The government of Sikkim constituted the All Party Committee which will examine the provisions of Article 371 F of the constitution to safeguard the interest of the people of Sikkim.
It was informed during the second day of a four-day long budget session.
Must tell the second day of the budget session also saw the debate on the alleged Sikkimese identity distortion issue and the insertion of clauses 4 and 5 new Finance Act passed recently by parliament.
While earlier during the question hour in reply to concerns put forth by MLA, Pawan Kumar Chamling about the judgement of the Supreme Court of India in Writ Petition No. 59/2013 & 1283/2021 delivered on 13th January 2023 and subsequent enactment of the Finance Act, 2023 and insertion of the addition clauses (iv) & (v) to Section 10 (26AAA) in the Income Tax Act, 1961, the Chief Minister, also the leader of the House, Prem Singh Tamang, informed that the Government of Sikkim filed counter affidavits in the matter of Writ Petition (Civil) No. 59 of 2013, Association of Old Settlers of Sikkim and others vs. Union of India and others on 30th November 2013 and on 6th April 2019. Certified copies of relevant counter affidavits were placed before the House.
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With reference to Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1283/2021- Rapden Lepcha and others vs. Union of India and another, the matter was tagged with Writ Petition (Civil) No. 59 of 2013 vide Order, dated: 31.01.2022 passed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court.
In reply to the query raised by MLA Pawan Chamling with regard to the status of the two resolutions passed on 9th February 2013 and 10th April 2023 in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, the Chief Minister said both resolutions have been forwarded to the Government of India.
He stated that Resolution 1 of 2023 adopted on 9th February 2023 was forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Finance and Resolution 2 of 2023 adopted on 10th April 2023 was forwarded to the Ministry of Finance.
In reply to concerns raised by MLA Pawan Chamling over his demand of making public the entire set of documents and case files, the Chief Minister, also the leader of the House, said that no such requisition for any White Paper, documents and case files has been made by the Member in the House during the previous sessions.
Replying to the supplementary question raised by MLA Pawan Chamling, the Chief Minister said that no clause of Article 371F has been violated and clause (iv) and (v) of Finance Act 2023 is only for income tax exemption.
“The Finance Bill amendment is only for the income tax purposes as per the Supreme Court order in no way impinges upon the definition of Sikkimese.”, he added.
With regard to concerns over the dilution of 371F, the Chief Minister also the Leader of the house Prem Singh Tamang informed that the Supreme Court and the Prime Minister have assured that the identity of the Sikkimese is non-negotiable and that the old settlers are entitled to the Income Tax Exemption. And it was also informed about the All Party Committee which will be headed by KN Lepcha, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs department and it will have members from all the political parties and Secretary Law department.
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