“Irregular Availability Of Non-Judicial Stamp Papers In Nagaland” - Eastern Mirror
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“Irregular Availability of Non-Judicial Stamp Papers in Nagaland”

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By EMN Updated: Mar 09, 2024 10:44 pm

The Indian Stamp Act, 1899 (the principal Act in brevity) was enacted by the British colonial government to standardise and regulate the stamp duty levied on documents and transactions across British India. It is a fundamental piece of legislation governing stamp duty in India. It plays a crucial role in revenue generation, legal authentication, and the regulation of various documents and transactions. Since its enactment, the principal Act has undergone several amendments to keep pace with changing economic and legal landscapes. The principal Act received the assent of the Governor of Nagaland on 30.6.1989 and was enforced as the Indian Stamp Duty (Nagaland Amendment) Act, 1989 (the Nagaland Act in brevity). The Nagaland Act has been amended twice in the year 1999 and 2004

Under Section 2(26) of the principal Act, a “Stamp” is defined as any mark, seal or endorsement by any agency or person duly authorised by the State Government, and includes an adhesive or impressed stamp, for the purpose of duty chargeable under the Act. Various stamps are non-judicial stamp paper, judicial stamps or Court fee stamps, notary stamps, revenue stamps, e-stamping, etc.

Empowered under Section 74 of the principal Act, the State Government make rules for regulating (a) the supply and sale of stamps and stamped papers,  the persons by whom alone such sale is to be conducted and  the duties and remuneration of such persons. Thus, imposing a duty upon the State to ensure that stamps are readily available to citizens. This duty is essential to facilitate the smooth functioning of legal and financial transactions across the country. The State Government establishes various mechanisms to make stamps accessible, such as  Stamp Vendors: who sell stamps of various denominations to the public, (ii) Designated Offices: Stamps are made available at designated government offices, including post offices and revenue offices and (iii) Online Channels: In modern times, the Government may also offer the option to purchase stamps online through official portals or e-commerce platforms.

Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL) is a company owned by the Government of India. It is responsible for printing various security documents, including non-judicial stamp papers, currency notes, passports, etc. States in India typically procure various stamps including non-judicial stamp papers from SPMCIL or other authorised agencies under agreements or contracts. However, the procurement process may vary based on State regulations and policies. States may have their own procurement guidelines, budgetary constraints, and administrative procedures governing the purchase of stamp papers.

Paucity of smaller denomination of non-judicial stamps in the State of Nagaland has been a regular phenomenon for the past many years. Though the scarcity of non-judicial stamp papers is attributable by several factors such as  printing capacity, (ii) demand-supply gap, (iii) administrative issues, (iv) corruption & fraud, (v) technology & digitisation, and (vi) legal reforms & changes, ensuring the availability of stamps is crucial for maintaining the integrity of legal and financial transactions and for generating revenue in a welfare State. A welfare State must attend to the basic needs of the citizens. The State has a fundamental responsibility to ensure the well-being of its citizens by addressing their essential requirements.

Diverse groups adversely affected by the unavailability of smaller denominations of non-judicial stamp papers are  general public which includes ordinary citizens, residents, consumers, vulnerable & marginalised groups, non-professionals and students, (ii) small businesses and entrepreneurs, (iii) legal professionals, (iv) Government departments and agencies, (v) economically disadvantaged individuals and (vi) real estate sector.

In the era where efficiency is convenience, the non-availability of smaller denominations of non-judicial stamp papers presents a significant hurdle in legal and financial transactions for individuals and businesses alike. Thus, the non-availability of smaller denominations of non-judicial stamp papers undermines the principles of efficiency and convenience in legal transactions. Addressing this issue is crucial to ensuring equitable access to justice, promoting business growth, and streamlining administrative processes for individuals and businesses.

Adv.K.Sumi@gmail.com

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By EMN Updated: Mar 09, 2024 10:44:32 pm
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