A Madras HC judge had earlier said that Vijay was expected to “pay tax promptly and punctually” and should not remain a mere “reel life hero.”

Actor Vijay in a black t-shirt with his arms crossed
news Court Tuesday, January 25, 2022 - 15:57

In a relief to actor Vijay, the Madras High Court has expunged the scathing remarks made by a judge against him in the Rolls Royce tax case. In July 2021, a bench of Justice SM Subramaniam had heavily criticised Vijay for challenging the imposition of entry tax on his imported Rolls Royce Ghost 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. 

Three months ago, actor Vijay had filed an appeal in the court, seeking that the judge’s remarks be expunged. The actor’s counsel submitted that Vijay had paid the entire amount of Rs 32 lakh for his Rolls Royce Ghost which had been imported from England in 2012.. 

Hearing the actor’s appeal on Tuesday, January 25, a bench of Justice Pushpa Satyanarayana and Justice Mohammad Shafiq ruled that the negative comments made by Justice SM Subramaniam against actor Vijay be removed. “It is difficult to suggest that the petitioner had acted with malafide and with deliberate intention, the court said in its order on Tuesday, adding that the observation made by the judge, “apart from being unwarranted, are irrelevant to decide the issue.”

“The appellant cannot be imputed with motive whatsoever and therefore, the disparaging remarks are clearly unwarranted,” the court held. 

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. The judge who heard his case, Justice SM Subramaniam, had criticised the actor, saying that tax evasion was an “anti-national habit,” and accused “reel heroes” of evading taxes. 

Criticising the actor’s move to challenge the levy of entry tax on the car, Justice SM Subramaniam had said that the actor was expected to “pay tax promptly and punctually” and should not remain a mere “reel life hero.” He had also ordered Vijay to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh apart from the entry tax. 

“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 society. But, they are evading tax and acting in a manner, which is not in consonance with the provisions of the statutes,” Justice Subramaniam had earlier said in its order. 

Vijay, who was upset by these remarks, moved the Madras High Court in October 2021 to expunge these remarks and also to set aside the fine, after having paid the entire entry tax of Rs 32 lakh. 

Petitioning the High Court to expunge these comments in October, Vijay’s counsel Vijay Narayan submitted that the actor hadn’t tried to evade tax payment, but had exercised his constitutional right to challenge the levy of tax. His counsel also argued that the “adverse remarks” in Justice SM Subramaniam’s order had created negative publicity for Vijay, and portrayed Vijay and the film industry as “anti-national.”