It has been repeatedly held that if government employees sleep on their rights and are not alert, the Court cannot come to their aid/rescue and offer relief only because they were unaware of the Rules. These rulings add a new layer to the situation, namely that correcting the date of birth at the tail end will be at the expense of a significant number of employees; hence, any change at the tail end must be discouraged by the Court. The High of Court Jharkhand in the case of Lal Bahadur vs. Jamshedpur Engineering & Machine Manufacture Company Ltd. [W.P. (L) No. 374 of 2014] by Single Bench consisting of Hon’ble Shri Justice Dr S.N. Pathak.
The facts of the case are petitioner was appointed as Guard under respondent-Management. While discharging his duties, he received a letter from the respondent management whereby it was informed to the petitioner that on completion of 60 years of age, he is going to superannuate from service treating his date of birth as 01.10.1944. It is the case of the petitioner that his date of birth is 28.04.1955. Hence, the petitioner was compelled to raise an industrial dispute.
Learned counsel appearing for the petitioner vociferously argues that the Award passed by the learned Labour Court, Jamshedpur is grossly illegal and arbitrary and suffers from error apparent from the face of the record. The Award is perverse in law as well as in fact since the learned Labour Court travelled beyond the terms of reference. Learned counsel further argues that from the contents of the various documents which were exhibited before the learned Labour Court it is manifested that the concerned workman is entitled to reinstatement in services.
Learned labour court has overlooked the fact “that it is a creation of statute and it cannot be allowed to travel beyond the terms of reference.”
Learned counsel appearing for the respondent vehemently opposes the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner and submits that as per the prevalent practice and rules, the employment record of the petitioner was also prepared at the time of his appointment and in the said record, the date of birth of the petitioner was recorded as 01.10.1944 and as such, the management has superannuated him on 01.10.2004, on attaining the age of superannuation i.e., 60 years.
While relying on the apex court judgment State of M.P. v. Premlal Shrivas, it was held that “Time and again this Court has expressed the view that if a government servant requests the correction of the recorded date of birth after a lapse of a long time of his induction into the service, particularly beyond the time fixed by his employer, he cannot claim, as a matter of right, the correction of his date of birth, even if he has good evidence to establish that the recorded date of birth is erroneous. “
While dismissing the petition the court observed that “No Court or the Tribunal can come to the aid of those who sleep over their rights.” And further, it was opined that “request for change of the date of birth in the service records at the end of service is not sustainable.”