Delhi High Court: A petition was filed by UNO Minda Limited (petitioner), seeking issuance of directions to the Collector of Stamps which is currently being manned by the Principal Secretary Revenue-cum-Divisional Commissioner, GNCTD for adjudicating the stamp duty payable by the petitioners. Another petition was filed by Reebok India (petitioner) seeking issuance of stamp paper for the Share Certificates as per the application dated 25-01-2022. Prathiba M Singh, J., directed the Collector of Stamps shall usually adjudicate the stamp duty payable and communicate the same to parties within 30 days. However, if the same involves any complexity/ extraordinary circumstances, the adjudication of stamp duty can be extended for a maximum period of three months from the date of application.
The present petitions were filed due to the applications for issuance of stamp paper were filed more than one year ago and despite the same, the determination of the stamp duty was not communicated to the petitioners. Both the documents, i.e., the scheme of amalgamation as also the instrument of conversion from debentures to shares do not have a pre-determined stamp duty that was fixed. Thus, the petitioners approached the Collector of Stamps under Section 31 of Stamps Act, 1899 for adjudication of the stamp duty chargeable on the instruments.
The Court noted that on perusal of Section 31 and 32(3) of the Stamp Act, 1899, if an instrument has been executed in India, the same would have to be brought for stamping within one month and in case the document is executed abroad, the same have to be brought for stamping within three months. However, insofar as adjudication as to proper stamp is concerned, there is no time limit which has been fixed under Section 31 of the Stamp Act, 1899.
The Court further noted that since the activities of individuals and companies would be depended upon various documents, instruments of transfer, etc., and the first step would be to seek adjudication of the stamp duty under Section 31 of the Indian Stamps Act, 1899, a time limit would be required to be followed by the Collector of Stamps for the said adjudication.
Thus, the Court held that a reasonable time ought to be fixed to enable the parties to have some certainty as to stamp duty payable. The Court directed that the Collector of Stamps shall usually adjudicate the stamp duty payable and communicate the same to parties within 30 days. However, if the same involves any complexity/ extraordinary circumstances, the adjudication of stamp duty can be extended for a maximum period of three months from the date of application.
The Court also directed the Chief Secretary, GNCTD to consider adding a specific entry in the Delhi Act, 2011 in respect of adjudication of stamp duty with a reasonable time limit being fixed so that the same can be followed by the Collector of Stamps.
[UNO Minda Limited v Deputy Commissioner Revenue Department, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 3598, decided on 24-04-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. Shailendera Singh and Mr. Akash Saxena, Advocates for the Petitioner;
Mr. Avishkar Singhvi, Advocate for the Respondent.