New Delhi: The Supreme Court has issued
notice to the Centre and 14 states on a petition challenging
the decisions of state governments to give tax sops to promote
regional language films and charge higher entertainment tax on
A bench of Justices S H Kapadia and Aftab Alam issued a
notice to the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry and
14 states on a petition filed by Hindi film distribution
company Aashirvad Films challenging granting of tax rebate
upto 10 percent on regional languages films and charging 30 to
40 percent on Bollywood films.
Aashirwad Films said that despite the apex court`s
ruling that the practice was in violation of the fundamental
rights to equality and freedom of speech and expression, 14
state governments were discriminating between films on the
basis of language while levying entertainment tax.
The court had in 2007 ruled that such discriminatory
taxes on non-Telugu films were illegal but the Andhra Pradesh
government circumvented that order by introducing different
slabs for films "produced inside the state" and those
outside, the petition said.
Rajan Sharma, the proprietor of Aashirvad Films, said
at least 14 of the 28 states levy a lower rate of tax on films
produced in a favoured language of the state`s choice. The
favoured language is generally the official language or the
dominant language spoken in the territory.