Mumbai: The Maharashtra government informed the Bombay High Court that in 2020-21, out of Rs 9,259 crore stamp duty, a revenue of Rs 9,102 crore was generated from e-challan/ GRAS (government receipt accounting system)/ e-SBTR (online stamp duty and registration fees) in Mumbai city.
This is 98.3% of the total revenue. An affidavit was filed by the government in reply to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Swapnil Kadam highlighting the dearth of stamp papers in Mumbai and adjoining areas due to the discontinuation of various licensed vendors, after the Telgi fake stamp paper scam. The PIL prayed that the government start the e-stamp facility in the state like it is available in 15 states and 6 Union Territories.
Government had temporarily discontinued the e-stamp facility
Alternatively, it sought that the government provide adequate number of stamp vending licenses in the city “considering population, litigation and access to justice”. The government had temporarily discontinued the e-stamp facility. Justifying the reduction in the number of licensed stamp vendors, the government said that over a period of time there has been a decrease in demand for physical stamp paper purchase due to digital options made available.
It generated 98,3% revenue through the online system as against 0.68% from physical stamp paper. “Whereas, Rs 94 crore (1.02%) was generated from the franking machine and Rs 63 crore (0.68%) from physical stamp papers,” said the government.It further said that it is considering granting permanent stamp vendor licenses to Bar Associations and Advocate Societies.
The process for the same is underway and it is awaiting the response from the Additional Controller of Stamps. After getting necessary sanctions, the way to grant permanent stamp vendor licenses to Bar Associations/ Advocate Societies will be opened. The HC has directed the Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue Department, to look into the said representation and take an appropriate decision in accordance with law as soon as possible, preferably within eight weeks.