The Delhi High Court has allowed the plea by a woman seeking directions to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to rectify her date of birth incorrectly mentioned in her mark sheet.

The bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh begins its judgment by quoting from the 2021 Bollywood movie 'Kaagaz', a biographical drama, which as per the Court, "depicts the pangs and plight of people for papers at the pedestals of bureaucracy – the treatment that is meted out to poor people and how those without power and influence are made running from pillar to post, relegated to a life of humiliation in the quest of official documents".

The Court says that though the movie was placed in the decades of 1970s, how much the situation has improved 50 years hence, remains to be introspected.

The Court noted the contention of the petitioner-woman that her future prospects will be affected if the entry of date of birth in the mark sheet does not tally with that in the birth certificate issued by the statutory authority.

"I am of the view that, failure to exercise jurisdiction may put the petitioner to serious hardship.", the Court noted.

The instant petition revolves around the birth certificate of a woman who by the stroke of a pen got her birth year wrongly recorded as 1983 instead of 1981. In 2019, upon digitization and publication of birth records, she gained access to her birth certificate.

Thereafter she sought to get her year of birth corrected in all the official documents – from Aadhaar, Voter ID, PAN, and passport – in which she succeeded. However, her quest hit a roadblock with CBSE in the way, which declined to modify the same – and hence, the instant petition reached the High Court.

Advocate Rony John appeared for the petitioner whereas Advocates Anamika Ghai Niyazi and Arquam Ali appeared for CBSE.

The counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner submitted that the respondent-CBSE has not disputed the authenticity of the Petitioner's birth certificate. It was further submitted that no prejudice would be caused to the CBSE if the correction of the petitioner's date of birth is carried out.

The counsel for the petitioner stated that grave prejudice would be caused to the petitioner inasmuch as different documents belonging to the petitioner would reflect inconsistent date of births, which might result in various adverse legal consequences.

The Court observed that "In the instant case, it is clear from the arguments raised by learned counsel for the petitioner that the discrepancy in the date of birth as revealed in the marksheet and the birth certificate issued by the local body would result in a prejudice to the candidate, especially when employment is sought in India or abroad and especially so, when abroad studies are to be undertaken by such candidates."

The Court noted that the delay on the part of the petitioner in approaching CBSE has been properly explained.

The Court further noted that other authorities have already updated the date of birth in their documents relying upon the birth certificate.

Thus the Court directed the CBSE to correct the entries in the mark sheet of the petitioner with reference to her corresponding birth certificate.

Cause Title- Prema Evelyn Dcruz v. Union of India (Neutral Citation No: 2022/DHC/005134)

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