The Madras High Court on Thursday declined to interfere with Tamil Nadu Government's order granting entertainment tax exemption to Rajinikanth's latest film "Kochadaiyaan", releasing on Friday, and asked authorities and exhibitors not to collect the levy from the viewers.
A vacation bench comprising Justice MM Sundresh and Justice R Mahadevan gave the interim direction on a PIL filed by advocate S Muthiah challenging the validity of a government order granting entertainment tax exemption to the film, while the matter was pending in court and two other films were not given the benefit in the recent past.
Petitioner submitted that recent Tamil films such as 'Tenaliraman' and 'Ennamo Edho' were not given entertainment tax exemption. But on May 12, a GO was issued extending the tax benefit to Kochadaiyaan.
Assailing the move, that too while a batch of PILs againstthe tax exemption practice was pending in the High Court, thepetitioner said it was improper for the government to exempt the film from the tax net.
But, refusing to interfere with the government's decision,the bench ordered that authorities and exhibitors should not demand and collect entertainment tax from the public.
"We pass an interim order directing the authorities as well as their agents, including the exhibitors, from collecting any tax for which the exemption has been granted by the order impugned," the judges said and the adjourned the matter to be heard along with the pending PILs.
The petitioner submitted that on May 6 the state government issued a circular stating that tax exemption given to a film would be applicable only from the date of grant of exemption and not before that.