Govt unconcerned about hardships being faced by people in getting PRCs

No decision on appointing ‘competent authorities’ by designation

Insist only on documents prescribed under Rules: HLC

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Mar 23: State Government seems to be unconcerned about the hardships being faced by the people in getting Permanent Resident Certificates (PRCs) as a proposal regarding appointment of ‘competent authorities’ by designation is gathering dust in the official files during the past two and half years.
Moreover, authorities vested with the powers of issuing this vital document are still insisting on ‘irrelevant’ documents instead of demanding only those which have been prescribed under Rule 3 of the J&K Grant of Permanent Resident Certificate (Procedure) Rules, 1968 thereby leading to harassment to the general public.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that ‘competent authority’ to issue the Permanent Resident Certificate has been defined under the Sub-Section (b) of the Section 3 of the Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Permanent Resident Certificate (Procedure) Act, 1963.
Vide SRO-328 dated July 10, 1974, the Revenue Department appointed every Deputy Commissioner to be the ‘competent authority’ for the grant of PRCs. Subsequently, the Revenue Department started the practice of vesting powers as ‘competent authority’ individually by name to the Sub-Divisional Magistrates and Assistant Commissioners Revenue.
This led to huge delay in the issuance of the PRCs to the needy people and consequent resentment and corruption in the system, sources said while disclosing that many a times the vesting of powers by name through formal SROs takes months together and in the meanwhile the concerned officers get transferred before the vesting of powers to him or her and then again the cycle of vesting power to the new incumbent is initiated.
Keeping the hardships of people in mind, a proposal for appointing the SDMs and ACRs as ‘competent authorities’ by designation and not by name was submitted to the Revenue Department vide Communication No.101/2968/ PRC/16/2249-53 dated August 13, 2016 for prompt decision, sources informed.
It was also mentioned in the communication that delays in issuance of the PRCs due to appointment of ‘competent authorities’ by name was against the spirit of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Services Guarantee Act wherein the outer limit for issuance of PRCs is 30 days only.
Expressing concern over inordinate delay in clearance of the proposal, a High Level Committee (HLC) headed by Financial Commissioner Revenue in its report to the Government has stressed that there was an urgent need for notifying all the ADCs, SDMs and ACRs as ‘competent authorities’ under the J&K Permanent Resident Certificate (Procedure) Act, 1963 by designation once and for all by issuance of a formal SRO.
“The jurisdiction of the SDMs shall be the respective Sub-Divisions whereas the jurisdiction of the ADCs and ACRs could be determined by the respective Deputy Commissioners in the area falling outside the jurisdiction of various Sub-Divisions of the district”, the High Level Committee has mentioned in the report, the copy of which is available with EXCELSIOR.
Regarding the issue of insisting on a large number of documents while processing PRC files, the High Level Committee has stressed that the competent authorities should strictly insist on the documents as prescribed under Rule 3 of the J&K Grant of Permanent Resident Certificate (Procedure) Rules.
“At present the officers of the department are insisting on production of all the documents which are listed in the Circular No. Rev/Gen/11/2011 dated December 7, 2011 which causes delay and harassment to the general public/applicants”, the committee said.
In order to ensure transparency and to reduce the chances of fraud, the committee has recommended that the prescribed PRC forms may be got printed centrally at Government Press, Jammu/Srinagar along with the serial number of every form and a space for pasting recent passport size photograph of the applicant.
It is pertinent to mention here that in various other cases like sale deed, ration card, driving license, educational certificates and Aadhaar card, the photograph of the application has been included in the relevant document to establish identify of the applicant and reduce the chances of fraud and misrepresentation.
“Now, it is to be seen whether those at the helm of affairs seriously consider the recommendations of the High Level Committee or treat the same as merely trash”, sources said.