Fake State Subject Issue: Bashrat Bukhari Throws Ball In Mehbooba’s Court

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SRINAGAR: National Conference leader Basharat Bukhari on Wednesday said he had moved a proposal after the cabinet nod for action against the fake Permanent Resident Certificates (PRC) holders and the officers who issued the vital documents. The file sent to the Chief Minister’s office on June 30, 2016, did not return to him till he was the Revenue Minister of the state.

Bukhari was reacting to a Kashmir Life report that quoted individuals from the political class pointing fingers at him for non-action in case of recommendations made by a Permanent Commission constituted earlier. The report had insisted that while the entire political class has gone gung ho on Article 35(A), nobody knows anything about the fake PRCs that were identified by the Commission.

This was his first interaction with the media after he deserted PDP and joined NC. He said the issues related to Article 370, Article 35(A) and the state subjects are closely linked.

Bukhari said after he received the recommendations, he as state’s Revenue Minister initiated a non-agenda item for the cabinet to consider. “As I explained the issue, there was a lot of noise from the BJP but the majority of the cabinet directed that the recommendations be adopted and sent to the appropriate authority,” Bukhari. “After the cabinet meeting was over, I put up a note and send it to the Chief Minister. I have no information about the follow-up. I just wanted to get my name out of the issue and that is why I am talking to you.”

The Note

He released the note he had written on the file.

“Spoken – In terms of rule 8 of J&K Business Rules, all cases to in II Schedule including reports of the Commission/Committee appointed by the Government are required to be brought before the state cabinet for consideration.

While discussing proposed amendments in the J&K Permanent Residents Certificates (Procedure) Act in the last Cabinet in its meeting dated 28-06-2016, the discrepancies found in issuance of state subject certificates and wrongful dining’s of persons (who have got the certificates issued fraudulently in their favour) and the officers/officials involved therein, till recent past, were also discussed and deliberated upon.

Cabinet was of the view to defer the said proposed amendment and gave nod to proceed ahead as per the recommendations of the Commission constituted for the purpose, in the first instance and also decided to act against such persons/officers/officials abettors as per law.

So, in view of the above, we may therefore besides adopting the report of the said Commission, take consequential actions as proposed at 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 of para 41 (x)… page 25 of note file and also proceed against the delinquent officers / officials and abettors as well.

May approve please.”

Fake PRC’s were Too Many

Bukhari told reporters that if he remembers correctly, the number of fake PRCs that the Commission had sent to the Revenue Ministry were 136. There are 90 more certificates that the Commission has located and were being investigated, he added.

Jammu & Kashmir, it may be recalled here, have tough domicile laws. Besides Article 370 – the constitutional guarantee that is the bridge between Jammu & Kashmir and the Union of India, it is the stiff state subject law that makes this northern border state a different entity in the Indian polity.

The state subject law, it is worth mentioning here, owes its genesis to the last Maharaja of the princely state His Highness Maharaja Hari Singh when on April 20, 1927, he issued a proclamation placing state subjects in four different categories. It was supplemented by another notification of June 27, 1932. The twin royal decrees were in fact in response to an agitation launched by the Kashmiri Pandits seeking a ban over the entry of outsiders into the state that, they said, was marring their employment opportunities.

These proclamations were incorporated in section 6 of the state constitution when it was adopted in 1954. A permanent resident, according to state provisions read with Article 35 (a) of the Indian Constitution, is the person who has been living continuously in Jammu & Kashmir for ten years prior to May 14, 1954, and must have acquired immovable property lawfully. All those citizens who became part of the territory administered by Islamabad after 1947 are also state subjects of the state. Interestingly, the females forfeit their domicile status in case they choose to marry a non-state subject.

Commission Constituted

When Dr Farooq Abdullah led National Conference government resumed office in October 1996, there were enormous reports of `outsiders’ acquiring fake PRCs, especially during the gubernatorial regime (1990-96). It was after the consistent insistence of the legislatures that the government appointed a one-man commission of Justice (retired) A Q Parray to examine the issue and make recommendations. This was done despite stiff resistance to the setting up of the Commission by a section of the bureaucracy.

The Commission has received and investigated a number of complaints ever since it was appointed. These actions were usually being made public. In December 2001, the state revenue ministry cancelled PRC of almost 20 families in the last reported order. Under the stringent state subject laws, the law demands that the immediate confiscation of the immovable property, which the fake citizens might have acquired in the state. By then there were 700 complaints before the Commission.

However, for many years now, there has not been any talk on the issue.

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