An incorrect date of birth on a passport would have to be rectified within five years of the booklet being issued, according to a new rule notified by the ministry of external affairs with effect from November 26.
The regional passport office in Calcutta receives 60 to 70 applications a year seeking rectification of dates of birth that have been incorrectly submitted or printed.
In the absence of a time limit, there have been instances of people applying for a change almost 30 years after receiving their first passport booklets, an official said.
An ordinary passport is issued with a 10-year validity, except when the applicant is a minor. Unless specified at the time of applying for renewal, a fresh passport is issued without any change in the personal particulars.
The new rule, applicable to everyone with an Indian passport, states that an applicant must provide a copy of a bona fide birth certificate to get the date of birth changed.
"Passport holders applying for a change will have to support their application with a valid government birth certificate. Nothing else, not even a court affidavit, will be considered," Geetika Srivastava, regional passport officer at Calcutta, said.
The external affairs ministry amended the rule following a recent Kerala High Court judgment on correcting a person's date of birth on his/her passport, a ministry source said.
The court had cited chances of fraud while questioning the intention of a person if he or she hadn't sought a rectification within five years of the passport being issued. An application for amendment might also indicate that the person had originally provided false documents to get the passport.
The notification regarding the new rule states:
♦ In case of a clerical error, a fresh passport would be issued against charges for a new booklet.
♦ If it is found that an applicant's birth certificate issued by the government contradicts documents which he/she had initially submitted, the date of birth on the passport would be amended. But the applicant would be fined for submitting false documents initially.
The only exception to the five-year limit is for a person who was a minor when the passport was issued, provided the applicant produces a birth certificate issued by the government while requesting for a change in the date of birth.