Dust Yet To Settle On PRC Issue  

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SRINAGAR — Notwithstanding Governor Satya Pal Malik’s assurance that no changes were being made to the existing Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) rules in the state,  Kashmir High Court Bar Association and Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) on Monday expressed ‘serious concern’ over the “contemplated changes” in the issuance procedure and termed it “unacceptable.” 

The lawyers’ body said that though Governor has clarified that his Administration was not making or considering any change in the procedure governing the issuance of PRC, he has stated that the Revenue Department has sought comments from few others as a routine administrative matter “which runs contrary to what he has assured.” 

The governor in response to the letter by National Conference leader and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had stated that while seeking PRC was one of the services under J&K Public Services Guarantee Act, many applicants face avoidable difficulty in getting it within the time limit of 30 days, therefore, having a hassle-free process, the Revenue Department has sought comments from few others, which is a routine administrative matter.

“This has also been supported by a senior Leader of BJP and Former Deputy Chief Minister of the State, Kavinder Gupta, who has stated that J&K Administration was contemplating to simplify the procedure for grant of PRC’s and this is a good step, if implemented, with the clause of getting the system online for the issuance of PRCs on the pattern of birth or death certificates,” the lawyers body said, adding, “It is thus obvious, that a process has been initiated by the Revenue Department to change the procedure for issuing PRCs, which are being issued under J&K Grant of Permanent Resident Certificate (Procedure) Rules, 1968, which envisage that on receipt of an application for grant of Permanent Resident Certificate, an enquiry shall be held in the matter and the competent authority shall also hear and record brief statement of the applicant and the witnesses produced by him or summoned or called by him, on his own motion and if he deemed necessary to invite objections to the grant of the certificate and hear the person or persons objecting to the grant of such certificate and also the witnesses produced by the applicant and record their statement which shall form part of the record.”

 Any order passed by the competent authority is also revisable and/or a certificate issued is liable to be cancelled, whereby the orders of the competent authority granting a certificate are reversed on revision and the person holding the certificate shall thereafter cease to be a permanent resident, the lawyer’s body said. 

“Thus, any change brought in the procedure for grant of Permanent Resident Certificates contrary to what is contained in the Rules of 1968, is bound to have serious repercussions and as such the issue of making any change in the procedure should be shelved once for all.” 

Meanwhile, A statement issued by Kashmir Economic Alliance, an amalgam of several trade bodies in Kashmir, said: “such development was nothing but part of the larger conspiracy against the special status of the state.”

Chairman KEA Muhammad Yasin Khan in his statement said issuance of PRC shouldn’t be confused with the grant of basic facilities like ‘Bjili, Sadak and Paani’ to the people.

“PRC cannot be seen through the prism of Public Service Guarantee Act, as the State Subject is the precious document which if issued hurriedly can only lead to further erosion of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir state,” Khan said.

“If the government goes ahead with the conspiracy to oversimplify issuance of PRC we will be left with no options but to take to streets because there cannot be any compromise on the special status of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

He asked the Raj Bhawan to issue formal orders to stop any move aimed at weakening the issuance of PRC.

He appealed to the people of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh to be united for this collective cause.

“The conspiracy to meddle with the PRC should be the concern of every citizen of this state as the collective cause of our special status,” he said.

Khan appealed the civil society and other stakeholders in all the three regions to be united for this collective cause.

 

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