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Lawyers at Collectorate lodge protest

india Updated: Dec 19, 2006 01:50 IST

LAWYERS HAVE registered protest against the hike in certified copy application form prices at the Collectorate facilitation centre.

The application form, which is available for Re 1 in the market, costs Rs 10 at the facilitation centre. Other application forms that cost up to Rs 3 in the market are also sold for Rs 10.  The facilitation centre doesn’t accept the forms available in the market for processing applications.

Lawyers at the Collectorate have written to the District Collector and State Human Rights Commission about the steep rise in charges of the forms, saying that it is a burden on general public.

Furthermore, the facilitation centre takes more than 10 days to provide the copy of certified dossier to applicants, they said. This, the lawyers said, belies the administration’s claim of providing the requested document within the specified time frame.

The lawyers at Collectorate have approached Indore District Bar Association to support their remonstration and plan to launch a series of agitations, if adequate steps were not taken to roll back application form prices.

The facilitation centre that has been set up with funds contributed by MP Sumitra Mahajan is a self-sustainable project and the money it charges to provide documents, certified copies goes towards the maintenance. 

However, the question being raised is whether the administration has a right to hike charges at will, and that too nine times more than the prevailing market rates.

The other issue relates to transparency. The facilitation centre was opened to do away with middlemen and clerks who demanded bribe  for issuing copies of documents. It was also aimed to provide employment to youths.

The lawyers alleged that clerks at the Collectorate still demand bribe for issuing the requested documents, especially solvency certificates. The lower division clerk at copying section maintains a car, they  alleged.

Moreover, a retired upper division clerk , who is drawing a monthly pension of Rs 5,000 a month, has been put in charge of the facilitation centre since June 30, 2006.

“The fact that a retired employee has been appointed in place of an unemployed person is also an injustice,” Collectorate lawyer Mishra, who is spearheading the protest, told HT.  Collector Vivek Aggarwal, who is out of station, was not available for comments.