Following a government order restricting the sale of stamp papers above R100 denomination by vendors, Madhya Pradesh is facing a severe crunch in the availability of stamp papers.
An RTI applicant from Ratlam district reportedly had to come down to Indore to buy a R10 denomination stamp paper. Mandsaur, Dewas and other districts of the state are facing a similar situation.
In July, the state government had put restrictions on the sale of stamp papers above Rs 100 denomination by stamp vendors across the state. The stamp paper crunch has also paved way for black-marketing with R50 denomination stamps being sold at R60, R100 stamp paper for R120 and so on.
A stamp vendor, Ashok Upadhyay said, "The government abruptly put a ban on the sale of stamp papers from July 10 through a notification."
The government's move was to promote the recently introduced process of e-registration and e-stamping in the state.
"But people's belief in hard-bond stamp paper still persists widely, as illustrated by an incident where a person attached 1,000 stamp papers of R20 denomination to pay a stamp duty of Rs 20,000," said Upadhyay.
R100 denomination stamp papers have been unavailable in Indore since August 10 and soon, R50 denomination stamp papers may also vanish, he added.
R500 and R1,000 denomination stamp papers are widely used for general agreements made on day-to-day basis such as rent agreements, sale-purchase agreements, indemnity bond, partnership deed etc.
The ban has affected about 10,000 stamp vendors and its businesses that are dependent on the sale of stamp papers across the state.
A law student, Akash Sharma recently moved the high court with a writ petition seeking the nullification of the notification as it may adversely impact the livelihood of stamp vendors who are completely dependent on sale of stamp papers.
Sharma said, "The state's treasury still has stamp papers worth R6,000 crore, out of which R500 and R1,000 denomination stamp papers account for more than R603 crore value." The stamp papers are lying unused in the state's treasury, he said, asking what the state would do with them.
Hearing his contention and noting protests staged by stamp vendors across several districts of the state, the division bench of high court slapped notices on the state government, seeking their reply on the matter.