No Judge Other Than A HC Judge Is Empowered To Delegate The Duty Of Examining And Impounding Any Instrument: Karnataka HC [Read Order]

No Judge Other Than A HC Judge Is Empowered To Delegate The Duty Of Examining And Impounding Any Instrument: Karnataka HC [Read Order]

‘No Judge other than a Judge of the High Court is empowered to delegate the duty of examining and impounding any instrument under Section 33 of the Act to any other person or officer.’

The Karnataka High Court has held that no judge other than a judge of the high court is empowered to delegate the duty of examining and impounding any instrument under Section 33 of the Karnataka Stamp Act, 1957 to any other person or officer.

The trial court, in this case, had in its proceedings recorded: “Lease Deed with endorsement of agreement to mortgage is hereby impounded. Office to compute the duty and penalty.” This order (and the subsequent one) was challenged on the ground that the calculation of stamp duty and penalty made by the office of the trial court is not in accordance with the provisions of the Karnataka Stamp Act.

Justice HG Ramesh observed that as per Section 33 of the Act, impounding of an instrument by the person referred to in Section 33(1) of the Act shall be preceded by a reasoned order stating as to how the instrument is not duly stamped, failing which impounding of the document is unsustainable in law.

It also said that as per Clause (b) of the proviso to sub-section (2) of Section 33 of the Act, if any instrument chargeable with duty is produced before a judge of the high court, the duty of examining and impounding such an instrument under Section 33 of the Act may be delegated to such officer as the court appoints in this behalf.

Setting aside the trial court order, the court said: “There is no similar provision for a Judge other than a Judge of the High Court. Therefore, no Judge other than a Judge of the High Court is empowered to delegate the duty of examining and impounding any instrument under Section 33 of the Act to any other person or officer.”

Read the Order Here