In July 2021, a single judge bench comprising High Court justice SM Subramaniam had said that actor Vijay is expected to “pay tax promptly and punctually” and should not remain a mere “reel life hero.”

Close up of actor vijay
news Law Monday, October 25, 2021 - 18:16

Actor Vijay, on Monday, October 25, once again petitioned the Madras High Court to expunge the harsh and adverse remarks made against him by Justice SM Subramaniam in July 2021, for seeking an exemption from paying entry tax for his imported luxury car. The actor’s counsel insisted on expunging the judge’s remark after submitting that Vijay had paid the entire amount of Rs 32 lakh for his Rolls Royce Ghost imported from England in 2012.

In July 2021, a single judge bench comprising High Court justice SM Subramaniam had passed a harsh order criticising Vijay for challenging the levy of entry tax for his imported car. The judge had ordered the actor to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh in addition to paying the entire entry tax for the car. The judge had said that the actor is expected to “pay tax promptly and punctually” and should not remain a mere “reel life hero.”

“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 to society. Their pictures are against corrupt activities in society. But, they are evading tax and acting in a manner, which is not in consonance with the provisions of the statutes,” the court had said in its order.

Upset by these remarks, Vijay moved the High Court, not to challenge the payment of entry tax, but to get the harsh remarks against him expunged and to set aside the Rs 1 lakh fine. “Learned judge has cast aspersions on him (Actor Vijay) by labelling him as an anti-national and has cast aspersions on the whole acting community,” the actor’s counsel argued in court in July.

Following this, a two-judge bench of Justices M Duraiswamy and R Hemalatha stayed the previous order and also set aside the Rs 1 lakh fine, only asking the actor to pay the entry tax. Vijay’s counsel also submitted that the previous order had “adverse remarks which created negative publicity for the actor.”

On Monday, October 25, Vijay’s counsel Vijay Narayan submitted that the actor did not even try to evade tax payment but merely exercised his constitutional right to challenge the levy of tax. The counsel added that the judge had made “wholly unjustified remarks against the actor and portrayed him and the entire film industry as anti-national although no such remarks were made against similar cases filed by other importers.”

Following the argument, the actor’s counsel also added that “it is not for the court’s to decide if a rich person should buy a car or a bungalow.” He added that there were people who bought private aircraft and therefore “this kind of philosophy is not for the court to make.”

Hearing the submissions made by the actor’s counsel, senior justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana asked whether the remarks by the single judge had only benefited the actor by making him more popular. To which the actor replied, “It hurts, My Lord. All I did was engage a lawyer and file a case. It is not a sin.”

The actor’s counsel added that “apart from damaging” his reputation, the remarks also “paints him as some sort of a criminal.”

The two-judge bench then reserved the order for a later date. 

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