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This article is written by Ansruta Debnath, a student currently pursuing the BA LLB degree from National Law University Odisha. This article explores the ways one can legally change name and date of birth in their official government-issued documents in case differences arise.

Introduction 

Discrepancies in essential government documents can cause a lot of problems and hassle. It is always recommended to ensure that the details mentioned in your documents are the same. However, in case of differences, the government has laid down guidelines with which appropriate changes can be made. That being said, the process of changing details in government documents can be difficult and time-consuming. This article is an attempt to simplify the processes involved in changing the name and date of birth in a few important and official documents.

Birth Certificate 

Birth Certificates are issued on registration of birth. Under the Civil Registration System in India, registration of birth is mandatory. The entire system is governed by the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 read with rules formulated (after approval of the central government) by individual state governments. 

Registrars have been appointed for each local area under Section 7 of the Act. Registrars are generally present in the Municipal Corporation (for urban areas) or Gram Panchayats (for rural areas). Any application to change the name or other information has to be made to the Registrar’s office. Section 15 of the Act and Rule 11 of the Model Rules of the central government gives a blueprint of the process-

  1. Report about any clerical or formal error needs to be made to the Registrar.
  2. The Registrar must examine the report, and if the register (that contains the entry in contention) is in his possession, he shall make required changes after he is satisfied that a mistake has been made.
  3. The correction will only be done when a declaration is made on the error and facts of the case and corroborated by two credible persons having knowledge of the facts of the case.
  4. The entire process has to be reported to the State Government or the specified officer by the Registrar. 
  5. The changes in an entry have to also be intimated to the permanent address of the person who made the entry in the first place.
  6. In case the required register is not in possession of the Registrar, the Registrar must call for that from the State Government and follow the above-mentioned process. The State Government or the specified officer needs to countersign the correction when the register has been received back from the Registrar.

Apart from a declaration, sometimes it is recommended to acquire an affidavit (signed under a judicial magistrate). The person might also need to submit hospital records along with other documents like address proof and details of parents. In case the authorities still refuse to comply, then a civil suit has to be filed. 

Passport

The issuance of passports is the job of the Ministry of External Affairs. The Passport Seva Programme (PSP) Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, provides passport services through the Central Passport Organization (CPO) and its network of Passport Offices, Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs); and Post Office Passport Seva Kendras (POPSKs).

According to Passport Seva Services, any changes to personal details in a passport can be done only with an application to “re-issue” passports. 

According to the Re-issue Advisor present in the Passport Seva website-

In case of an adult wanting to change the name

In this case, the following documents will be mandatorily be required along with the application form-

  • Old Passport in original form with self-attested photocopy of its first two and last two pages, including ECR/Non-ECR page (previously ECNR) and the page of observation (if any), made by Passport Issuing Authority and validity extension page, if any, in respect of short validity passport.
  • At least two public/school documents issued in the desired/ applied changed name to ascertain that the applicant has actually changed his/her name.
  • Clippings of two local newspapers or the Gazette notification of the concerned State Government, as the case may be.

In case of an adult wanting to make changes in the date of birth

In this case, the following documents will be mandatorily required along with the application form-

  • The old passport (original) with self-attested photocopy of its first two and last two pages, including ECR/Non-ECR page (previously ECNR) and the page of observation (if any), made by Passport Issuing Authority and validity extension page, if any, in respect of short validity passport.
  • Proof of date of birth. Acceptable documents for address proof are present on the website.

It is important to point out that after the Kerala High Court judgment of Jayakumar Abraham v. Union of India and Ors (2015), the Ministry of External Affairs brought a new circular enumerating the guidelines that the passport offices will follow while approving a change in date of birth. The Court had reiterated the principle that changes should be made only of bonafide mistakes and thus stricter rules need to be implemented to ensure changes won’t facilitate any fraud.

Further document specifications can be provided by the particular Passport Seva Kendra. All documents should have original and two self-attested copies. In the case of minors, documents of parents will also be required. Normal fees for re-issue will be charged.

Aadhaar card

Aadhaar is a 12 digit individual identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India on behalf of the Government of India. A biometric document that saves an individual’s personal information and details in a government database, the Aadhaar card is quickly becoming the government’s primary tool to provide and keep track of social welfare benefits.

Changes in date of birth

For changes in the date of birth, in case the difference between existing and new DOB is less than three years, then the application can be made to any nearest Aadhaar Facilitation Center with the relevant original documents. In case the difference is more than three years, documents and applications need to be submitted to the nearest Regional Aadhaar Centre. Updation can also be done online using the Self Service Update Portal (SSUP) found on the UIDAI web page.

Changes in the name 

For a name change, there will only be two opportunities. The same procedure as mentioned above can be followed. Updation can also be done by visiting the nearest Permanent Enrollment Centre or online, through the Self Service Update Portal.

PAN card

A Permanent Account Number is a ten-character alphanumeric identification provided by the Indian Income Tax Department in the form of a laminated “PAN card” to any “person” who applies for it or to whom the department allots the number without an application. It is also available in the form of a PDF download.

Changes in the PAN card can be done according to guidelines present in the Tax Information Network of the Income Tax Department. While the process of filing form needs to be done through an online process, required documents, generated acknowledgment receipt, and demand draft (in case payment has not been made through net banking) needs to be sent to the designated address of the Income Tax PAN Services Unit, NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited within 15 days of submission of online application.

It is important to ensure that one’s PAN card is updated and correct because it is a valid and authorized proof of identity and age.

Voter’s ID card

The Voter’s ID card is issued, on application, to Indian domiciles who have reached the age of 18 years (age of majority, thus eligible to vote) by the Election Commissioner of India. Although primarily used for identification during voting, this card can also be used for identification in general as well as an age-proof. 

Corrections in the Voter ID card can be done online. In the National Voters Services Portal, Form 8 needs to be filled in for making a change in names. The form can also be downloaded from one’s state website. It is also available in electoral offices all across the country. The application process will necessitate the submission of an official document that has got the appropriate name, which the existing name on the ID card will be changed to. In case of a change in date of birth, the same can be done through the online portal. Option of “Correction of Age” needs to be selected and relevant documents have to be uploaded. 

In both cases, registration in the online portal is required. Moreover, a declaration will also have to be submitted which will include the reasons for changing the date of birth or name. A reference ID will be subsequently generated on the submission of the application form for tracking the status of the change being implemented.

Academic qualification documents

The class 10th mark sheet is often compared with the birth certificate because of its immense importance, especially when it is issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Previously the official rule according to CBSE Examination Bye-laws was that the Board would not make changes in Class 10 and 12 mark sheets and other documents because of impediments the entire process caused to administrative efficiency. Thus students were unable to make applications for the same. 

But, in Jigya Yadav (Minor) (Through her Guardian/Father Hari Singh) vs C.B.S.E.(Central Board of Secondary Education) and Ors. (2021), the Supreme Court found that the CBSE rule was absurd and asked for the framing of new guidelines.

Accordingly, the new rules have given out the following mechanism for changing the date of birth and name in CBSE issued certificates. The required application form that needs to be filled is available on the official website and said form needs to be carefully filled, relevant documents uploaded and the required fee paid. 

Changes in date of birth as well as of name can be done within one year of the declaration of results and issuance of said certificates. Moreover, the following documents need to be submitted in the case of an application for a name change-

  • True Copy of Admission form(s) filled in by the parents at the time of admission duly attested by the Head of the concerned institution 
  • True Copy of the School Leaving Certificate of the previous school submitted by the parents of the candidate at the time of admission duly attested by the Head of the concerned institution. 
  • A true copy of the portion of the page of admission and withdrawal register of the school where the entry has been made in respect of the candidate, duly attested by the Head of the concerned institution.

A name change can be done to the extent of spelling corrections in-

  • Candidate’s name / Surname, 
  • Father’s name / Mother’s name or Guardian’s name 

Changes can be made only to make them consistent with school records and ‘List of Candidates’ as received from the candidate’s school. Also, applications for changes in the date of birth and name need to be forwarded by the head of the institution where the candidate is enrolled in. 

For a complete change of name, applications will be entertained provided the changes have been admitted by the Court of law and notified in the Government Gazette before the publication of the result of the candidate. In case, students want to make changes in their certificate as issued by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, the school of the candidate needs to be contacted and the following documents forwarded to CISCE through the school along with an application form

  • Duly attested copy of the amended School Admission Form.
  • Duly attested copy of the Birth Certificate.
  • Original Affidavit (signed by a First Class Magistrate)- English version.
  • Original Statement of Marks and Pass Certificate
  • Online payment of correction fees through the applicant’s school.
  • Cutting-off of a newspaper announcement regarding the change/correction (English version)
  • Covering letter from the school, clearly mentioning the required correction.

International requirements

A lot of problems might arise due to differences in documents in the case of individuals wishing to immigrate or even students who want to apply to foreign universities. As a rule of thumb, for international travel, one’s passport is the most important document. The passport should have all the accurate data and details. In case of discrepancies, if feasible it is better to leave the passport alone and change personal information in other documents according to the passport. For students, universities don’t reject applications based on discrepancies in documents. At most, one might be asked to submit an affidavit stating reasons for the said discrepancy. Problems might arise in the case of applications made for immigration or work permits. Hence, it is recommended that personal information is synced in all documents to avoid unnecessary hassle.

Conclusion

Thus the methods and processes involved for changing name and date of birth in various documents have been discussed. Even though the authorities have tried to streamline the process to prevent confusion and hassle, the ground reality is that complications remain.

References

  1. Model Registration of Birth and Death Rules, 1999
  2. Passport Seva- Reissue Advisor
  3. Birth date is different in passport and birth certificate
  4. UIDAI brings new rules for Aadhaar! From DOB to name, check how to change information on Aadhaar
  5. Voter ID Correction | Voter ID Name Correction
  6. How to Change your Name in CBSE Mark sheet or Certificate
  7. CBSE-Revised Rules of correction/change in name/DoB
  8. CISCE-Name Change in Certificates.

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