Decided on February 02,2015

Lotus Shipping Ltd. Appellant
Commissioner Of C. Ex., Cus. And S. Tax Respondents


B.S.V.MURTHY - (1.) APPELLANT is a company engaged in barging operations and transportation of goods at Cochin and other parts, through its own barges or other's barges hired.
(2.) The appellant also charters barges to 3rd parties. In Appeal No. ST/172/2007, show cause notice issued for the period from 16 -8 -2002 to 31 -3 -2006 is dealt with. The Order -in -Original passed under challenge confirmed the demand for more than Rs. 55,00,000/ - for the period from 16 -8 -2002 to 31 -3 -2006 under the head cargo handling services, more than Rs. 79 lakhs for the period from 1 -7 -2003 to 13 -3 -2006 under the heading "other port services" and more than Rs. 4.25 lakhs under the head steamer agent services. Penalties also were imposed. In Appeal No. ST/156/2009, Order -in -Original passed in respect of show cause notice issued for the period from April, 2006 to March, 2007 is under challenge and in this order, the demand for Service Tax under cargo handling services has been dropped but the demand under other port services has been confirmed involving Service Tax of more than Rs. 66 lakhs. In the third Order -in -Original under challenge, the show cause notice issued for the period from April, 2007 to March, 2008 is dealt with and demand for Service Tax of more than Rs. 25 lakhs has been confirmed. In the first order, barge operations in Cochin for Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd. (FACT) and for Binani Zinc through South Indian Corporation Ltd. (SICL) as a sub -contractor have been considered for confirming the demand. Barge operations in Maharashtra and Goa have been considered as Port Services. In the second order, barge operations in Cochin, Chennai and Kolkatta have been considered and in the third order barge operations in Cochin and Chennai have been considered. Barge operations in Maharashtra and Goa have been considered as port services in the first order and barge operations in Karwar and Bhavnagair have been considered as Port services in the second and third orders.
(3.) LEARNED Counsel on behalf of the appellant submitted that in the second impugned Order -in -Original, the Commissioner after going through the contract came to the conclusion that the activity undertaken by the appellant is mere transportation and not covered by cargo handling services. It was submitted that the activity undertaken by the appellant was similar for the period from 2002 to 2007 and therefore, the order passed for the subsequent period dropping the demand would be applicable for the earlier period also where Commissioner did not consider amendment to the work order issued by FACT. It was also submitted by the learned Counsel that appellant had not undertaken any loading or unloading of the goods at all. He also said that as far as transportation of goods for Binani Zinc was concerned, appellant was only a sub -contractor for SICL and SICL had specifically confirmed that appellant was merely transporting the goods and SICL was engaged in cargo handling operation and remitting the Service Tax. The learned AR would reiterate the observations in the impugned order in support of the Revenue's case.;

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