Madras high court raps Dhanush over Rolls Royce tax, says, 'Even a milk vendor...'
The Madras high court on Thursday rapped actor Dhanush over his earlier petition in which he sought exemption from entry tax on his imported Rolls Royce. Directing Dhanush to pay ₹30.30 lakh within 48 hours, Justice SM Subramaniam said those who are earning less than celebrities like Dhanush are paying taxes and do not knock at the door of the judiciary for relief. "You drive the luxury car on the roads laid using the taxpayers' money. Even a milk vendor and a daily wage labourer are paying taxes for every litre of petrol they buy," the judge said. The same judge had earlier rapped actor Vijay who had moved the court against levy of entry tax for his imported Rolls Royce Ghost.
In 2015, Dhanush had imported his Rolls Royce Ghost for ₹2.15 crore from England. A regional transport officer directed him to obtain a no-objection certificate from the tax department before getting the car registered. As Dhanush moved the department for the NOC, the department asked him to pay ₹60.66 lakh as entry tax. Then the actor moved the court against the department's demand of entry tax. At that time, the court had passed an interim order asking the RTO to issue an NOC only if the actor pays 50 per cent on the said tax amount within 14 days.
The case again came to the fore as Dhanush's counsel wanted to withdraw the petition of 2015 and said the actor was ready to pay the remainder of the tax. The court on Thursday did not allow the petition to be withdrawn and said, "If your intentions are genuine, you should have paid the tax at least after the Supreme Court settled the issue in 2018. Now after the high court listed the matter for orders, you are seeking to withdraw."
"No doubt that it is your right to move the court. But you should have paid the tax and withdrawn the petition at least after the apex court had settled the issue in 2018," the court added.
Cars imported several years back are plying on the roads without paying entry tax to the state, the court observed. Terming this as an issue of public interest, the court said it is of the opinion that the constitutional perspectives and the manner in which the writ petitions are filed are to be dealt with for the interest of protecting the rights of the citizens, who are all approaching this Court for redressal of their genuine grievance
"...reminding the fundamental duty of the citizen is the Constitutional duty of the High Court... this Court thought it fit to pass orders, making the citizen aware, for the benefit of the public at large and to remind that the citizens are bound to respect the fundamental duties enunciated under the Constitution of India," the court said.
(With PTI inputs)