24 years later, govt set to okay tax waiver for Raj Thackeray’s Michael Jackson live performance

The Shiv Sena-led authorities in Maharashtra is ready to reinstate a tax waiver granted in 1996 to a musical live performance held in Mumbai, that includes Michael Jackson, which was conceptualised by then Shiv Udyog Sena (SUS) chief and present Maharashtra Navnirman Sena head Raj Thackeray.

While the sooner Shiv Sena-led authorities in Maharashtra had exempted the live performance from paying leisure responsibility in 1996 itself, a division bench of the Bombay High Court had put aside the previous order for “non-application of mind” whereas remanding the matter again to the federal government.

Now, over 24 years later, with Sena again on the helm, the state authorities has determined to revalidate the waiver. Sources mentioned {that a} proposal to this impact might be taken up throughout Wednesday’s Cabinet assembly.

Once the Cabinet approves the proposal, the live performance’s occasion managers, Wizcraft International, will be capable to take again Rs 3.36 crore in ticket gross sales, which had been deposited by it with the court docket’s treasury as per HC orders.

The live performance was one of many largest musical live shows of its time. It was additionally Raj Thackeray’s first main public occasion.

Branding the live performance as a “classical” present, the then Shiv Sena-led authorities had rolled out the pink carpet and granted it an obligation waiver on grounds that the proceeds of the present might be used for charity by the SUS.

Back then, the occasion had served as fodder for Sena’s opponents, who had questioned how a celebration that claims to be the torchbearer of regional pleasure might organise a live performance that includes a pop star, who represented western values. But the authorized battle was an even bigger blow to the celebration.

On April 13, 2011, after a chronic authorized battle, a division bench of the HC had slammed the then authorities for “non-application of mind” whereas setting apart the order relating to the exemption. The Mumbai Grahak Panchayat had challenged the waiver in court docket.

But whereas placing it down, the court docket had remanded the matter again to the state authorities, asking it to rethink Wizcraft’s utility for “grant of exemption from payment of the entertainment duty in accordance with law” whereas listening to Mumbai Grahak Panchayat as effectively.

The proceedings within the matter had been delayed, with the state contending that “important case papers had gone missing” within the 2012 Mantralaya hearth. Eventually, in 2018, when the BJP-Shiv Sena authorities was nonetheless in energy, the state income division carried out hearings on this regard.

Now managed by the Congress, the division has dominated that the earlier Shiv Sena authorities’s exemption order of 1996 was in accordance with legal guidelines and granted beneath particular powers that the state loved.

The Mumbai Grahak Panchayat had argued that pop music didn’t qualify for a waiver beneath provisions of the Entertainment Duty Act (1923). It had additional contended that the SUS was not registered as a charity organisation with the Charity Commissioner. But siding with Wizcraft’s viewpoint, the division has dominated that “pop music was a form of beat music” and that “beat music qualified for a waiver” beneath then prevalent norms. Ruling that the exemption was handed beneath particular powers loved by the state, it had mentioned that “there was no need to delve into whether the charity purpose for the show was met”.

Incidentally, the proposal for revalidation was initiated by the earlier BJP-Shiv Sena regime, which had thought-about an identical exemption for a 2016 present that includes British rock band Coldplay.

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