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Radical changes in use of stamp papers likely

By S. Vijay Kumar

MADURAI, JULY 27. Stung by the "huge circulation" of fake stamp papers in the State, the Registration department is likely to come out with radical changes in use of stamp papers, making amendments to norms, including to the Indian Stamp Rules, 1925.

Curbs on the use of stamp papers of denominations below Rs. 10,000 appear certain and the consumers may be encouraged to pay stamp duty through demand drafts, treasury challans and cheques. "Initially, we want to put in place a proper accounting mechanism to prevent circulation of fake stamp papers," a senior department official told The Hindu today.

It has been proposed to provide photo identity cards to all 4,769 authorised stamp vendors and display their names/addresses in the Sub-Registrar's office. As stamp papers of denominations less that Rs. 10,000 do not have security features, they would be phased out. "However, stamp papers with Rs. 100 face value will remain, as forging them is not economical," he said.

The Sub-Registrars would be directed to write deeds on stamp papers of denomination of Rs. 100 and advise consumers to pay the remaining stamp duty through demand drafts/cheques/challans. "The documents/deeds will be franked indicating the amount paid by using franking machines, which will also assign a code to identify the place of registration."

Proposal on hologram

A detailed proposal calls for devising a "unique" hologram for the department.

The hologram would be fixed on all deeds which come for registration.

"This will not only be an additional security feature against creation of forged documents, but also serve as a sign of authentication on the deeds," he said.

It was suggested that the use of special adhesive stamps be restricted to the value not exceeding Rs. 5 per document, because "forging of special adhesive stamps is much easier than forging stamp papers."

After obtaining a formal clearance from the Government, the officials intend to give wide publicity through the media to payment of stamp duty by way of demand drafts/cheques/challans. Ceiling on the acceptance of stamp duty in cash up to Rs. 10,000 by Sub-Registrars would be relaxed, making suitable amendments to G.O Ms. NO. 90 CT and R.E Department dated March 20, 1997. Amendments would be made to the Indian Stamp Rules, 1925, to restrict the use of stamp papers in a particular Sub-Registrar office (jurisdiction) from where it was purchased and to impose restrictions on the use of special adhesive stamps.

The supply of franking machines has been estimated to cost Rs. 6 crores. The new measures, if enforced, are expected to completely eliminate fake stamp papers. The department will also have a clear account of stamp paper stocks, official sources said.

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