Daily Judgement

Benefit of exemption from payment of entertainment tax granted to multiplexes, shall be available to owner and lessee of multiplex equally
Updated On : Jul 07, 2021 | Sujoy Paul J Shailendra Shukla J. | Madhya Pradesh High Court | AIROnline 2021 MP 718

Department of Commercial Tax introduced a promotional scheme granting exemption for five years to multiplexes from the date of first exhibition of a movie subject to certain conditions mentioned therein.

Indisputably, neither the notification nor the policy which is issued as executive fiat contains any definition of ‘proprietor’ (Lokeh). Thus, to ascertain the meaning and definition of proprietor, the Court needs to look into the definition clause contained in the Madhya Pradesh Entertainments Duty and Advertisements Act, 1936. If present petitioner is covered by definition of S. 2(f), he can certainly claim the benefit of exemption. In the Act of 1936 (Hindi version), the proprietor is defined as ‘Swami’. Definition of ‘proprietor’ as provided u/S. 2(f) is wide enough to include a person who is incharge of or responsible for management of cinema house. Word ‘Swami’ would not only include the actual owner but also the ‘occupier’ or the ‘lessee’ of the Cinema-hall or the Multiplex

In absence of any definition of ‘proprietor/swami’ in the executive instructions/policy, the definition must be traced from the main enactment. Even if there would have been a definition of ‘Swami’ in the Executive Instructions, the same was required to be read as per the definition given in the Parent Act. No Executive Instructions can prevail or assign a different meaning than the meaning provided in the Parent Act.

Relevant portion of exemption order leaves no room for any doubt that exemption was indeed issued in favour of petitioner. Pertinently, order denying benefit of exemption does not contain any opinion of the Commercial Tax Officer that petitioner being a ‘lessee’ is not entitled to get exemption and such benefit is confined to ‘proprietor/swami’. Only Public orders made by public authorities are meant to have public effect and are intended to affect the actings and conduct of those to whom they are addressed and must be construed objectively with reference to the language used in the order itself. Petitioner/lessee was entitled to get the benefit of exemption of Entertainment Tax as per law.

Appearing counsel/s : Shri Sumit Nema, Shri Gagan Tiwari, Shri Piyush Parashar, Shri Pushyamitra Bhargav, Shri P. Sen


Aamod Vairagkar