HC stays GST notice against A.R. Rahman

Hemani Sheth | Updated on February 13, 2020

Music Composer A R Rahman. File Photo   -  PTI

The Madras High Court on Wednesday granted an interim stay on an order passed by a Commissioner of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Central Excise on October 17 against music composer A.R. Rahman till March 4, according to media reports.

Rahman was accused of having evaded service tax payments from April 2013 to June 2017 amounting to ₹6.79 crores, India Today reported.  The Commissioner of GST and CE further levied a penalty of ₹6.79 on the musician.

Rahman had challenged the order in a writ petition.

The Commissioner of GST and CE (Chennai South), K.M. Ravichandran had stated that the composer had evaded taxes on payments received by him. The order concluded that except for payments received directly by the composer in foreign currency for concerts organized abroad, all of his services including composing music for movies, royalties for public performances of his compositions and live concerts across the country were subject to service tax according to the report.

Rahman challenged the order citing Section 13(1)(a) of the Copyright Act of 1957. He contested that according to the act, he was the sole owner of all his compositions. As per his agreement with the producers of the films that he had composed music for, the ownership of the compositions were transferred to the producers. Rahman stated that the transfer of rights is not liable to be taxed.

He further contested that temporary transfer of copyright was exempt from service tax, citing a notification issued by the Centre on June 20, 2012, according to the report.

Based on the petition, Justice Anita Sumanth granted the interim stay on said order.

Published on February 13, 2020

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