The Bombay high court on Monday dismissed a petition by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council against a Rs 45.40 lakh entertainment duty levied on it for the 2011 India International Jewellery Show (IIJS).
The council's lawyer, Sharad Jagtiani argued that an event must provide for amusement or enjoyment in order to constitute "entertainment" according to the Bombay Entertainment Duty Act, 1923, and since annual trade events do not constitute entertainment, the Council was not liable to pay the duty. IIJS, the second largest jewellery show in Asia, generated export orders worth about Rs5,200 crore in 2011.
However, the division bench of justice DY Chandrachud and justice Amjad Sayed said "entertainment" as defined by the legislature, had a much more comprehensive and inclusive meaning. "The definition includes an exhibition to which persons are admitted against the payment of money," the bench said. It added that the nature of the event, the type of goods displayed, the benefit derived by the exhibitors and the budget also indicated the show was "entertainment".
The council had moved the HC after an appellate authority passed an order on November 30, 2012, holding it liable to pay entertainment duty for the show.