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Madras HC expunges judge’s remarks against actor Vijay in Rolls Royce case

🔴 A Division Bench of Justices Pushpa Sathyanarayana and Mohammed Shaffiq had allowed a writ appeal filed by actor Vijay and passed the direction on allowing Vijay’s appeal petition to challenge the single judge’s comments.

By: Express Web Desk | Chennai |
Updated: January 26, 2022 2:17:00 pm

The Madras High Court Tuesday expunged several scathing remarks made by a judge against actor Vijay last July in the Rolls Royce tax exemption case.

A Division Bench of Justices Pushpa Sathyanarayana and Mohammed Shaffiq had allowed a writ appeal filed by actor Vijay and passed the direction on allowing Vijay’s appeal petition to challenge the single judge’s comments.

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In July, the bench headed by Justice Subramaniam took exception to Vijay’s request to exempt him from entry tax for his car, which he had imported from England in 2012. Vijay sought the court’s assistance against the “extraordinary entry tax” imposed on his vehicle, despite having paid the import duty as per the Customs Act during the time of purchase.

Justice SM Subramaniam had then described the prayer for tax relief as an “anti-national habit” and dismissed his petition.

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Aggrieved, Vijay filed an appeal, challenging the orders of the single judge and to expunge the remarks.

Appearing for Vijay, Senior Counsel Vijay Narayan said that the adverse remarks “are not at all necessary for just and proper disposal of the writ petition and such undeserving remarks were made in breach of principles of natural justice. The comments made by the learned Single Judge are sought to be expunged, in particular those made in paragraphs 3, 4, 7, 8, 11 and 12 of the impugned order.”

He added that the “castigating remarks against the appellant, without affording an opportunity of hearing affecting his reputation, integrity and conduct, are wholly unsustainable and bad in law and such adverse remarks are absolutely unnecessary for proper adjudication of the writ petition and it would affect the appellants future career.”

The Division Bench stated that, “The history of litigation has been set out in great detail only to show that there has been grave uncertainty not only with the reference to parameter/test to be applied for determining the question of validity of levy of Entry Tax, but also the question whether Entry Tax can be levied on imported goods stood resolved only by the decision of the Supreme Court in State of Kerala and Others Vs. Fr.William Fernandez Etc. reported in 2017 SCC OnLine SC 1791, which was delivered on 09.10.2017.

The court added that the order of the learned single Judge where the remarks were made, appears to be “wholly unwarranted, as there was uncertainty as to the state of law relating to Entry Tax and divergent views were expressed not only by the High Courts, but by the Supreme Court as well.”

Thus, to impute motives to a litigant or castigating him for taking a particular legal position or exercising his constitutional right under Article 226 is unwarranted, the court added.

With PTI inputs

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