More than two months since the Jammu and Kashmir administration began issuing domicile certificates, around 12.5 lakh such certificates have been issued by the Union territory administration until August 31.
Spokesperson for the J&K administration Rohit Kansal said on Tuesday that “more than 99 per cent” of the domicile certificates have been issued to erstwhile Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC) holders.
“We have been reviewing the process regularly and the process of issuance of the certificate is picking up rapidly. Over 12.5 lakh certificates have already been issued and practically all of them have been issued to those who were holders of PRC, including Kashmiri Pandit migrants and others,” Kansal said, adding that the process will be accelerated and monitored to ensure that pendency is brought to the lowest.
Principal Secretary Revenue Pawan Kotwal, who addressed the media along with Kansal, said that at least 20,000 applications for domicile certificates were rejected in the process of verification of details.
He emphasised that as of now, this certificate “has nothing to do with land rights. If you have this certificate, it does not entitle you to get land here, that is a different subject.”
In April this year, six months after Jammu and Kashmir took shape as a Union Territory, the Centre introduced the domicile clause extending protections to those who have “resided for a period of fifteen years in the UT of J&K or has studied for a period of seven years and appeared in class 10th/12th examination in an educational institution located in the UT of J&K”.
Shortly after, the government issued the Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules, defining the requirements for issuance of the certificates and including in its ambit West Pakistan Refugees, safai karmacharis and children of women married outside Jammu and Kashmir. On June 22, former Lieutenant Governor G C Murmu launched an e-application and issuance of domicile certificate portal, after which the rollout of the certificates began.
Prior to this, Article 35A of the Constitution had empowered J&K Assembly to define a J&K resident, who alone were eligible to apply for jobs or own immovable property.
“The government undertook a detailed review of the situation, particularly with regard to pending applications and time taken for issuance, and on August 25 it issued an SRO 263 further simplifying the process for erstwhile PRC holders whereby the time for issuance of these certificates was reduced from 15 days to five days. It was further ordered that for holders of PRC, no additional enquiry would be required and a domicile certificate would be issued simply on the strength of availability of the PRC,” Kansal said.
He added that the administration is open to further reducing this time so that the certificates can be provided “with minimum possible difficulty and in the fastest possible time”.