If you have been a regular moviegoer at Fame Adlabs for the past few years, chances are you were charged 45 per cent more for your tickets.
The multiplex chain will now give away the extra amount collected to charity. Not because Swanstone Multiplex Cinema (P) Ltd, has noble intentions, but because the Supreme Court has ruled that the company “illegally” collected Rs 1.87 crore as entertainment tax and has to give it away as donation.
Adlabs collected the money between June 24, 2005, and January 5, 2006, despite being exempted from paying entertainment tax.
Last week, a bench comprising Justice SB Sinha and Justice Deepak Verma said: “When a person collects tax illegally, he has to refund [it]”.
Requesting Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan to “take up the responsibility” of collecting the money and donating it to a NGO for the less privileged, the court observed: “It would be travesty of justice if the owners of the cinema theatre become eligible to appropriate such a huge amount for their own benefit.”
Three years back, the state government had directed Swanstone to deposit the money with it as it had wrongfully collected it.
The company then moved the Bombay High Court that overruled the government’s directive and held the state could not demand the money as it has exempted the tax.
The state then moved the apex court, challenging the high court order.
The Supreme Court admitted the state’s appeal but agreed that the government was not entitled to the money as it was not entitled to tax that it has exempted.