Published On: Thu, Feb 9th, 2023

SC removes ‘foreign-origin’ comments on Sikkim-Nepalese people from ruling after uproar

New Delhi: The Sikkimese-Nepalis were referred to as being of “foreign origin” in the Supreme Court’s verdict that was issued on January 13 in a dispute involving Sikkim’s tax exemption. This reference was removed on Wednesday after an uproar, agencies reported.

The error occurred because the court was not informed that the petition had been revised

The Centre, the Sikkim government, and a group of Sikkimese-Nepalese people who asked the court to modify the order filed a petition, and a bench of Justices M R Shah and B V Nagarathna agreed to delete the reference.

In this case, tax exemptions were extended to Sikkimese women who wed people from outside the state and to long-time residents whose names had not been entered in a Sikkim Subjects Register.

The tax-exemption judgment was delivered by a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna. The controversial portion was in the ruling authored by Justice Nagarathna which said – “Therefore, there was no difference made out between the original inhabitants of Sikkim, namely the Bhutia-Lepchas and the persons of foreign origin settled in Sikkim like the Nepalis or persons of Indian origin who had settled down in Sikkim generations back”.

According to the bench, the error occurred because the court was not informed that the petition had been revised after it was filed because it was mentioned in the original petition.

There was a widespread controversy across the state after it was implied that Sikkimese Nepalis were of foreign descent. In their request for a revision, the petitioners argued that classifying the Sikkimese Nepali minority as people of foreign origin was inaccurate because they make up 70 percent of the native Sikkimese population.

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