Gangtok: Additional advocate general Sudesh Joshi tendered his resignation on Wednesday following controversy surrounding the January 13 verdict of the Supreme Court that mentioned the Sikkim Nepalese community as ‘foreigners’ and thereby removed them from the ambit of the tax exemption provision.
Meanwhile, in an interview to Northeast Live on Wednesday, Chief Minister PS Tamang said: “Sudesh Joshi was neither a petitioner in the case nor was he involved legally from the government side. The case was represented by the AG and other top lawyers and he was not involved at all.”
The CM added that while he welcomed the tax exemption given to the old settlers, which was in stay since 2008, his party and government was very serious about addressing the wrong terminology used for Sikkimese Nepali community. He informed that all work has been prepared and a review petition will be filed in next couple of days.
Read | State to file review petition in SC to expunge ‘foreigner’ tag on Sikkimese Nepali
The Supreme Court in its order dated January 13, 2023, had directed the Centre to amend the definition of ‘Sikkimese’ in Section 10 (26AAA) of the Income Tax Act 1961 to include income tax exemption to all Indian citizens domiciled in Sikkim on or before the merger date of April 26, 1975.
Joshi, since the verdict came out, had been accused of dereliction of duty towards the state of Sikkim and the Nepalese community in particular.
In his resignation letter to the chief secretary of Sikkim, Joshi wrote that the attacks against his integrity were “baseless and unfounded”.
Read | SC verdict has struck down word ‘Sikkimese’ as well: CAP
“The judgement of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Association of Old Settlers of Sikkim vs. Union of India pronounced of January 13, 2023, has led to some social unrest in Sikkimese society,” he said.
“Some false, unfounded and baseless allegations against me are doing rounds on social and electronic media which are absolutely devoid of merit and labelled to paint me in a bad light and to attack the government,” he added.
Joshi said under the prevailing situation, his conscience does not allow him to continue as an additional advocate general of Sikkim.
Chief Minister Golay, meanwhile, said that the contentious statement was part of the apex court’s observation and not the main verdict, adding that he had spoken to Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, who has assured of full support from the Centre in having this ‘foreigner’ tag removed from the observation.
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