On Tamil Star Vijay’s Rolls Royce, Court Says “Tax Evasion Anti-National”
The Madras High Court recently imposed a Rs 1 lakh fine on Tamil movie star Vijay for trying to avoid paying tax on a high-end car he had imported in 2012. The judge gave him an earful for going against statutes despite being a reputed actor whom fans often see as “real hero”.
“Pay the entry tax as demanded by the respondents within a period of two weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order…” Justice SM Subramaniam said, according to a PTI report. He imposed an additional fine of Rs 1 lakh on the star, which must be paid to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s COVID-19 Public Relief Fund — also within two weeks.
In case of failure to pay up in time, the court asked the respondents — in this case the Home Department (Transport), the Assistant Commissioner (Commercial Taxes) of the Chennai Assessment Circle, and both the Regional Transport Officer and Motor Vehicle Inspector of Chennai South — to initiate all further actions, following the procedure, PTI reported.
Vijay’s petition had sought a writ to the respondents against demanding or collecting entry tax for the registration of a Rolls Royce Ghost he had imported from the UK and whose market price, according to his own counsel, could be at least Rs 5 crore. He submitted that he had paid the import duty to the Customs Department.
The judge pointed out that the petitioner, who is officially known as C Joseph Vijay, had not even mentioned his profession or occupation in his affidavit. The fact that he was an actor came to light only after his counsel made a mention, Justice Subramaniam said.
“In the state of Tamil Nadu, cine heroes rose 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,” he said, according to PTI.
“Tax evasion is to be construed as anti-national habit, attitude, and mindset and unconstitutional…These actors are portraying themselves as champions to bring social justice…But they evade tax and act in a manner that is not in consonance with the provisions of the statutes.”
The constitutional goal of social justice can be achieved only if people of such stature pay taxes punctually and act as real heroes in their life, the court observed. Accumulation of wealth or possessing a prestigious car would not be of any assistance for a better life, it said.
Reputed persons, according to the court, must realise that money reaching them is from “the poor man’s blood” and “not from the sky”, according to the PTI report.
“A person paying tax punctually and promptly is to be considered a real hero,” Justice Subramaniam said.