Around a decade back, I was struggling to get passports for myself and my family members because of several procedural hurdles in the path. Proof of address was one of them. Though Aadhar Cards had been issued but they were not considered a valid document for proof of address those days.
Since we belong to Rajasthan and due to my changing the job a number of times over in my career, we didn’t have voter cards for our then place of residence (Hyderabad). Anyway, I was able to provide my proof of residence because of the landline telephone bill (of BSNL) and my salary account in the State Bank of Hyderabad. However arranging the address proofs of my wife and mother became a big problem for me. The shocking thing was that my address proof was not accepted as the address proof of even my wife. I was astonished to find that in a country like India where the marital bond is considered so sacred, husband’s address proof is not accepted as the address proof of his wife living with him. When I asked the bank (State Bank) to make my salary account in the bank as a joint account with my wife being the joint accountholder, the bank official also asked for the proof of residence of my wife, independent of my address proof. Else, he asked me to furnish a copy of our marriage certificate which I couldn’t because our marriage had taken place through the religious customs and it was not a civil marriage. I had been told that even affidavits were also not accepted as the address proof. Finally, with the help of the travel agent working for my employer organization (B.H.E.L.), I approached the passport office with the form and whatever documents I could arrange. There also, the examining and enquiring officials asked for the proof of our marriage. We couldn’t do anything in this regard except showing them our children
With the mediation of that agent (and his liaison with the concerned passport office official), we got our passports in the end (a sigh of relief for me). The policeman who had come to our house for ‘verification’ also was not ready to do his duty without taking a bribe.
Now our family has got scattered because of my transfer to Visakhapatnam and my family’s shifting to Pune. Once again this address proof problem has propped up before us as my daughter who has grown-up and my son who has to apply for his PAN card and driving license shortly, need address proofs. My mother is no more now but the passports of myself, my wife and both of my children will need renewal next year. Now Aadhar Card is accepted as a valid address proof. But to update address in that one needs another address proof. For opening a bank account or getting address updated in the bank records, one needs an address proof. Driving license is a valid address proof but to get the address updated in the same, one needs another address proof. I can arrange my address proof and I have applied for updation of my address in my Aadhar Card but what about the other members of my family. One BSNL landline telephone can be obtained for one member’s address proof (that too is no easy job when another govt. recognized address proof is not available) but again the other members will be without separate address proof. The authorized Aadhar Card agent in Pune told me that the address proof of the head of the family is not acceptable for the other members of that family. Everybody has to arrange separate proof for himself / herself. Then how can my wife provide a proof of her residence ? Should husband’s proof of residence not be considered as the proof of residence of an Indian wife ? And how can my children provide separate proofs of their residence independent of my proof of residence ?
I am really confused and not able to find a way-out of this problem. In India, several rules and regulations are made without giving a thought to the problems of the straight citizens. That’s how the menace of corruption goes unchecked because even to get the right things done, you have to route your work through the channel of bribe.