Bombay High Court Grants Permission to Wizcraft to Withdraw INR 12 Crore

michael jackson LAW INSIDER
michael jackson LAW INSIDER

Lekha G

The Bombay High Court permitted Wizcraft Entertainment Agency that organized the 1996 Mumbai concert of popstar, late Michael Jackson, to withdraw INR 12.33 crores deposited with the High Court as entertainment duty liability.

The Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni stated that the Wizcraft Entertainment Agency was exempted from payment of entertainment duty and entitled to receive the amount deposited in the Court in form of fixed deposit along with accrued interest.

Wizcraft entertainment agency was appointed as promoter for Jackson’s History Tours of 1996 in India. It had received an exemption from levy of entertainment tax duty and surcharge from the State Ministry of Cultural Affairs as the shows were performed in aid and benefit of the charity organization, Shiv Udyog Sena.

The exemption order was challenged before the Bombay High Court by Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP) on the ground that it was arbitrary and could cause high financial loss to the government.

The Court had directed the State government to deposit an amount of INR 3,33,76,000 as liability towards the entertainment tax and reconsider the exemption order granted to Wizcraft.

Following this, the Maharashtra state cabinet re-affirmed the waiver of payment of entertainment duty granted to the company.

Wizcraft, further moved the High Court for refund of the amount along with the accrued interest.

MGP had opposed the application for the withdrawal of the interest amount on ground that the State directed only the principal amount must be refunded.

The Court rejecting the MGP’s argument ruled that since the principal amount had become due and payable, the accretion to it by way of interest will also rightfully belong to Wizcraft. It was also further noted that, neither MGP nor the State could in any manner obstruct the refund of the said amount along with the interest accrued.

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