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Friday, October 1, 2021

Film Hero claims exemption of tax ~ Hon'ble Judge comes down harshly and imposes fine !

Cinema at best is entertainment, nothing beyond – there is no point in adoring film heroes ! in Politics there are many who have risen to fame from tinseldom – and many a heroes aspire to strike big in Politics and aspire to become Chief Minister too !! 

Immediately after 1983 Prudential world Cup – India won again down under – it was the Benson & Hedges Cricket World Championship in Australia in 1985.  Ravi Shastri won the Champion of Champions award and was presented the Audi 100. The entire team sat on it and went around merrily – there were couple of issues – one prior to that the Indian team was sharing Man of the match awards, perhaps not when the award is in kind ! .. .. then in those pre-liberalisation days, the import duty was very high .. .. .. and – and the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi waived the duty giving special instructions to Customs !  - it was a prize won, and had to be treated differently !!

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited is a British luxury automobile maker,  the exclusive manufacturer of Rolls-Royce branded motor cars since 2003. Although the Rolls-Royce brand has been in use since 1906, the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars subsidiary of BMW AG has no direct relationship to Rolls-Royce-branded vehicles produced prior to 2003 other than being a major engine and other supplier prior to 2003. The Bentley Motors Limited subsidiary of Volkswagen AG is the direct successor to Rolls-Royce Motors ! The Rolls-Royce Phantom four-door sedan was the first product offered for sale in 2003. Since then, the company has expanded its product line to include extended wheelbase, two-door coupé, and convertible versions of the Phantom Sedan, as well as the smaller Ghost four-door sedan, Wraith two-door coupé, Dawn Convertible, and the Cullinan SUV.

This is no post for those who worry that after handing over Rs.100 at petrol bunk, they are not getting a full litre of petrol .. .. anyway, the stop at petrol bunk is for Rs.100 only !!  . .. .. this is no post for those riding cycle ! (are there some still – other than going for voting !!) – there is a luxury segment – as you wait at the signal in arterial Mountroad, you could be surrounded by Audi, BMW, Mini cooper, Mercedes, Volvo and even a Bentley too .. ..

Importing a vehicle to India is  tough even now ! and more than the process, comes the cost, as the vehicle would attract approx.  165% of the car’s cost, car insurance, and freight (CIF) value as import duty. Exim policy of India is quite strict in matters related to import of vehicle. Apart from the heavy custom duty on the automobile, the Exim policy of India also states that the Vehicle should not be manufactured/ assembled in India, not been sold, leased or loaned prior to being imported to India; or should have been registered for use in any country prior to being imported to India.   

The system of taxation is the backbone of our Nation's Economy, which keeps Revenue consistent, manages growth in the economy and fuels its industrial activity etc. Tax is mandatory contribution and not a voluntary payment or donation, which one decides on one's own  .. .. EVERY ONE MUST READ, RE-READ THIS EXCEPTIONALLY WORDED JUDGMENT of HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE S.M.SUBRAMANIAM  in W.P.No.18385 of 2012 & M.P.No.1 of 2012 – it is on a Writ Petition filed Under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to issue of Writ of Mandamus, forbearing the respondents and their subordinates from demanding or collecting entry tax on the petitioner's imported new Rolls Royce Ghost Motor Car Vehicle bearing chassis number SCA664S07CUH16754, and Engine number 90430224, to be registered and assign new registration mark.    The petitioner claims that he imported a new Rolls Royce Ghost and was directed by RTA to obtain certificate that no entry tax was payable.    The petitioner contended that extraordinary Entry tax on imported vehicle is imposed. The vehicle of the petitioner is lying idle and the vehicle could not be operated on Public roads unless the vehicle is duly registered  ~ and the petitioner is no ordinary man – he is hero who in petition is named as ‘C.Joseph Vijay’.

Though not comparable with Audi which was won in the Tournament, Sachin Tendulkar too was in limelight for wrong reasons.  It was on a Red Ferrari gifted to him.  After the imbroglio, Fiat volunteered to pay the import duty.  The red Ferrari-360 Modena was gifted to Tendulkar on the  occasion of his scoring his 29th Test hundred - drawing level with Don Bradman. Tendulkar  applied for an import duty exemption on the car, was duly granted and it  generated enormous controversy  with the Delhi High Court stepping in to question the duty waiver. Fiat, who gained tremendous marketshare from Tendulkar's endorsement of their `Palio' brand, offered to pay that import duty, which they should have done in first place !! – may be still it generated lot of publicity of Fiat which  made them happy but did portray the little Master Sachin in some bad light.  

Now in the judgment of Vijay’s Rollroyce – the Hon’ble Judge recorded the following too :

·         The petitioner / Actor having large scale fan groups and those fans are seeing the Actors as real heroes. In the State of Tamil Nadu, Cine Heroes rose as rulers of the State and therefore, the people are under the impression that they are the real heroes. Thus, they are not expected to behave like a reel heroes. Tax evasion is to be construed as anti-national habit, attitude and mindset and unconstitutional.

·         These Actors are portraying themselves as champion to bring the social justice in the society. Their pictures 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.

·         The  Constitutional goal of social justice in the Preamble of the Constitution and the Spirit of Article 38(2) can be achieved, only if people of such stature pay the tax punctually and act as real heroes in their life. Person paying tax punctually and promptly is to be considered as a real hero. Article 38 Sub Clause 2 enumerates that “The State shall, in particular, strive to minimise the inequalities in income, and endeavour to  eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations”. The noble perspective of the Constitution under the Directive principles can be achieved only if the people of such stature, rich, unhesitatingly pays the tax to the Government and comply with the Laws of the Land.

·         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. On account of efflux of time, the learned counsel for the petitioner also has not stated anything regarding this. The common man are motivated and encouraged to behave following this.

·         Even philosophically, accumulation of wealth or possessing the world's prestigious Car, Rolls Royce would not be of any assistance for a better life in our great Nation, as our country is enriched with culture and social values. Thus, this Court is of the considered opinion that the nonpayment of Entry tax by the petitioner, can never be appreciated and the petitioner has not respected nor responded to the lakhs and lakhs of his fans, who has paid by viewing his movies and from and out of such money, the petitioner / Ac

·         In this view w of the matter, the petitioner is bound to pay the Entry tax for the Rolls Royce Ghost Motor Car   imported from England. Accordingly, the petitioner is directed to pay the Entry tax as demanded by the respondents within a period of two weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order, by adjusting 20% of Entry tax as ordered by this Court in the interim order dated 17.07.2012, if already paid. In the absence of payment of Entry tax by the petitioner within a period of two weeks, the respondents are directed to initiate all further actions by following the procedures as contemplated under the Statutes for recovery of the Entry tax from the petitioner as well as the consequential liability.

·         In  fine, the Writ Petition in W.P.No.18385 of 2012 stands dismissed with a cost of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees One Lakh only), which is to be paid to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister's Covid-19 Public Relief Fund, within a period of two weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petition is closed

Brilliant !  … this Judge is a real hero ..having delivered a classy judgment enumerating various aspects of life and governance

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
13th July 2021. 

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