Tax evasion: High Court to hear Prabhat Talkies case on July 23

The writ petition filed by Prabhat Theatre Private Limited in the Bombay High Court,challenging collector’s order to shell out Rs 1.64-lakh fine for allegedly evading service tax on film tickets,will be heard on July 23.

Written by AADITI JATHAR LAKADE | Published: July 17, 2012 1:24 am

The writ petition filed by Prabhat Theatre Private Limited in the Bombay High Court,challenging collector’s order to shell out Rs 1.64-lakh fine for allegedly evading service tax on film tickets,will be heard on July 23.

Vivek Anant Damble,director of Prabhat Theatre Private Limited that runs the oldest single-screen theatre Prabhat Talkies in the city,had filed the petition in February against the state ministry of revenue and the forest department. The HC bench of justices D D Sinha and V K Tahilramani will be admitting the petition.

In February last year,Akhil Bharatiya Chitrapat Mahamandal’ — an apex body of Marathi film-makers — had written to the Maharashtra revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat accusing the owners of Prabhat theatre of black-marketing tickets of Marathi film Pakda Pakdi. Director of the film Sandeep Manohar Navare had alleged that Prabhat Talkies had under-reported its official sales figures in the final Distributor Collection Report report of February 20,2011.

Following the complaint,the collector office had inquired into the issue and had ordered the theatre on September 8,2011 to pay Rs 1.64 lakh as penalty for allegedly evading service tax at Rs 5.50 per ticket.

“We have moved the high court against the order. We have sought quashing of the order on the grounds that the collector cannot impose a penalty for tax evasion,” said advocate Kedar Kanetkar.

A film ticket contains three parts,of which two are given to the buyer and one is retained by the theatre for tax purposes. An affidavit filed by the tehsildar (Pune) in response to the writ petition stated that the collector office had found that 27,730 retained parts of tickets were missing. “The theatre could not produce 27,730 retained parts of the tickets…The theatre had collected sales tax amount illegally,evaded paying it and misappropriated the same,” the affidavit stated.

“Our sale of tickets is computerised,but since the computers were not functioning on that day,we sold the tickets manually and had given retained parts of the tickets to buyers,” the theatre stated in its petition.

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