“MP Indra Hang Subba should have resigned on moral grounds” said Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Gopal Chettri, just a day after former president of Sikkimey Nagarik Samaj and senior Sikkimese politician, Bharat Basnet, demanded resignation of Indra Hang Subba, the only Lok Sabha Member of Parliament from Sikkim.
Addressing a presser here at Gangtok on Friday, the Congress state chief questioned the “silence” and “absence” of the MP over Finance Bill 2023 that has passed through Lok Sabha without discussion on March 25, 2023.
“People of Sikkim had elected him as the member of Lok Sabha to protect Sikkimese interest but where was he when the bill got passed without any discussion in the house?” questioned Chettri. “He is quick to hold a flag to take part in any processions that happens here but fails to fulfill his responsibility in the house and is silence over this huge issue” he added.
The Lower House of the Parliament, Lok Sabha on March 25, 2023, had passed Finance Bill 2023 with 64 official amendments without discussion, out of which one of the amendments has attracted controversy and criticism in Sikkim.
The Bill which was tabled in the Parliament on February 1, 2023, by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman among other amendments proposed to amend Section 10 Clause 26AAA of the Finance Act thus extending Income Tax exemptions to the Sikkimese, Sikkimese being
(i) an individual, whose name is recorded in the register maintained under the Sikkim Subjects Regulation, 1961 read with the Sikkim Subject Rules, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as the “Register of Sikkim Subjects”), immediately before the 26th day of April, 1975; or
(ii) an individual, whose name is included in the Register of Sikkim Subjects by Virtue of the Government of India Order No. 26030/36/90-I.C.I., dated the 7th August, 1990 and Order of even number dated the 8th April, 1991, or,
(iii) any other individual, whose name does not appear in the Register of Sikkim Subjects, but it is clearly established beyond doubt that the name of such individual’s father or husband or paternal grand-father or brother from the same father has been recorded in that register; or
(iv) any other individual, whose name does not appear in the register of Sikkim Subjects but it is established that such individual was domiciled in Sikkim on or before the 26th day of April, 1975; or,
(v) any other individual, who was not domiciled in Sikkim on or before the 26th day of April, 1975, but is established beyond doubt that such individual’s father or husband or paternal grand-father or brother from the same father was domiciled in Sikkim on or before the 26th day of April, 1975.
This amendment had come after Supreme Court’s judgement of January 13, 2023 in AOSS vs Union of India case wherein the top court had directed Indian Government to make provisions to extend IT Exemptions also to the old settlers of Sikkim who meets the prescribed cutoff date. Various political and non-political outfits have come out against the amendment saying that it has expanded the definition of term Sikkimese and is a direct blow to Article 371 F that provides special provisions to Sikkim and protects its old laws.
Sikkim Chief Minister, PS Tamang, has announced through his official social media handles on Friday that a special session of Sikkim Legislative Assembly (SLA) is to be called on April 10, 2023, and is largely being speculated that the session is being called to discuss the Finance Bill 2023.