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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Old settlers of Sikkim demand tax exemption

Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 12, 2013
First Published: 00:29 IST(12/2/2013) | Last Updated: 00:31 IST(12/2/2013)

Centre's exemption to 95% of Sikkim's population, most of whom are reportedly of foreign origin, has come under judicial scrutiny with the Supreme Court issuing notice on a petition challenging the government policy under the Income-Tax Act.

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Acting on a petition filed by "Old Settlers of Indian Origin" in Sikkim, the bench also restrained the authorities from recovering income tax dues from the petitioners that are a part of 5% of the population paying the tax.

The Association of Old Settlers Of Sikkim, which contended that the collection of the tax was discriminatory and violated Article 15 of (prohibition against discrimination) the Constitution, stated the exemption was granted subsequent to an amendment in the Finance Act in 2008.

The petitioners also placed a White Paper stating Sikkim government's contention that I-T exemption would be granted to those who became Indian citizens in 1990-91 under local law and voted for merger of Sikkim with India.

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