Remanding Of Service Tax Matters-baxia

Taxes M. Govindarajan Service tax issue is the emerging one in the indirect tax matters. It opens the field to the professionals more to practice. In the proceedings before any quasi-judicial system, the principles of Natural Justice are to be .plied with. Otherwise, the matter will be remanded to the original authority of the appellate authority to decide the case afresh which will cause further delay in the proceedings. This article highlights the decisions of the Tribunal in some cases in which cases were remanded. 1. Section 83A of the Finance Act, 1994 (the Act) provides that whereunder the provisions of service tax or rules made thereunder any person is liable to a penalty, such penalty may be adjudged by the Excise Officer conferred with such power as the Central Board of Excise and Customs constituted under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963 may, by notification, in the Official Gazette, specify. Section 84 of the Act provides the revision of orders by the .missioner of Central Excise. Section 85 of the Act provides for filing appeal to the .missioner of Central Excise (Appeals) and section 86 of the Act provides for filing appeals to the Tribunal. In general, in judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings, it is expected that the principles of natural justice are to be observed, i.e., a reasonable opportunity is to be given to the parties to the adjudication or appeal. The higher bodies generally remand the cases to the lower authorities to decide the case afresh for non-.pliance of the principles of natura l justice or for other reasons. Here we will discuss the circumstances under which the service tax cases are remanded with reference to the decided case laws. 2. Some relevant case laws on the issue are discussed below : (i)-Dristhi Consultants (P.) Ltd. v. CST [Final Order No. A/1333 of 2008- WZB/AHD, dated 3-7-2008] The Tribunal held that the .missioner (Appeals) had not observed the principles of natural justice before issue of stay order or at the time of final order. It was very necessary to consider whether the appellant had prima facie case before rejecting the stay application or fixing pre-deposit amount. While the submissions made by appellant had been reiterated in detail, there were no observations about the submissions and 75 per cent of the service tax and penalty had been ordered to be paid. The Tribunal waived the pre-deposit of duty, penalty, etc., and directed the .missioner (Appeals) to hear the appeal without instigating on any pre-deposit of duty, penalty or interest, etc., and, accordingly, the case was remanded to the .missioner (Appeals) for disposal after giving an opportunity to the appellants to represent their case. (ii)-CCE v. Devenchand Ramsaran Industries (P.) Ltd. [2009] 20 STT 304 (Kol. – CESTAT) The adjudicating authority held that the appellants had carried out a contract for maintenance and repair work over wells and imposed service tax and education cess as well as interest thereon. No penalty was imposed. The appellants contended that they had never carried out any repair or maintenance work while the very work was developmental/experimental in nature. The adjudicating authority relied upon various correspondences of ONGC and made the assessment without providing copies of such documents and violated the Principles of Natural Justice. The Tribunal observed that the adjudicating authority had whispered nothing about the nature of payments made on each occasion. Had it been tested that would have thrown light on the nature of services provided or work done. The impugned order suffered from lack of reasons of decision. Reason being heartbeat of justice, in absence of a reasoned and speaking order, neither conclusion can be drawn nor it is possible to ascertain whether a just decision was arrived by the learned adjudicating authority. The Tribunal further held that in order to meet the ends of justice, it considered it proper to remand the impugned order to the learned adjudicating authority who would provide copies of all documents used against the appellant and following due process of law as well as making thorough examination of relevant document, evidence on record and also considering all legal submissions of the appellant, he would pass a reasoned and speaking order. (iii)- Bhagwati Security Services v. CCE [2009] 18 STT 170 (New Delhi – CESTAT) The Assistant .missioner had confirmed the demand of service tax with interest thereon under section 75 and imposed penalty at the rate of Rs. 200 every day for default of payment of service tax under section 76 and penalty of Rs. 1,000 under section 77 for non-filing of ST-3 return. The .missioner (Appeals) reduced the demand of service tax and penalty. The Tribunal found force in the appellants contention that the service tax was to be worked out on the amount received by them inclusive of service tax and the case was remanded. On remand, the Assistant .missioner passed the impugned order, which was upheld by the .missioner (Appeals) with modifications. The Tribunal held that in terms of the remand order it was thus open to the adjudicating authority not to impose penalty on the Appellant, but it was not open to him to pass a more disadvantageous or onerous order so far as the quantum of penalty was concerned. Surely, the appellant did not .e to the Tribunal for the enhancement of the amount and the remand did not give the authorities the liberty to do so. That would be going beyond the spirit of the remand order. The Tribunal directed that the penalty imposed shall not exceed the amount reduced by the .missioner (Appeals) in the first round. (iv) CCE v. I.J. Muthu Foods (P.) Ltd. [2009] 20 STT 403 (Mum. – Trib.). The Tribunal held that the .missioner (Appeals) right to remand a case has been taken away with the amendment of section 35A with effect from May 11, 2001. The impugned order was set aside and the case remanded to the adjudicating authority for re-examining the case. (v) CCE v. Warewell Apparel [2008] 5 STT 516 (Kol. – CESTAT) The Tribunal was surprised to note that how the learned adjudicating authority failed to pass a reasoned and speaking order taking into account the allegation made in the show-cause notice. Scrutiny of basis of taxation and material facts with the evidence available on record was desirable to be tested to declare that whether the service was taxable service or not. Once totality of facts and circumstances are depicted in the order and manner of examination of facts with evidence is established by such order, the order shall be reasoned and speaking. Whether the facts gave rise to a taxable service call for testing and, if so, value of such service for levy should be reflected. Without thorough examination of the essential facts, the authority cannot .e to an abrupt conclusion that there was a liability incurred by the respondent and tax was payable. The Tribunal remanded the matter to the learned adjudicating authority which was to examine the facts threadbare in the light of legal provision and judicial decisions and pass a speaking and reasoned order. About the Author: 相关的主题文章: