Gangtok: Sikkim observed a 12-hour bandh on Wednesday against the ‘immigrant’ tag upon the Sikkimese Nepali community and the removal of the word ‘Sikkimese’ in the Supreme Court of India verdict on income tax exemption for old settlers of Sikkim on January 13.
The bandh called by Joint Action Council was supported both by the ruling front Sikkim Krantikari Morcha and the opposition Sikkim Democratic Front party.
JAC had deputed members across the state for picketing to enforce the peaceful bandh. There were no sloganeering and no rallies taken out during the Bandh.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Supreme Court on Wednesday removed the observations in its judgment which described Sikkimese-Nepalese persons as “people of foreign origin”.
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The Supreme Court’s January 13 verdict over tax laws had caused a furore in Sikkim following a controversial portion of the judgment authored by Justice Nagarathna, which said: “Therefore, there was no difference made out between the original inhabitants of Sikkim, namely the Bhutia-Lepchas and the persons of foreign origin settled in Sikkim like the Nepalis or persons of Indian origin who had settled down in Sikkim generations back.”
The judgment was delivered by a bench comprising Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna. The bench, initially, agreed to remove the part “the persons of foreign origin settled in Sikkim like the Nepalis”. However, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta requested that the entire sentence be deleted.
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