The Registration Department, which has introduced e-registration of documents in a pilot programme, is facing resistance from within the department and from document writers and scribes.
The department is rooting for transparency and wants to cut down on the time and the cost borne by the people for registering various documents, Inspector General of Registration, M.G. Rajamanikyam, told The Hindu.
Not denying corrupt practices in the department, he said the e-registration system would address these issues besides making it more accessible to the common man.
He said the fear of document writers and scribes about losing their livelihood is incorrect as only document writers or lawyers can execute a document in the State. This rule will continue and document writers have been made part of the online services by offering entrepreneurship models, he said. It is the document writer who has to upload the document, he said.
In fact, making the service online will only simplify the procedure, said Mr. Rajamanikyam. The online service provides details about how much a registration of a particular document costs. Soon, e-payment will be coming in to make the online procedure a complete package, he said.
Already, the department has received one lakh applications for registering documents online by document writers, he said. The department has provided online services at 22 sub-registrar offices in Thiruvananthapuram as a pilot programme where encumbrance certificates, marriage registration documents and partnership firm documents can be obtained.
K.G. Indukaladharan, president of the All Kerala Document Writers and Scribes Association said that while document writers felt that the online format is inevitable, the 50,000-strong community feels rather piqued about the manner it has come about. The government should not do away with the process of the age-old profession of writing a document in one stroke, he said.
There are fears about livelihood that have not been addressed, he said. Document writers need to be part of a committee that will see that the transition happens in a smooth manner, he said. Besides, the formats introduced seem to be lacking in description that document writers bring about by detailing many aspects of a landed property, said Mr. Indukaladharan.
Officials handling the online procedures in the registration department said that online documents would allow description but in a simpler language. Documents written in the northern part of the State are sometimes not understood by the southerners and vice versa. Online documents will bring in a standardised format doing away with the long-winded sentences that are difficult for people to understand. Facts from an online document can be gleaned faster.
Minister for Registration Anoop Jacob has called a meeting on August 21 for the stakeholders and the department.