HYDERABAD: A division bench of the Hyderabad High Court on Tuesday directed the Andhra Pradesh government to produce the records pertaining to granting exemption of entertainment tax to Telugu feature film Gautamiputra Satakarni starring TDP MLA Nandamuri Balakrishna before the court.
The bench consisting of Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice Shameem Akther was dealing with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by city-based advocate CB Adarsh Kumar challenging the AP government’s granting of entertainment tax exemption to the said film.
Petitioner’s counsel PV Krishnaiah contended that there is a controversy with regard to the origin of the ruler Satakarni. However, the AP government granted tax exemption by considering that the film is a biopic of a Telugu ruler.
He alleged that the government decision is in violation of the Rules prescribed for granting such an exemption. Besides, the rules allow the film producers to collect a maximum of 75 per cent of a ticket cost, but the producer concerned has been collecting the actual cost of the ticket without extending the benefit of tax exemption to the consumers. In fact, the government took the decision based on an ‘undated’ letter by the film producer Y Rajeev Reddy, he claimed.
On the other hand, the counsel for AP said that the government issued the Government Order (GO) granting tax exemption based on the request of the film producer.
As for Telangana, its counsel told the court that a similar representation from the producer was also received by the government but a decision on it was pending.
Intervening, the petitioner’s counsel submitted that the Telangana government had also granted tax exemption, but the GO concerned was not disclosed.
The bench issued notices to both the state governments and also the film producer for filing counter-affidavits in the case. The bench posted the matter to January 31 for further hearing.