ENTERTAINMENT

Common man pays tax, doesn’t seek exemption, why do you refuse? Court asks Dhanush in luxury car case

The Madras High Court has lashed out at actor Dhanush for having sought an entry tax exemption on a Rolls Royce car that he had imported in 2015. The Court questioned the rationale behind super-rich actors importing ultra-luxury cars and seeking tax exemption, while the common man pays taxes on everything from fuel to soap, without seeking any exemption. This case bears resemblance to that of actor Joseph Vijay who had been called “anti-national’ by the Court for having sought a tax exemption on his imported Rolls Royce. Like Vijay had done in his petition, Dhanush too hadn’t revealed his occupation before the Court.

It is understood that the commercial taxes department had asked Dhanush to pay entry tax amounting to Rs.60.66lakhs, against which the actor had approached the Court for an exemption in 2015. Back then, the Court had instructed the Regional Transport Office to permit registration of the vehicle, on receipt of 50% of the entry tax. Later, following the actor’s submission that Rs.30.33lakhs had been paid, the Court permitted the registration of the vehicle as per rules and regulations. Since then, the writ petition has been pending.

When this case came up for hearing before Justice S.M. Subramaniam on Thursday, he said that actors are entitled to buy even helicopters, but they have to pay taxes. He also added that actors may be entitled to file cases against tax demand, but they must have paid taxes in full, immediately after the Supreme Court settled the issue a couple of years ago. He also urged actors to act as responsible citizens, rather than continuing to ply their cars on roads laid with public money(taxes), without themselves paying taxes in full. 

When Dhanush’s counsel informed that the actor was willing to pay the taxes in full and sought permission to withdraw the plea the judge refused, as the matter was pending since 2015. The Judge also made a mention of the Vexatious Litigations, where a case is filed without any serious purpose or meaning(to abuse the Judicial process). He said that cases of this kind prevented the Court from allotting time to genuine cases and issues. 

In 2020, actor Rajinikanth (who is also Dhanush’s father-in-law) had approached the Madras High Court over a Property Tax demand by the Chennai Civic Body. The issue pertains to a property tax demand of Rs.6.5lakhs made by the Greater Chennai Corporation for the months April-September on the Raghavendra Marriage hall, which the actor owns. 

His counsel had stated that once the pandemic broke out and lockdown restrictions were imposed by the Central and State Government, Rajini’s marriage hall had remained vacant and was not rented out since March 24th. 

It was mentioned that the actor had cancelled all bookings at the marriage hall after March 24th (Lockdown 1) and even refunded the advance money in line with government instructions. The actor stated that he was entitled to vacancy remission and that he had sent a notice in this regard to the corporation on September 23rd and that there was no reply. 

When the Court warned Rajini of imposing costs(fine), Rajini tweeted out that he could have avoided a mistake and reached out to the Chennai Corporation over a Property Tax dispute, rather than approaching the Madras High Court. 

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