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HC : Absent equipment transfer, seismic survey for Oil Co. pure 'service', not 'works-contract

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HC allows writ, Seismic survey carried for Oil Company to investigate earth’s subterranean structure constitutes a ‘service’, not ‘works contract’ u/s 2(36) of Tripura VAT Act; Rejects Revenue contention that since there is transfer of right to use equipment to carry out surveys, activity amounts to ‘sale’ u/s 2(25)(d) r/w Rule 7(2) of Tripura VAT Rules, exigible to VAT u/s 4(2); Perusing provisions of Article 366(29-A) of Constitution and jurisprudence thereof, HC observes that in instant case, assessee remains in exclusive possession and control of equipment and all resources supplied under the contract; Though ‘works contract’ registration granted to assessee, no works has been done except carrying out a survey and therefore, amount deducted by Oil Company in terms of Sec 4(3) of the Act refundable; Relies on several judicial pronouncements including SC judgements in BSNL, 20th Century Finance Corp. Ltd., and Delhi HC decision in International Travel House Ltd., as also Division Bench ruling in Oil Field Instrumentation (India) Ltd. and observes that assessee only rendering services amenable to tax by Centre, not by State  : Tripura HC
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