In proving the correctness of one's date of birth, horoscope entries are a weak piece of evidence, the Supreme Court has held.

“In most of the cases, the maker [of the horoscope] may not be available to prove that it was prepared immediately after the birth [of the person concerned] and therefore a heavy onus lies on the person who wants to prove its authenticity,” said a Bench of Justices Mukundakam Sharma and Anil R Dave.

The Bench was allowing an appeal by the Registrar-General of the Madras High Court against its judgment, which accepted the date of birth of judicial officer M. Manickam as November 24, 1950 rather than going by service records in which it was given as March 19, 1947 as per his SSLC book.

Mr. Manickam had in November 1993 made his application before the Registrar-General for a change of his date of birth, contending that due to the wrong entry in the service records, he would retire three years, eight months and five days before his actual date of superannuation and that the date of birth as entered in his horoscope should be accepted.

On a suit, the lower court decreed in his favour and the High Court dismissed appeals against this decree.

The Supreme Court allowed the appeal against the High Court judgment. Writing the judgment, Justice Sharma said the Supreme Court had time and again cautioned civil courts and High Courts against entertaining any claim made by employees, long after they had entered into service, for correction of the birth dates.

A government servant “who makes an application beyond the time, so fixed, cannot claim, as a matter of right, the correction of his date of birth even if he has good evidence to establish that the recorded date of birth is clearly erroneous,” the Bench said.

Though Mr. Manickam claimed that the horoscopes of his family members were made by his father between 1939 and 1953, a notepad, on which there were entries of horoscope, an address and pin code, showed that it (notepad) was manufactured only after 1972 when the pin code system was introduced.

On the respondent's contention that the Supreme Court should not examine the authenticity of the horoscope entries, the Bench said: “There cannot be any bar to the court examining the authenticity and evidentiary value of the same while exercising power under Article 136 of the Constitution [special leave petition jurisdiction]. We are of a firm opinion that respondent has failed to discharge his onus in proving the authenticity of the horoscope on which reliance is placed.”