HC Dismisses Challenge To E-Stamping System In J&K

The High Court on Monday dismissed a plea challenging the process of switching over to e-stamping system in Jammu and Kashmir.

The plea was filed by ‘Srinagar Stamp Vendors Association’ who had challenged government orders dated 25th March 2013 and 16th September 2013, sanctioning initiation of process of switching over to e-stamping system in Jammu and Kashmir and appointing stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL) (SHCIL) to function as Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA) on the terms and conditions fixed by the IFCI and also issuing formal mandate to the SHCL for the purpose.

The association had contended they are contrary to Section 74 of the Act of 1977 and the Rules framed thereunder for purchase, sale and supply and use of stamps.

As per 25 March 2013 order, the government had ordered initiating the process to switching over to e-stamping system in the then State of Jammu and Kashmir;

It had appointment of the stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL) to function as the Central Record keeping Agency (CRA) on the terms and conditions, fixed by the Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI) Limited of the Union Ministry of Finance; Formal mandate was given to the Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL) for the purpose, and Commissioner Stamps (Commissioner, Commercial Taxes Department) acting as the Nodal Officer of the e-stamping project and to Co-ordinate between various stakeholders i.e. Department of Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Revenue Department, Finance Department and Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL) for the switching over to e-stamping.

On the 16th September 2013, the Government implemented e-stamping system in the erstwhile State initially in the Districts of Srinagar and Jammu on pilot basis.

The association had said that people associated with it are in the job of selling stamps from the time of Maharaja Gulab Singh. They have been earning revenue for the Government even when life in the Valley had come to a standstill during the period of turmoil, the association said.

“The Government is now throwing them on roads. Members of association having spent best part of their life in stamp vending, they cannot, therefore, seek employment anywhere,” they had said.

After hearing association and the government, a bench of Justice Tashi Rabstan dismissed the plea.

“Nevertheless, (government) is required to take into account the plight of members of petitioner-association qua their livelihood, which is the sole ground that is to be looked into and considered by

(government) , the court said as per GNS, adding, “for that matter all that is required to be done by (government), should be undertaken, including imparting training to members of petitioner-association to come up at par with the niceties of e-stamping procedures as contemplated under Rules of 2020, and subsequently grant them permission/licences for sale of stamps, so as to enable them to earn their livelihood and sustain their respective families.”