PRATHAPACHAHDRA VARMA Vs. STATE OF KERALA
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
STATE OF KERALA
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(1.) THE petitioner seeks to quash Ext. P-9 order passed by the 3rd respondent rejecting the petitioner's request for correction of his date of birth as entered in the school register. THE request has been rejected by the 3rd respondent on the ground that it is inadmissible as no clerical error has occurred.
(2.) THE petitioner is a young man who is stated to be aged 14 and who has passed S. S. L. C. Examination in May, 1966. According to him his correct date of birth is 4-6-1952, but it had been mistakenly entered in the school register as 28-1-1953. When the petitioner applied for admission to the pre-degree course in 1966-67 he was denied admission on the ground that he bad not attained the minimum age for admission to that course, namely 14 years as on the 1st October, 1966. It was when he was faced with this objection that he came to realise the mistake that had crept into the entry regarding his date of birth in the school register. He, therefore, applied to the Director of Public instruction, Trivandrum (3rd respondent) as per Ext. P-8 that the mistake may be rectified by entering his date of birth as 4-6-1952, which according to him is the correct date, in the place of mistaken entry, namely 28-1-1953. Along with his application he furnished (1) the birth certificate obtained from the corpoation of Trivandrum containing the birth register extract relating to him, (2) a certificate from the Government Women & Children's Hospital, Thycaud, stating that as per the obstetric register maintained in the Hospital the petitioner's mother was admitted to the hospital on 25-5-1952, delivered on 4-6-1952 and was discharged cured on 11-6-1952, and (3) a certificate from the medical Officer who attended on the petitioner's mother certifying that the delivery took place on the 4th June, 1952, at the Women and Children's hospital, Thycaud and that the child born to her was a boy who was subsequently given the name G. P. Varma.
R. 3 of Chapter VI of the Kerala Education Rules provides: " (1) The name of a pupil, his religion, and his date of birth once entered in the Admission Register shall not be altered except with the sanction of the authority specified by Government in this behalf by notification in the Gazette. Applications for such alterations and corrections should be submitted by the parent or guardian, if the pupil is still on the rolls of any school, and by the pupil himself if he is not on the rolls of any school. All such applications shall be forwarded through the headmaster with satisfactory evidence. Court fee stamps to the value of one rupee shall be affixed on such applications. (2) If the authority referred to in sub-rule (1) is satisfied after necessary enquiries that the change applied for could be granted, he will issue an order to make the alteration. The alteration shall then be made in the Admission Register and the other connected records of the schools previously attended by the pupil as well as in the school in which he was studying at the time (3) If any change of name is sanctioned after the issue of a Public Examination Certificate, the candidate concerned shall notify the change in name in the Gazette and the notification shall be attached to his certificate. " It is not disputed before me that the authority specified by Government to exercise the functions under R. 3 is the Director of Public instruction. In making the application evidenced by Ext. P -8 the petitioner had invoked the jurisdiction of the Director of Public Instruction under the aforesaid Rule. The petitioner's request was, however, turned down by the 3rd respondent without any consideration on the merits on the ground that the request for correction of the date of birth was "inadmissible as no clerical error has occurred".
In the counter-affidavit filed on behalf of the 1st respondent it is stated that the 3rd respondent rejected the petitioner's application after considering the same with reference to the rules in force regarding the correction of the date of birth. The "rules" referred to are those contained in two Government Orders G. O. (P) 586/edn. dated 17-12-1960 and G. O. Ms: 59/edn. dated 20-1-1962. Under these two orders the government appears to have issued instructions that no correction should be allowed in respect of entries relating to the age in the school register or in the school leaving certificates unless it be a correction of a clerical error. As per the order dated 20-1-1962 the Government allowed three months' time from the date of that Order to the parents and guardians of students in schools for correction of date of birth of their wards, making it clear that application for correction of date, of birth received after that date will not be entertained.
(3.) IT is not contended before me that the above two orders have been issued by Government in the exercise of any statutory power. They are certainly not rules made under the Education Act, but are mere executive orders. IT is difficult to see how the Government are competent to impose by executive orders any fetters on the discretion to be exercised by the prescribed authority under R. 3 of Chapter VI in the discharge of his statutory functions under that Rule. No restrictions or trammels can be placed on the power conferred by that Rule on the prescribed authority by a mere executive order. ' A reference to R. 3 of Chapter VI shows that the authority is empowered to make corrections or alterations in the admission register and the other connected records of the schools in case it is satisfied after necessary enquiry that the change applied for should be granted. There is no warrant for fixation of the time-limit or for restricting the correction to mere clerical errors The two Government Orders referred to above in so far as they purport to put limitations on the powers of the specified authority under R. 3 of Chapter vi are therefore invalid and cannot be given effect to as against the petitioner in this case.
The order Ext. P-9 having been passed without considering the petitioner's application on the merits and without adverting to the evidence furnished by him, has, therefore, to be quashed. I do so. The 3rd respondent is directed to restore the application to file and to pass fresh orders thereon after affording the petitioner full opportunity to make his representations before him and to substantiate his case that the original entry in the school registers is erroneous. In disposing of the application the authority should not in any manner be influenced by the circumstance that the government had. at an earlier stage rejected the application filed by the petitioner's father for effecting the correction of the petitioner's age as entered on the school register, the rejection by the Government being based on the sole ground that what was sought to be corrected was not a mere clerical error.;
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