The Indian Stamp Act,1899 makes no mention of a stamp paper’s expiration date. Section 54 simply states that a person in possession of stamp paper for which he has no immediate use (that is not spoiled, rendered unfit, or useless) may seek a refund of the value by surrendering the stamp paper to the Collector if it was purchased within the six-month period preceding the date of surrender.
The six-month term set forth in Section 54 is only for the purpose of obtaining a refund of the value of unused stamp paper, not for the purpose of using the stamp paper. The individual who buys stamp paper is not required to utilise it within six months, according to Section 54. As a result, using stamp paper purchased more than six months prior to the anticipated date of execution for a document is not prohibited.
E-Stamp paper, also known as electronic stamp paper, is the outcome of electronic stamping, which is a secure online application for paying Stamp Duty to the government. Most government transactions necessitate the payment of non-judicial Stamp Duty, which would be time-consuming if done the traditional way.
The above point was clarified in the case of the Supreme Court of India in Thiruvengada Pillai v. Navaneethamal, (2008) 4 SCC 530. The Trial Court and the High Court have doubted the genuineness of the agreement dated 5.1.1980 because it was written on two stamp papers purchased on 25.8.1973 and 7.8.1978. The learned counsel for the first respondent argued that, in addition to casting doubt on the document’s authenticity, the use of such old stamp papers rendered the agreement void. Because the stamp papers used in the agreement of sale were more than six months old, they were no longer valid stamp papers, and thus the agreement prepared on such “expired” papers was also void.
It was held that “the stipulation of a period of six months prescribed in Section 54 is only to seek a refund of the value of the unused stamp paper, and not for use of the stamp paper”. The Court concluded by noting that utilising stamp paper that was acquired more than six months prior to its use in a document is not prohibited.
As a result, it may be argued that stamp paper has no expiration date and can be utilised for document execution at any time. However, if there is a chance that a transaction or execution may fail, the unused stamp paper must be returned to the Collector of Stamps for a reimbursement within six months of purchase. It is vital to notice that the limitation period set forth in section 54 is not extended in any way.
- Indian Stamp Act, 1899
- Thiruvengada Pillai v. Navaneethamal, (2008) 4 SCC 530
- Advocate Naiju, Judicial stamp papers don’t have any expiry, Consultease, https://www.consultease.com/supreme-court/judicial-stamp-papers-dont-have-any-expiry-period/#.YRizeogzZPY
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