Supreme Court Gives Entertainment Tax Relief To DTH Operators

Finally something for DTH Operators to cheer about
In a major relief to direct-to-home operators in the state, the Supreme Court last week held that the Madhya Pradesh government cannot demand entertainment tax on DTH services under the Madhya Pradesh Entertainment Duty and Advertisements Tax Act, 1936.

Justice Aftab Alam and Justice R M Lodha said in a judgment that Act ‘cannot be extended to cover DTH operations.’

Accepting appeals by Tata Sky against a judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court of August 2010, the apex court said: ‘Neither the provision of section 4(1) nor any of the modes provided under section 4(2) of the Act can be made applicable for collection of duty on DTH operations. Further, it is noted above that section 8 provides rule making powers. In exercise of the powers under that provision, the Madhya Pradesh Entertainment Duty and Advertisement Tax Rules 1942 were framed. A perusal of the Rules makes it absolutely clear that the collection mechanism under the 1936 Act is based on revenue stamps stuck to the tickets issued by the proprietor for entry to the specified place where entertainment is held.’

The Court added: ‘Under section 3 read with section 2(d) and section 2(a), the charge or levy of tax is attracted only if an entertainment takes place in a specified place or locations and persons are admitted to the place on payment of a charge to the proprietor providing the entertainment. In the present case, as DTH operation is not a place-related entertainment, it is not covered by the charging section 3 read with section 2(a) and 2(b) of the 1936 Act. Consequently, the question of going to section 2(d)(iv) does not arise.’

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