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HC asks Gujarat not to collect duty on telecom customers forms

The Gujarat High Court has asked the state government not to collect stamp duty from various telecom service providers including Tata TeleServices, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications on customers’ application forms.

Justice C L Soni of the Gujarat High Court directed the Gujarat government not to collect stamp duty on customers’ application forms and cancel notices issued by the state government to service providers in 2003.

“Initially the state government asked the companies to submit information of their subscribers’ base by supplying a copy of the form containing acustomer’s details,” the order said.

“The application form was treated as an agreement and stamp duty was sought. It cannot do so because it does not impound the original document,” the order passed by the Court said. Telecom companies had approached the High Court and said that the Gujarat government levied stamp duty on all subscriber applications or customers’ enrolment forms by considering it an ‘instrument’, which is chargeable under the Bombay Stamp Act.

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