New Rules for Birth Certificates

Come October 1, Birth Certificate will be considered as single document for availing several crucial services including admission to an educational institution, issuance of a driving licence, preparation of voter list, Aadhaar number, registration of marriage, appointment to a government job etc.

Announcing the implementation of Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Act, 2023, Union Ministry of Home Affairs said “it will help create database of registered births and deaths which eventually would ensure efficient and transparent delivery of public services and social benefits and digital registration.”

“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 1 of the Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Act, 2023 (20 of 2023), the Central Government hereby appoints the 1st day of October 2023, as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force,” the notification said

Both the Houses of Parliament passed the Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Bill, 2023, in the Monsoon Session concluded last month. The Rajya Sabha passed the the bill by voice vote on August 7 while the Lok Sabha has passed it on August 1.

Here are some key points: 
  • The Act grants authority to the Registrar General of India to oversee a national registry of births and deaths. State-appointed Chief Registrars and Registrars will be obligated to contribute data to this national database, while Chief Registrars maintain similar databases at the state level.
  • Earlier, there was a requirement for certain persons to report births and deaths to the Registrar.
  • For example, the medical officer in charge of a hospital where a baby is born must report the birth. Moreover, the Aadhaar number of the parents and the informant need to be provided. The rule also applied to in case of case of births in a jail, a hotel or lodge. Herein, the jailor and the hotel manager need to provide all the relevant information. 
  • Under the new Act, the list has been further expanded and will now included  adoptive parents for non-institutional adoption, biological parents for births through surrogacy, and the parent in case of birth of a child to a single parent or unwed mother.
  • The new legislation allows sharing of the national database with authorized authorities like population registers, electoral rolls, and others, subject to central government approval. Similarly, state databases can be shared with state-approved authorities.
  • As per the Act, any person aggrieved by any action or order of the Registrar or District Registrar may appeal to the District Registrar or Chief Registrar, respectively. Such an appeal must be made within 30 days from receipt of such action or order. The District Registrar or Chief Registrar must give their decision within 90 days from the date of appeal.

Madras HC 21 August 

The court was hearing a plea filed by Abdul Rahman seeking to correct the birth date in his passport. Rahman informed the court that though his actual date of birth is September 18, 1960, it had been mentioned as February 12, 1960 in his passport which was valid till November 30 2023. He further informed that though he had given a representation to the concerned Passport authority, the same was not considered which prompted him to approach the court.

Justice GR Swaminathan of the Madurai bench observed as under:

It is true that the passport is a solemn document and the applicant must offer correct particulars at the time of application. But some times, errors do happen. The petitioner has enclosed his certificate of birth issued by the competent authority and it is seen therefrom that the petitioner was born on 18.09.1960. When the birth certificate has been produced, the passport entry must conform to the brith certificate.”

Opposing this, the standing counsel for the Passport authority informed the court that Rahman ought to have been careful while furnishing the particulars at the time of filing the application. He added that the Passport is a solemn document of highest respect and if the particulars set out in the document are unreliable, it would have serious repercussions. Relying upon a decision of the Madurai bench, he insisted that the entries in a passport could not be casually corrected and sought for a dismissal of the petition.

The court relied on a 2016 decision whereby the High Court had taken a positive approach in a similar case and thereby it held that Rahman could submit a fresh application, even at the time of renewal of the passport. The court also directed Rahman to place a certified copy of the birth certificate before the authorities and directed the authorities to make the appropriate correction according to the birth certificate.

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