Maintaining the sanctity of PRC
Permanent residency in the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been widely debated since long. While the state reserves the right to provide or cancel any permanent residency in the state, the issue has been unnecessarily discussed and ways are being worked out to dilute the state’s special status and constitutional provisions governing these rights.
The constitution of India under Article 35-A has guaranteed special powers to the state legislature to determine these rights and privileges and any attempt to fiddle with this law has always spelled disastrous for the state.
The issue of fiddling with the PRC laws came to fore yet again when right wing BJP leader Kavinder Gupta claimed that the state administration was contemplating to simplify the procedure for grant of PRCs and a timeline should be fixed for its issuance under the Public Services Guarantee Act.
While the attempt is seen as another way-out to distort the demography of the state besides, being detrimental to the special status that has been provided to the state, with constitutional safeguards, any move to tinker with the laws are totally unacceptable.
The move has come to fore when the Governors administration is being accused of over playing its role in the state since the local government fell in June this year. The State Administrative Council (SAC) has over the past two months attempted to get involved in changing various decisions that have been taken by the previous governments which of course had the peoples mandate.
The SAC has over the last few weeks got involved in very basic and fundamental changes that seem to be against the principal and spirit of democracy and participative governance.
Several decisions by the SAC including turning the J&K bank into a PSU or reversing a decision of the government taken in 2007 relating to transfer of land to the occupants, is seen as over ambitious on the part of the SAC.
Now if the reports that directions have already been issued to the concerned officials to make changes in the procedure pertaining to the issuance of these certificates that too with no wider consultations with any political party of the state and other stakeholders, it simply shows that the decisions are being taken in haste and with some malafide intentions.
The SAC should understand that the state is presently going through a tough phase and the situation right now is so volatile that any misadventure could disturb the fragile and precarious peace in the sensitive state. Plus the act can further create mistrust among people here and can have serious ramifications for the prospects of peace and harmony here.
The governor’s administration needs to restrict itself to basic governance. No structural changes pertaining to PRC or any other institutions in the state needs to be attempted. The SAC should restrict itself to basic governance issues and no policy decision should be taken that will further deepen the mistrust that has been gripping the people of the state since the past several decades now.
The state is going to have an elected government within months and if any of the issues that the SAC is unnecessarily undoing or overplaying, is to be taken up at an earliest let there be a wider consultation and debate before a decision is taken.