The Maharashtra cabinet approved a proposal seeking waiver of Rs 3.4 crore entertainment duty for Michael Jackson’s 1996 concert in Mumbai on Wednesday. This concert was organised on November 1, 1996 by Raj Thackeray, Chief of Shiv Udyog Sena and current Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President. The-then Shiv Sena-BJP state government had granted a waiver of Rs 3.4 crore in entertainment duty to them.
However, the waiver amount was deposited in the court’s treasury after it was challenged in the Bombay High Court by the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.
On the other hand, in the cabinet meeting, the government has asked the revenue department to submit a detailed report of income to the government in the form of taxes from several entertainment shows in the last five years in Maharashtra. Through this, the government intends to know how many companies got such benefits during the-then Devendra Fadnavis government.
WHAT IS THE WHOLE MATTER?
Shiv Sena – Raj Thackeray and the event management company, Wizcraft, had organised the Michael Jackson concert in Mumbai. The Shiv Sena, at that time, was fiercely accused by the opposition of promoting Western culture. The interesting thing is that by calling this show a classical concert, entertainment tax exemption was filed from the government for Michael Jackson’s concert, which was also approved by the government.
The Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, however, challenged this decision of the government in the Bombay High Court, saying that the provision under which the government has given a discount of Rs 3 crore 34 lakh to Wizcraft, in fact, does not come under the rules. The client Panchayat argued in the court that the government has been misled by calling Michael Jackson’s ‘pop show’ as a classical concert. After which, the court reprimanded the government and deposited the exemption amount in the treasury of the court.
The revenue department had also heard this matter in 2018 when Devendra Fadnavis was the Chief Minister and this decision was termed legal and by the rules. However, in April 2011, a division bench of the Bombay High Court slammed the state government for “non-application of mind” and set aside its order for exemption from the entertainment duty.
Finally, in the cabinet held on Wednesday, the Thackeray government gave relief in the 24-year-old case. However, the Mumbai Customer Panchayat, has written a letter to the Chief Minister and demanded no exemption should be given. Instead of benefiting from this amount, any one company money should be deposited in the CM Relief Fund.
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