SOERTSZ J.—In re de Silva.
1940Present: Soertsz and Keuneman JJ.
In re DE SILVA.
161—D. C. (Inty.) Kalutara, 299.
Births and Deaths Registration Ordinance, s. 20 (Cap. 94)—Application to rectifyerror in entry regarding birth—Entry-wrong as at date of application.
An order under section 20 of the Births and Deaths RegistrationOrdinance for the rectification of an entry may be made where it isshown that the entry is wrong in relation to the facts existing at thedate of the application.
^ PPEAL from an order of the District Judge of Kalutara.
J.L. M. Fernando (with him C. C. Rasa Ratnam), for the petitioner,appellant.
Basnayake, C.C., on behalf of theDistrict Judge.
Attorney-General noticed by theCur. adv. vult.
June 26, 1940. Soertsz J.
The petitioner applied to the District Judge of Kalutara under section20 of the Births and Deaths Registration Ordinance, to have the entryrelating to her birth altered, by the name Engo Nona being struck out,and the name Lucy substituted in its place. Her case is that althoughher name was given as Engo Nona to the Registrar on the occasion of theregistration of her birth, she was never called by that name, but wasalways known as Lucy, both at home and at school. The petitioner is &school teacher, and it is obvious that she may be gravely prejudicedby this conflict in names. Her case is not disputed, and the District •Judge has found that the petitioner “ has been always called Lucyby the members of her family and that by that name she was knownin school ”.
In this state of things one feels naturally disposed to allow an appli-cation such as this, if the law permits it. But the learned DistrictJudge was of opinion-that “for an entry to be struck off it must be
SOERTS2 J.—In re de Silva.
proved that such entry was wrong. It is only when an entry is wrongthat a Court can rectify the Register …. There is no evidenceat all to show that a wrong name was given by the informant who was thefather of the petitioner ”. Crown Counsel adopted this position at theargument of this appeal. This point of view appears to be based on theassumption that rectification can be made under section 20 only inrespect of some entry that was wrong at the time it was made.
In my opinion, this assumption is unsound. The words of the sectionare “ any person …. who shall feel aggrieved by any suchentry as in the preceding sections prescribed, shall be entitled to applyto the District Court …. to cause such entry to be rectified,and the said Court shall …. make such order as the justice ofthe case may require ”….
It is clear that the name of the child is entered on the Register inaccordance with section 10 of the Ordinance, and it is in respect of thatentry that the petitioner says she is aggrieved. Up to this point, thenher application is within the words of the section. The only questionthat remains is whether the rectification available under this, sectionis one that is permissible only in respect of some entry that is shownto be wrong in relation to the point of time at which it was made. I seeno reason for taking so narrow a view. To rectify means “ to correctfrom a wrong, erroneous or false state ”, and “ this state ” may be wrong,erroneous or false in relation to the time at which it came into beingand/or in relation to the time at which the correction is sought. “ Right ”and “wrong” in cases of this kind are relative terms and the quality of“ rightness ” or “ wrongness ” must be determined with reference to therelevant facts. A thing that is right in one state of facts may becomewrong in another state of facts. In this instance, at the time thecorrection is sought, the entry in question is not in correspondence withreality, for at that time the person dealt with in this entry on theRegister is a person who, so far as she and others concerned know, is Lucy.The result is that although the name Engo Nona cannot be said tq havebeen wrongly entered at the time of the registration, it is not in accord-ance with the actual state of things at the date of the application. Andthis is the cause of the petitioner’s grievance.
The section gives a wide discretion to the District Judge who isempowered to make “ such order as the justice of the case may require ”,and in view of the finding of the District Judge, the proper order to makeis, in my opinion, to direct the Registrar to enter on the Register in respectof this particular entry a note to the effect that, upon an inquiry heldunder section 20 of the Ordinance, it has been found that the personwhose name is given as Engo Nona, has ever , since the date of the registra-tion, been known as Lucy and is the petitioner on this application, I makeorder accordingly and direct the District Judge to take action as he is:required to do by section 20.
Keuneman J.—I agree.
In re DE SILVA