The Madras High Court ordered actor Dhanush to pay the remaining balance of ₹30.33 lakh out of a total of ₹60.66 lakh requested by the Commercial Taxes Department in 2015 for entrance tax on a Rolls Royce Ghost he imported from the United Kingdom within 48 hours.
The order was issued by Justice S.M. Subramaniam in response to a writ case filed by the actor six years ago seeking a complete tax exemption.
Mr. Dhanush’s counsel Vijayan Subramanian told the court that his client was willing to pay the tax in full and wishes to drop the writ petition when the writ petition was set for final hearing, just a fortnight after the judge issued a scathing decision in a similar case brought by actor Vijay.
After recording his statement, the judge stated that not just the two actors, but many other affluent individuals had been driving their imported luxury automobiles on highways built with public funds for years because of interim court rulings allowing them to pay only a portion of the entry tax.
As a result, he lamented, the state suffers a significant financial loss over a long period of time. The judge also stated that litigants should pay their taxes on time and avoid the habit of filing petitions requesting exemptions and then agreeing to pay the money after a long period of time.
As a result of this practise, the court becomes overburdened with cases and is unable to focus on serious litigation, he remarked. Mr. Dhanush was also found guilty of suppressing facts, according to the judge, because he did not mention his profession in his 2015 affidavit.
The petitioner had acquired the expensive car for 2.15 crore and paid a hefty 2.69 crore in customs duty, hence there was no need to pay entry tax to the State government, according to the affidavit. However, the deponent’s status as an actor was not disclosed in the affidavit.
The judge emphasised that the High Court’s writ rules have traditionally required litigants to reveal basic information such as their name, age, and profession. He ordered the High Court Registry to take disciplinary action against court employees who accept affidavits that are missing such information.