Appointing competent authorities


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. 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. Competent authorityto 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

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