CHENNAI: Observing that actors should behave like real heroes, the Madras High Court came down heavily on actor Vijay's plea seeking exemption of entry tax for his Rolls Royce Ghost car, imported from England in 2012. Dismissing the plea, the court also imposed a cost of ₹1 lakh to be paid by him to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund.
Justice SM Subramaniam in his order said real heroes are those who remit their taxes promptly and directed the actor to pay the tax due as demanded by the department within two weeks, if it has not yet been paid.
“Those fans see such actors as real heroes. In a state like Tamil Nadu, where such actors have become rulers of the state, they are not expected to behave like a reel hero. Tax evasion is to be construed as an anti-national habit, attitude and mindset and unconstitutional,” the judge said in the July 8 order released on Tuesday.
“Filing a writ petition, avoiding payment of entry tax and keeping the writ petition pending for about nine years can never be appreciated and it is not made clear even now, whether the entry tax as applicable has been paid by the petitioner or not. The learned counsel for the petitioner also has not stated anything regarding this,” the court said.
The judge said it was essential for every citizen to remit taxes dutifully to the government and that such payment was a mandatory contribution and not a voluntary payment or donation. Taxes help the state construct schools, hospitals and housing projects for the poor and railways, ports and so on for all, he added.
Criticising the actor for not even stating his occupation in the plea filed, the judge said, "It is surprising to note that the petitioner has not even stated his profession or occupation in his affidavit. He has imported a prestigious costly car from England but unfortunately not paid entry tax as per the statutes. He has filed a writ petition to avoid payment of tax... ..The petitioner, who is a reputed cine actor, is expected to pay the tax promptly and punctually."
Pointing out the differences between actors on screen and off screen, the judge said, "These actors are portraying themselves as champions to bring social justice in the society. Their movies 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."
Lamenting the non-payment of entry tax by the petitioner, the judge said the actor should respect the sentiments of lakhs of his fans who watch his movies by paying for the tickets. “It is only out of such money that the petitioner has purchased the prestigious car for his personal use,” the court said.
"Reputed persons of this great nation should realize that the money reaching them is from the poor man’s blood and not from the sky," stressed the judge.