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Kerala HC stays Lakshadweep Collectors move to increase stamp duty
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Kerala HC stays Lakshadweep Collector's move to increase stamp duty


Kochi: The Kerala High Court has stayed the Lakshadweep Collector's order to increase the stamp duty, from 1% to 6-8%, on property transfers in the islands. Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan passed the stay order on a petition filed by Mohammad Salih, a resident of Amini island.

When the petitioner received property from his father, he was asked to pay the revised stamp duty, and the registration didn't happen. So he approached the court and had sought a declaration that the Collector's order is arbitrary and unconstitutional since it was issued without authority, and a violation of the fundamental rights and Stamp Duty Act. The court allowed the interim injunction to stay further proceedings on the order.

On May 5th, the Collector had directed to increase the percentage of stamp duty of property owned by women to 6%, jointly owned by women and men to 7% and others to 8%. The Indian Stamp Act stipulates that amendments relating to stamp duty must be published in the Gazette. Although the 1964 law prohibits the transfer of land to a third party other than those on the island, the new order empowers the administrator. Collector in another order had reduced the rates regarding lending and leasing of property. The aim is to transfer the land held by the Scheduled Tribes to others.

Meanwhile, the island administration slashed the number of posts in its education department in Kochi. The department was set up as an aid for students who reach Kerala for studies. This could be part of the administration's reforms to sever the islands' ties with Kerala.

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