Loading, unloading and transporting coal by skips to the siding are not “cargo handling services”: CESTAT
The Customs, Excise and Services Tax Appeal Tribunal (CESTAT) ruled that the activities of loading coal into skips by pay loaders, transporting coal by skips to the siding and unloading of coal are not chargeable to the tax on services in respect of the cargo assistance service within the meaning of article 65, paragraph 23, of the law for the period before 01.06.2007.
The appellant, Mirza Hasam, challenged the order issued by the Services Tax Department, claiming that the services are not taxable in the above category.
The bench of the Tribunal consisting of Judge Dilip Gupta, President and Mr. PV Subba Rao, Member (Technical) observed that the Supreme Court, while dealing with a similar issue in the case of Singh Transporters v Commissioner of central excise, Raipur, held that the activity would be properly classified under the heading of “transportation of goods by road service” and the activity does not involve any service connected with the “extraction of minerals” as provided for in the Article 65(105) (zzzy) of the finance law. The Supreme Court also ruled that the definition of “mining” had no apparent connection to the activity undertaken as part of the service rendered.
Relying on the decision of the Apex Court, the Court observed that the activity undertaken by the Appellant would fall under the rubric of “transportation of goods by road service”. The Commissioner (Appeals) was therefore not justified in considering that the appellant had exercised the activity of mining service from 01.06.2007.
“Nor would it be possible to uphold the Commissioner’s order that those activities undertaken by the Appellant prior to 01.06.2007 would fall under the category of ‘cargo handling services’. It is for this reason that the Supreme Court categorically held that the activity carried on by the appellant would fall under the rubric “transportation of goods by road service”. The appellant had therefore not provided a “freight handling service” before 01.06.2007 under Article 65 (23) of the Finance Law,” the Tribunal said.
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