5 Years of Police Commissionerate: Tenant Verification still not Mandated
It has been five years that the Guwahati police commissionerate was formed. With the recent induction of IPS officer Munna Prasad Gupta as the commissioner of police, he is the 5th in the line of officers who were handed the city police’s top post. Ironically and despite sharp rise in crimes within the city to the extent that ULFA operatives were living in the city as tenants and carried out a grenade attack on arterial RG Baruah Road using their rented premises as hideouts, tenant verification is still not a mandatory requirement in the city.
When asked if Gupta would mandate tenant verification in Guwahati, the newly appointed officer, talking to G Plus said, “We will examine the possibilities.”
Talking about other commissionerates in the country, as soon as a commissionerate was formed in many cities, the relevant police force mandated tenant verification.
Bhubaneswar police commissionerate promulgated the tenant verification mandate order under section 144 of CrPc in 2015, violation of which invited 6 months of jail and Rs 1,000 in fines for the house owners renting out houses without verifying the tenant.
Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and all the metro cities have commissionerates and tenant verification is mandatory there.
In Guwahati, house owners can apply for tenant verification, but they never receive the information of whether the tenant has been verified or not.
There are two ways of applying for tenant verification in Guwahati. The first is by manually filling up a form and submitting it at the local police station. The second way is by applying online through the Crime & Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) portal which was launched by the Assam Police in January 2016.
During the launch it was claimed by police officials that the public could request for passport verification, tenant verification, domestic help verification/employee verification, character certificate, protest or strike request, procession request and event performance request through CCTNS. Such requests would be processed between 10 to 45 days.
A highly placed source in the CCTNS team revealed that only passport verification is now a success through CCTNS but the rest of the services are hardly used by the public. The source also revealed that even if tenant verification is applied for through CCTNS, the police never inform the status of tenant verification.
Even the police are not mandated to inform the house owners about the status of their tenant verification applications – whether online or through the manual process. The CCTNS team tried that the applicants should know about the status, but it seems that the local police stations hardly have the manpower to assign to this task.
Now, Assam Police is claiming that they will visit house-to-house in Guwahati to verify tenants. Recently, a decision was taken by police during a meeting between the Assam Police and Nagrik Samities of different localities held at the District Library Auditorium. Details of the tenants will be recorded in a particular format during a survey, the police claimed. The survey will start initially from areas like Gorchuk and Hatigaon according to the police.
While the police attribute not mandating tenant verification to manpower limitations its claim of going on a door-to-door tenant survey already seems far-fetched.
The simple solution would be mandating tenant verification, and proactively starting the online process. G Plus has been harping on this issue with every newly inducted commissioner and the reply of “examining possibilities” has become a standard. Mandatory tenant verifications remains lapse in the commissionerate’s scheme of things.