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Despite Guv’s assurance, lawyers’ body express concern over change in PRC, terms it unacceptable

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Srinagar: Kashmir High Court Bar Association on Monday expressed its “serious concern” over the “contemplated change” into the procedure of issuing Permanent Resident Certificates by the Revenue Debarment and termed it as an attempt to alter the demography of the State.
A spokesman of the lawyers’ body said an Executive Committee meeting was held here and in which it was stated that though Governor Satpal Malik has clarified that his Administration was not making or considering any change in the procedure governing the issuance of Permanent Resident Certificates in Jammu and Kashmir, 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 lawyers 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.”
The Bar members also expressed anguish over the arrest of the mother and two sisters of a militant and the subsequent shifting of the two sisters to New Delhi on the suspicion of being involved in the killing of a BJP worker and his brother about a month back.
The lawyers’ body termed it as a flagrant violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other International Covenants, which provide that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention and that everyone is presumed to be innocent, until proved guilty according to law, which concept is otherwise also a foundation of the criminal jurisprudence and is capable of enforcement.
“It was also stated that the presumption of innocence is a human right and no Govt. or any of its officer, is authorised to violate the said human right on mere suspicion.”
The Bar association also expressed their concern over the falling health of JKLF chief Mohammad Yassin Malik, who has been held in “illegal captivity at Police Station Kothibagh, Srinagar”. The Bar demanded that he should be immediately released, so that he was able to receive full medical treatment from the Doctor and the hospital, where he has been receiving such treatment regularly.
“The Bar members also criticized the jail authorities, both inside and outside the State, who are maltreating the Kashmiri prisoners lodged in their respective jails and are denying them the medical treatment and other facilities to which they are entitled to under Jail Manual and other Prison Laws and are also not producing them before the courts where their cases are pending trial and are thereby defeating their fundamental and legal right of receiving fair and speedy justice.”

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