The Maharashtra Government on Monday issued notification reinstating waiver in entertainment tax and cess to Wizcraft International which had organised Michael Jackson Pop show way back in 1996. The government will give Rs 3.36 crore which was deposited in the high court due to its order. As reported by Free Press Journal, the state cabinet on January 6 had given its nod on the background of a long legal battle on the issue.
The cabinet approved the waiver after it was clarified by the law and judiciary department that the Michael Jackson concert was a pop show which is a part of beat music. It was further clarified that the “King of Pop” concert did not fall in the category of cabaret dance or ball dance.
The then Shiv Sena-BJP government led by Chief Minister Manohar Joshi had exempted the concert from entertainment tax and cess in 1996. The concert was conceptualised by then Shiv Udyog Sena president and now MNS chief Raj Thackeray. However, a division bench of the Bombay High court had struck this down in 2011, while remanding the matter to the government for a fresh hearing.
The cabinet however, upheld the decision to grant entertainment tax waiver given to the concert. The Wizcraft International will be able to take back Rs 3.36 crore in ticket sales, which were deposited by it with the court’s treasury.
The Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, a consumer rights organisation, had moved the high court in 1996 challenging the entertainment tax waiver. In 2011, the HC had asked the government to reconsider the waiver.