Digitallisation of RPC- A necessity for weeding out corruption and easing the process


 

After 19 June 2018 the ease with which the J&K Governor administration has got conducted local body elections and now the process is on for Panchayat elections in J&K some people surely have started thinking that will it not be better to have a regular Governor rule than going for hectic exercise of electing an ineffective ‘popular’ government every five years? People have started hoping Mr. Satya Pal Malik may also venture for conduct of by poll to Anantnag Lok Sabha seat that is lying vacant after Mehbooba Mufti Ji resigned in 2016. Surely one can infer that many controversies and inadequacies can be easily undone when the politicians in a democratic system of the day like ours are away from the ‘front’ scene. People have started hoping that before the governor rule ends in J&K some steps towards good governance through administrative reforms would be initiated by Mr. Malik.
 
 
It is claimed that a number of special Constitutional provisions { Section-51,127,140 and 157 (2) of J&K Constitution } , laws and administrative orders that are in force in J&K to favour the Indian citizens who fall in the category of Permanent Residents of J&K ( as defined in Section -6 of Constitution of J&K ) suggesting that such provisions provide superior economic and administrative safe guards to the Permanent Residents of J&K in comparison to other citizens of India. Where as in actual practice it is the genuine Permanent Resident of J&K who is being unfairly treated for grant of Permanent Resident Certificate to his / her descendants where as the parent law ( State Subject Law of Maharaja Hari Singh pre 1947 times - Notification No. 1-L/84 dated the twentieth April, 1927 of Maharaja Hari Singh’s Government and Note-II appended to it ) from which the definition of Permanent Resident of J&K has been drawn / inherited treated the descendants of the State Subjects in a very special manner. People running from pillar to post for getting their PRC ( Permanent Resident of J&K Certificate ) file processed are a common scene for any one who would visit a tehsil office or sub division office or Deputy Commissioner’s office in Indian state of J&K .
 
 
In an effort to ease the process for issue of the Permanent Resident of J&K- PR of J&K certificate ( “ State Subject of J&K” – SS of J&K ) at least to the descendants of the PR/SS of J&K attention of the Divisional Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners in the Indian state of J&K has been often been drawn through notes as submitted and write ups in that regard towards the fact that Sub Clause (a) and Sub clause (b) of Clause -1 of Section-6 of J&K Constitution that defines the indian citizens who could be included in the categorised as the are separated by the word “OR” and the requirements laid down there should not be clubbed together while processing each and every application. But the same is being still done since the guideline circulars , where ever issued, have not been reviewed worth issuing suitably amended guidelines.
 
 
 
 
There is utmost need for listing the needed documents separately for different categories i.e like entertaining atleast the applicants who could be identified as belonging to parents who were State Subjects of J&K before 14th May 1954 ( Class-I and Class-II; even class-III) for issue of the Permanent Resident certificate –PRC ( “State Subject certificate” ) just on the strength of the PRC/SSC of one’s father or grandfather keeping in view the note- II appended to the State Notification No I-L/84 dated the twentieth April 1927 that has in a way become a part of Section-6 of J&K Constitution interms of Clause-3 of Section-6.
 
 
Sub Clause (a) of Clause- 1 of Section-6 of Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir reads : <( Every person who is, or is deemed to be, a citizen of India under the provisions of the Constitution of India shall be a Permanent Resident of the State, if on the fourteenth day of May, 1954- he was a State Subject of Class I or of Class II ;> and Sub Clause (b) of Clause-1 of Section-6 of Jammu and Kashmir Constitution reads : < having lawfully acquired immovable property in the State, he has been ordinarily resident in the State for not less than ten years prior to that date. Contents of both these sub clauses are separated by the word ‘OR’ and for one to be a permanent resident one of the two conditions has to be fulfilled and not both the conditions. It is worthwhile to also refer here Section-7 of J&K Constitution that says that unless the context otherwise requires, all references in any existing law to hereditary State subject or to State Subject of Class I or of Class II or of Class III shall be construed as references to Permanent Residents of the State.
 
 
 
But the manner in which the cases for award of J&K Permanent Resident status certificate are being processed in a way depicts that all the applicants are in a way taken as falling under the category of Sub Clause (b) of Clause-1 of Section-6 i.e those having lawfully acquired immovable property in the State, who have been ordinarily resident in the State for not less than ten years prior to that date (14 May 1954) i.e earlier than 14 May 1944AD and hence from all the applicants documents like(i) Application on the prescribed format, ii. Affidavit of the applicant/father/guardian /Adult children (if any) declaring that they/he/she are/is permanent resident (s) of the J&K State as defined in the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and that he/she/they has/have neither obtained a PRC from any other area of the State nor has/have applied earlier for the purpose from elsewhere …… , iii. Attested photo copy of Ration card, iv . Birth certificate from School/Municipality/Police station/Medical Officer /Village Chowkidar, v . Certified/attested copy of the current voter list.
 
Copy of the voter list of 1951/1957, if required, vi. Copy of PRC of father/grandfather/husband (In case of non availability an affidavit shall be attached to this effect) vii. Certified copies of Misal Haqiyat Jamabandi/Shajra Nasab prior to 1944-AD., viii. Form “Alif”/certified copy of the cancellation Register, in case of POK displaced persons, wherever required, ix. Current Revenue record viz. Jamabani / Khasra Girdawari and Shajra Nasab are being asked. ( see the Check List of documents to be attached with the application by the applicants for availing service for issue of PRC by revenue department in view of the requirements of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Guarantee act 2011 as also in view of the circulars issued by superior offices like that of Divisional Commissioner K/J)
 
 
 
Where as the cases of those who belonged / belong to the category of descendants of those who in terms of Sub- Clause (a) of Clause-1 of Section-6 of J&K Constitution were already on the fourteenth day of May, 1954- a State Subject of Class I or of Class II ( Permanent Resident of J&K) could be processed only on the basis of at the most three documents ( if available) i.e, (i) Application on the prescribed format (ii). Copy of PRC of father/grandfather/husband (i) Application on the prescribed format,( iii). Affidavit of the applicant/father/guardian /husband/Adult children (if any) declaring that they/he/she are/is permanent resident (s) of the J&K State as defined in the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and that he/she/they has/have neither obtained a PRC from any other area of the State nor has/have applied earlier for the purpose from elsewhere …… .
 
From the descendants of all those who fall in the category of persons who are covered under sub- clause (a) of Clause-1 of Section-6 only the Permanent Resident Certificate / State Subject certificate of father or husband if provided should be sufficient in terms of the Note-II as appended with the State Notification No I-L/84 dated the twentieth April. '1927 ( Note-II: The descendants of the persons who have secured the Status of any Class of the State Subjects will be entitled to become the State Subjects of the same class. For example, if A is declared a State Subject of Class-II his sons and Grandsons will ipso facto acquire the status of the same Class (II) and not of Class-I ) . So, those officers / officials who are / may be asking for proof of holding property prior to 1944 from all the applicants are in a way either not aware of the State Subject Law ( PRC law) or have not been able to understand the real spirits of Section-6 of J&K Constitution
 
 
It is not out of place to mention here that the controversy that exists as regards the status of the female descendants of ‘state subjects of J&K ’ even in 2018 has been made to survive by the J&K State Government only on the basis of the interpretations ( although some part of the earlier interpretations have been held invalid by a Judgement of J&K High Court ) of the notes II & III as appended with State Notification No I-L/84 dated the twentieth April 1927 and where as the leads that could be legitimately taken from Note-II for issuing the Permanent Resident Certificate to the descendants of Permanent Residents / State subjects of J&K so as to issue clear & plain guidelines for issue of PRC have not been issued even after 50 years in spite of the fact that at occasions the requirement has been pointed out / submitted to the State Government / Administration.
 
 
Leads for defining Permanent Resident of J&K in Section-6 of Constitution of J&K and some interpretations for defining the status of the ‘permanent residents of J&K’ in connection with the application of local laws/ rules relating to rights of the PRs of J&K were / are in a way taken from the Maharaja’s Government’s Notification dated the 20th April 1927 No. 1-L/8.4 & the 4 notes appended with it regarding persons of State Subjects of Class-I Class-II Class-III ( later State Subject had been named as Permanent Resident of J&K vide Regent of J&K’s notification of 14 May 1954 ). Before Section-6 & Section -7 of J&K Constitution came into force i.e before 17th November 1956 there also existed some persons named as Permanent Residents of J&K who were State subjects of Class-III prior to 14 May 1952. As per notification of 1927 AD Class-III included “all persons, other than those belonging to Class-I and Class-II permanently residing within the State, who have acquired under rayatnama any immovable property therein or who may hereafter acquire such property under an Izazatnama and may execute a rayatnama after ten years continuous residence therein.” To be brief Maharaja had included all persons in category of state subjects of J&K as state subjects of Class-III who had either acquired property for stay in J&K after 1911 AD on the government giving them izajatnama to stay/ acquire land/ property in J&K and may have stayed there for atleast 10 years worth acquiring reyayatnama there after or who may after issue of 20 April 1927 AD notification acquire property through izjatnama and reyayatnama.
 
But after Section-6 of J&K Constitution came in force w.e.f 17-11-1956 even those people who had been accorded the status of State Subject of Class-III prior too 1944 AD or even after that too were required to go through the process as laid down in Sub Clause-b of Clause-1 of Section-6 of J&K Constitution as regards Permanent Resident of J&K certificate but surely those who had been in the Class-I and Class-II had not to be subjected to any elaborate process.
 
 
 


 

After issue of the 20th April 1927 notification Maharaja had also kept a scope for including some people in the category of state subjects of J&K as State Subject of Class-III who had either acquired property/ would acquire property (land) for stay in J&K after 1911 AD through izajatnama from Maharaja’s government and may have stayed / may stay there for atleast 10 years worth obtaining ‘reyayatnama’ from the government. acquire property through ‘izjatnama’ and ‘reyayatnama’. But while drawing the contents of Section-6 of Constitution of J&K after independence no any regular scope or direct / indirect procedure for future grant of ‘izajatnama’ and ‘reyayatnama’ after 1954 was carried ahead and only those who had already acquired Izazatnama and stayed in J&K after that for atleast 10 years prior to 14 May 1954 were noted for consideration as per Constitution of J&K by placing state subjects of Class-III as well in the class that required issue of almost a ‘fresh’ PRC ( permanent resident certificate ).
 
 
More so as per the rules framed for the procedure for grant of PRC, the requirements of the documents for the nomads too are listed in the general list where as the needed documents be listed / demanded by dividing people in different categories i.e (1) those who are descendants of Class-I and Class-II state subjects where the PRC can be issued only based on State Subject Certificate / PRC of the parent / husband, (2). People who fall in the category of those who had acquired the State Subject status after 1911 through 1944 as well as those who had acquired property for stay in J&K through Izajatnama after 2011 though 1944 AD but had yet to acquire the needed status through riyayatnama (3) People who are nomads like Gujjar and Bakarwal. Hence the Check List of documents to be attached with the application by the applicants for availing service for issue of PRC by revenue department in view of the requirements of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Guarantee act 2011 need be revised as suggested or as may be deemed best for trouble free operations by superior offices like that of Divisional Commissioner K/J. Procedures for issue of PRC if reviewed and recast as suggested , 80 % of the applicants would get it issued with in 3 to 4 days. And if issued with photograph imprint it shall also be a step towards digitization
 
 
. Even those parents who are descendants of those who have been the residents of J&K prior to 1885AD - before the commencement of Samvat 1942 (known as State Subject of Class-I) and those who are descendants of those who had become residents of J&K from 1885 to 1911AD ( all persons other than those belonging to Class-I who settled within the State before the close of Samvat year 1968 (1911 AD) ( known as State Subject Class-II upto 14 May 1954) are seen running from pillar to post or looking for some ‘contacts’ person for getting PRC for their children who have to apply for government job or for admission in J&K Government run professional colleges where as in terms of the “parent law” (Notification No. 1-L/84 dated the twentieth April, 1927 of Maharaja Hari Singh’s Government and Note-II appended to it ) where as they should be issued the Permanent Resident Certificate as descendent of a Permanent Resident Parent ( State Subject ) in terms of note –II appended with Notification No. 1-L/84 dated the twentieth April, 1927 of Maharaja Hari Singh’s Government).
 
 
Looking at the guidelines and the requirements that are presently being put before all categories of applicants it appears that the senior government functionaries have so far not at all tried to review the procedures and requirements kept for issue of PRC since had reviews been made atleast 80 % of the applicants would have got the PRC issued with in 2 to 4 days.
 
 
It will not be unfair to say that had the senior officers regularly gone through Section-6 of J&K Constitution ( Definition of Permanent Resident of J&K), ‘Notification No. 1-L/84 dated the twentieth April, 1927’ of Maharaja Hari Singh’s Government and Note-II appended to it , ‘Grant of Permanent Resident Certificate (Procedure) Act No. XIII of 1963’, ‘The Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Permanent Resident Certificate (Procedure) Rules, 1968’ and reviewed the administrative orders / circulars issued by Deputy Commissioners / Divisional Commissioners mentioning the procedure / documents to be submitted by the applicants for grant of PRC they would have surely felt the need for a redesigning / revising the list of documents that the revenue officers need to ask / do ask from the applicants irrespective of the category or class the applicant belongs to. But it has not been done, even when every next day we find many ‘seniors’ in the Government professing that government is for doing regular exercises for administrative reforms.
 
 
Briefly to summarize let us have a look at the Clause – 1 and Clause -3 of Section -6 of J&K Constitution .Clause- (1) reads : “Every person who is, or is deemed to be, a citizen of India under the provisions of the Constitution of India shall be a permanent resident of the State, if on the fourteenth day of May, 1954- (a) he was a State Subject of Class I or of Class II” ; or (b) having lawfully acquired immovable property in the State, he has been ordinarily resident in the State for not less than ten years prior to that date. Clause- (3) reads “In this section, the expression "State Subject of Class I or of Class II" shall have the same meaning as in State Notification No. 1-L/84 dated the twentieth April, 1927, read with State Notification No. 13/L dated the twenty-seventh June, 1932”
 
 
The two points that need attract the attention of Divisional Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners are : Point-1. Sub Clause (a) of Clause- 1 of Section-6 of COJK ( Every person who is, or is deemed to be, a citizen of India under the provisions of the Constitution of India shall be a permanent resident of the State, if on the fourteenth day of May, 1954- he was a State Subject of Class I or of Class II) and Sub Clause (b) of Clause-1 of Section-6 ( “having lawfully acquired immovable property in the State, he has been ordinarily resident in the State for not less than ten years prior to that date” ) are separated by the word ‘OR’.
 
 
Point- 2. Note-II appended with Notification No. 1-L/84 dated the twentieth April, 1927 that says “: The descendants of the persons who have secured the Status of any Class of the State Subjects will be entitled to become the State Subjects of the same class. For example, if A is declared a State Subject of Class-II his sons and Grandsons will ipso facto acquire the status of the same Class (II) and not of Class-I.”
 
 
A meaning full review of the procedures being presently followed keeping in view point-1 and point-2 and the significance of word ‘OR’ separating Sub Clause (a) of Clause- 1 of Section-6 of COJK from Sub Clause (b) of Clause-1 of Section-6 would surely make grounds for recasting the procedural guidelines worth relieving many applicants of undue harassment and some dedicated revenue officers of the stresses they are facing due to unwanted complications / confusions/ conflicts arising out of the working guidelines presently available with them. Even if some revenue officer has desire to clear the cases with out making the applicants to run still he is found facing problems due to the prevailing procedures and the internal executive guide lines.
 
 
Clear lines if drawn amongst the applicants like (1) those who are descendants of Class-I and Class-II state subjects where the PRC can be issued only based on State Subject Certificate / PRC of the parent / husband, (2). People who fall in the category of those who had acquired the State Subject status after 1911 through 1944 as well as those who had acquired property for stay in J&K through Izajatnama after 2011 though 1944 AD but had yet to acquire the needed status through riyayatnama and (3) People who are nomads like Gujjar and Bakarwal, one would rarely find a case where there would be some unfair “forced” delay.
 
 
Presently even the most genuine / clear cases of those who are decedents of ‘State Subjects of Class-I or Class-II that could be disposed off in very simple routine manner in not more than 2 to3 days ( unless there is some particular case that may need investigation ) are not disposed without ‘pressure’.
So, there is utmost need for listing the needed documents in different categories and allowing the people like State Subjects of Class-I and Class-II to seek PRC using only the Permanent resident certificate or one’s father or grandfather.
 
 
WE are in the digital age. Guidelines for issue of PRC if are corrected as discussed herein that would also close some doors for the corrupt ‘entrepreneurs’ and relieve many parents of the un-necessary harassments that they may be facing with the present style of working in the revenue departments as well as many revenue officers who may be unduly facing difficulties due to faulty and confusing systems in place. And there should not be any problem in also ordering for issue of PRCs now onwards bearing photograph of the concerned.