Rashid Paul

HC stays operation of circular on charging stamp duty on registration of old documents at revised rates

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Srinagar: The J&K High Court today stayed operation of a circular by the Inspector General of Registration (IGR) J&K which directed the registrars across the union territory to charge stamp duty on registration of documents relating to land resources as per new rates from the first day of this year.

Acting on a writ petition by one Shabnam Nazir, the bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar observed that the petition raises important questions of law and admitted it for hearing.

The court issued notices to the respondent officers of the J&K administration and ordered “the impugned circular issued by the IGR is stayed”.

Through the medium of the instant petition, Shabnam called in question a circular dated 30.12.2020 issued by the IGR J&K whereby all registrars and sub-registrars have been asked to charge stamp duty as per new rates with effect from 1st of January, 2021.

The administrative order was being executed on the ground level irrespective of the date of uploading of documents onto the National Generic Document Registration System and the date of filing of the documents with the registrars.

It is the case of the petitioner that she had executed a sale deed on 22.12.2020 and uploaded it for registration before the sub-registrar on 28.12.2020.

“The appointed date of the registration was given as 04.01.2021,” her petition said.

She averred “in the meantime, vide notification dated 03.12.2020 issued by the District Collector, Chairman District Valuation Board, Srinagar, the market rate of the land at district Srinagar came to be revised with effect from. 01.01.2021.”

It is further averred that when the document of the petitioner came up for registration before the sub-registrar concerned, she was asked to affix stamp duty in terms of the revised market rates.

“I had affixed the stamp duty in terms of the market rates applicable as on the date of execution of the document,” she informed the court through her counsel.

Her lawyer contended that the date of the execution of a document determines the rate at which stamp duty has to be affixed on a document and not the date on which, the document is actually registered by the sub-registrar.

To support his contention, the counsel referred to Section 47 of Registration Act, according to which, a document, irrespective of date of its registration, takes effect from the date of its execution.

He further argued that the IGR has no jurisdiction to issue a circular in respect of charging of stamp duties.

The court after hearing the petition, ordered stay on the circular issued by the IGR Jammu and directed the concerned officers to consider the document in question for its registration.

“In case the same fulfills all other requirements of law and rules, the document be admitted to registration without insisting in payment of stamp duty on revised rates,” directed the court.

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