Decided on April 15,1980

Mahadaji Scindia Smarak Samiti Gwalior Appellant
STATE OF M P Respondents

Referred Judgements :-



A.R.NAVKAR,J. - (1.)1. This is a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for issuance of writ of Mandamus and/or any other writ, direction to the non -petitioners not to demand and recover entertainment duty in respect of the society's Museum and direct them not to implement the impugned order of the Collector dated 17 -7 -1975 and for quashing the order of the District Excise Officer, Gwalior, dated 22 -7 -1975. 2. The facts mentioned by the petitioner in the petition are that the petitioner Committee is a Society registered under the Madhya Pradesh Societies Registration Act. 1969 and the registered office of the Society is situated in jai Villas Premises, Gwalior. The petitioner Society hat its bye laws. They are also duly registered. The object of the petitioner Society is for working for education of public, promoting of line arts. organisation of museums and art. Exhibition, providing facilities for research of ancient India and culture and history and for organising and developing any branch of knowledge. The object also included arrangement for lectures by experts; to arrange talks and seminars, music conferences, Kavi Sammelans, competitions and promotions of dramatic art. The petitioner Society runs a museum which is styled as H.H. Maharaja Sir Jiwaji Rao Seindia Museum, Gwalior, which is situated in Jai Vilas premises, Gwalior it is further submitted in the petition that the Society through the said Museum has been engaged in activities which are wholly educational in character, research scholars and, other persons war king in the field of history, education and Archaeological work come over there and seeing the exhibits and after studying them, make research regarding the same. In the museum there is provision of library containing rare books and manuscripts. There are also letters written in hand by different historical persons such as Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi. The manuscripts and rare books are used by scholars for increasing their knowledge regarding the past history In the said Museum there are ancient coins which belong to pre -Moghul and Moghul periods and also coins which are current in different parts of the world, in the said Museum, there are also lithographs showing the incident regarding war between Tipu Sutlan and the East India Company. The Museum contains swords belonging to Aurangzeb. Akbar, Yar Jung and Bahadur Zafar. In Armoury Section, there are rifles, arrows, bows, revolving rifles, lance cum -guns. duck shooting guns etc. In Musical Department there are different instruments which are Used in musical concerts, for example, Sitars. Veena Dilruba Sarangi, Tanpura, Mridangum, Pakhwaz and others. There are scenes depicting the Courts of Jehangir and Shahjahan, There are carpets from Persia and also furniture which is styled after Victoria and furniture of Sheritan period. As to carvings, there are pieces from Japan, China and other places The lithographs "how the war fought by Tipu Sultan at Shrirangapattanam, there is a picture showing the death of Tipu Sultan and also the identification held when it was doubtful as to whether the corpse was of Tipu Sultan or not. In one picture the then Viceroy is shown taking the two children of Tipu Sultan with him. Usually, in different museums all the things we have mentioned above, we fired in one form or the other. When the question of Armoury comes, in other museums, we see the different garments worn by soldiers at different times. So also, the medals of bravery given to different times. So also, the medals of bravery given to them. We also see the colours given to different batalions. We have mentioned these facts to consider whether a Museum is a place of entertainment or a place where knowledge is imparted or gained. In the petition, the petitioner further says that it is affiliated to the Museums Association of India. National Museum, New Delhi and are the Paying Member of that Association. The petition further lays that the Collector, Gwalior has said that this institution deserves assistance from the Government. The said Society received grant in aid from the Ministry of Education, Government of India, New Delhi and for this purpose, the Collector, Gwalior recommended through the State Government about the said grant. Shri D.B. Sinha, the them Collector, recommended the matter in the following words: -
"The Seindia Museum is an institution of standing and repute and is doing useful service in the development of ancient culture and history.

"Similar recommendation, we find, made by Shri N.N. Tandon, the then Collector, Gwalior. The said Museum is getting a grant of Rs. 1,20,000 per annum from Public Charitable Trust Sir Jiwaji Rao Seindia Charitable Trust, Bombay.
3. For admission to the Museum, a fee is charged at the rate of Rs.2.50 per head and Rs. 1.25 for student. The District Excise Officer, Gwalior demanded entertainment duty on the fees charged for admission and for demanding this duty, he was acting under the M.P. Entertainment Duty and Advertisement Act, 1936 (Act No. 30 of 1936). The Sub -Inspector, Excise, issued a notice dated 7 -3 -1975, calling upon the Museum to pay the entertainment duty on the amount collected as admission feel and also send the account up -to -date. To this notice, a reply was filed on 19 -3 -1975 by the petitioner, saying that the Society is not liable under the said Act and no amount can be asked for from the petitioner. Neither they are under any obligation to send the account of the admission fees collected. Thereupon, the Collector directed an enquiry and asked the District Excise Officer. Gwalior to enquire and send his report so that the question whether the petitioner can be exempted under the said Act may be decided. The Collector came to the conclusion that exemption cannot be granted under the said Act and, therefore, the amount should be recovered from the petitioner. A grievance has been made in the petition that before passing the alleged order on 17 -7 -1975, the Collector did not grant any hearing to the petitioner. Society and without hearing them, he has passed the said order. The petitioners have claimed that they are not liable to pay any entertainment duty under the said Act. because the Museum is not covered under the said Act, i.e. to say that Museum cannot be said to be a place of entertainment under the definition clause of the: said Act. The clause runs as under : -
"Entertainment includes any exhibition performance, amusement, game or sport to which persons are admitted for payment."

Further it is stated that under section 6 of the said Act, entertainment for charitable or educational purposes are exempted. The section reads all under:

"Entertainment duty shall not be levied on payments for admission to any entertainment if the Collector is satisfied that: -

(a) the whole of the takings thereof are devoted to philanthropic or charitable purposes without any charge on the entertainment; or

(b) the entertainment is of a wholly educational character; or

(c) The entertainment is provided partly for educational or partly for Scientific purposes by a society, institution or committee not conducted or established for profit........."

Therefore, in the petition, it is submitted that the order passed again and the Society, by the Collector dated 17 -7 -1975, or the order passed by the District Excise Officer dated 22 -7 -1975 is not valid and it is without jurisdiction. Therefore, those orders should be quashed.
4. The State has filed a reply in which it has been said that the Act in question is applicable to the Museum and if at all exemption is needed, then the Society should approach the Collector under section 6 of the said Act. It is further stated that there is payment for admission to the Museum. Hence, entertainment duty is liable to be paid under sections 3 and 4 of the Entertainment Duty Act. The Preamble of the said Act say: "Whereas it is expedient to provide for the levy of a duty in respect of admission to theatres, cinemas and other places of public entertainment and a tax in respect of certain forms of advertisements exhibited at such entertainments in Madhya Pradesh: "It is hereby enacted as follows........."
From the Preamble, it is quite clear that the Act refers to admission in theatres, cinemas and other places of public entertainment. What is the definition of entertainment in the Act, we have already noted above. The definition of entertainment is an inclusive definition and if we come to the conclusion that running Museum will amount to an entertainment, then certainly, we will have to hold that the said Act is applicable to the Museum run by the petitioner Society.
5. The learned counsel for the petitioner referred us to a decision given by the Rajasthan High Court in Special Appeal No. 83 of 1969, decided on 13 -3 -1972 (His Highness the Maharaja of Jaipur Museum Trust. City Palace v. The State of Rajasthan and another). In this Judgment, the question was the same which is before us. The learned Judges, in that case relied on a case decided be this Court, namely, Calico Mills Ltd v. State of Madhya Pradesh and others 1961 JLJ 276=AIR 1961 MP 657, and they have held as under: -
"Now, it will be seen that the definitions given in section 2 of 'entertainment' 'payment for admission and 'Admission to the entertainment are not precise they are inclusive definition. The terms must, therefore first be understood in their ordinary meaning and then in their enlarged meaning given by the definition. It is well settled that the word 'include' is used in interpretation clauses where it is intended that while the term defined should retain its ordinary meaning; Its Scope should be widened by specific enumeration of certain matters which its ordinary meaning mayor may not comprise so as to make the definition enumerative and not exhausive, and when it is so used there words or phrases, must be construed as comprehending, not only such thing as they signify according to their natural import but also those things which the interpretation dame declares that they shall include. Against where a term is interpreted in a statute as 'including' the comprehended sense is not to be taken as strictly defining what the meaning of the word must be under all circumstances out merely as declaring what things should be comprehended with the terms where the circumstances require that they should.

The natural import of the term "entertainment' is amusement and gratification of some sort. The term cannot something in the nature of an organised entertainment. This is evident from the fact that the Act was enacted to provide for the levy of a duly in respect of admission to theatres, cinemas and other places of public entertainment. Therefore, an entertainment to come Within the definition of section 2(b) and of the provisions of the Act must be some exhibition, performance, amusement, games or Sport for the purpose of entertainment, that is, for affording some sort of amusement and gratification to those who see or hear it."

The Bench further observed: -

"The C.P. and Berar Entertainment Duty Act, 1936 is closely on the lines of the English Act of 1916 atleast so far as the charging provisions and the definition clauses are concerned. The practice of display of fabrics cloth, costumes and dresses mannequins is very common in England and has existed for years. It is not a new one. But we have not been able to find any English case where a mannequine parade held independently or as a part of an exhibition of fabrics dresses etc. was held to be an entertainment in respect of which duty was payable under the Act of 1916"

It may be noticed here that the Bench took into consideration the preamble of the Act and the absence of any decision holding exhibition of fabrics and dresses as entertainment.

In order to have an accurate idea of the meaning of the word "entertainment" in its ordinary and general acceptation, we may also refer to Butterworth's "words and phrases" legally defined. There It has been stated "an entertainment to come within the provisions of the Finance (New Duties) Act, 1916 (repealed) must be some 'exhibition; performance, amusement, game or sport provided, though not necessarily by the owner of the place of entertainment for the purpose of entertaining those who pay to see or to hear it."

Venkataramaiya, similarly. in "Law Lexicon" states, entertainment" is a word of general import. In common practice, it includes cinema show", dramatic performance etc. In Chamber's 20th Century Dictionary, the meaning of this word is a performance or a show intended to give pleasure'.

An Anantha krishna Iyer's "Law Terms and phrases", "entertainment" has been stated "the natural import of the term is amusement and qualification of some sort. The term connotes something in the nature of an organised entertainment "The emphasis evidently is upon some kind of organisation to provide amusement.

In the light of the principles enunciated in the case and the meanings assigned to the word "entertainment" in the various books referred to above, and having regard to the preamble of the Act, we have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that to bring an exhibition into the definition of "entertainment" a continuous process of performance may not be necessary but it is essential that the exhibition should be displayed with a view to provide amusement or gratification of some kind to the victors and the fact that some persons might derive subjective gratification from exhibition, though not arranged for that purpose, is not relevant. The learned single Judge conveyed the same idea when he made the observations that the exhibition of articles can come within the definition of entertainment" only when they are displayed with a view to provide amusement or gratification of any kind to the visitors who go and see that display and that they do proper amusement to hem.

In proceeding to Judge the case in the light of the above principles, it becomes necessary to have a precise appreciation of the concept of "museum". In Enclopaedia Britannica, Volume 15 page 1964 under the head 'Purpose and Activities" it has been stated as follows.

"In any case the most important fact to be determined about a museum is its purpose......Education may be considered the formost purpose of the Museum............ There must also be an appeal, particularly an aesthetica appeal......... ...A museum must also serve as an archieve for objects that must be protected from destruction or loss because they are precious rare, significant or indispensible for research. "
6. So, we have to decide now what is the meaning of a 'museum' and the idea in keeping the museum, Before proceeding further, when we visit a theatre to witness a cinema, we have got some idea regarding the story. Then while witnessing the picture, we hear also song and the main purpose of seeing a picture is to entertain one's own mind. Nobody goes to a cinema with an idea that it will not be an entertainment, but it will be something to add to his knowledge. Throughout the picture, there is a thread of the story. It is not as if we see pictures one after another which are not connected by any thread. Same thing can be said regarding performances or museum, game or sport. But when we visit a museum and go from one block to another, there is no continuity. There is no link to connect the items kept in one block with the another. There is no story also. In one block, we may come across the armoury. In the third one, we may come across lithographs. In the fourth, we may come across furniture. In some block, we may come across musical instruments and paintings, but certainly, there is no connection in the exhibits we see in one block with the exhibits we see in another block, therefore to say that by, seeing these different articles, we get entertainments will be a bit difficult. Whether we get knowledge by seeing these articles, we will consider presently. The aspect of museum and the idea' behind having a museum is considered in Encyclopaedia Britannica Vol. 15 -page 1033. While dealing with the purpose and activities of the museum, it is observed a under:
"Three elements are involved in any museum at any time: the owner, the object, and the public. But just as basic philosophies of life have evolved through the centuries, so have the purposes of the museum and the relationship between the three elements continually changed. In any case, the most important fact to be determined about a museum is its purpose. The way in which it fulfills that purpose may be a result of its history both general and specialized, rather than its present stewardship.

Education may be considered the foremost purpose of the museum. The museum cannot accomplish its purpose without material it wishes to acquire. The extent of this task varies according to the size and means of the museum, but even the smallest museum must have individual and independent thinking by a curator trained in museum practice and scholarly work. The educational purpose is by no means the only requirement for a collection.There must also be an appeal, particularly an aesthetic appeal. This requirement is not confined to the art museum alone; it is essential in any museum A museum must also serve as an archive for objects that must be protected from destruction or loss because they are precious, rare, significant, or indispensable for research. Although these three objectives may conflict, each is important; it is the responsibility of the curator, in the selection of a new object and in the arrangement of display, to reconcile them"

Further, it is stated under heading Educational Function, as under: -

"Every museum must develop an appropriate program for the education of the community it serves. Educational efforts are directed two groups -student and adult - and must be treated in a different way. In educating students, museums can follow class room methods as long as the student groups have the same educational background, the same urge to increase their knowledge and the same desire for promotion. If the museum can provide teachers from its own staff or train school teachers to introduce the museum to students, and if It keeps in close touch with local school authorities, student education does not offer difficult problems. In regard to adult education the situation is somewhat different. The adult -audience is elusive; adults are not required to visit a museum. Diligent effort is required to attract them and far more effort is required to hold them. Here the time element is important, since the museum faces tremendous competition for the Visitor's time. One of the accepted methods to attract and hold the visitor's interest is to make him feel that acquiring knowledge is a pleasant experience and that the museum has made every effort to convey ideas and information in the fastest and most attractive way. visitors behavior must be taken into consideration Museum have recognized that the visitor will not inspect a large museum if It is unattractively arranged and if not opportunity is afforded for him to rest his eyes and feet. On other hand, in a time when more and more people seem to be reluctant to work for an intellectual goal and are often satisfied with answers at second hand, museums sometimes maybe guilty of coddling visitors. The visitors to the museum, to make his visit worthwhile, must learn not to accept every label he reads without devoting any thought of his own to the subject. The use of the best exhibition techniques available is obviously most important in making the museums attractive......."
7. There are different types of museums. There are History museums. There are science museums. There are Industry museums. Therefore, taking into considerations the fact that these different types of museums existed, we are of the opinion that the main purpose of the museum ill not entertainment, but spread of education. Applying these ideas, we are of the opinion that the museum run by the petitioner society has education as the main purpose which is made clear by the objects of the said society. They have filed along with the petition, the names of the students who are making research at the said museum. Here, we may also add that the manuscripts kept in the museum have little entertainment value. Similarly, the exhibits like photographs and other things too give us idea about the costumes, dress, crockery and other things in use in the particular period.
Therefore, we are of the opinion that museum will not amount to an exhibition, performance, amusement, game or sport and it is not covered under the definition of entertainment, added to this, we may say that the museum run by the petitioner is covered under section 6 of the said Act which gives exemption to museum if the entertainment is of only educational character or the entertainment is provided partly for educational and partly for scientific purpose, by a society, institution or committee not conducted or established for profit.
8. Therefore, the result is that the petition is allowed and it is held that the Society cannot be talked under the said Act and the writ of Mandamus is directed to the non -petitioner that they should not demand and recover the entertainment duty in respect of the Society's museum and allow we direct the non -petitioners net to implement the impugned order of the Collector, dated 17 -7 -75 and we quash the order of the District Excise Officer, Gwalior, dated 22 -7 -75. The parties shall bear their own costs. Outstanding amount of security be refunded to the petitioner.

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