The Madras High Court has sought information on whether the entertainment tax exemption, which has been in effect since 2006, has actually enriched Tamil culture or not. The question was raised after a petition was filed by the team of Savari, who did not receive the exemption. Since 2006, films certified ‘U’ and carrying Tamil titles (among other criteria) have been eligible to apply for an entertainment tax exemption.
After hearing the petition, Judge Kirubakaran said, “Has Tamil culture become richer just because this exemption has been granted to the films? Have these films improved life in any way? What is their contribution to society?”
He also asked about the amount of money waived by granting tax exemption status till date. He said, “Despite giving exemption, the prices of tickets have not been decreased to reflect this. Why has this been allowed to continue?”
Kirubakaran also wanted to know why TV serials with objectionable content and violence were not certified. He said, “Why should these episodes not be given A?”
The court is likely to appoint a panel to look into the issue. The panel will be directed to prepare a report suggesting modifications to the Amendment.
In 2015, after hearing a plea by KJ Saravanan, the Madras High Court had ruled that the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary, and the Commercial Tax Department were responsible for ensuring that the tax burden was not passed to viewers in cases involving films with tax exemptions.
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