Sri, a youngster, who comes from Trichy to Chennai for an interview for a BPO job, loses his original certificates after an incident of physical assault. In order to keep the job offer, he finds himself having to arrange for copies of his certificate in a matter of days.
In a similar incident, Kamali, a young graduate visits Chennai from Kotagiri in search of a job. She misplaces her bag on the train and ends up losing her academic certificates.
Do these stories sound familiar to you?
These incidents are from the famous Tamil movies Managaram (2017) and Kadhal Kottai (1996) respectively that form crucial plot points. The movies ensure a positive ending in both these cases through a dramatic turn of events.
In real life, many of us may find ourselves missing important documents that are lost during travel, while moving homes, to theft or even during the infamous monsoon floods in Chennai.
In such cases, it would be necessary to obtain a Lost Document Report (LDR) from the Police which in turn will help in securing duplicates from various government departments.
However, the fear of approaching the police station to file a complaint and the tedious process to obtain duplicate certificates, in general, prevent many people from registering a complaint.
How many of us are aware that the Tamil Nadu police had launched an online facility for the public to obtain LDR instantly without visiting police stations? According to the web portal of the Tamil Nadu Police department, over 31 lakh LDRs have been issued instantly through the online facility since its launch in September 2017.
Here is a step-by-step explainer of how you can apply for a lost document report.
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Using the portal to obtain a lost document report
Those who have lost any of the following documents could obtain an LDR by visiting the Tamil Nadu Police web portal which has an exclusive section for ‘Lost Document Reports’.
Once the individual files the application for LDR by paying a sum of Rs 50, a system-generated LDR is sent to the registered mail ID. By attaching a copy of the LDR, the complainant can proceed with the steps to obtain duplicates for the documents they lost by following the procedure laid down by the departments concerned.
The online facility can be utilized for reporting the loss of the following documents (only in Tamil Nadu)
- Registration Certificate (RC books) of vehicles
- Driving License
- School / College Certificates
- ID Cards
Visit the web portal of the Tamil Nadu Police. Under the Citizen Services (Paid) section, you will find a dropdown menu item labelled ‘Lost Document Report’.
Clicking on this will take you to the exclusive page for filing LDR application which will have options to ‘Report’, ‘Verify’, ‘Download LDR’ and also a document answering frequently asked questions.
Once the report option has been selected, you will be directed to the window where basic details have to be filled. This includes the name of the complainant, father/husband’s name, address with pin code, mobile number and e-mail ID.
It is important to furnish the correct details, particularly the functional mobile number as the One Time Password (OTP), which will be sent to the registered mobile number, is mandatory to proceed further. The e-mail ID is important as the final LDR copy will be mailed to this furnished e-mail ID.
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Once the basic details are entered, an OTP will be sent to the registered mobile number. After entering the correct OTP, the portal will direct you to the next page where details about the document lost have to be furnished.
In case the lost document is a Passport, the Passport number and issuing Regional Passport Office details have to be furnished along with the description (in less than 200 characters) of the circumstances under which the document was lost.
Similarly, for an RC book, details of the vehicle number and issuing Regional Transport Office (RTO) are necessary.
For a driving license, the license number and issuing office are required.
The name of the institution and type of the certificate has to be entered for the school/college certificate, while the designation and issuing authority details have to be furnished for ID cards.
Once all the details are furnished, the portal will ask for a confirmation. Following this, you will have to make an online payment of Rs 50. Soon after the payment is received, you will be asked to upload a government ID proof, following which the LDR copy will be mailed to the registered mail ID. It can also be downloaded from the web portal.
A copy of the LDR should be attached with the petition to the departments where the complainant is seeking duplicate documents. As the primary focus of the service is to facilitate the citizens to obtain duplicate copies of the lost document from the authorities quickly, application for LDR is not a subject matter for police investigation or inquiry.
Rather, it is the responsibility of the authority issuing the duplicate copies of the document lost to verify the genuineness of the applicant. However, furnishing wrong information to the police is a punishable offence.
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How has the facility helped the citizens?
Karthik*, who lost his academic certificates in 2016 in Chennai, had no other option but to approach the nearby police station to file a complaint. He was under the impression that the police would carry out an investigation to find his certificates.
“If they cannot find it, I thought they would give an LDR. However, they did not respond to the complaint for over a week. I had to pay a bribe for them to take action. Soon after that, I received a copy of the LDR. The online system is a welcome move as it prevents instances of bribery” says Karthik. He also reiterates that this system makes the purpose of LDR very clear, which is that it is more of a self-declaration to a person in authority that one has lost their documents.
Varun* lost his employee ID card in 2019 in Chennai. He came to know about the online facility to obtain the LDR and decided to file for it.
“When I tried applying through my mobile phone, the user interface was very poor and the website did not even open. Later, when I applied using a web browser, I was able to apply. However, when I first applied the LDR did not contain the description of the lost document mentioned in the application. I came to know that the description provided was only for police reference and would not be carried in my LDR copy. The subject line simply said ‘Lost document: ID card’. It did not have details of my organisation’s name, which is required by the Human Resources department of my firm to issue a duplicate ID card,” says Varun.
“The second time I applied for the LDR, I used the designation box to type out the organisation’s name and was able to obtain it in the required format”, says Varun.
He suggests that the description provided in the application be carried in the LDR or a separate slot be provided to fill in such details so as to ensure that all the details are conveyed accurately.
“Apart from such technical difficulties, I find the online system more reliable, as it removes the anxiety of going to a police station to file a complaint and also saves a lot of time. If a similar system is brought by each department, delays in securing duplicates can also be prevented”, says Varun.