Top Tamil film hero Vijay alias C Joseph Vijay, who moved the Madras High Court seeking exemption from paying entry tax for his Rolls Royce Ghost, he imported from England in 2012, was pulled up by the judge and imposed a cost of Rs1 lakh to be deposited to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund.
“These actors are portraying themselves as champions to bring social justice in 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 SM Subramaniam said, dismissing the actor’s petition.
The court was astonished that in the petition, the actor did not mention his occupation.
“The petitioner, who is a reputed cine actor, is expected to pay the tax promptly and punctually... The system of taxation is the backbone of our nation’s economy, which keeps revenue consistent, manages growth in the economy and fuels its industrial activity etc. Tax is a mandatory contribution and not a voluntary payment or donation, which one decides on one's own,” the court said.
The judge said tax was being collected for social welfare projects.
“The petitioner / actor having large scale fan groups and those fans are seeing the actors as real heroes. 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. Tax evasion is to be construed as an anti-national habit, attitude and mindset and unconstitutional,” the judge wrote in his order.
The Constitutional goal of social justice in the Preamble of the Constitution and the Spirit of Article 38(2) can be achieved, “only if people of such stature pay the tax punctually and act as real heroes in their life. Person paying tax punctually and promptly is to be considered as a real hero.”
Disapproving of the actor, keeping the petition pending for about nine years, the court said if the rich, affluent and reputed persons fail to pay the tax as applicable, “then this court with pain, records that it would be a long way to achieve the constitutional goals.”
The order said the court can never appreciate the popular actor for not paying Entry Tax. The judge said, “the petitioner has not respected nor responded to the lakhs and lakhs of his fans, who have paid by viewing his movies and from and out of such money, the petitioner / actor purchased the world’s prestigious car for his personal usage.” Such reputed persons must realise that the money that reached them is from the poor man’s blood and from their hard earned money and not from the sky, the order said.
The judge directed Vijay to pay the Entry Ta within two weeks. He dismissed the petition with a cost of Rs 1 lakh to be paid to the TN CM COVID-19 Public Relief Fund within two weeks.