Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Monday dismissed as infructuous a plea of Srinagar Stamp Vendors Association and directed the government to take steps to ensure that the livelihood of these people is not affected due to switching over to e-stamping procedure.
The court directed the government to take into account the plight of members of the petitioner-association qua their livelihood, “which is the sole ground that is to be looked into and considered by respondent-authority, and for that matter all that is required to be done by respondent-authority should be undertaken,” the court said.
Justice Tashi Rabstan also directed that authorities must impart training to members of the petitioner-association to come up at par with the niceties of e-stamping procedures as contemplated under Rules of 2020, and subsequently grant them permission/licences for sale of stamps, so as to enable them to earn their livelihood and sustain their respective families.
In a 37-page judgement, the judge dismissed the plea which said that there had been violation of Section 74 of the Stamps Act 1977 and the rules framed thereunder. Justice Tashi Rabstan held that though amendment by way of Section 24A of Section 2 of Act of 1977 has been carried out prior to the Act of 2019 coming into being, yet the J&K Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020, issued on 31st March 2020, envisages that the Acts mentioned in the schedule to the said Order shall have effect.
“Hence, in terms of J&K Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020, Sections 1, 2, 27, 33, 35, 42, 47-A, 48, 61, 64-A and 72 as also Articles 6, 12, 22, 30, 40, 41, 43, 45, 46 and 54 of Schedule I of Act of 1977, have been suitably amended,” the court recorded.
Justice Rabstan said, “In such circumstances there is an impetus in the submission of Advocate General that the Act of 1977 still continues to be in force and governs the field. And as a consequence thereof, Rule(s), including Rules of 2020, issued by respondents are in consonance with amendment as carried out in terms of Subsection 24A of the Act of 1977 and cannot be faulted on any of the grounds made mention of either in writ petition or urged by senior counsel for petitioner-association during course of argumentation of the case.
“In such circumstances and otherwise also, writ petition on hand has become infructuous consequent upon issuance of J&K Stamps (Payment of Duty by Means of e-Stamping) Rules, 2020, vide Notification/S.O. 201 dated 24th June 2020, that includes stamp vendors in the fray of transacting and selling the stamps.”
Earlier, for switching over to e-stamping in erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir, a Government Order no.77-F of 2013 dated 25 March 2013 came to be issued by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir. In the order, the Government accorded sanction to initiating the process to switching over to stamping system, appointment of Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL) to function as Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA) on the terms and conditions fixed by Industrial Finance Corporation of India Limited (IFCI) for aforesaid purpose; and Commissioner Stamps (Commissioner, Commercial Tax Department) acting as Nodal Officer of e-stamping project and to coordinate between various stakeholders for switching over to e-stamping in Jammu and Kashmir.