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Alstom Projects India Ltd. (vs) Commissioner of Service Tax*, Delhi

Section 65(31) of the Finance Act, 1994 - Consulting engineer's service - Period 1-3-2001 to 15-12-2005- Whether activities of preparing preliminary systems assurance plan, preliminary systems designs for systems to be installed and commissioned, preparing specification for line side equipment and indoor equipment including requirement of power, space and mounting details, layout plan for equipment and cables, preliminary hazard analtsis, specifications for train control, signaling and communication system, preparing final framings of system and designing work and other similar technical assistance are clearly covered by definition of 'Consulting Engineer's Service' - Held, yes [Para 5.1-2]
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Semac Ltd. (vs.) Commissioner of Service Tax*, Bangalore

Section 65(31) of the Finance Act, 1994 - Consulting engineer's service - Assessee was providing taxable service under category of 'Consulting engineers service' - Department on noticing that assessee had failed to discharge service tax liability on value of taxable services realized by it from 'C' issued it a show-cause notice demanding impugned amount of service tax - Assessee contested show-cause notice on ground that service provided by it were in respect of services to main consultant, namely, 'C' who had discharged service tax liability on entire amount billed by him to his clients - However, adjudicating authority as well as Commissioner (Appeals) did not agree with assessee's contention and confirmed demand - It was found that instant proceedings were second round of litigation before Tribunal - In first round of litigation in respect of very same issue, Tribunal had come to conclusion that assessee was sub-consultant of 'C' and after coming to such a conclusion, it had remanded matter to adjudicating authority only for limited issue of ascertaining fact as to whether main consultant had already discharged service tax liability - Further, said order of Tribunal had become final as no appeal was filed against that order - Whether lower authorities had erred in passing impugned orders, which were beyond scope of remand order - Held, yes - Whether, therefore, impugned orders were to be set aside - Held, yes

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Haldor Topsoe (vs) Commissioner of Central Excise*, Vadodara

Section 65(31) of the Finance Act, 1994- Consulting engineer's services - Appellant was a company incorporated outside India - Its principal office was situated outside India - It had entered into an agreement with IOCL, an Indian Company, under which it had to supply know-how, PSA Unit know-how, Process Package, PSA Unit Process Package, Services for Hydrogen Plant and detailed Engineering of Reformer Package to IOCL, in form of technical documentation - Appellant had provided technical information to officials of IOCL at their office, which was outside India - A show-cause notice was issued to appellant proposing levy of service tax along with interest an penalty on ground that appellant had rendered services under category of 'Consulting engineer's service' - Appellant contended that under agreement, liability to pay service tax was on IOCL and since appellant did not have any office in India, it was not required to pay tax in view of decision of Supreme Court in Kerala State Electricity Board vs. CCE [2007] 11 STT 487- It was further contended that since services  had been rendered by it outside India, it was not liable to pay tax on those services in view of decision of Supreme Court in All India Federation of Tax Practitioners vs. Union of India [2007] 10STT 116- Revenue, on other hand, relied upon decision of Tribunal in B.E. Gelb Consultancy Services vs. CCE [2009] 19 STT 61(Chennai - CESTAT) in support of its contention that transfer of technical know-how transfer to Indian client by e-mail would amount to providing of services in India - Whether since decisions relied upon by appellant and by revenue were not available during relevant period, question as to whether issues arising in instant case were covered by those decisions or not and who should be liable to pay service tax were matters, which were to be reconsidered - Held, yes - Whether, therefore, impugned order was to be set aside and matter remanded to Commissioner (Appeals) for fresh adjudication after giving concerned parties a fresh opportunity to present their case - Held, yes [Para 8]

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