed to appreciate that applicant-respondent, had challenged his date of birth recorded in the service records and therefore, the onus to prove the issue was on him and not upon the Union of India. The Tribunal erred in not appreciating that the case of the applicant had to stand on its own legs and not on the discrepancies/deficiencies in the evidence of the opposite party.

32. Petitioner has filed the copy of the affidavit filed by applicant-respondent’s father in 1965 showing the dates of birth of all his four children, according to which his younger brother Suresh Prasad was born on 14.02.1962 and, thus, his date of birth could not be 13.02.1962. This has not properly been explained/denied by the applicant-respondent as it has been stated that the issue was not agitated before the Tribunal. In reply to the averments made in paragraphs 23 and 24 of the writ petition, he has explained that the affidavit given by his father was wrong as no child was born on 14.0.21962. In support of his averments, he has filed the copy of the certificate issued by the Head Master of the Sainik School, Nagrota dated 13.01.2006, according to which his younger brother Sudhir Prasad joined the said School on 18.09.1972 in sixth class and his date of birth was 14.02.1963. He left the said school in 1980 after passing the examination of 11th class. The applicant-respondent has not filed any certificate or copy of the school register where his younger brother was initially admitted in class one. Therefore, the documents cannot be relied and it does not appeal to reason that the affidavit given by his father, who was a teacher, could be false.

33. It is not disputed that in the form submitted by the applicant-respondent in the examination of 1982, he had shown his date of birth as 1st March, 1959 and that in case his date of birth was 13.02.1962, he was ineligible to appear in the Civil Services Examination-1982 being below 21 years of age. Once the applicant-respondent joined the service in pursuance of the said application form and enjoyed the benefit thereof, there was no occasion for him, under any circumstance, to seek change in his date of birth in view of the notification dated 17.12.1983, which puts a complete embargo in changing the date of birth in the forms to be filled up for subsequent examinations. The findings of fact recorded by the Tribunal to the effect that the applicant derived no advantage or benefit of the Civil Services Examination – 1982 on the basis of his selection to IPS is perverse as it is admitted fact that the applicant-respondent was in active service in IPS after selection till his service in IPS was terminated vide order dated 06.12.1984 to join the IAS in pursuance of the Civil Services Examination – 1983. The Tribunal has recorded the following finding: The respondents have also not brought on record any order by the Central Government accepting 01.03.1959 as the applicant’s date of birth, either on the basis of any entry in the service book or other similar official documents maintained by the concerned department. In fact the date of birth has not been mentioned in the service book.

34. Had the case been so, we fail to understand as what was the occasion for the applicant-respondent to make an application for change of his date of birth in the service record and what was the occasion for him to file a Civil suit or seek a writ of mandamus from the Tribunal to change the date of birth from 01.03.1959 to 13.02.1962. The admission of recording of date of birth in the service record of the applicant-respondent as 01.03.1959 is admitted in view of the rejection of his application for correction of date of birth vide order dated 22.04.1988, which was never challenged by the applicant-respondent and it attained finality. The aforesaid aspect of the matter had been completely lost sight of by the Tribunal and, thus, there has been complete misreading of Rule 16-A (4) of the Rules 1958. The cumulative effect of the provisions of Rule 16-A (4) of Rules 1958 read with notification dated 17lh December, 1983 makes it abundantly clear and leaves no room for doubt that the date of birth given by the applicant-respondent in the first application form cannot be changed while filling up the application forms for subsequent examinations and these forms in themselves are referable to Clause 16A(3) of the Rules 1958 for the purpose of date of birth of the candidate.

35. Despite specific query of the Court, learned Senior Counsel for the applicant-respondent could not point out any cause of action or part thereof, which may have arisen within the territorial jurisdiction of the district Court Azamgarh for initiation of suit proceedings for correction of date of birth in the CBSE examination certificate during the pendency of the Original Application before the Tribunal except that the applicant had been posted as District Collector and only reply given is that the issue of jurisdiction is to be raised at the first instance. Since the Union of India was not a party before the Suit proceedings, it has rightly raised the issue before us.

36. On the basis of the above, we reach the following inescapable conclusions:

(i). The date of birth of the applicant-respondent had been recorded as 01.03.1959 in the school registers.

(ii). The applicant-respondent filled up the forms for examinations in CBSE, Medical Course and for Civil Services Examination – 1982 mentioning his date of birth as 01.03.1959.

(iii). The applicant-respondent was selected for Medical Service, though did not join, and subsequently for IPS on the basis of Civil Services Examination – 1982 and remained in active service till his selection in IAS on the basis of his date of birth as 01.03.1959. Thus, he has taken the benefit of his date of birth filled up by him in the application form for the Civil Services Examination – 1982.

(iv). While filling up application form for the Civil Services Examination – 1983, first time the applicant-respondent had shown his two dates of birth – 01.03.1959 (contested) and 13.02.1962 (actual). There is nothing on record to show as how could it be a contested one as it is no one’s case that the applicant-respondent had made any application before any forum for change of date of birth or made any representation for changing his date of birth already recorded in the service records. No explanation could be furnished by his learned Counsel as under what circumstances such a remark had been made and the applicant-respondent could give two dates of birth in the application form.

(v). Representation submitted by the applicant-respondent for correcting the date of birth stood rejected by the Government of India vide order dated 22.04.1988, which had never been challenged and it also attained finality.

(vi). The representation subsequent to 22.04.1988 for change of his date of birth was meaningless and could not be entertained.

(vii). The applicant-respondent filed Original Application in 1991 without challenging the order dated 22.04.1988 rejecting his representation for change of date of birth, seeking a mandamus to correct his date of birth and relied upon the correction made by the CBSE in pursuance of the judgment and decree of the Civil Court.

(viii). No explanation could be furnished as under what circumstances, during the pendency of the Original Application, the suit could be filed for the same relief that too without impleading the Union of India. Though the suit had been decreed exparte but the jurisdiction of the Civil Court at Azamgarh remained doubtful as admittedly the applicant-respondent was born at Delhi, got his education at Delhi, CBSE was having its office at Delhi and no cause of action, partly or fully, had arisen within the territorial jurisdiction of the Civil Court at Azamgarh. The only explanation furnished by his counsel is that he was posted there as District Collector and issue of jurisdiction cannot be agitated at this stage.

(ix). If the jurisdiction of the Civil Court becomes doubtful, the said judgment and decree cannot be held to be a judgment in rem.

(x). The Tribunal erred in placing the onus of proof on the Union of India that the applicant-respondent was not competent to pass the CBSE examination at the age of 13 years or to join the Medical College at such a young age for the reason that for such a course, minimum age is prescribed. As the issue had been agitated by the applicant-respondent for correcting his date of birth, the onus was definitely upon him to prove that his date of birth had wrongly been recorded and not upon the Union of India.

(xi). Averments made by the petitioner that the applicant-respondent’s father had filed an affidavit in 1965 showing the dates of birth of all his four children, according to which, if the case is accepted, the applicant-respondent would be only one day elder to his younger brother, has been denied in his reply by the applicant-respondent stating that this issue has not been agitated before the Tribunal and further that his father’s affidavit was false.

(xii). In case the judgment of the Tribunal is upheld, the applicant-respondent was not eligible for appearing in the Civil Services Examination – 1982 on the basis of which, he was selected and appointed in IPS.

In view of the above, the petition succeeds and is allowed. The order dated 10.02.2005 passed by the respondent No. 6 is hereby set aside. In the facts and circumstances of the case, there shall be no order as to costs.

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