Show respect for your fans’ money: Court fines south Indian actor Vijay for not paying tax on Rolls Royce
The Madras High Court imposed a fine of Rs 100,000 on Tamil actor Joseph Vijay Chandrasekhar, for importing an ultra-luxury car Roll Royce Ghost from England and refusing to pay entry tax on it.
He has been asked to pay the fine amount to the Chief Minister’s Covid-19 relief fund within two weeks.
Despite being among the top-earning stars in Tamil cinema, Vijay had approached the court saying that "extraordinary" entry tax was being imposed on the car which he imported in 2012. He had sought that the court withhold the relevant authorities from demanding or collecting entry tax.
According to the court, the petitioner had not even revealed his occupation and had left the same categories blank in the affidavit.
The court noted that "the petitioner, who is a reputed cine actor, is expected to pay the tax promptly and punctually. Tax is a mandatory contribution and not a voluntary payment or donation, which one decides on one’s own".
It reminded the actor that the system of taxation is the backbone of our nation’s economy and that it funds social welfare projects such as schools, hospitals, housing projects for the poor etc. it was also added that the same tax ensured the development of infrastructure, besides social security such as pension for elders, welfare schemes etc.
Ironically, Vijay himself acts as a crusader for the downtrodden in his films and waxes eloquent on poverty, deprivation and inequality. He has mouthed many a dialogue on corruption, GST (Goods and Services Tax), social justice etc. The billionaire actor was also seen taking a moral high ground, by cycling to his voting booth during the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections in April this year. While many criticized it as a publicity stunt, his fans said that the actor was sending a message about rising fuel prices, by cycling to a nearby voting centre.
Referring to Vijay’s large fanbase and stature as an entertainer, the Court said, Cine heroes rose as rulers of the state and, therefore, people of Tamil Nadu are of the impression that they are the real heroes. Thus, they are not expected to behave like a reel hero. "Tax evasion is to be construed as an anti-national habit, attitude and minister and unconstitutional. Their pictures are against corrupt activities in society. But, they are evading tax and acting in a manner, which does not align with the provisions of the Statutes " read the Court order.
Lashing out at the actor, the Court said filing a writ petition, avoiding payment of entry tax and keeping the writ petition pending for about nine years, can never be appreciated. It is not made clear even now, whether the entry tax has been paid or not and neither has his lawyer said anything about the same. It reminded Joseph Vijay that while the actor purchased the world's most prestigious car for his usage, he has not shown any respect for the money he earns from his fans, which is poor man’s hard-earned money. The statement was also a stern warning to all rich and powerful individuals who are defaulting on tax.
The Court ordered Vijay to pay entry tax within two weeks, by adjusting 20% of Entry Tax as ordered by the Court in the interim order dated 17/7/12, if already paid. In the case of non-payment, the Court ordered the relevant authorities to initiate all actions for recovering the tax, as per the Statutes.