Decided on September 25,1972



SALIL KUMAR DATTA, J. - (1.)THE petitioner is a member of Class I staff of the Damodar Valley Corporation, at the material time being an Executive Engineer in the office of the General Superintendent, Transmission, Maithon. The petitioner was originally appointed as a direct 'recruit' on May 10, 1954, and thereafter, he was appointed in the permanent post of assistant engineer, electrical, with effect from March 1, 1960. This will also appear from paragraph 6 of the affidavit -in -opposition as also the annexure 'G' (letter of the corporation dated the 16th August, 1966). At the time the petitioner joined his service his date of birth was recorded on the basis of a birth certificate issued by the Rajpur Municipality as November 4, 1915. This date of birth was also accepted and recorded in the gradation lists subsequently published by the corporation from time to time.
(2.)IT appears that the petitioner on the requisition of the corporation forwarded to it his matriculation certificate which showed that his date of birth as November 1,1914. The petitioner by his representations stated that the age as recorded in the matriculation certificate was incorrect and his real age was as recorded in his birth certificate issued by the municipality. Under the provisions of the Damodar Valley Corporation Service Regulations, the petitioner was to retire on attaining the age of 58 years. The corporation by its letter dated March 9, 1972 (annexure L) informed the petitioner's lawyer that the age recorded in the matriculation certificate was to prevail and that the decision arrived at, on the basis of its circular providing for acceptance only of the matriculation certificate if available as the conclusive evidence of age, was final and that no alteration at this stage was permissible or practicable. Accordingly the petitioner was to retire on October 31, 1972.
The petitioner contended that the circular regarding verification of age (annexure 'I' to the petition) issued by the Director of Personnel on June 15, 1965 did not apply to him. There was another circular (annexure J.) dated September 29, 1965 in which the procedure to be adopted for verification of age was laid down. It provided, inter alia, that where an employee had passed the matriculation examination, the age recorded in the certificate of that examination should only be accepted. It was further provided therein that the said procedure should be observed in the cases of employees whose age had not been verified. By this circular the earlier circular referred to above was superseded. The petitioner contended that this circu lar is not legal and valid and it did not apply to him. Further, it was contended that in calculating the age on the basis of date of birth as recorded in the matriculation certificate, the respondents violated the principles of natural justice inasmuch as they did not afford the petitioner an opportunity to explain the discrepancy in age in the two certificates as the age recorded in the matriculation certificate was obviously incorrect. It was contended that the above circular was ultra vires the Service Regulations of the corporation, and, accordingly, it did not affect tenure of office of the petitioner under the corporation and the petitioner was entitled to be in service of the corporation till he attained fifty -eight years of age as provided in the service regulations on the basis of the municipal birth certificate.

(3.)ON the above allegations the petitioner moved this Court in Constitutional Writ Jurisdiction and prayed for a writ in the nature of mandamus calling upon the respondents to annul or rescind or forbear from giving effect to the annexures 'L' and 'L -I' to the petition which showed that the corporation was purporting to act on the basis of age as recorded in the matriculation certificate, and further that the petitioner was to retire from the service of the corporation on the afternoon of October 31, 1972, the date on which, it is said, the petitioner would attain the age of superannuation. On the above application this rule was issued on April 21, 1972.

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