HC Deb 19 April 1898 vol 56 cc409-10

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether the Indian Government are proposing that all acknowledgments of debt exceeding 20 rupees, which, under the existing law, are liable to a fixed duty of one anna shall, when attested by a witness, be liable to an ad valorem duty as a bond of its amount; and whether, as it is customary in India for such documents to be witnessed, the Government have taken into consideration that poor persons will suffer heavily by the payment of heavy stamp duties, or otherwise be deprived of an important safeguard from fraud?


The provision in the Bill to amend the law relating to stamps to which the hon. Member refers has been altered by the Select Committee. All acknowledgments will now continue to be liable to a duty of one anna only unless they include a promise to pay, or some agreement of that nature. If they contain such a promise or agreement, they are bonds, and must be stamped as such— under the old law as well as under the law now proposed. I do not understand that the Government of India ever intended to alter the law, but only to make it clearer.