Gujarat High Court Directs Respondent To Make Inquiry and Give Decision in Regard To Name Change on Birth Certificate

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Excerpt 

The Court had observed that the respondent in the present case had issued a communication to the petitioner, rejecting to change the name on the Birth Certificate. Hence, the Court relied upon Section 15 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 and quashed the respondent’s communication, and directed to carry out an inquiry and consider the documentary evidence and later give a final decision.

Background

The present petition had been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to pray for a direction to the Respondent No.2 to correct the name of the petitioner’s daughter as “Manharbhai” instead of “Alpesh” and thereafter, issue a new birth certificate.

Submissions Before the Court

Applicant’s Submissions

Learned Advocate for the petitioner had submitted that the correct name of the petitioner was “Manharbhai”, however, it was inadvertently recorded as “Alpesh” by the respondent. It was submitted that in documents like Secondary School Certificate, Higher Secretary School Certificate, School Leaving Certificate, B.Sc. Degree, M.Sc. Degree, Driving Licence, PAN Card, Aadhar Card, etc., the correct name of the petitioner had been recorded. It was also submitted that an application dated 29.12.2020 was submitted to Respondent No.2, wherein it was requested to correct the name of the petitioner from “Alpesh” to “Manharbhai” and the petitioner had also annexed relevant documentary evidence. However, Respondent no.2, by way of an impugned communication dated 19.01.2021 had rejected the request of the petitioner on the ground that as per the Circular dated 12.08.2009 issued by the Chief Registrar, Births and Deaths and Commissioner (Health), Gujarat State, the name could not be changed. Henceforth, the petitioner had filed the present petition.

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Learned Advocate for the petitioner had referred to the provisions contained in Section 15 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 and contended that Respondent no.2 had without making any inquiry and also without considering the documentary evidence, rejected the petitioner’s request, which was not permissible.

Moreover, he relied upon the decision rendered by this Court in the case of Sejalben Mukundbhai Patel Vs. State of Gujarat & Anr. (2019) and contended that the present issue was almost similar. It was submitted that in the said case, this Court had held that Circular dated 18.02.2016 (similar to that of Circular dated 12.08.2009) could not override the statutory provisions and the Competent Authority appointed under the provisions of the Act of 1969, cannot only rely upon that circular and simply reject the request of the concerned applicant, without making any inquiry. It was, therefore, urged that the present petition be allowed and appropriate direction be issued to Respondent No.2 in such regard.

Respondent’s Submissions

The learned advocate Ms Roopal R. Patel, appearing for respondent No.2 had opposed this petition and referred to the Circular dated 12.08.2009 and submitted that Respondent no.2 wasn’t empowered to correct the name in the Birth Certificate and, therefore, no error was committed by Respondent No.2. It was urged that moreover; this petition be dismissed.

Court’s Observations

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Having heard the learned advocates appearing for both the parties, the Court observed that respondent No.2 rejected the request of the petitioner by placing reliance upon Circular dated 12.08.2009. It was not in dispute that respondent No.2 had not made any inquiry as contemplated under Section 15 of the Act of 1969.

A similar issue had been considered by this Court in the case of Sejalben Mukundbhai Patel Vs. State of Gujarat & Anr. (supra), wherein it had been observed that the Registrar appointed under the provisions of the Act of 1969 had got powers for correction in relation to the name in the Birth Certificate and such correction would come within the purview of powers under Section 15 of the Act. The competent authority appointed under the provisions of the said Act was to consider whether the entry in the Birth Certificate could be corrected or not, only after making an inquiry and after going through the relevant material placed on record.

Thus, this Court was of the view that the issue involved in the present petition was covered by the aforesaid decision and the Respondent No.2 cannot reject the petitioner’s request without making any inquiry as given under Section 15 of the Act of 1969.

Court’s Directions

In view of the above, the impugned communication dated 19.01.2021 issued by Respondent No.2 was quashed. The matter was remitted to him, who shall consider the case of the petitioner afresh in the light of the observations made in the case of Sejalben Mukundbhai Patel Vs. State of Gujarat & Anr (supra) and pass an appropriate order after making inquiry as contemplated under Section 15 of the Act of 1969 and after considering the documentary evidence produced by the petitioner. Such exercise must be completed within a period of six weeks from the date of receipt of the copy of this order. Hence, the present petition stands disposed of. 

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Click here to read the judgment.


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