Tamil actor Vijay is fined Rs 1 lakh by the Madras High Court after his petition seeking direction to scrap collection of entry tax on his imported luxury car was dismissed. The actor’s petition seeked a direction to “forbid authorities from demanding/collecting entry tax on his new Rolls Royce Ghost imported from England”.
The court asked him to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Covid-19 Public Relief Fund, within a period of two weeks.
Vijay’s affidavit says that the actor had already paid import duty on his Rolls Royce Ghost and had approached the Regional Transport Officer and the Motor Vehicles Inspector to get a new registration mark assigned for his vehicle. However, the authorities told him that he has to pay an entry tax for the vehicle following which a certificate will be issued. The actor in his petition argued that extraordinary entry tax has been imposed on the vehicle.
Dismissing the plea, Justice SM Subramaniam stated, “The petitioner has imported a prestigious costly car from England. But unfortunately not paid entry tax as per the statutes. He filed a writ petition in order to avoid payment of entry tax for the car imported from England. The petitioner, who is a reputed film actor, is expected to pay the tax promptly and punctually.”
The court also noted that Vijay, had not revealed his profession or occupation in his affidavit.
“However, the learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the petitioner is a reputed cine actor and that he has imported the said new Rolls Royce Ghost Motor Car from England for his usage. It is surprising to note that the petitioner has not even stated his profession in the affidavit. The affidavit is blank with respect to these particulars,” the order reads.
The court also added that actors with large fan groups are seen as real heroes and some have gone on to become rulers of the state. “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. These actors are portraying themselves as champions to bring social justice in the society. Their pictures are against corrupt activities in the society. But, they are evading tax and acting in a manner, which is not in consonance with the provisions of the statutes,” the court said.
The order went on to say that avoiding payment of entry tax and keeping the writ petition pending for about nine years, “can never be appreciated and it is not made clear even now, whether the Entry tax as applicable has been paid by the petitioner or not.”
Talking about the importance of tax, the court added that the taxation system was the “backbone of the nation’s economy which keeps revenue consistent, manages growth in the economy and fuels industrial activity”. The order also states that “tax is mandatory and not a voluntary payment or donation which one decides on one’s own”.
“The tax collected from the Government is to carry out functions such as social welfare projects such as Schools, Hospitals, Housing Projects, for the poor etc. and infrastructure such as Road projects, flyovers, railways, ports etc.” among other things.