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Report No. 67

3.41. Stamp duty.-

In England, there is no stamp duty on a bill of lading.1

In India, under Article 14, a bill of lading, including a through bill of lading, is charged with a duty of 25p. There is, however, a remission granted by notification made under section 9, in respect of inland bills of lading,2 and there are also two exemptions under Article 14 itself. A bill of lading need not be necessarily in respect of carriage by a sea-going vessel. It can be in respect of inland navigation also.3 But, as already stated, the duty on an inland bill of lading has been remitted,4 by a notification5 issued under section 9.

1. Monroe Stamp Duties, (1964), p. 196.

2. See below, for discussion about the notification granting remission.

3. Reference under the Stamp Act, 1903 ILR 30 Cal 563.

4. Government of India, Notification No. 6, dated 14-8-1937.

5. The relevant portion of the Notification it quoted later.

3.42. Recommendation relating to Article 14.-

In view of the likely increase in inland water transport in the future, this remission granted by notification should be incorporated in Article 14 of the Schedule (relating to the amount of duty on the bill of lading). The replies to our Questionnaire also favour it.1

But the wording of the notification2 granting the remission is not accurate in one respect. The notification remits the duty in respect of "a receipt or bill of lading issued by a railway company or administration or an Inland Steamer Company for the fare for the conveyance of passengers or goods or both, or animals, or for any charges incidental to the conveyance thereof or given to such Company or Administration or Inland Steamer Company for the refund of an overcharge made in respect of such fare or charges."

The emphasis on fares is not required, in relation to a bill of lading. A bill of lading is not concerned primarily with the fare. It records the contract of shipment, evidences the receipt of goods and is a document of title. Fare is merely an incident of the contract. Hence, while incorporating the substance of the notification as an exemption under Article 14, the defect in the language should be attended to.

1. Question 5 of the Questionnaire.

2. Government of India, Notification No. 6, dated 14-8-1937.

3.43. Recommendations.-

In the result, no changes are needed in the definition of "bill of lading". But a change is recommended in Article 14, as stated above.1

1. To be carried out under Article 14.

Indian Stamp Act, 1899 Back

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