P.K. Saikia, J.(CAV)
1. This appeal is directed against the judgment and order dated 27.10.2014, rendered by the learned Single Judge in WP(C) No. 5358/2014 dismissing the petition wherein petitioner has sought for correction of his age in the certificate issued by School Education Board of Assam (in short, the SEBA).
2. Being aggrieved and dissatisfied with such a judgment, the petitioner as appellant has preferred this appeal alleging that the judgment in question was not rendered in accordance with the prescription of law.
3.We have heard Mr. C. Goswami, learned counsel for the appellant. None appears for the respondents.
4. Mr. C. Goswami, learned counsel for the appellant submits that the age of the appellant as on 01.01.1964 was 8 years as per the certificate issued by Head Master of Daliagaon Uccha Buniyadi Vidyalaya and as such, on 01.03.1971, his age was 15 years 2 months but while issuing the certificate by the SEBA, his age was shown as 15 years 10 months as on 01.03.1971. On getting such information, he requested the Headmaster of Missamara Govt. Aided High School for correction of the same but was not done for pretty long period of time.
5. However, in 1980, the original certificate issued by the Headmaster of School aforesaid along with the admission register were sent to Inspector of Schools, Jorhat who in turn, forwarded said certificate and register to the SEBA for taking necessary action. But the SEBA by its letter dated 05.07.1980 informed the Assistant Inspector of Schools, Sivasagar that in view of circular dated 29.09.1975, the prayer made by the appellant could not be accepted since such claims was time barred.
6. The appellant approached this court thereafter and this court directed the petitioner to adjudicate the matter before the competent Civil Court. Being so advised, he approached the competent Civil Court and sought for a direction requiring the authority concerned to correct the age of the appellant in the certificate issued by the SEBA. However, such prayer was rejected by the Trial Court for which an appeal was preferred and such appeal having been dismissed, a second appeal was also preferred before this Court.
7. This Court, however, found reason to dismiss the 2nd appeal for which the petitioner herein approached the Apex Court of the country and preferred an SLP (C). But such SLP (C) too was also rejected by the Apex Court of the country vide order dated 11.05.2007 in SLP (C) No. 10979/2007.
8. When all those efforts to secure the relief, sought for by the appellant, proved futile, the petitioner approached this court for the forth occasion by way of writ petition, same being WP(C) No. 5358/2014, seeking the same relief which he had prayed in the earlier rounds of litigation's. In that connection, the appellant contended that under the Assam Secondary Education Act, 1961, all the Notifications/Regulations, issued by the SEBA are required to the notified in the Gazette.
9. But in the instant case, on preferring application under the RTI Act, the appellant/ petitioner learnt that SEBA was not aware of whether Notification dated 29.09.1975 was published in Gazette. Since the SEBA was not sure as to whether aforesaid notification was Gazetted or not, the SEBA could not have rejected the prayer of the appellant/petitioner citing notification dated 29.09.1975 vide letter dated 05.07.1980.
10. It is also his specific case that since the appellant was not aware of the aforesaid fact when he preferred earlier rounds of litigation's, he could agitate such an important point in those litigation's for which he could not get the relief, sought for. He, therefore, prays that WP(C) No. 5358/2014 may be allowed giving him the reliefs sought for therein.
11. On hearing the learned counsel for the parties and the State respondents, the learned Single Judge was pleased to dismiss the same holding as follows: -
"The petitioner is serving with the United Bank of India and has re-approached the Court for a direction on the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (in short SEBA) for correction of his age in the age certificate issued by SEBA. Earlier the Secretary, SEBA on 21.7.1980 (Annexure-C) informed the petitioner that his age in the HSLC certificate can't be corrected as it is time barred under the SEBA's circular on 29.9.1975 (Annexure-D). Through this circular, 3 years time limit is specified for age correction from the date of examination and in the present case, the petitioner passed his matriculation examination on 1.3.1971.
2. Earlier the WP(C)No.6183/2002 filed by the petitioner was rejected on 4.10.2002 (Annexure-F) but he was permitted to apply to SEBA for appropriate relief. But his prayer for correction was re-rejected on 27.2.2001 (Annexure-G) by referring to the SEBA's earlier order dated 21.7.1980 (Annexure-C), A 2nd Writ Petition i.e. WP(C) No.4378/2003 was then filed but this was dismissed on 13.6.2003 (Annexure-H).
3. Thereafter the petitioner approached the Civil Court by filing the T.S. No.6/2004 but the suit was dismissed through the judgment dated 19.6.2005 (Annexure-I). The resultant T.A. No.21/2004 was dismissed by the 1st Appellate Court on 13.6.2005 (Annexure-J) and the petitioner's challenge to the High Court through the RSA No.240/ 2005 was rejected on 2.6.2006 (Annexure-K). While dismissing the 2nd Appeal, the Court observed that the appellant passed the HSLC examination in 1971 and he made the complaint of wrong age in his HSLC certificate only in 1980. The matter was then taken to the Supreme Court through the SLP (Civil) No. 10979/2007 but the Apex Court declined to entertain the SLP through their dismissal order dated 11.5.2007.
4. But after all his efforts to secure the relief proved futile, the petitioner has re-approached the Court for the 4th occasion, where in substance, the same relief of age correction is sought by him.
5. Mr. C. Goswami, learned counsel refers to the Assam Secondary Education Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as the 1961 Act') to project that notifications/regulations of SEBA are required to be notified in Gazette and in the instant case, the petitioner learnt through the reply to his RTI Application furnished on 25.7.2012 (Annexure-N) that the Board is unaware of whether the concerned notification/regulation was published in the Gazette.
6. However what is relevant here is that the petitioner is repeatedly approaching the Court on substantially the same cause of action and since the prayer was not accepted by multiple forums including the Writ Court/Civil Courts uptill the highest Court level, I am of the opinion that same relief can't be permitted to be claimed by the petitioner for the same cause of action only by pleading new ground. This is more so, since the pleaded ground in the present case was available to be pleaded to the petitioner in the earlier litigation's as well and for reasons best known to him, this ground was never pleaded in the earlier proceeding.
7. For the above reasons, I am disinclined to exercise my discretionary power for the same cause of action and accordingly the case is dismissed."
12. We have found that the appellant had already initiated a series of suits/proceedings seeking relief which he has sought for in the present proceeding. We have found that all those earlier rounds of litigation's were rejected after due deliberation and such decision was affirmed by Apex Court of the country. Being so, in our considered opinion, the plea which is raised again in this present proceeding and which had already been adjudicated finally in earlier rounds of
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litigation's, cannot be allowed to be re-opened once again in WP(C) No. 5358/2014. 13. Even otherwise, the appellant's prayer could not be accepted for other reasons as well. We have found that the new ground which the appellant has pressed into action in the present round of litigation ought to have been agitated before the courts in earlier rounds of litigation's. The ground, assigned for not agitating such a fact, in earlier rounds of litigation's is found to be unsatisfactory. Situation being such, in our considered opinion, the present proceeding is also barred by the principle of constructive res-judicata. 14. Being so, we are of the opinion that the judgment in question does not suffer from any infirmity whatsoever. 15. In the result, the present appeal is dismissed, same being found devoid of merit.