Gujarat High Court Directs Authority To Make Inquiry Under S. 15 of Births and Deaths Act Before Changing Name on Birth Certificate

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The Court had observed that the Respondent Authority in the present case had issued a communication to the Petitioner, rejecting correction of her name on Birth Certificate. Therefore, the Court relied upon Section 15 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969, quashing Respondent’s communication and directing to make an inquiry, consider the documentary evidence and later give the final decision.

Background

The present petition had been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to pray for the issue of a writ of mandamus, and order upon the Respondent Authority by quashing and setting aside the impugned order dated 20/11/2020 passed by Respondent No.2 and further prayed that Respondents be directed to correct its Birth Register by correcting the Petitioner’s name as “Pinky” and thereby direct the Respondent no.2 to issue a fresh Birth Certificate.

Submissions Before the Court

Petitioner’s Submissions

Learned Advocate for the Petitioner had submitted that the Petitioner was born on 09.09.1991 and her accurate name was Patel Pinky Rajeshbhai. But in the birth certificate issued by Respondent No.2, her name had been wrongly mentioned as Pinkalben. It was submitted that the Petitioner had filed an application on 7/10/2020 praying for correction of her name in the birth certificate issued by Respondent No.2. Moreover, along with it, the applicant had also produced relevant documentary evidence in support of her contentions. It was further pointed out that by impugned communication dated 20/11/2020, Respondent No.2 had rejected the said application, by relying upon circulars of 2014 and 2015. Henceforth, the present petition had been filed.

The learned advocate had referred to various documentary evidence placed on records, like her Aadhar Card, School Leaving Certificate, and Election Card of the Petitioner. It was, therefore, submitted that in these documents, the correct name of the Petitioner had been mentioned. So, it was urged that appropriate direction be issued to Respondent No.2. Further, reliance was placed upon the decision given by this Court in the case of Sejalben Mukundbhai Patel V/s State of Gujarat, 2019.

Respondent’s Submissions

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Learned AGP appearing for Respondent No.1 and learned advocate appearing for Respondent No.2 were not in a position to dispute the fact that the current issue in this petition was covered by decision rendered by this Court in the aforesaid case.

Court’s Observations

After hearing the learned advocates appearing for both the parties and going through the material placed on record, the Court observed that the Petitioner’s request was rejected by Respondent No.2 by relying upon circulars of the years 2014 and 2015. The record revealed that Respondent No.2 had not made any inquiry as required under Section 15 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 and Rule 11 of the Rules framed. Further, there had been no reference to the documentary evidence produced by Petitioner before Respondent No.2.

The Court found it appropriate to refer to relevant observations made by this Court in the case of Sejalben Mukundbhai Patel (supra), wherein it was observed that the expression `erroneous in form or substance’ in Section 15 of the Act of 1969 was an expression of wide amplitude and didn’t confine to just typing errors or clerical mistakes and further, no circulars could take away powers of the Registrar to correct entries which would be found erroneous in form or substance. Further, it had been observed that the Registrar appointed under the provisions of the Act of 1969 had got powers for correction concerning the name in the Birth Certificate and such correction would come within the purview of powers under Section 15 of the Act. The authority appointed under the provisions of the aforesaid Act had to consider whether the entry in the Birth Certificate could be corrected or not, only after inquiring and after going through the relevant material placed on record.

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It was required to be noted here that the aforesaid decision passed by this Court had been challenged before its Hon’ble Division Bench by filing Letters Patent Appeal and it was contended that the Letters Patent Appeal had been rejected and the aforesaid decision was confirmed.

Court’s Directions

After taking into consideration the above observations, it could be said that the issue involved in the present petition was squarely covered by the decision rendered in the case of Sejalben Mukundbhai Patel (supra), Accordingly, this petition had been allowed.

Moreover, the communication dated 20.11.2020 was quashed and set aside. The Respondent No.2 was directed to reconsider the Petitioner’s case in light of all the observations made by this Court in the present order, observations made in the order passed in the case of Sejalben Mukundbhai Patel(supra) and after making an inquiry under Section 15 of the Act of 1969 and Rule 11 of the Rules and also considering the documents produced on record by the Petitioner.

 

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Click here to read the judgment.


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