Govt makes passport clearance time-bound

Verification Process Brought Under PSGA,To Be Completed Within 60 Days

MUDDASIR ALI

Srinagar, Dec 27: In a significant development, the State Government Thursday ordered making passport clearance by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) a time-bound service.
The General Administration Department (GAD) issued a notice bringing the passport service within the ambit of the Public Service Guarantee Act (PSGA).
Under the Act, it will be mandatory for the CID to provide verification report for a passport applicant within 60 days. And in case there is no response, an applicant has the right to appeal before the designated authorities.
“If the service (report) is not provided in a time bound manner the designated authority can be penalized,” said the Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Sagar. “We are committed to provide hassle-free service and good governance to people.”
Sources said the delay in getting verification report was a reason for piling up of the passport cases in J&K. They said around 30,000 to 35,000 cases are pending verification. “The pending cases will also come within the ambit of the PSGA now,” sources said.
The Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had earlier this year assured to bring passport service within the purview of the PSGA.
Regional Passport Officer, Firdous Iqbal said around 250 to 260 passports are being provided by the office daily and the annual figures would touch around 60000. “It will be a record in the history of J&K,” Iqbal said.
An official clarified that under the move, the thrust would only be on providing the service (report) irrespective of its nature.
“Besides, there will be no third party redress mechanism like in case of the Right to Information Act where there is separate full-fledged Information Commission to address complaints,” the official said.
A Deputy Superintendent (headquarters) in the office of the Additional DGP/IGP, CID has been designated as authority for providing the verification report within 60 days and SSP, CID, and ADGP/IGP of the department are the first appellate authority and second appellate authority respectively.
An official report of 2007 revealed that thousands of people were being denied passport after being blacklisted by intelligence agencies in Kashmir. In 2007, some 60,000 families across the Valley figured in the list.
To clear the index, Omar in July this year said his government would bring the passport clearance within the purview of PSGA.
He had revealed, for the first time, that 6000 cases which were placed on the blacklist were cleared by the CID for passports since January this year.
“We have cleared 6000 cases this year which were placed in blacklist," Omar had said.
As per the GAD notification, the Government brought 13 another services under the PSGA.
The law has been extended to services like verification by Police Station concerned for certification of identity, character certificate; for copy of untraced reports in accident/drowning cases, stolen vehicles and theft cases.
In Health Department the law will be applicable in case of disability certificate, medical illness certificate, medical fitness certificate and postmortem report and issuance of NOC for installation of industry/project by the Pollution Control Board.
There were already 56 services covered under the PSGA in J&K.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 28 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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