The Madras High Court on Tuesday dismissed a writ petition filed by Tamil actor C Joseph Vijay, popularly known as actor Vijay, seeking exemption from payment of entry tax on his Rolls Royce Ghost Motor car he imported from England. The court imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the actor, asking him to be a ‘real hero’ and pay the due taxes.
Justice SM Subramanian, who heard the plea, came down hard against the Kollywood actor, asking him to not only pay the entry tax as demanded by the government within a period of two weeks but also imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh fine on the actor and directed him to pay the amount to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Covid-19 relief fund.
In a scathing observation, the Madras HC noted that the petitioner imported a prestigious and exorbitantly costly car from England but unfortunately has not paid the Entry Tax as per the rules.
The HC also noted that Vijay, a successful actor, had not bothered to mention his occupation in his affidavit.
“The petitioner, who is a reputed cine actor, is expected to pay the tax promptly and punctually,” the court observed in its order.
Slamming the actor for not fulfilling his duties of paying tax on time, the court said: “In the State of Tamil Nadu, cinema Heroes rosed as rulers of the state and therefore, the people are under the impression that they are the real heroes. Thus, they are not expected to behave like ‘reel heroes’. Tax evasion is to be construed as an anti-national habit, attitude and mindset and unconstitutional.”
The court also observed that the actors, who portray themselves as anti-corruption crusaders in movies to bring social justice in the society, are evading tax and acting in a privileged manner, which is not in accordance with the provisions of the law.
In his order, Justice Subramanian said the non-payment of Entry Tax by actor Vijay is an unconscionable act and that he has not respected his fans who paid money to watch his movies. “The reputed persons of this great Nation should realize that the money that reaches them is from the poor man’s blood and from their hard-earned money and not from the sky,” the order said.
The court further added that the observations were made with the hope that the petitioner and other similarly placed citizens of this great nation would promptly pay their taxes in consonance with law and make the nation proud, achieve the constitutional goal of social justice and put an end to inequities plaguing the society.
Actor Vijay had in 2012 moved the Madras HC seeking exemption for the Entry Tax imposed on his imported Rolls Royce car. The actor had submitted that he has already paid applicable import duty for the Rolls Royce to the Customs Department. However, the Assistant Commissioner (CT), Assessment Circle had told him that he had to pay an entry tax too.