India: Requirements and procedures for tenant registration (or tenant verification), including implementation, particularly in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru (2016-May 2019) [IND106289.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Tenant Verification

According to a 2018 investigative report by India Today, an English-language news magazine, on tenant registration in Delhi, tenant verification aims to "detec[t] criminal background, if any, and maintai[n] a database on people living" in a particular area (India Today 8 Aug. 2018). Quoting a Delhi police officer, a 2019 article by the New Delhi-based Millennium Post similarly reports that "'[t]hrough [p]olice [v]erification, the history of any tenant can be verified whether the person had any criminal involvement or absconding from other states['] police'" (Millennium Post 28 Mar. 2019).

Sources describe tenant registration [or verification] as "mandatory" (India Today 8 Aug. 2018; Millennium Post 28 Mar. 2019). The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) provides a Digital Police portal that enables citizens to "seek antecedent verification" of tenants, among others (India n.d.a). The Digital Police portal is further described as follows:

The portal would also provide access to authorized persons to use National Database of crime records for the purpose of investigation, policy making, data analytics, research and providing citizen services.

The portal consolidates data of current and past [c]rime occurrences across the country. This data has information pertaining to persons accused or convicted in criminal cases along with associated information such as property stolen/recovered, missing persons, recovered/unidentified dead bodies and so on. This information would help expedite [p]olice investigations to solve crime[s,] as well as to provide antecedent verification services to citizens.

To protect privacy of individuals concerned and for [n]ational security reasons the [c]rime and [c]riminal data and reports can be searched by authorized Police officers only. Citizens who seek criminal antecedent verification services will be provided responses through email. (India n.d.a)

Another page of the same website further states the following:

[The] Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Project was conceived by [the MHA] in 2009, for inter-linking all police stations under a common application software for the purpose of investigation, data analytics and providing [c]itizen [s]ervices. … A [n]ational[-]level portal "Digital Police Portal" is being launched as part of the project for [s]tates, [c]entral investigation agencies and [c]itizens. They will be able to access [s]earch [functions] and [r]eports on [n]ational crime records as per their authorization. (India n.d.b)

The following sub-sections provide information on tenant verification in some of India's major cities; further information on tenant verification in Bengaluru and Delhi is available in Response to Information Request IND106101 of May 2018; IND106120 of June 2018 provides information on tenant verification in Mumbai and Hyderabad.

1.1 Delhi

Sources describe tenant registration in Delhi as mandatory (India Today 8 Aug. 2018; Millenium Post 28 Mar. 2019). The website of the Delhi police includes a link to a tenant registration application (Delhi n.d.). Further information on the requirements and procedures for tenant verification in Delhi could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

According to the India Today article,

Delhi Police spokesperson Madhur Verma said, "[a]ll verification forms of the applicant are sent to his/her concerned police station (from where he/she belongs) to check for any criminal background or get a character certificate. In almost all cases, the police of other states fail to even give any revert on the case." (India Today 8 Aug. 2018)

The same article further reports that

Mail Today [a Delhi-based newspaper] visited about 25 police stations in Delhi and Noida to check on the verification process.

In most police stations, the verification forms were found dumped, gathering dust with no action being taken to complete the procedure. (India Today 8 Aug. 2018)

Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

The 2019 Millennium Post article reports that

[f]or the safety of any city, tenant verification is very important but there are landlords who ignore the rule ….

In Delhi itself, there are 1,137 cases of violation found during verification of tenants. Sources told Millennium Post that till February 24 [2019], as many as 65,163 tenants were checked and more than 26,000 tenants were verified and 20,198 forms filled [out] for verification. In many cases, the landlords violated the rules. (Millennium Post 28 Mar. 2019, italics added)

According to sources, police in Delhi have charged (Citizen Matters 21 Mar. 2019) or convicted landlords that have not completed tenant verification (PTI 18 Sept. 2018; The Hindu 3 July 2014).

1.2 Mumbai

According to an article on the website of the Mumbai-based Shreeyansh Legal, a law firm whose areas of practice include property law (Shreeyansh Legal n.d.), the tenant verification form is available both online and at police stations; the form is filled out with "information of [the] owner and tenant," attached to a copy of the "registered leave and license agreement," and submitted to the police station (Shreeyansh Legal 23 May 2018). Further information on the requirements and procedures for tenant verification in Mumbai could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

1.3 Kolkata

A 2016 article by the Times of India reported that, according to top police officials, "all landlords will have to submit forms filled with details of their tenants to the nearest police station" and non-compliance may result in jail time (The Times of India 25 June 2016). According to the same article, a similar directive had been given in the past, however, the Kolkata police lacked the resources to enforce it (The Times of India 25 June 2016). The website of the Kolkata Police provides a "Residential Tenants Profile Form"; a copy of the form is attached to this Response (Attachment 1). Further and corroborating information on the requirements and procedures for tenant verification in Kolkata could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

1.4 Bengaluru

In March 2019, Citizen Matters, an independent news site funded by the Oorvani foundation, "a non-profit trust that works on open knowledge platforms for civic engagement and community revitalisation" (Citizen Matters n.d.), reported that the police launched a drive to

"document" residents living in apartment complexes across the city. … [A]partment owners' associations have been asked to provide full details of their residents and safety and surveillance assets, as part of the police's "[p]reventive [s]ecurity [m]easures". (Citizen Matters 21 Mar. 2019)

The same source further reports that the General Secretary of Bangalore Apartments' Federation (BAF) stated that apartment associations have neither the "obligation nor the authority to share tenant or owner information with anybody else" and, if such information is required, police must ask the individuals involved to provide it, rather than the apartment association (Citizen Matters 21 Mar. 2019). Further information on the requirements and procedures for tenant verification in Bengaluru could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

2. Police Verification of Tenant Information

The Times of India reported in October 2018 that

the pan-India database on crime and criminals, better known as CCTNS, is already being used as a resource base for police verification for purposes like issue of passport, servant and tenant verification …. The CCTNS has already e-integrated 14,710 of the total 15,655 police stations across the country, allowing police personnel and law enforcement agencies including [Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)], [Intelligence Bureau (IB)], [Enforcement Directorate (ED)], Narcotics Control Bureau and [National Investigation Agency (NIA)] to access criminal record and history of a person from any police station in the country. (The Times of India 27 Oct. 2018)

For further information on tenant registration, including integration with CCTNS, see Response to Information Request IND106120 of June 2018.

Section 3.9.1 of a "Citizen User Manual" for the CCTNS, produced by Wipro, a Bengaluru-based IT company (Wipro n.d.), and submitted to the National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, provides instructions and screenshots of the tenant verification process within the CCTNS program; Section 3.9.1 of this manual is attached to this Response (Attachment 2).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Citizen Matters. 21 March 2019. Harsha Raj Gatty. "Has Your Apartment Got a 'Verification Notice' from Bengaluru City Police?" [Accessed 15 Apr. 2019]

Citizen Matters. N.d. "About Us." [Accessed 9 May 2019]

Delhi. N.d. Delhi Police. "Citizen Services." [Accessed 24 Apr. 2019]

The Hindu. 3 July 2014. Akanksha Jain. "Landlord Gets Jail Term for Not Verifying Tenants' Background." [Accessed 8 Apr. 2019]

India. N.d.a. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Digital Police. Home page. [Accessed 6 May 2019]

India. N.d.b. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Digital Police. "About Us." [Accessed 9 May 2019]

India Today. 8 August 2018. Chayyanika Nigam. "Security Goes for a Toss as Tenant Verification Becomes Eyewash in Delhi." [Accessed 10 Apr. 2019]

Millennium Post. 28 March 2019. Abhay Singh. "Police Register 1,137 Cases for Ignoring Tenant Verification." [Accessed 3 May 2019]

Press Trust of India (PTI). 18 September 2018. "Delhi Court Convicts Landlord of Failing to Do Police Verification of Tenant but Spares Jail." [Accessed 24 Apr. 2019]

Shreeyansh Legal. 23 May 2018. "Avoiding Tenant Verification Could Be Big Trouble." [Accessed 10 Apr. 2019]

Shreeyansh Legal. N.d. "About Us." [Accessed 10 May 2019]

The Times of India. 27 October 2018. Bharti Jain. "Crime Data System May Stop Police Verification." [Accessed 22 Apr. 2019]

The Times of India. 25 June 2016. "Got Tenant? Submit Details or Face Jail." [Accessed 22 Apr. 2019]

Wipro. N.d. "Contact Us." [Accessed 12 May 2019]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: India – High Commission of India, Ottawa.

Internet sites, including: Absolute Tenant Check; ecoi.net; The Economic Times; ETRealty; EU – European Asylum Support Office; The Free Press Journal; Hindustan Times; India – Bureau of Police Research and Development, Central Bureau of Investigation, Indian Police Service; Makaan.com; Mumbai – Mumbai Police; New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV); Newland Chase; PRS Legislative Research; UN – Refworld; US – Department of State.

Attachments

1. Kolkata. N.d. Kolkata Police. Residential Tenants Profile Form. [Accessed 8 May 2019]

2. Wipro. N.d. "Section 3.9.1 Tenant Verification Request." Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems. Core Application Software (CAS) Citizen State: Citizen User Manual. [Accessed 6 May 2019]