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Case title

Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited Vs. T.P. Natarajan

Key Takeaways

  • This case was heard by the Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice AS Bopanna.
  • Shri Gurudas S. Kannur, learned Senior Advocate appeared on behalf of the appellant (corporation).
  • Not knowing the law cannot be used as an excuse.

Background of the case

  • The respondent joined the appellant’s firm in 1984. The date of birth recorded in the service records of the firm was 04.01.1960 as per the marks card.
  • After nearly 24 years, the respondent herein requested the authority to change the date of birth in the service records from 04.01.1960 to 24.01.1961.
  • When the authority denied on the reasonable grounds, he filed a suit before the Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge in Bangalore for declaration of his birth date.
  • The appellant relied upon the provision of The Karnataka State Servants, (Determination of Age) Act, 1974 and the resolution passed by the appellant adopting the Karnataka Civil Service Rules and allied laws.
  • The rules stated that applications for the change of birth date in the service records could be made within three years after joining or within one year after the date of commencement of The Karnataka State Servants Act, 1974.
  • The appeal made by the respondent was also opposed on the grounds of the delay and lashes made by him. Referring to section 5(2) of The Karnataka State Servants Act, 1974 the learned trial court dismissed the suit filed by the respondent.
  • Aggrieved by the order of the trial court the respondent filed an appeal in the High Court.
  • The High Court allowed the appeal made by the respondent stating that it was impossible for the respondent to request the concerned authority to change the date of birth within three years after joining and also it was not brought to the notice of the respondent about the adoption of the Karnataka Civil Service Rules and allied laws by the firm.
  • Aggrieved by the judgement passed by the High Court the appellant (the employer) filed an appeal in the Supreme Court of India.
  • The learned counsel of the appellant submitted all the facts and evidences and circumstances and as the High Court stated that the adoption of the rules were not known by the respondent in answer to that all the employee of the employer is supposed to know the rules and laws of the firm. Not knowing the law cannot be an excuse this was pleaded by the counsel of the appellant.

Findings of the court

  • Considering all the facts, evidences and the circumstances the court stated that as the respondent is retired now so basically the judgement and the order passed by the court in case of changing the date of birth in the service record shall not affect him in any way.
  • The court observed that the employee was not entitled of the decree of declaration and therefore the judgement was passed in the favour of the appellant that is the corporation.

Hope you find the snippet informative.

Questions
1) Shouldn’t it be necessary for the corporation to make sure if its employees are well aware of all the rules and laws?
2) What are your views in this case and in the judgment passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India?

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