In a respite for leading Tamil actor Vijay, the Madras High Court on Tuesday passed an interim stay against an order that labeled the star as "anti-national" for seeking an exemption for entry tax of a Rolls Royce Ghost car he had imported from England in 2012. A bench panel headed by Justice M Duraiswamy and Justice R Hemalatha also informed Vijay to pay the remaining 80% of the tax in a week upon being provided with a fresh notice from the commercial tax department. The issue that became controversial is regarding a judgment passed by Justice S.M. Subramaniam on July 13 when he imposed a fine of Rs. 1 lakh on Vijay stating that he had failed to pay the entry tax. In a scathing order against the actor, the single judge said, "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."
In response, Vijay decided to move the appeal, with former advocate-general Vijay Narayan representing him telling the court that the actor had not challenged the tax that had been imposed on him and was keen on paying the due at the earliest. He said, "The actor is not challenging the tax liability, but wanted to expunge adverse comments made by the single judge against the actor." Citing other similar cases which earlier as well were dismissed by the single judge, Vijay Narayan said, "The judge has made the adverse comments only in the plea moved by this actor."
Vijay's legal counsel further stated that the single judge had earlier dismissed a similar petition filed by a Rolls-Royce Phantom owner, which is twice the cost of the car imported by Vijay. He informed the court that the judge did not bother to make such unpleasant remarks in the case. He added, "The judge has caused aspersions against the actor by labelling him as an anti-national. The remarks must be removed, and the cost imposed set aside. This kind of remark hurts any human being." Upon the submissions from Vijay's side being recorded, the court then passed an interim order adjourning the appeal to August 31.
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