Mumbai, November 12: Observing that there is no legal impediment in correcting the date of birth, recorded in the Register of Births and Deaths, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court has directed the Registrar of Births and Deaths at Nagpur to correct the date of birth and maiden surname of a Dombivli resident.

“After going through the rule (Rule 11(1) of the Maharashtra Registration of Births and Deaths Rules, 2000), we find that a clerical or formal error made in the register can be corrected by the competent authority upon the satisfaction that such error has genuinely occurred,” said the bench of Justice RK Deshpande and Justice Pushpa Ganediwala, while allowing the belated claim of Dombivli resident Archana Tamhane, the Hindustan Times reported.

The 67-year-old had approached the Registrar of Births and Deaths at Nagpur for correction in her date of birth and maiden surname, as the US administration had denied her a green card due to discrepancies in her maiden surname and the date of birth, as recorded in her birth certificate and in her school and employment records.

She had applied to the Registrar on February 6, 2020 complaining that her maiden surname was wrongly recorded as “Kotawat” in her birth certificate, instead of “Kotwal” and her date of birth was recorded as January 23, 1954, instead of January 24, 1954.

The Registrar rejected her application on March 24, 2020, stating that her claim for change in the date of birth cannot be entertained; this compelled her to approach the high court.

Tamhane’s counsel, advocate AD Mohgaonkar, submitted that there was no legal prohibition on correcting date of birth in the register. He pointed out the provision contained in Rule 11(1) of the Maharashtra Registration of Births and Deaths Rules, 2000 allows corrections in date of birth.

Responding to the petition, the Registrar agreed to correct the maiden surname of the petitioner. He, however, strenuously opposed the prayer; taking a stand that relevancy is attached to public record under Section 35 of the Indian Evidence Act. 

Besides, the Registrar also relied on the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on June 30, 2015 and instructions issued by the Maharashtra health department on November 17, 2015, to the effect that date of birth recorded in the register cannot be corrected.

HC refused to accept this stand, especially in view of the Rule 11(1), and held that the rule allows corrections in date of birth as well. The bench said the petitioner was born in the early hours on January 24, 1954, and therefore it is obvious that her date of birth is wrongly recorded in the register as January 23, 1954, and directed the Registrar to make the corrections in her birth record and issue her corrected birth certificate.

As regards the delay on the part of the petitioner in approaching the Registrar, the bench said no time limit was prescribed under the Rules for making the corrections.

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