Govt yet to shun slackness on PRC related issues of women marrying non-State subjects

*Revenue Deptt again in deep slumber
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Aug 16: Indicating that even the PDP-BJP Coalition Government headed by woman Chief Minister has not shun non-serious approach towards resolving the Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) related issues of the women marrying non-State subjects, a committee of the senior bureaucrats has failed to meet even once ever since its establishment more than two months back. Interestingly, the panel had to submit its report by August 1, 2016.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that following the much-publicized judgment of the Full Bench of J&K High Court in a case titled Jammu and Kashmir Versus Dr Sushila Sawhney and Others whereby it was held that a daughter of a permanent resident marrying a non-permanent resident will not lose the status of permanent resident of State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Subordinate Revenue Officers, who were authorized to issue Permanent Resident Certificates (PRCs), started facing certain difficulties in the absence of clear guidelines and clarifications on certain aspects.
After going through the legal points raised by these officers, the Department of Revenue took up the matter with the Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and accordingly, the opinion of Advocate General was obtained, who suggested framing of an expert committee to thrash out the issues arisen after the judgment in Dr Sushila Sawhney and Others Versus J&K so that a Government policy is evolved on the issue. This opinion was shared with the Revenue Department for compliance.
However, after remaining slept over the issue for one and half year, the Revenue Department vide Government Order No.67-Rev(PRC) dated June 1, 2016 constituted a committee to thrash out the issues projected by the Subordinate Revenue Officers and to remove the difficulties being faced by them in implementing the law on the subject.
The committee headed by Commissioner/ Secretary to Government, Revenue Department and comprising of Commissioner/ Secretary to Government, Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Special Secretary to Government, Revenue Department and Deputy Legal Remembrancer of Revenue, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Departments was explicitly told to submit its report to the Government within a period of two months—by August 1, 2016.
The committee had to ponder upon the issues like the effect of endorsement “valid till marriage” on the PRC which have been issued prior to pronouncement of Dr Sushila Sawhney judgment as the judgment is prospective in nature, the status of children born out of a couple where husband is non-State subject and family was holding permanent resident certificate before her marriage, the right of female married to a non-permanent resident with respect to disposal of property inherited by her through parents and further issues regarding divorcee and widow on which the law is not very clear.
“Though the committee had to submit its report by August 1, yet it has failed to meet even once ever since its formulation more than two months back”, official sources said, adding “neither the Revenue Department whose Administrative Secretary was made head of the committee showed any interest in convening meeting of the committee nor other members particularly Administrative Secretary of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Department tried to ensure that Government order is complied with”.
“It is a matter of serious concern that at a time when reigns of the State are in the hands of a woman Chief Minister, grave injustice is being meted out to those women who got married to non-State subjects”, sources regretted, adding “the fate of this committee has once again brought to the fore that in Jammu and Kashmir there is a tendency of dumping the vital issues by referring the same to the committees of bureaucrats”.
When contacted, one of the members of the committee confirmed that no meeting of the panel has been convened till date. He, however, attributed this to prevailing unrest in the Kashmir valley. “Due to unrest the staff is not coming to the Civil Secretariat as such holding meeting of the panel is impossible”, he added.
However, sources said, “majority of the Administrative Secretaries are regularly visiting the Civil Secretariat as per the instructions of the Chief Minister as such excuse of unrest is not plausible”, adding “all this indicates that Revenue Department woke up from one and half year long deep slumber on June 1, 2016 when the committee was constituted, only to once again become oblivion on the issue”.
The issues which the Subordinate Revenue Officers are facing include whether there is a requirement to omit the endorsement made on the PRCs as “Valid Till Marriage” of those PRC holders who had obtained prior to the pronouncement of Dr Sushila Sawhney Judgment or to issue fresh certificates; whether the children born out of the couple where husband is the non-State subject and presently settled in the house of his father-in-law and the wife is a State subject, are entitled to acquire the benefits on the status of mother with regard to issuance of PRC on the premises of her own inherited immovable property in the State and whether the children of women who have married to a non-State subject and are residing out of the State are entitled for grant of rights and status of permanent resident-ship on the ground of being children of permanent resident mother.