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The Indian Stamp Act, 1899 is a fiscal legislation dealing with tax on transactions. The tax is
levied on in the shape of stamps recording the transactions

Duly Stamped – Section 2(11)

Duly stamped means that the instrument bears an adhesive or impressed stamp of not less than
the proper amount and that such stamp has been affixed or used in accordance with the law for
the time being in force in India.

Consequences of Non-Stamping of Instruments

Sections 33 to 35 of the Indian Stamps Act, 1899, provide the statutory guidelines in regards to
instruments, not duly stamped.

Section – 33, Examination and Impounding of Instruments

Section – 33 imposes a duty on all public officers, with certain exceptions, to examine every
instrument chargeable with duty which comes before them in the performance of their official
functions and to impound any instrument which appears not to be duly stamped.

Section – 35, Inadmissibility in Evidence

Section 35 stipulates that no instrument chargeable with duty shall be–

 Admitted in evidence for any purpose

 Shall be acted upon; or
 Registered; or
 Authenticated by any such person;

However, every such instrument, not being an instrument chargeable with a duty of one anna or
half an anna only, or a bill of exchange or promissory-note, it can admitted if the party desiring
to use it pays the amount necessary to make up the proper stamp duty, together with a penalty of
Rs. 5, or when ten times the amount of the proper duty or deficient portion thereof exceeds Rs. 5,
then with a penalty of ten times such duty, or portion.
Under clause (b) of section 35, however, an un-stamped receipt may be admitted in evidence
against the person who has given it, on payment of a penalty of one rupee by the person
tendering it.

Duty of Court to send to Collector the impounded documents

Section 42 requires that civil courts shall certify by endorsement on every instrument admitted
in evidence under section 35 of that the proper duty and penalty have been levied in respect
thereof, and shall also state the name and residence of the person paying them.

Return of documents admitted in evidence on payment of duty and penalty.

Section 38 requires every civil court to send to the Collector an authenticated copy of every
impounded instrument admitted in evidence, with a certificate in writing stating the amount of
the duty and penalty levied in respect thereof. The endorsement required by section 42 should be
transcribed on such copy.

Collectors power to stamp instruments impounded.

Under Section - 40 when the Collector either impounds any instrument or receives any
instrument sent to him, not being an instrument chargeable [with a duty not exceeding ten naye
paise] only or a bill of exchange or promissory note, he shall do one of the two things

1. If he is of opinion that such instrument is duly stampeded or is not chargeable with duty, he
shall certify that it is duly stamped, or that it is not so chargeable, as the case may be;

2. If he is of opinion that such instrument is chargeable with duty and is not duly stamped, he
shall require the payment of the proper duty or the amount required to make up the same,
together with a penalty as aforesaid.