Gangtok, 14 July
A Supreme Court Bench comprising Mr Justice R M Lodha and Mr Justice Sudhanshu Jyoti Mukhopadhyaya has observed that no pressure should be put on the members of Association of Old Settlers of Sikkim (AOSS) who have filed a writ petition, demanding Income Tax exemption for the old settlers mostly of the Indian origin at par with the bona fide Sikkimese, for withdrawing the petition. The observations came after counsel representing the petitioners informed the Apex Court that AOSS members and others linked to them are being pressured by several organisations to withdraw the writ petition.
The AOSS in its prayer ‘C’ had demanded that an appropriate writ be issued striking down Section 26AAA introduced in the Income Tax Act, 1961 and inserted in the Finance Act of 2008, providing for Income Tax exemption to the Sikkim Subject Certificate holders exclusively. They demanded a blanket Income Tax rule for all the Sikkimese be introduced and the selective exemption that is in their view unconstitutional be done away with in case the old settlers remain deprived of it.  The matter has been listed for the next hearing on 2 August.