Report No. 67
Miscellaneous-Sections 73 and 77 to 78A
The remaining four sections of the Act are concerned with miscellaneous matters, such as inspection, delegation of powers, savings and sale of copies of the Act. These are mostly administrative matters, involving no questions of principle.
25.2. Section 73-Meaning of "public officer".-
Under section 73, every public officer having in his custody any registers, books, records, papers, documents or proceedings, the inspection whereof may tend to secure any duty, or to prove or lead to the discovery of any fraud or omission in relation to any duty, shall at all reasonable times permit any person authorised in writing by the Collector to inspect for such purpose the registers, books, papers, documents and proceedings and to take such notes and extracts as he may deem necessary, without fee or charge. This section was inserted for the first time in 1899, and has been taken from the (English) Stamp Act,1 1891. The expression "public officer", which occurs in this section, has been defined in the Evidence Act, section 74, and in the Civil Procedure Code, section 2, but not in the Stamp Act. We are separately2 recommending the insertion of a definition of that expression.
1. Section 16, Stamp Act, 1891 (English).
2. See discussion as to section 2(22A).
25.3. Authority by whom to be given.-
It is not understood why authority to inspect records under section 73 could be sought only from the Collector,1 and not from an officer authorised by the State Government, e.g., from the Inspector-General of Stamps (if so authorised). The section is defective in this respect.
1. Section 2(9) defines "Collector".
25.4. Recommendation to revise section 73.-
We, therefore, recommend that section 73 should be revised as follows:-
"73. Every public officer having in his custody any registers, books, records, papers, documents or proceedings, the inspection whereof may tend to secure any duty, or to prove or lead to the discovery of any fraud or omission in relation to any duty, shall at all reasonable times permit any person authorised in writing by the State Government or by the "Collector to inspect for such purpose the registers (rest as in present section)."
We may add that the amendment has been favoured by almost all the replies to our Questionnaire.1
1. Question 72.
25.5. Sections 74-76.- We have already dealt1 with sections 74 to 76 which relate to rules.
1. Chapter 24, supra.
25.6. Section 76A.-
Section 76A, which was inserted by the Decentralisation Act, 1914, empowers the State Government to delegate certain powers, and needs no comments.
25.7. Section 77.-
Section 77 provides that nothing in this Act contained shall be deemed to affect the duties chargeable under any enactment for the time being in force relating to court fees. The section requires no change.
25.8. Section 77A.-
Under section 77A, all stamps in denominations of annas four or multiples thereof shall be deemed to be stamps of the value of twenty-five naye paise or, as the case may be, multiples thereof and shall, accordingly, be valid for all the purposes of this Act. It requires no change.
25.9. Section 78 to be amended.-
Section 78 requires every State Government to make provision for the sale of translations of this Act "in the principal vernacular language of the territories administered by it" (at a price not exceeding twenty five naye paise per copy). The only change required in the section is substitution of "languages of the States"1 for the words "vernacular languages of the territories administered by it", and we recommend accordingly. The present phraseology is inappropriate. Such a change has been favoured by all the replies2 received on this questionnaire.
1. Cf. sections 95-97, Employees State Insurance Act, 1948.
2. Question 74.
25.10. Section 78A (New)-Rounding-off of fractions.-
The Act does not contain any provisions for the rounding off of fractions of a rupee. In this connection attention may be invited to provisions on the subject inserted by State amendments.1 The utility of such a provision is obvious. After taking into consideration various State amendments, we had, in our Questionnaire,2 suggested that the following new section should be inserted:
"In determining the amount of duty payable or of allowances to be made under this Act, any fraction of five paise shall be rounded off by treating it as equivalent to five paise."
We are now of the view that a fraction of five paisa, if less than 2-1/2 paisa, should be treated as zero, and in other cases, it should be equated to 5 paisa. We recommend the insertion of a new section on those lines.
1. Section 77B, inserted in Madhya Pradesh; Section 78 substituted in Tamil Nadu and ii Andhra Pradesh.
2. Question 75.