The bench of Justices M Duraiswamy and R Hemalatha, while staying the single-judge bench’s previous order, asked the actor to pay the entire entry tax amount in the meantime.

Actor vijay with his finger tips touching Image credit: Facebook/ActorVijay
news Law Tuesday, July 27, 2021 - 14:12

The Madras High Court on Tuesday, July 27, stayed an order passed by a single-judge bench which had reprimanded actor Vijay for seeking an exemption of the payment of entry tax on his imported luxury car, a Rolls Royce Ghost. The single-judge bench had passed a scathing order against Vijay, who had filed an appeal in the High Court challenging the levying of entry tax on the Rolls Royce, and ordered him to pay Rs 1 lakh as fine. Vijay then moved the high court again with an appeal against the ‘harsh’ order. 

After hearing the case, a bench comprising Justices M Duraiswamy and R Hemalatha on Tuesday, July 27, has now stayed the previous order. The actor’s counsel had submitted that the previous order contained “adverse remarks which created negative publicity” for the actor. The bench, which also stayed the Rs 1 lakh fine, has asked Vijay to pay the entire entry tax amount in the meantime. The court has given actor Vijay a week's time to pay the balance of the entry tax and directed the tax department to issue a demand challan to Vijay in a week. 

Last week, Justice SM Subramaniam of the Madras High Court had criticised Vijay for challenging the levying of entry tax and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on him, in addition to ordering him to pay the tax amount. The court said that such a reputed actor is "expected to pay the tax promptly and punctually" and should not remain a “mere reel-life hero.” The amount of Rs 1 lakh was to be remitted to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister's COVID-19 Public Relief Fund. 

“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 had said in its order. 

Upset with the court’s remarks, Vijay moved the High Court again, not against the payment of tax, but against the observations made against him. The Madras High Court postponed the hearing to Tuesday, July 27, and also transferred the case to the bench that deals with tax-related appeals. Vijay’s counsel submitted that the actor was ready to pay the tax. The plea was to get the “harsh remarks” of the previous judge expunged and to set aside the Rs 1 lakh fine. 

“Learned judge has cast aspersions on me (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 on Tuesday. He also submitted that “every citizen is entitled to avail legal remedies to challenge the imposition of tax” and that it is “unjust to make derogatory remarks against a petitioner for availing a legal remedy.”

Vijay had first moved the High Court alleging that an “extraordinary entry tax has been imposed” on his Rolls Royce Ghost, which he had brought to India from England in 2012. In his affidavit, Viijay had said that he had already paid import duty and that he had approached the Regional Transport Officer and the Motor Vehicles Inspector to get a new registration mark assigned for his vehicle. However, the authorities stated that he has to pay an entry tax for the vehicle following which a certificate will be issued. 

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