Excise Department must decide PCB review plea against entertainment rights claim

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KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday ordered the Department of Excise and Taxation to rule on the review petition filed by the Pakistan Cricket Board against the request for entertainment obligation for holding international and T20 matches at Karachi within two weeks.

Management came on a PCB petition against the Excise Department’s denial of an entertainment duty exemption. PCB said in the petition that domestic and international T20 and Test matches were held at the Karachi National Stadium in December 2021, January-February 2022 and March 2022.

Counsel for the claimant argued that the PCB had granted exemption by the Excise Department in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013 and 2018. However, the counsel stated that when the PCB filed an application for exemption from Excise Department for PSL-7, West Indies and Australia Cricket Matches, it was refused by competent authority through silent order.

He argued that the PCB’s constitution makes it clear that all income generated by the PCB is reinvested in cricket, so the denial of exemption without any justification and contrary to past practice was illegal and subject to reversal.

He stated that the applicant had also filed a request for review against the notice of formal notice which had been pending for several months. He submitted that the Respondents’ refusal will effectively mean that in the future, the Applicant will be forced to choose the National Stadium as the venue for its events, as other provinces do not impose performance fees.

The plaintiff’s lawyer argued that he would be satisfied if an instruction was given to the excise department to decide on the PCB review application at the earliest in accordance with the law. The Divisional Bench of the CHS headed by Judge Irfan Saadat Khan ordered the Department of Excise and Taxation to rule on the petitioner’s request for review after reviewing it in accordance with law and giving an opportunity to hear the petitioner. The court ordered the competent authority of the Excise Department to issue a speaking order within two weeks of receiving the request for review.

The court also ordered that no enforcement action be taken against the PCB until the review application is decided and ruled on the motion. The Excise Department had issued notices to the PCB for the payment of entertainment rights amounting to Rs 3.1 million for three T20 cricket matches between Pakistan and West Indies, PSL-7 and the test match between Pakistan and Australia.

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