Express News Service reported that Odisha High Court on Tuesday issued an interim stay on the operation of the Indian Stamp (Odisha Amendment) Act, 2013, Rules and the consequent circulars issued by the Government for closure of mines over non-payment of the duty.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice C Nagappan and Justice I Mohanty also issued notice to the State government directing it to file response within four weeks. The Bench observed that it was prima facie satisfied that the matter required judicial review.

The court was hearing about 40 writ petitions filed by various companies including Federation of Indian Mineral Industries, Steel Authority of India Limited, Mahanadi Coalfields Limited, TATA Steel, Jindal Steel and several others challenging the amendment and the subsequent steps to stop mining operation from July 9.

Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate of Supreme Court Gopal Subhramanyam urged the court to declare the Indian Stamp (Odisha Amendment) Act, 2013 ultra vires and stay its operation including the circulars where the State Government has instructed to stop mining operation of all those miners who are working under deemed extension clause without paying stamp duty. He further maintained that even though the amended Act has not got Presidential assent, the Government has gone ahead with its implementation.

On the other hand, Advocate General Ashok Mohanty argued that the power is vested with the State under the Constitution to enact the amendment Act. Merely because there has been some delay in execution of renewal lease deed, the State should not be deprived of the revenue which it would have otherwise received as stamp duty at the time of renewal.

Courtesy: Express News Service

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