Jammu and Kashmir High Court has stayed e-stamping in Jammu and Kashmir. The direction was passed by Justice Hasnain Masoodi on a petition filed by Srinagar Stamp Vendors Association.
In its petition, the association, a representative body of 309 stamp vendors, through Advocate Mian Qayoom, has demanded that Government order (77-F of 2013 on 25-03-2013), SRO-402 notified on 16-09-2013 and the agreement entered by the State through Commissioner of stamps with Stock Holding Corporation of India from Mumbai be quashed.
“The respondents be directed not to switch over to e-stamping system or authorize any person to operate it in the State but allow licenced stamp vendors to perform the job in accordance with Section 74 of the Stamp Act,” the association said.
“By introducing e-Stamping system, the respondents have virtually allowed an outside agency to have monopoly on the sale of stamps in the State of Jammu and Kashmir which is not permissible under law,” the petitioner said, adding, the impugned order and notification where-under an outside agency is bestowed with the power of purchase and sale of stamps is also hit by Article 370 of the Constitution of India and the other laws which are prevalent in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and forbid such a procedure as, as such, it is liable to be set aside.
The petition said that 309 members of the association are duly licensed stamp vendors and they have been selling stamps to the public strictly in accordance with the terms and conditions of their licences. “By the involvement of an outside agency, it is bound to deprive all the stamp vendors of their livelihood and will render them jobless. The stamp vendors are doing the job of selling stamps manually from the time of Maharaja Gulab Singh and if e-stamping is launched, they would be rendered jobless.”
Petitioners said they are selling stamps to public strictly in accordance with terms and conditions from the time of Maharaja Gulab Singh. Stamp vendors said they have been earning revenue for the Government even when the life in Valley had come to standstill and now the Government is throwing them on road.
The petitioners said they approached the Government many a times regarding it but there was no response from the Government forcing them to move to the court for the protection of their legal, fundamental and constitutional rights, in exercise of its extraordinary writ jurisdiction vested in it under Article 226 of the Constitution of India (read with section 103 of the Constitution of J&K State).