Clarify stamp paper ban, HC to govt

Clarify stamp paper ban, HC to govt

The High Court on Thursday directed the State government to clarify whether the use of revenue stamp was banned because Sections 11 and 12 of the Karnataka Stamp Act, 1957, had been omitted. 

Hubli-based social worker S V Desai had petitioned the High Court seeking its direction to some banks not to insist on revenue stamps for any agreement and that legal awareness be conducted to announce the withdrawal the use of stamps. Hearing the petition, a division bench of Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice Ashok B Hinchigeri directed the government to clarify the legal position on the requirement of stamps under the Central Act as the Karnataka Stamp Act bans the use of stamp in the State, but the Indian Stamp Act does not. 

The petitioner said that after the stamp paper scam, the use of revenue stamps has been banned in Karnataka, but SBI and other banks were still insisting on revenue stamps which were easily available in the black market. He said vendors brought the stamps from Maharashtra, where they were not banned, and sold them at a price ten times higher. 

According to the petitioner, when a complaint was lodged with the RBI about the Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank, it said that although Karnataka had discontinued the use of Rs one stamp by an amendment to the Karnataka Stamp Act, no order was issued to banks in this regard. 

He also submitted that ‘Franking’ facility instead of stamp papers was available in cities, but not in rural areas. 

The government said the use of stamp was banned after the amendment to the Karnataka Stamp Act. The bench also asked it to clarify on unavailability of ‘Franking’ in rural areas.
 Govt land grab

Local MLAs are delaying the removal of encroachments on public land in Hassan district, the State government told the High Court on Thursday. 

The government counsel told a division bench of Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice Ashok Hinchigeri that the committees monitoring the removal of encroachments on public land at Kollahalli and Kogaravalli villages in Sakleshpur taluk of the district were headed by local MLAs who were pressuring the government. 

The court is hearing a petition by Village Development Action Committee which claimed inaction by officials in clearing encroachments on government land in the two villages. It said the local tahsildar had submitted a report on how the government land was grabbed and by whom. Still, no action was taken to evict the unauthorised occupants.

The Malali gram panchayat sat on 563 applications for allotment of sites it received from the public. 

When the court questioned the delay in processing the applications, the counsel said the committees monitoring such issues were headed by local MLAs who were pressuring the government and delaying the process. But the court said there were legal provisions which empowered the deputy commissioner to evict the encroachers. It then directed the Hassan deputy commissioner to submit in writing the action he had taken against the unauthorised occupants. 

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