"New Year celebration is not religious function"

The court found no evidence that the function partakes of religious character...
( [email protected] ) Dec 03, 2003 07:09 AM EST

Bangalore, Karnataka, India., Dec. 3 - The Karnataka High Court has held that New Year eve celebrations do not fall under the purview of religious functions.

"The court has taken judicial notice that in this country, New Year eve is accepted as a celebration by all people because of a fairly long colonial rule." Justice R. Gururajan made these observations while dealing with a petition filed by Bangalore Club which sought to declare that religious celebrations of New Year as outside the purview of the Entertainment Tax Act.

The petitioner submitted that it was predominantly Christian oriented and New Year celebration was a religious function and hence, sought exemption of the Entertainment Tax.

The court stated that it was unable to accept it as a religious function. "A religious function involves religious ceremony of a particular community," the court observed.

The entertainment tax officer issued a notice to the petitioner on September 15 to pay a 10 per cent tax for collection of over Rs 10 lakh during New Year eve function on December 31, 2002. The respondent also sought a penalty of three times the tax amount for failing to pay the levy.

The petitioner however contended that it was a religious function and should be exempted from tax. The court observed that apart from Christians, others are also allowed on payment to the function. The court found no evidence that the function partakes of religious character.

While the court directed that the petitioner was at liberty to file objections within three weeks, it set aside the notice seeking penalty.