Saturday, October 24, 2020
 
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Domicile Certificate for jobs, clear PRC status




K B Jandial


On 29th September, 2020, the MoS PMO, Dr. Jitender Singh tweeted that J&K UT Govt has agreed to amend and clarify Rules governing Domicile Certificate (DC) to the eligible persons “for ease of # Domicile Certificate. Formal orders being issued soon.” It is more than a fortnight since this news was broken by Dr. Jitender Singh after discussing with the Lt. Governor and the Chief Secretary the distress of the people of J&K in securing DC but no notification issued yet. The UT Govt had notified the Domicile Rules on 18th May, 2020 that replaced the State Subject with new DC for recruitment in Govt jobs.
In one of the statements that reflected his objectiveness, Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha said that howsoever important Govt decisions might be but what actually matters is its effective & prompt implementation on the ground. This much awaited decision on changes in Domicile Rules too falls in this category. On every passing day, the people continue to ‘suffer’ on this count and any further delay is unwarranted after the decision has already been taken at the highest level.
Every democratic Govt is expected to be responsive to the problems of the people and it applies to J&K UT Govt too. In the first place, how some critical categories of deserving classes of people who were the core of BJP’s perception campaign were missed out of the amendment in the Act and the Rules framed thereof. Omission of these categories in the amendment Act & the Rules cannot be justified on any ground. At least, this can be done now promptly when the matter is already decided.
Under the repealed State Subject law, the non- State Subject girl married to a State Subject man was eligible for State Subject but now they don’t fall in any of any categories of domiciliary law and as such, not eligible for DC. The non-State Subject husband of the State Subject wife was ineligible earlier too and continues to be so. It has to be corrected by inserting 1C in Rule 5 to add another category of “spouse of a PRC holder” in column III and “PRC of either of the spouses and marriage certificate from a competent authority” in column V (Documents to be annexed with application) of the table.
Given the level of understanding of Naib Tehsildars or even Tehsildars, it is difficult them to comprehend the meaning of ‘parent’ as reflected in the Domicile Rule 5 (1 b). Is it both mother & father of the child or one of them? There are instances where the Competent Authority has sought father’s PRC from the children of an non-PRC father & PRC mother and they were deprived of DCs. It is really intriguing that the children of J&K daughters married to non-State Subjects men are being ‘deprived’ of domicile status for which nation-wide perception was created against the discriminatory Articles 35A and 370. This confusion can be removed by issuing some administrative clarification but better course would be to amend Rule 5(1b) in the column V of the table and replacing “PRC of the parent” with “PRC of either of the parents”.


The Govt has ‘faulted’ right from the beginning. As is known to everyone now, the J&K Domiciliary law stems from the Amendment in the J&K Civil Services (Recruitment and Decentralisation) Act, 2010 and as such, the present Domicile Certificate is relevant only for Govt and Semi Govt jobs, and not for any other purpose. Intriguingly, the Govt too is maintaining a studded silence on this issue that led to an impression that Domicile Certificate has replaced the Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) for all practicable purposes and obviously, everyone rushed in panic for DC that led to avoidable hardship to many PRC holders. The senior citizens, pensioners, house wives and children are unnecessarily crowding the offices of the notified Competent Authority for this ‘privileged’ document which actually meant exclusively for recruitment purposes.
At the time of making the provision of Domicile Certificate by amending the J&K Civil Services Act, 2010 and the Rules framed under it, why didn’t the Govt restrict DC only to the youth seeking recruitment? The authorities could have incorporated a line in the application form for Domicile Certificate regarding the purpose for which the DC is applied for. Most of the problems & confusion would have settled down there itself and many wouldn’t have applied even. That could have saved the notified “Competent Authorities” from the huge volume of additional work & consequent unnecessary pressure and Govt expenditure besides minimizing inconvenience of the people. It still can be done by issuing an official statement and modifying the prescribed application form.
Change of residence after issuance of the PRC is another cause of rejection by the Competent Authority. Similar is the problem with recording the full name in the PRC issued some forty or fifty years ago that becomes mismatch with the name with of the card holder in the Aadhaar Card that is sought even though Rules didn’t ask for it in Rule 5 (1a) and result in rejection of the application online. Why complicate the matter for the genuine permanent residents and also open up channels of corruption that is found convenient for harassed applicants than facing inconvenience at the hands of “public servants”, which is not the objective of the framers of the domiciliary law.
Contrary to the popular perception, the PRC still exists and is being used for sale & purchase of property in J&K. No amendment has yet been made in the Registration Act to replace PRC with DC and as such PRC continues to be the valid document for registry of sale/purchase of land & property. If it is still a valid document, where was the problem in saying so in clear term rather than forcing people to make their own perception? The Govt should still clarify the status of PRC and documents required for sale & purchase property.
Providing corruption-free and transparent administrative systems is a solemn commitment of Lt Gov. Manoj Sinha and it should be reflected on the ground as well.




(Author is a retired IAS officer) feedback: [email protected])




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