Cable TV

MCOF takes Maharashtra govt to court on ent tax

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Cable Operators’ Federation (MCOF) moved the Bombay High Court on 13 December challenging the Maharashtra state government's amended gazette resolution (GR) regarding entertainment tax. The association will send a notice to the state government on 14 December.

Both MCOF and the Nashik District Cable Operators Federation had in April challenged the first GR issued by the government on 7 March in the courts, according to which multi-system operators (MSOs) were made responsible for paying entertainment tax. Now, MCOF has challenged the second GR which the government released in November as an interim solution.

“What we don’t understand is that how can the government come out with an amended GR when the first GR is already in court,” asks MCOF president Arvind Prabhoo.

The association has filed the petition on two issues. “The first issue is on renewal of licence for last mile owners (LMOs) according to section 4(2)(b) of the Entertainment Duty Act, Bombay 1923. Second, is the amended GR, which makes it compulsory for the LMOs to file a joint affidavit with the MSOs to pay entertainment tax,” informs Prabhoo.

The Maharashtra government issued the new GR, stating it was losing out on tax collections. “What is the need for a joint affidavit, when with digitisation the whole system has become transparent? Also when we are depositing the entertainment tax to the court, till no verdict is announced, why this GR?” he questions.

MCOF has filed the petition to ensure that the government doesn’t indulge in anymore GRs till the verdict is declared. The earlier petition filed in April is up for hearing in the Bombay High Court on 10 January.

“We hope that while the first issue is resolved in the coming hearing, our new petition comes up for hearing soon,” he adds. The case will be represented by advocate-High Court Sudeep Nargolkar.

It should be noted, that the joint affidavit means that in case of any irregularity in paying the entertainment tax, both the MSOs and LMOs will be either jointly or separately made responsible.

“We are ready to pay the tax directly to the government. Why should the LMOs suffer, if the MSO doesn’t deposit the entertainment tax to the government collected by the LMOs?” asks Prabhoo.

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