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Report No. 231

Problem and proposition

1.14 Now, in view of various scandals, some State Governments have decided to sell adhesive stamps and stamped papers through post offices, to prevent the occurrence of such scams.

1.15 Our country is carrying the unbearable load under the Indian Stamp Act 1899 and the Court-fees Act 1870, which again is a British legacy. The main reason for stamped paper scams is that they are printed in bulk. Another reason is that the Government is not alive to the fact that these Acts are anachronistic pieces of legislation. Ridiculously small amount of court-fee, like 50 naya paisa, is still required to be paid on some types of documents. Then there are complicated provisions for cancelling those court-fee stamps.

In High Courts also, where the paperbooks are very heavy, the petitioner is required to affix a court-fee stamp of 65 naya paisa on each page. Considerable amount of man-hours is wasted in this useless process. Litigants or the clerks of advocates are always found busy in pasting court-fee stamps on pages of the paperbooks, and then writing the title of the case on the court-fee stamps for cancellation thereof (so that those court-fee stamps may not be reused).

Then, employees of the courts check each and every page of paper-book to ensure that stamps of correct amount are affixed and properly cancelled before clearing the paper-book for further processing. These ridiculous provisions continue to remain on the statute-book even fiftynine years after the Constitution of India came into force. Added to all these problems is the artificial shortage of stamps and stamped papers, occasionally created by agents, leading to their sale in black market.

1.16 In view of more modern and convenient methods of charging duty on instruments and court-fees on documents to be filed in courts being available in our country, the mode of their payment requires to be drastically overhauled. Court-fee amounts should be in round figures and be payable through demand drafts, banker's cheques, pay orders, money orders, postal orders, challans or even cash. Similarly should be payable non-judicial stamp duties.

These alternative modes of payment of courtfees and non-judicial stamp duties would not only save the Government huge costs of printing them and commission to stamp-vendors, but also prevent fraud and avoidable hassles to the public.

Amendments in the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 and Court-Fees Act, 1870 permitting different modes of Payment Back

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