GANGTOK: Sikkim Chief Minister and Sikkim Krantikari Morcha leader Prem Singh Golay has decided to explore possibility of filing a review petition in the Supreme Court for expunging reference of Sikkimese Nepali community as ‘foreigners’ in its recent judgement.
The decision comes in comes in response to the ongoing controversy surrounding the use of the label in question, which, when put into effect, disallows the old settlers of community from receiving the benefit of income tax exemption.
During a high-level meeting of the SKM party on Friday at Samman Bhawan in Gangtok, Golay welcomed the judgment that exempts old settlers of Sikkim from income tax, but expressed “deep concern about the mention of the Sikkimese Nepali community as foreigners”.
The SKM on Friday announced that the state government will take steps to approach the Supreme Court to remove the reference to the Sikkimese Nepali community as foreigners and that no effort will be spared in addressing this issue.
On January 13, the Supreme Court of India granted income tax exemption to all Indian citizens who were domiciled in Sikkim on or before April 26, 1975, in response to a 2012 petition filed by the Association of Old Settlers of Sikkim (AOSS). However, the decision has sparked controversy, with social organizations and opposition parties criticizing the state government for remaining silent about the reference to the Sikkimese Nepali community as foreigners in the verdict.
In response to the criticism, Golay stated that the allegations that the state government had remained silent on the issue are false and unfounded. He emphasized that the SKM party, as the ruling party in government, is responsible and mature and cannot make statements or react to any issue without proper study and critical analysis. criticised
The SKM party release points out that two paragraphs in pages 46 and 58 of the Supreme Court’s judgment suggest that “people from Nepal were migrants and persons of foreign origin settled in Sikkim”.
“It appears that this error was made because the Honorable Judges overlooked the fact that all references of this kind, and similar references made by the petitioner, i.e. the Association of Old Settlers, were removed by way of an “Application for Amendment of the Writ Petition” filed on July 31, 2013, and approved by the Honorable Apex Court on August 2, 2013,” the party release stated.
The press release states that after the application for amendment of the writ petition was filed and approved, the following words and phrases were deleted from the original petition: “Nepalese Origin”, “of foreign origin”, “mainly from Nepal”, “were of Nepalese origin”, “Nepalese”, “like the Nepalis”, “these persons of foreign origin were mainly from Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and India”, “of Nepalese origin and Tibetan origin”, “were included as Indian citizens by these Government orders”, “Nepalese and Tibetans”, “foreigners”, “especially of Nepali origin”, “migrants of Nepali origin”, and “of which about 70% are of Nepali origin”.
“It appears that while dictating the judgment mentioned above on January 13, the judges erroneously overlooked the amended petition,” contended the SKM.
Article 137 of the Constitution of India gives the Supreme Court the power to review any of its judgments or orders. Still, this power is subject to the rules established by the Supreme Court under Article 145, as well as provisions of any law enacted by the Parliament.
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“Further, as per the Supreme Court of India Rules 2013 (XLVII.2), a review petition has to be filed within 30 days from the judgment or order of which review is sought and must be placed before the same Bench which had delivered the decision. Therefore it was decided to explore the possibility of filing a review petition for the same,” the release held.
“Since this is an unusual development and extraordinary situation, and the subject matter and procedure being so sensitive and serious; it was decided to engage the best lawyers and do the needful. All necessary steps have already been initiated and all endeavours will be made to properly address the issue in the larger interest of the people of Sikkim,” the party release added.
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