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CESTAT : Waives pre-deposit; No distinction between private & public ports; Construction prima facie exempt

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CESTAT grants partial relief by waiving pre-deposit towards demand of Rs 43.74 Cr in respect of ‘Commercial or Industrial Construction Service’ (CICS), states assessee prima facie eligible to benefit of Notification No. 16/2005-ST for jetty construction services; Said Notification, which exempts CICS / Works Contract Service in relation to construction of port, does not distinguish between private and public ports; Adjudicating Authority cannot alter amplitude of exemption Notification by holding services rendered by assessee “not for common / general use of port facilities”, holds CESTAT; As regards demand under ‘Consulting Engineer’s Service’ category on reverse charge basis, CESTAT directs pre-deposit of Rs 1.3 Cr (out of Rs 17.28 Cr demand) and stays recovery of balance, albeit finding force in assessee’s contention that on exclusion of value of goods supplied, bouquet of services taken in totality would be classifiable as ‘CICS’ in terms of Sec 65A; Notes co-ordinate bench decision in Alstom Projects India Ltd, which allowed vivisection of indivisible contracts for purpose of charging service tax on service components therein, including ‘Consulting Engineer’s Service’ : Mumbai CESTAT
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