Dogra Certificate Row: Revenue Department sidesteps cabinet
Minister Not Competent To Decide On The Issue: Experts
Srinagar, Apr 4: The Jammu and Kashmir Government hasn’t followed a proper procedure to go ahead with the issuance of ‘Dogra Certificate’ to the people of Jammu province, Greater Kashmir has learnt.
Highly placed government sources said the matter, with far reaching consequences, was never discussed in the state cabinet, which is the sole competent authority to issue such orders.
“Since such a certificate was to be issued for the first time, the matter should have ideally gone to the cabinet for discussion,” they said. “A minister is not competent to issue orders on policy decisions having across-the-board consequences. The issue has never come up in the cabinet. A committee had been formed to look into the demand for Dogra Certificate, but its recommendations were not forwarded to the cabinet and instead everything has been done at a lower level, which is not a proper way to decide on such sensitive issues.”
The issuance of ‘Dogra Certificate’ has already drawn flak from a number of legal experts and legislators, who accuse the state government of “attempting to divide the state on ethnic lines by going ahead with such vital decisions in hush-hush manner.”
While there is no provision in the state constitution which calls for issuance of a Dogra Certificate, sources said it was completely unethical to decide on such crucial matters at the administrative level. “It is not a small issue as we are made to believe. The cabinet should have discussed the issue and properly informed the public about its benefits, if at all there are any,” they said.
Recently the Minister for Revenue Raman Bhalla asked the people of Jammu division to avail the benefit of Dogra Certificate “as sanction for their issuance has already been given by the government.” He said the Government vide Order No. Rev. (LB) 69 of 2011 dated: 25-03-2011 has accorded sanction for issuance of Dogra Certificates.
“All such residents of Jammu and Kashmir who are otherwise eligible for grant of Permanent Resident Certificate in terms of J&K Grant of Permanent Resident Certificate (Procedure) Act and the rules made thereon, can get the certificate,” he said.
The minister said that the concerned Tehsildar (Territorial) shall be competent to issue such certificate to the eligible/desirous persons “irrespective of his or her ethnicity, religion, cultural background and mother-tongue.” For the purpose of issuing the Dogra certificate, all residents of Jammu division irrespective of ethnicity, cultural background and mother tongue should be classified as Dogras, provided their forefathers were residents of Jammu Division prior to 1944,” the Minister said while quoting the procedure set by the government.
“However the cut-off date of 1944 shall not apply to displaced persons of PoK (PaK) who will also be eligible for Dogra certificate,” he said.
While the Advocate General, Muhammad Ishaq Qadri, defends the decision on the grounds that it was not a “policy decision”, legal experts and political observers refuse to buy the argument.
Qadri said it is an “administrative decision” and that is why it hasn’t gone to the cabinet. “It is the policy decisions which go to the cabinet. Policies are to be framed by a department and approved by the cabinet. Since it is not a policy decision but an administrative decision, it hasn’t gone beyond the level of the minister,” Qadri told Greater Kashmir.
But, according to legal experts, the issuance of Dogra Certificate is not an administrative decision. “In the first place, there is no law which calls for issuance of Dogra Certificates. Second, it concerns the integrity of the state which has a special status under Article 370. So when you decide to issue a special certificate to a particular region, it has political ramifications. So how is it an administrative decision?” asked a former official in the Law Department, insisting not to be named. “In Jammu and Kashmir, even the transfer of a handful of KAS officers is done by the cabinet, not to speak of taking decisions which concern huge population and integrity of the state. So the matter should have gone to the cabinet first for discussion, which has unfortunately not happened. So you can safely say that it is all arbitrary.”
Pertinently, the issue has triggered a controversy, with political circles calling for revocation of the order amid government’s defence that it was “strictly meant to provide employment to people of Jammu region in Army’s Dogra regiment, where they get preference with Dogra Certificate in hand”—something which constitutional experts are not ready to buy.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 4 Apr 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 4 Apr 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 5 Apr 2011 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM FRONTPAGE
- Kashmir shivers in spring chill
- Dogra Certificate Row: Revenue Department sidesteps cabinet
- CPA team meets Hasnain, Geelani
- JK’s sex ratio at new low
- Will go with majority on Kashmir: APSCC
- Govt revokes Faizan’s PSA
- New Indo-Pak thaw playing differently to separatists?
- ‘Kayani was reluctant on Kashmir deal’
- 57 Hurriyat activists arrested: MHA
- North India hit by 5.7 quake
Pulwama, Apr 4: People of Hall and adjoining villages on Monday celebrated the return of Kashmiri Pandit youth in a local migrant colony here in south Kashmir. Scores of people attended the welcome More
- Srinagar City
‘Treat the wooden wonder as heritage and face of Kashmir’
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, Apr 4: With the number of houseboats in the famous Dal, Nigeen lakes and other waterbodies like Jhelum dwindling during past two decades, the cry for conservation of the wooden wonder is growing More
Jammu, Apr 4: Jammu and Kashmir Government has accorded first priority to promote the languages spoken in the state by providing ample opportunity to the emerging writers and established literacy figures More
Srinagar: Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front has expressed grief over the demise of Sheikh Ghulam Nabi of Chanapora, uncle of Sheikh Abdul Hamid. A number of Front leaders and activists participated in More
Liability touches `29,000 cr in 2009-10
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Jammu, Apr 4: Hauling up the Jammu and Kashmir government for its growing debt pile, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India AG says the state's fiscal liabilities increased by 18 per cent to Rs 28 More
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, Apr 4: No amount of internal turmoil in the country can justify fake encounter killings by the police, the Supreme Court said today and asked Andhra Pradesh government to file a status report More