South superstar Ilayathalapathy Vijay had recently filed an appeal of tax exemption for his imported Rolls-Royce Ghost. The Madras High Court criticised the actor for failing to pay the entry tax on the import of a high-end car. Additionally, the court also directed the actor to pay a fine of ₹ 1 lakh to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Covid-19 Public Relief Fund within two weeks
Reportedly, Justice SM Subramaniam, who heard his plea, asked Mersal actor to pay the tax due within the two-week period in addition to the said fine. The judge also came down heavily on him terming him as a “reel hero” for avoiding payment of taxes.
Following which, Vijay filed a fresh petition challenging the fine and wanted uncharitable remarks against actors to be expunged. The division bench of Madras High Court comprising Justices S Duraisamy and R Hemalatha stayed the judgment of a single bench that had imposed a fine of ₹ 1 lakh on the actor, as reported by The Hindu.
The division bench then directed the Commercial Tax department to raise a challan against Vijay demanding 80% of the tax amount as the actor had already paid the rest of 20% in terms of an interim order passed by another single judge in 2012, within a week.
NDTV report quoted senior advocate and ex-Advocate-General Vijay Narayan saying, “Stars are as legitimate as anybody else. The same judge dismissed similar pleas by others but, in this case, the order says the petition did not reveal his profession. He dwells on him in three paragraphs (of the order)… also tarnishing all actors’ (image).”
“We want these personal criticisms expunged,” Ilayathalapathy Vijay’s advocate said.
Talking about the ₹ 1 lakh fine, the advocate said, “A fine is imposed on a frivolous petition. But this petition was filed on the basis of a Madras High Court ruling in 2000 that entry tax need not be collected. There are 300 such cases pending.”
Previously, Justice SM Subramaniam had said (as quoted by News Minute), “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 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.”
Ilayathalapathy Vijay has an impressive collection of vintage cars including a BMW Mini Cooper, Audi A8 and Rolls-Royce Ghost. On several occasions, he was seen driving his swanky cars on the streets of Chennai.