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Court rejects plea against tax on marriage marquees

The Delhi High Court Friday dismissed a petition seeking direction to the city government that no service tax be levied on marquees put up for Hindu marriages as setting up such pandals amounted to providing service for a religious function.

The division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said: “We do not perceive any merit in this writ petition and, accordingly, the same stands dismissed.”

Petitioner All India Tent Dealers Welfare Organisation had sought a direction for quashing a tax related provision in the Finance Act, 2007, terming it as unconstitutional.

“Pandal or shamiana for marriage is in furtherance of ceremonies, rites and rituals which are to be performed for the religious function and should not be considered as social function for the purpose of service tax,” said the petition.

A Hindu marriage was a sacred religious function and could never be treated as a social function to invite the levy of service tax, the organisation said.

The bench said: “If the entire provision is properly understood, it is clearly discernible that Hindu marriage is not treated or regarded a social function per se.”

“There can be no trace of doubt that only when a pandal or shamiana is used for marriage, it earns the status of social function because the service component is involved,” the court said.

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