The Supreme Court reiterated that an application for the change of date of birth by an employee cannot be claimed as a matter of right.

The Court held that an employee should not be permitted to raise a claim for back wages almost after a decade based on principles of estoppel. The Court observed that the employee’s actions, including the delayed disclosure of a revised date of birth and the absence of documentary evidence, was a “well-thought out plan hatched by him.

Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah observed, “the much-delayed disclosure of the date of birth as 12.03.1955 by the respondent no.3, coupled with his initial declaration and the admitted position that based on such initial declaration, he had received employment, as otherwise based on 12.03.1955, he could not have been legally appointed due to being under-age, there is no manner of doubt that the respondent no.3, irrespective of his real date of birth, for the purpose of employment under the appellant, cannot be allowed the purported rectification/correction of date of birth to 12.03.1955.

Sr. Advocate Ranjit Kumar represented the appellant, while AOR Deepanwita Priyanka appeared for the respondents.

The Court relied on the decision in Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited v. T P Nataraja, (2021) 12 SCC 27 where the Court shed light on Karnataka State Servants (Determination of Age) Act, 1974 to discuss the law regarding the change of date of birth:

  • application for change of date of birth can only be as per the relevant provisions/regulations applicable;
  • even if there is cogent evidence, the same cannot be claimed as a matter of right;
  • application can be rejected on the ground of delay and laches also more particularly when it is made at the fag-end of service and/or when the employee is about to retire on attaining the age of superannuation.

M/S Barsua Iron Ore Mines had filed an SLP to contest the judgment of the Orissa High Court, which upheld the decision of the Central Government Industrial Tribunal/Labour Court (Tribunal) regarding an employee's date of birth.

The employee, who had been working as a Piece Rated Mazdoor with the company, had initially declared his date of birth as December 27, 1948. However, in subsequent submissions, he claimed a different date of birth for the purpose of grant of back wages.

The Court remarked, “His conduct cannot be simply brushed aside on a plea that there was an error on the part of the appellant in recording his date of birth. Another doubt cast on the conduct of the respondent no.3 is him not acting on time, which raises a question about the bonafides of his claim of having been born on 12.03.1955.”

The Court stated that the employee had submitted the “so-called proof” of age by a School Transfer Certificate only after issuing a letter requiring him to submit a documentary proof of his date of birth.

He would have to, necessarily, be content with his service and benefits accounted taking his date of birth as 27.12.1948,” the Court stated.

Consequently, the Court did not allow the employee to rectify/correct his date of birth and held that he had been rightly retired in terms of his date of birth.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court allowed the appeals.

Cause Title: The General Manager, M/S Barsua Iron Ore Mines v. The Vice President United Mines Mazdoor Union & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 264)


Appellant: Sr. Advocate Ranjit Kumar; AOR Sunil Kumar Jain; Advocates Shaantanu Jain and Rashika Swarup

Respondents: AOR Deepanwita Priyanka; Advocate Satyalipsu Ray

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