Riya Travels and Tours India Pvt. Ltd v. CESTAT

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Riya Travels and Tours India Pvt. Ltd v. CESTAT [2014]

Case Brief:

The assessee “Riya Travels and Tours India Pvt. Ltd.” is engaged in the business of providing taxable service under the category “Air Travel Agent” and is registered with the Service Tax Department. They claim to be discharging their service tax liability on the basic fare in terms of Rule 6(7) of the Service Tax Rules, 1994.

A show cause notice was issued proposing to demand service tax amounting to Rs.3,81,378/- under Section 73(1) of the Finance Act, 1994 along with interest and penalty. The show cause notice went on the premise that besides air travel service, the appellant was providing taxable services like Business Auxiliary Service, Rail Travel Agent Service and Tour Operator Service and since the registration obtained by the appellant is only in respect of the service rendered as Air Travel Agent, they failed to discharge service tax liability on the other services. In the adjudication order, the demand was confirmed along with interest and penalty.

Aggrieved by the said order, the appellant went on appeal before the Commissioner, who rejected the appeal. Even on appeal to tribunal for condonation, the Tribunal rejected the application.

Thereafter Riya Travels challenges the order in Madras High Court.

The reason for the delay as stated by the appellant company is that there was shifting of the branch office and in the process, records were misplaced and, therefore, they could not file the appeal in time.

Decision-

The Tribunal relied on the decision of Sri Bhavani Castings Ltd. v. Commissioner of Central Excise, Visakhapatnam [2012]. However the High Court felt that the averments made in the present case do not fall within the said parameters, as the Branch Manager of the appellant company filed an affidavit confirming the shifting of the branch office and misplacing of the relevant papers. That apart, the conduct of the appellant does not indicate inaction or negligence in pursuing the matter.

The explanation offered by the appellant for the marginal delay of 69 days constitutes a sufficient cause for condonation of delay and deserves to be accepted.

So, condonation for delay granted.

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