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2017 (12) TMI 816

Head Note / Extract:
Nature of receipt under the subsidy scheme - whether was not in the nature of a helping hand to the trade but was capital in nature - subsidy scheme of the State Government took the form of an exemption of entertainment duty in Multiplex Theatre Complexes newly set up, for a period of three years, and thereafter payment of entertainment duty @ 25% for the subsequent two years

Held that:- As stated in the statement of objects and reasons, of the amendment ordinance was that since the average occupancy in cinema theatres has fallen considerably and hardly any new theatres have been started in the recent past, the concept of a Complete Family Entertainment Centre, more popularly known as Multiplex Theatre Complex, has emerged. These complexes offer various entertainment facilities for the entire family as a whole. It was noticed that these complexes are highly capital intensive and their gestation period is quite long and therefore, they need Government support in the form of incentives qua entertainment duty. It was also added that government with a view to commemorate the birth centenary of late Shri V. Shantaram decided to grant concession in entertainment duty to Multiplex Theatre Complexes to promote construction of new cinema houses in the State. The aforesaid object is clear and unequivocal.

The object of the grant of the subsidy was in order that persons come forward to construct Multiplex Theatre Complexes, the idea being that exemption from entertainment duty for a period of three years and partial remission for a period of two years should go towards helping the industry to set up such highly capital intensive entertainment centers. This being the case, it is difficult to accept Mr. Narasimha's argument that it is only the immediate object and not the larger object which must be kept in mind in that the subsidy scheme kicks in only post construction, that is when cinema tickets are actually sold. We hasten to add that the object of the scheme is only one -there is no larger or immediate object. That the object is carried out in a particular manner is irrelevant, as has been held in both Ponni Sugar [2008 (9) TMI 14 - SUPREME COURT ]and Sahney Steel [1997 (9) TMI 3 - SUPREME Court].

Since the subsidy scheme in the West Bengal case is similar to the scheme in the Maharashtra case being to encourage development of Multiplex Theatre Complexes which are capital intensive in nature, and since the subsidy scheme in that case is also similar to the Maharashtra cases, in that the amount of entertainment tax collected was to be retained by the new Multiplex Theatre Complexes for a period not exceeding four years, we are of the view that West Bengal cases must follow the judgment that has been just delivered in the Maharashtra case. - Decided against revenue


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