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Report No. 67

7.42. Section 2(25)-"Soldier".-

Section 2(25) defines a "soldier" as including any person below the rank of non-commissioned officer who is enrolled under the Indian Army Act, 1911. The definition was inserted by the Repealing and Amending Act, 1928 (18 of 1928). That Act, by amending Article 51, gave statutory effect3 to exemptions from stamp duty which had previously been granted by notifications, and also introduced this definition. As we shall see later2, while the scope of the definition of "soldier" has remained unchanged, the scope of the exemption in Article 53 was widened.

1. Article 53(d), (e) and (f)-(Receipt).

2. See infra.

7.43. There does not appear to be any section in the Act using the expression 'soldier'. But it seems to have been employed in some notifications, granting remission-for example, in respect of documents chargeable as a 'power of attorney. It also occurs in one article1, as already stated.

1. Article 53(d), (e), (f) (Receipt).

7.44. Exemption under Article 53-History of.-

Under Article 53, clauses (d), (e) and (f), certain documents executed by soldiers etc. are exempt from the stamp duty on receipts. The reasons for granting this exemption from stamp duty is not very easy to discover; but it can be presumed that the decision to exempt such receipts was taken as a matter of public policy. It would be of interest to note in this connection that concessions to soldiers in this matter of taxes have been known since the period of Roman law. For example, soldiers were exempt from inheritance taxes under Emperor Augustus.

Clause (d) of Article 53 corresponds to, and is a modification of, Notification No. 1101 dated the 13th February, 1874, and clauses (e) and (f) contain exemptions which were first announced by the same Notification of 13th February, 1874. It would appear that this Notification was extended, by Notification No. 10 dated the 30th July, 1927, so as to cover persons who are not technically "soldiers" but are, nevertheless, below the rank of non-commissioned officers and are enrolled under the Indian Army Act, 1911.

7.45. Restricted scope of the definition of 'soldier'.-

It should be noted that the definition of "soldier" in the Stamp Act refers only to man in the army,-and that too only to non-commissioned officers. When enactments relating to navy and air force were passed subsequent to the passing of the Stamp Act, the definition of soldier was left untouched, but changes were made in Article 53(d), (e) and (f) by adding 'soldiers' and 'airmen', so as to cover persons appointed under those enactments. Certain verbal changes were also made by the Adaptation Order of 1950.

7.46. Army Act, 1950.-

Incidentally, it may be mentioned that the Indian Army Act, 1911, has been repealed and re-enacted in the Army Act, 1950. There were substantial additions when the Act was re-enacted; but these additions are not material for the present purpose. It is obviously desirable that the definition in the Stamp Act should now refer to the Act of 1950.

7.47. The definitions of "officer" in the Army, Air Force and Navy Acts are only inclusive, and are not relevant for the present purpose. In the army, the junior-most officer among the non-commissioned officers is a Lance Naik. Below Lance-Naik, there are persons who are called 'sepoys'. Thus, sepoys appear to be the only persons covered by the definition of the word 'soldier', as contained in section 2(25) of the Stamp Act. The words 'sailor' and 'airman' are words of common use. The technical terms, however, seem to be 'aircraft hand, and 'seaman'. According to the Navy Act,1 for example, a seaman is a 'person in the naval service other than an officer'.

1. Section 3(2), Navy Act, 1957.

7.48. Recommendation.-

So much as regards the present definition. In view of the passing of later enactments relating to armed forces, it is, in our view, desirable to revise the definition of 'soldier' as under:-

"(25) 'Soldier' includes a member of the armed forces of the Union other than an officer".

7.49. Recommendation.-

This would not only enable the shortening and simplification of Articles 53(d), (e) and (f), but also cover armed forces1 of the Union other than military, naval and air forces. At present, only members of the three forces are covered-the military by the definition of 'soldier', and the naval and air forces, by specific mention in Article 53. For the purposes of the Stamp Act, other armed forces also stand on the same footing, and should be similarly treated. We recommend accordingly. We may note that the suggested amendment has been generally favoured in the replies to the questionnaire issued by use.2

1. To be considered under Article 55(d), (e) and (f).

2. Q. 18-"Soldler".

Indian Stamp Act, 1899 Back

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