service tax- whether the value of free supplies of diesel and explosives in respect of the service of ‘Site Formation and Clearance Service’ can be included for the purpose of assessment to service tax under Section 67 of the Act. These assessees had not availed the benefit of aforesaid Notifications Nos. 15/2004 and 4/2005. Therefore, the issue has to be adjudged simply by referring to Section 67 of the Act. We have already held above that the value of such material which is supplied free by the service recipient cannot be treated as ‘gross amount charged’ and that is not the ‘consideration’ for rendering the services. Therefore, value of free supplies of diesel and Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 43 of 44 explosives would not warrant inclusion while arriving at the gross amount charged on its service tax is to be paid.

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2013 OF 2014

UNION OF INDIA & ANR. …..APPELLANT(S)

VERSUS

M/S. INTERCONTINENTAL CONSULTANTS

AND TECHNOCRATS PVT. LTD. …..RESPONDENT(S)

W I T H

CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 295-299 OF 2014

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2021 OF 2014

CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 4340-4341 OF 2014

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6866 OF 2014

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7685 OF 2014

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7688 OF 2014

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 8056 OF 2015

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3360 OF 2015

TRANSFER PETITION (CIVIL) NOS. 1043-1045 OF 2017

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6090 OF 2017

CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 10626-10627 OF 2017

TRANSFER PETITION (CIVIL) NOS. 1932-1934 OF 2017

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 1 of 44

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6864 OF 2014

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6865 OF 2014

CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 4536-4537 OF 2016

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5130 OF 2016

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4975 OF 2016

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5453 OF 2016

CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 10223-10224 OF 2017

A N D

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5444 OF 2017

J U D G M E N T

A.K. SIKRI, J.

In all these appeals, legal issue that needs determination is

almost identical, though there may be little variation on facts.

This difference pertains to the nature of services provided by the

respondents/assessees who are all covered by the service tax.

The fringe diferences in the nature of services, however, nature of

differences, however, has no impact on the final outcome.

2) All the assessees are paying service tax. The services which

these assessees are rendering broadly fall in the following four

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 2 of 44

categories:

(a) Consulting engineering services.

(b) Share transfer agency services.

(c) Custom house agent services covered by the head ‘clearing

and forwarding agent’.

(d) The site formation and clearances, excavation and earth

moving and demolition services.

3) While rendering the aforesaid services, the assessees are also

getting reimbursement in respect of certain activities undertaken

by them which according to them is not includable to arrive at

‘gross value’ charged from their clients. As per Rule 5 of the

Service Tax (Determination of Value) Rules, 2006 (hereinafter

referred to as the ‘Rules’), the value of the said reimbursable

activities is also to be included as part of services provided by

these respondents. Writ petitions were filed by the assessees

challenging the vires of Rule 5 of the Rules as unconstitutional as

well as ultra vires the provisions of Sections 66 and 67 of Chapter

V of the Finance Act, 1994 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Act’).

The High Court of Delhi has, by the judgment dated November

30, 2012, accepted the said challenge and declared Rule 5 to be

ultra vires these provisions. Other cases have met similar results

by riding on the judgment dated November 30, 2012. This

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 3 of 44

necessitates examining the the correctness of the judgment of the

Delhi High Court and outocme thereof would determine the fate of

all these appeals/transfer petitions.

4) This judgment was rendered by the High court in the writ petition

filed by M/s. Intercontinental Consultants and Technocrats Pvt.

Ltd. out of which Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 arises. Therefore,

for our purpose, it would suffice to advert to the facts of this

appeal and take note of the reasons which have prevailed with

the High Court in arriving at this conclusion.

5) The assessee M/s. Intercontinental Consultants and Technocrats

Pvt. Ltd. is a provider of consulting engineering services. It

specialises in highways, structures, airports, urban and rural

infrastructural projects and is engaged in various road projects

outside and inside India. In the course of the carrying on of its

business, the petitioner rendered consultancy services in respect

of highway projects to the National Highway Authority of India

(NHAI). The petitioner receives payments not only for its service

but is also reimbursed expenses incurred by it such as air travel,

hotel stay, etc. It was paying service tax in respect of amounts

received by it for services rendered to its clients. It was not paying

any service tax in respect of the expenses incurred by it, which

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 4 of 44

was reimbursed by the clients. On 19.10.2007, the

Superintendent (Audit) Group II (Service Tax), New Delhi issued a

letter to the petitioner on the subject “service tax audit for the

financial year 2002-03 to 2006-07. In this letter, it was mentioned

by the appellant that service tax was liable to be charged on the

gross value including reimbursable and out of pocket expenses

like travelling, lodging and boarding etc. and the respondent was

directed to deposit the due service tax along with interest @13%

under Sections 73 and 75 respectively of the Act. In response,

the respondent provided month-wise detail of the professional

income as well as reimbursable out of pocket expenses for the

period mentioned in the aforesaid letter. Thereafter, a show

cause notice dated March 17, 2008 was issued by the

Commissioner, Service Tax, Commissionerate vide which the

respondent was asked to show cause as to why the service tax

should not be recovered by including the amounts of

reimbursable which were received by the respondent, pointing out

these were to be included while arriving at the gross value as per

provisions of Rule 5(1) of the Rules.

6) Rule 5 was brought into existence w.e.f. June 01, 2007. The

demand which was made in the show cause notice was covered

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 5 of 44

by the period from October, 2002 to March, 2007. Against this

show cause notice, the respondent preferred Writ Petition No.

6370 of 2008 in the High Court of Delhi challenging the vires

thereof with three prayers, namely:

(i) for quashing Rule 5 in its entirety of the Service Tax

(Determination of Value) Rules, 2006 to the extent it includes the

reimbursement of expenses in the value of taxable service for the

purpose of charging service tax; and

(ii) for declaring the rule to be unconstitutional and ultra vires

Sections 66 and 67 of the Finance Act, 1994; and

(iii) for quashing the impugned show-cause notice-cum-demand

dated 17.03.2008 holding that it is illegal, arbitrary, without

jurisdiction and unconstitutional.

7) Rule 5, which provides for ‘inclusion in or exclusion from the value

of certain expenditure or costs’, is reproduced below in order to

understand its full implication:

“5. Inclusion in or exclusion from value of certain

expenditure or costs.

(1) Where any expenditure or costs are incurred by

the service provider in the course of providing taxable

service, all such expenditure or costs shall be treated

as consideration for the taxable service provided or to

be provided and shall be included in the value for the

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 6 of 44

purpose of charging service tax on the said service.

(2) Subject to the provisions of sub rule (1), the

expenditure or costs incurred by the service provider

as a pure agent of the recipient of service, shall be

excluded from the value of the taxable service if all the

following conditions are satisfied, namely:

 the service provider acts as a pure agent of the

recipient of service when he makes payment to

third party for the goods or services procured;

 the recipient of service receives and uses the

goods or services so procured by the service

provider in his capacity as pure agent of the

recipient of service;

 the recipient of service is liable to make

payment to the third party;

 the recipient of service authorities the service

provider to make payment on his behalf;

 the recipient of service knows that the goods

and services for which payment has been made

by the service provider shall be provided by the

third party;

 the payment made by the service provider on

behalf of the recipient of service has been

separately indicated in the invoice issued by the

service provider to the recipient of service;

 the service provider recovers from the recipient

of service only such amount as has been paid

by him to the third party; and

 the goods or services procured by the service

provider from the third party as a pure agent of

the recipient of service are in addition to the

services he provides on his own account.

Explanation 1 : For the purposes of sub rule (2),

“pure agent” means a person who –

 enters into a contractual agreement with the

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 7 of 44

recipient of service to act as his pure agent to

incur expenditure or costs in the course of

providing taxable service;

 neither intends to hold nor holds any title to the

goods or services so procured or provided as

pure agent of the recipient of service;

 does not use such goods or services so

procured; and

 receives only the actual amount incurred to

procure such goods or services.

Explanation 2 : For the removal of doubts it is

clarified that the value of the taxable service is

the total amount of consideration consisting of

all components of the taxable service and it is

immaterial that the details of individual

components of the total consideration is

indicated separately in the invoice.

Illustration 1 : X contracts with Y, a real estate

agent to sell his house and thereupon Y gives

an advertisement in television. Y billed X

including charges for Television advertisement

and paid service tax on the total consideration

billed. In such a case, consideration for the

service provided is what X pays to Y. Y does not

act as an agent behalf of X when obtaining the

television advertisement even if the cost of

television advertisement is mentioned

separately in the invoice issued by X.

Advertising service is an input service for the

estate agent in order to enable or facilitate him

to perform his services as an estate agent.

Illustration 2 : In the course of providing a

taxable service, a service provider incurs costs

such as traveling expenses, postage, telephone,

etc., and may indicate these items separately on

the invoice issued to the recipient of service. In

such a case, the service provider is not acting

as an agent of the recipient of service but

procures such inputs or input service on his own

account for providing the taxable service. Such

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 8 of 44

expenses do not become reimbursable

expenditure merely because they are indicated

separately in the invoice issued by the service

provider to the recipient of service.

Illustration 3 : A contracts with B, an architect for

building a house. During the course of providing

the taxable service, B incurs expenses such as

telephone charges, air travel tickets, hotel

accommodation, etc., to enable him to

effectively perform the provision of services to A.

In such a case, in whatever form B recovers

such expenditure from A, whether as a

separately itemised expense or as part of an

inclusive overall fee, service tax is payable on

the total amount charged by B. Value of the

taxable service for charging service tax is what

A pays to B.

Illustration 4 : Company X provides a taxable

service of rent cab by providing chauffeur driven

cars for overseas visitors. The chauffeur is given

a lump sum amount to cover his food and

overnight accommodation and any other

incidental expenses such as parking fees by the

Company X during the tour. At the end of the

tour, the chauffeur returns the balance of the

amount with a statement of his expenses and

the relevant bills. Company X charges these

amounts from the recipients of service. The cost

incurred by the chauffeur and billed to the

recipient of service constitutes part of gross

amount charged for the provision of services by

the company X.”

8) The case set up by the respondent in the writ petition was that

Rule 5(1) of the Rules, which provides that all expenditure or cost

incurred by the service provider in the course of providing the

taxable services shall be treated as consideration for the taxable

services and shall be included in the value for the purpose of

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 9 of 44

charging service tax, goes beyond the mandate of Section 67. It

was argued that Section 67 which deals with valuation of taxable

services for charging service tax does not provide for inclusion of

the aforesaid expenditure or cost incurred while providing the

services as they cannot be treated as element/components of

service. Section 67 was amended by Finance Act, 2006 w.e.f.

May 01, 2006. Since the cases before us involve period prior to

the aforesaid amendment as well as post amendment period, it

would apt to take note of both unamended and amended

provisions. Unamended Section 67 was in the following form:

““67. Valuation of taxable services for charging service

tax.

For the purposes of this Chapter, the value of any

taxable service shall be the gross amount charged by

the service provider for such provided or to be

provided by him.

Explanation 1. For the removal of doubts, it is hereby

declared that the value of a taxable service, as the

case may be, includes,

(a) the aggregate of commission or brokerage charges

by a broker on the sale or purchase of securities

including the commission or brokerage paid by the

stock broker to any sub broker.

(b) the adjustments made by the telegraph authority

from any deposits made by the subscriber at the time

of application for telephone connection or pager or

facsimile or telegraph or telex or for leased circuit;

(c)the amount of premium charged by the insurer from

the policy holder;

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 10 of 44

(d) the commission received by the air travel agent

from the airline;

(e) the commission, fee or any other sum received by

an actuary, or intermediary or insurance intermediary

or insurance agent from the insurer;

(f) the reimbursement received by the authorized

service station from manufacturer for carrying out any

service of nay motor car, light motor vehicle or two

wheeled motor vehicle manufactured by such

manufacturer; and

(g) the commission or any amount received by the rail

travel agent from the Railways or the customer.

But does not include –

(i) initial deposit made by the subscriber at the time of

application for telephone connection or pager or

facsimile (FAX) or telephone or telex or for leased

circuit;

(ii) the cost of unexposed photography film,

unrecorded magnetic tape or such other storage

devices, if any, sold to the client during the course of

providing the service;

(iii) the cost of parts or accessories, or consumable

such as lubricants and coolants, if any, sold to the

customer during the course of service or repair of

motor cars, light motor vehicle or two wheeled motor

vehicles;

(iv) the airfare collected by air travel agent in respect

of service provided by him;

(v) the rail fare collected by rail travel agent in respect

of service provided by him;

(vi) the cost of parts or other material, if any, sold to

the customer during the course of providing

maintenance or repair service;

(vii) the cost of parts or other material, if any, sold to

the customer during the course of providing erection,

commissioning or installation service; and

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 11 of 44

(viii) interest on loan.

Explanation 2 – Where the gross amount charged by a

service provider is inclusive of service tax payable, the

value of taxable service shall be such amount as with

the addition of tax payable, is equal to the gross

amount charged.

Explanation 3. For the removal of doubts, it is hereby

declared that the gross amount charged for the

taxable service shall include any amount received

towards the taxable service before, during or after

provision of such service.”

9) After its amendment w.e.f. May 01, 2006, a much shorter version

was introduced which reads as under:

“67. Valuation of taxable services for charging service

tax.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Chapter, where

service tax is chargeable on any taxable service with

reference to its value, then such value shall,

(i) in a case where the provision of service is for a

consideration in money, be the gross amount charged

by the service provider for such service provided or to

be provided by him;

(ii) in a case where the provision of service is for a

consideration not wholly or partly consisting of money,

be such amount in money as, with the addition of

service tax charged, is equivalent to the consideration;

(iii) in a case where the provision of service is for a

consideration which is not ascertainable, be the

amount as ay be determined in the prescribed

manner.

(2) Where the gross amount charged by a service

provider, for the service provided or to be provided is

inclusive of service tax payable, the value of such

taxable service shall be such amount as, with the

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 12 of 44

addition of tax payable, is equal to the gross amount

charged.

(3) The gross amount charged for the taxable service

shall include any amount received towards the taxable

service before, during or after provision of such

service.

(4) Subject to the provisions of sub sections (1), (2)

and (3), the value shall be determined in such manner

as may be prescribed.

Explanation: For the purpose of this section,

(a) “consideration” includes any amount that is

payable for the taxable services provided or to be

provided;

(b) “money” includes any currency, cheque,

promissory note, letter of credit, draft, pay order,

travelers cheque, money order, postal remittance and

other similar instruments but does not include

currency that is held for its numismatic value;

(c) “gross amount charged” includes payment by

cheque, credit card, deduction from account and any

form of payment by issue of credit notes or debit notes

and book adjustment, and any amount credited or

debited, as the case may be, to any account, whether

called “Suspense account” or by any other name, in

the books of accounts of a person liable to pay service

tax, where the transaction of taxable service is with

any associated enterprise.”

10) The High Court, after taking note of the aforesaid provisions,

noted that the provisions both amended and unamended Section

67 authorised the determination of value of taxable services for

the purpose of charging service tax under Section 66 (which is a

charging section) as the gross amount charged by the service

provider for such services provided or to be provided by him, in a

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 13 of 44

case where the consideration for the service is money.

Emphasising on the words ‘for such service’, the High Court took

the view that the charge of service tax under Section 66 has to be

on the value of taxable service i.e. the value of service rendered

by the assessee to the NHAI, which is that of a consulting

engineer, that can be brought to charge and nothing more. The

quantification of the value of the service can, therefore, never

exceed the gross amount charged by the service provider for the

service provided by him. On that analogy, the High Court has

opined that scope of Rule 5 goes beyond the Section which was

impermissible as the Rules which have been made under Section

94 of the Act can only be made ‘for carrying out the provisions

of this Chapter’ (Chapter V of the Act) which provides for levy

quantification and collection of the service tax. In the process,

the High Court observed that the expenditure or cost incurred by

the service provider in the course of providing the taxable service

can never be considered as the gross amount charged by the

service provider ‘for such service’ provided by him, and illustration

3 given below the Rule which included the value of such services

was a clear example of breaching the boundaries of Section 67.

The High Court even went on to hold further pointed out that it

may even result in double taxation inasmuch as expenses on air

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 14 of 44

travel tickets are already subject to service tax and are included

in the bill. No doubt, double taxation was permissible in law but it

could only be done if it was categorically provided for and

intended; and could not be enforced by implication as held in

Jain Brothers v. Union of India1

. The High Court has also

referred to many judgments of this Court for the proposition that

Rules cannot be over-ride or over-reach the provisions of the

main enactment2

. The High Court also referred to the judgment

of Queens Bench of England in the case of Commissioner of

Customs and Excise v. Cure and Deeley Ltd.3

.

11) Mr. K. Radhakrishnan, learned senior counsel argued for the

appellant, ably assisted by Ms. Nisha Bagchi, advocate who also

made significant contribution by arguing some of the nuances of

the issue involved. Submission of the learned counsel appearing

for the appellant/Department was that prior to April 19, 2006 i.e. in

the absence of Rule 5 of the Rules, the value of taxable services

was covered by Section 67 of the Act. As per this Section, the

value of taxable services in relation to consulting engineering

services provided or to be provided by a consulting engineer to

1 (1970) 77 ITR 107

2 Central Bank of India & Ors. v. Workmen, etc., (1960) 1 SCR 200; Babaji Kondaji Garad v.

Nasik Merchants Co-operative Bank Ltd., (1984) 2 SCC 50; State of U.P. & Ors. v. Babu

Ram Upadhya, (1961) 2 SCR 679; CIT v. S. Chenniappa Mudaliar, (1969) 74 ITR 41; Bimal

Chandra Banerjee v. State of M.P. & Ors., (1971) 81 ITR 105 and CIT, Andhra Pradesh v. Taj

Mahal Hotel, (1971) 82 ITR 44

3 (1961) 3 WLR 788 (QB)

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 15 of 44

the client shall be the gross amount charged for a consideration

or in money from the client in respect of engineering services.

The expression ‘gross amount charged’ would clearly include all

the amounts which were charged by the service provider and

would not be limited to the remuneration received from the

customer. The very connotation ‘gross amount charged’ denotes

the total amount which is received in rendering those services

and would include the other amounts like transportation, office

rent, office appliances, furniture and equipments etc. It was

submitted that this expenditure or cost would be part of

consideration for taxable services. It was, thus, argued that

essential input cost had to be included in arriving at gross amount

charged by a service provider.

12) It was further submitted that Section 67 of the Act was amended

w.e.f. May 01, 2006 and this also retained the concept of ‘the

gross amount charged’ for the purpose of arriving at valuation on

which the service tax is to be paid. The learned counsel pointed

out that sub-section (4) of amended Section 67 categorically

provides that the value has to be determined in such a manner as

may be prescribed and in pursuant thereto, Rule 5 of the Rules

which came into effect from June 01, 2007, provided for ‘inclusion

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 16 of 44

in or exclusion from value of certain expenditure or costs’. It was

submitted that there was no dispute that as per this Rule, all such

expenditure or costs which are incurred by the service provider in

the course of providing taxable services are to be treated as

consideration for the taxable services provided or to be provided

for arriving at valuation for the purpose of charging service tax,

except those costs which were specifically excluded under subrule

(2) of Rule 5. Submission was that since Section 67

specifically lays down the principle of gross amount charged by a

service provider for the services provided or to be provided, Rule

5 did not go contrary to Section 67 as it only mentions what would

be the meaning of gross amount charged.

13) In the aid of this submission, the learned counsel sought to take

help from principle laid down in excise law and submitted that it is

held by this Court in Union of India & Ors. v. Bengal Shrachi

Housing Development Limited & Anr.4

that same principles as

applicable in excise law are applicable while examining service

tax matters. Reliance was placed on paragraph 22 of the said

judgment to support this proposition. However, we may point out

at this stage itself that the context in which the observations were

made were entirely different. The issue was as to whether

4 (2018) 1 SCC 311

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 17 of 44

service tax, which is an indirect tax, can be passed on by the

service provider to the recepient of the service and, in this hue,

the matter was discussed, as can be seen from the combined

reading of paragraphs 21 and 22 which are to the following effect:

“21. It is thus clear that the judgments of this Court which

referred to service tax being an indirect tax have reference

only to service tax being an indirect tax in economic theory

and not constitutional law. The fact that service tax may not,

in given circumstances, be passed on by the service

provider to the recipient of the service would not, therefore,

make such tax any the less a service tax. It is important to

bear this in mind, as the main prop of Shri Jaideep Gupta’s

argument is that service tax being an indirect tax which

must be passed on by virtue of the judgments of this Court,

would make the recipient of the service the person on whom

the tax is primarily leviable.

22. Let us now examine some of the judgments relating to

another indirect tax, namely, excise duty. Like service tax,

excise duty is also in the economic sense, an indirect tax.

The levy is on manufacture of goods; and the taxable

person is usually the manufacturer of those goods.

InCentral Provinces and Berar Sales of Motor Spirit and

Lubricants Taxation Act, 1938, In re, the Federal Court

decided, through Maurice Gwyer, C.J., that excise duty

under the Government of India Act, 1935 is a power to

impose duty of excise upon the manufacturer of excisable

articles at the stage of or in connection with manufacture or

production. In a separate judgment, Jayakar, J. held that all

duties of excise are levied on manufacture of excisable

goods and can be levied and collected at any subsequent

stage up to consumption.”

14) It was also submitted that while dealing with the valuation of a

taxable service, the provision which deals with valuation has to be

taken into consideration and no assistance can be taken from

charging section, as held in Union of India & Ors. v. Bombay

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 18 of 44

Tyre International Limited & Ors.5

:

“8. Mr N.A. Palkhivala, learned counsel for the

assessees, has propounded three principles which, he

contends, form the essential characteristics of a duty

of excise. Firstly, he says, excise is a tax on

manufacture or production and not on anything else.

Secondly, uniformity of incidence is a basic

characteristic of excise. And thirdly, the exclusion of

post-manufacturing expenses and post-manufacturing

profits is necessarily involved in the first principle and

helps to achieve the second. Learned counsel urges

that where excise duty is levied on an ad valorem

basis the value on which such duty is levied is a

“conceptual value”, and that the conceptual nature is

borne out by the circumstance that the identity of the

manufacturer and the identity of the goods as well as

the actual wholesale price charged by the

manufacturer are not the determining factors. It is

urged that the old Section 4(a) clearly indicates that a

conceptual value forms the basis of the levy, and that

the actual wholesale price charged by the particular

assessee cannot be the basis of the excise levy. It is

said that the criterion adopted in clause (a) succeeds

in producing uniform taxation, whether the assessees

are manufacturers who sell their goods in wholesale,

semi-wholesale or in retail, whether they have a vast

selling and marketing network or have none, whether

they sell at depots and branches or sell at the factory

gate, and whether they load the ex-factory price with

post-manufacturing expenses and profits or do not do

so. Because the value of the article rests on a

conceptual base, it is urged, the result of the

assessment under Section 4(a) cannot be different

from the result of an assessment under Section 4(b).

The contention is that the principle of uniformity of

taxation requires the exclusion of post-manufacturing

expenses and profits, a factor which would vary from

one manufacturer to another. It is pointed out that

such exclusion is necessary to create a direct and

immediate nexus between the levy and the

manufacturing activity, and to bring about a uniformity

in the incidence of the levy. Learned counsel contends

that the position is the same under the new Section 4

which, he says, must need be so because of the

5 (1984) 1 SCC 467

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 19 of 44

fundamental nature of the principles propounded

earlier. Referring to the actual language of the new

Section 4(1)(a), it is pointed out that the expression

“normal price” therein means “normal for the purposes

of excise”, that is to say, that the price must exclude

post-manufacturing expenses and post-manufacturing

profit and must not be loaded with any extraneous

element. It is conceded, however, that under the new

Section 4(1)(a) there is no attempt to preserve

uniformity as regards the amount of duty between one

manufacturer and another, but it is urged that the

basis on which the value is determined is constituted

by the same conceptual criterion, that postmanufacturing

expenses and post-manufacturing profit

must be excluded. Considerable emphasis has been

laid on the submission that as excise duty is a tax on

the manufacture or production of goods it must be a

tax intimately linked with the manufacture or

production of the excisable article and, therefore, it

can be imposed only on the assessable value

determined with reference to the excisable article at

the stage of completed manufacture and to no point

beyond. To preserve this intimate link or nexus

between the nature of the tax and the assessment of

the tax, it is urged that all extraneous elements

included in the “value” in the nature of postmanufacturing

expenses and post-manufacturing

profits have to be off-loaded. It is pointed out that

factors such as volume, quantity and weight, which

enter into the measure of the tax, are intimately linked

with the manufacturing activity, and that the power of

Parliament under Entry 84 of List I of the Seventh

Schedule to the Constitution to legislate in respect of

“value” is restricted by the conceptual need to link the

basis for determining the measure of the tax with the

very nature of the tax.

xxx xxx xxx

10. Besides this fundamental issue, there are other

points of dispute, principally in respect of the

connotation of the expression “related person” in the

new Section 4 as well as the nature of the deductions

which can be claimed by the assessee as postmanufacturing

expenses and post-manufacturing profit

from the price for the purpose of determining the

“value”.

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 20 of 44

11. The submissions made by learned counsel for the

parties in support of their respective contentions cover

a wide area, and several questions of a fundamental

nature have been raised. We consider it necessary to

deal with them because they enter into and determine

the conclusions reached by us.

12. We think it appropriate that at the very beginning

we should briefly indicate the concept of a duty of

excise. Both Entry 45 of List I of the Seventh Schedule

to the Government of India Act, 1935, under which the

original Central Excises and Salt Act was enacted, and

Entry 84 of List I of the Seventh Schedule to the

Constitution under which the Amendment Act of 1973

was enacted, refer to “Duties of excise on… goods

manufactured or produced in India”. A duty of excise,

according to the Federal Court in The Central

Provinces and Berar Sales of Motor Spirit and

Lubricants Taxation Act, 1938 [AIR 1939 FC 1, 6 :

1939 FCR 18] is a duty ordinarily levied on the

manufacturer or producer in respect of the

manufacture or production of the commodity taxed. A

distinction was drawn between the nature of the tax

and the point at which it was collected, and Gwyer,

C.J. observed that theoretically “. . .there can be no

reason in theory why an excise duty should not be

imposed even on the retail sale of an article, if the

taxing Act so provides. Subject always to the

legislative competence of the taxing authority, a duty

on home-produced goods will obviously be imposed at

the stage which the authority finds to be the most

convenient and the most lucrative, wherever it may be;

but that is a matter of the machinery of collection, and

does not affect the essential nature of the tax. The

ultimate incidence of an excise duty, a typical indirect

tax, must always be on the consumer, who pays as he

consumes or expends; and it continues to be an

excise duty, that is, a duty on home-produced or

home-manufactured goods, no matter at what stage it

is collected….” (emphasis supplied). The position was

explained further in Province of Madras v. Boddu

Paidanna and Sons [1942 FCR 90, 101 : AIR 1942 FC

33] where the Federal Court observed:

“… There is in theory nothing to prevent the

Central Legislature from imposing a duty of

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 21 of 44

excise on a commodity as soon as it comes into

existence, no matter what happens to it

afterwards, whether it be sold, consumed,

destroyed, or given away. A taxing authority will

not ordinarily impose such a duty, because it is

much more convenient administratively to

collect the duty (as in the case of most of the

Indian Excise Acts) when the commodity leaves

the factory for the first time, and also because

the duty is intended to be an indirect duty which

the manufacturer or producer is to pass on to

the ultimate consumer, which he could not do if

the commodity had, for example, been

destroyed in the factory itself. It is the fact of

manufacture which attracts the duty, even

though it may be collected later;….”

The observations show that while the nature of an

excise is indicated by the fact that it is imposed in

respect of the manufacture or production of an article,

the point at which it is collected is not determined by

the point of time when its manufacture is completed

but will rest on considerations of administrative

convenience, and that generally it is collected when

the article leaves the factory for the first time. In other

words, the circumstance that the article becomes the

object of assessment when it is sold by the

manufacturer does not detract from its true nature,

that it is a levy on the fact of manufacture. In a

subsequent case, Governor-General-inCouncil

v. Province of Madras [1945 FCR 179 : AIR

1945 FC 98] , the Privy Council referred to

both Central Provinces and Berar Sales of Motor Spirit

and Lubricants Taxation Act, 1938 [AIR 1939 FC 1, 6 :

1939 FCR 18] and Province of Madras v. Boddu

Paidanna and Sons [1942 FCR 90, 101 : AIR 1942 FC

33] and affirmed that when excise was levied on a

manufacturer at the point of the first sale by him “that

may be because the taxation authority imposing a duty

of excise finds it convenient to impose that duty at the

moment when the excisable article leaves the factory

or workshop for the first time on the occasion of its

sale. But that method of collecting the tax is an

accident of administration; it is not of the essence of

the duty of excise, which is attracted by the

manufacture itself. This Court had occasion to

consider a similar question in R.C. Jall v. Union of

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 22 of 44

India [AIR 1962 SC 1281 : 1962 Supp (3) SCR 436,

451] . In that case, the Central Government was

authorised by an Ordinance to levy and collect as a

cess on coal and coke despatched from collieries in

British India a duty of excise at a specified rate. Rule 3

made under the Ordinance empowered the

Government to impose a duty of excise on coal and

coke when such coal and coke was despatched by rail

from the collieries of the coke plants, and the duty was

to be collected by the Railway Administration by

means of a surcharge on freight either from the

consignor or consignee. It was contended by the

assessee that the excise duty could not legally be

levied on the consignee who had nothing to do with

the manufacture or production of coal. The Court

remarked:

“The argument confuses the incidence of

taxation with the machinery provided for the

collection thereof,”

and reference was made to In re the Central

Provinces and Berar Act 14 of 1938[AIR 1939 FC 1,

6 : 1939 FCR 18] , Province of Madras v. Boddu

Paidanna and Sons [1942 FCR 90, 101 : AIR 1942 FC

33] and Governor-General in Council v. Province of

Madras [1945 FCR 179 : AIR 1945 FC 98] . This Court

then summarised the law as follows:

“… Excise duty is primarily a duty on the

production or manufacture of goods produced or

manufactured within the country. It is an indirect

duty which the manufacturer or producer passes

on to the ultimate consumer, that is, its ultimate

incidence will always be on the consumer.

Therefore, subject always to the legislative

competence of the taxing authority, the said tax

can be levied at a convenient stage so long as

the character of the impost, that is, it is a duty

on the manufacture or production, is not lost.

The method of collection does not affect the

essence of the duty, but only relates to the

machinery of collection for administrative

convenience.”

Other cases followed where the nature of excise duty

was reaffirmed in the terms set out earlier, and

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 23 of 44

reference may be made to In re Bill to Amend

Section 20 of the Sea Customs Act, 1878 and

Section 3 of the Central Excises And Salt Act, 1944

[AIR 1963 SC 1760 : (1964) 3 SCR 787] ; Union of

India v. Delhi Cloth & General Mills [AIR 1963 SC

791 : 1963 Supp (1) SCR 586] ; Guruswamy &

Co. v. State of Mysore [AIR 1967 SC 1512 : (1967) 1

SCR 548] and South Bihar Sugar Mills Ltd. v. Union of

India [AIR 1968 SC 922 : (1968) 3 SCR 21] .

xxx xxx xxx

17. A contention was raised for some of the

assessees, that the measure was to be found by

reading Section 3 with Section 4, thus drawing the

ingredients of Section 3 into the exercise. We are

unable to agree. We are concerned with Section 3(1),

and we find nothing there which clothes the provision

with a dual character, a charging provision as well as a

provision defining the measure of the charge.

xxx xxx xxx

35. We have examined the principles of an excise levy

and have considered the statutory construction of the

Act, before and after its amendment, in view of the

three propositions formulated, on behalf of the

assessees, as principles constituting the essential

characteristics of a duty of excise. It is apparent that

the first proposition, that excise is a tax on the

manufacture or production of goods, and not on

anything else, is indisputable and is supported by a

catena of cases beginning with The Central Provinces

and Berar Sales of Motor Spirit and Lubricants

Taxation Act, 1938 [AIR 1939 FC 1, 6 : 1939 FCR 18] .

As regards the second proposition. that uniformity of

incidence is a basic characteristic of excise, we are

inclined to think that the accuracy of the proposition

depends on the level at which the statute rests it. We

shall discuss that presently. As to the third proposition,

that the exclusion of post-manufacturing expenses

and post-manufacturing profit is necessarily involved

in the first principle does not inevitably follow. The

exclusion of post-manufacturing expenses and postmanufacturing

profits is a matter pertaining to the

ascertainment of the “value” of the excisable article,

and not to the nature of the excise duty, and as we

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 24 of 44

have explained, the standard adopted by the

Legislature for determining the “value” may possess a

broader base than that on which the charging

provision proceeds. The acceptance of the further

statement contained in the formulation of the third

proposition, that the exclusion of post-manufacturing

expenses and post-manufacturing profits helps to

achieve uniformity of incidence in the levy of excise

duty, depends on what is the point at which such

uniformity of incidence is contemplated. It is not

necessarily involved at the stage of sale of the article

by the manufacturer because we find, for example,

that under the amended Section 3(3) of the Central

Excises and Salt Act, different tariff values may be

fixed not only (a) for different classes or descriptions of

the same excisable goods, but also (b) for excisable

goods of the same class or description (i) produced or

manufactured by different classes of producers or

manufacturers, or (ii) sold to different classes of

buyers. That the “value” of excisable goods

determined under the new Section 4(1)(a) may also

vary according to certain circumstances is evident

from the three clauses of the proviso to that clause.

Clause (i) recognises that in the normal practice of

wholesale trade the same class of goods may be sold

by the assessee at different prices to different classes

of buyers; in that event, each such price shall, subject

to the other conditions of clause (a), be deemed to be

the normal price of such goods in relation to each

class of buyers. Clause (ii) provides that where the

goods are sold in wholesale at a price fixed under any

law or at a price being the maximum, fixed under any

such law, then the price or the maximum price, as the

case may be, so fixed, shall in relation to the goods be

deemed to be the normal price thereof. Under clause

(iii), where the goods are sold in the course of

wholesale trade by the assessee to or through a

related person, the normal price shall be the price at

which the goods are sold by the related person in the

course of wholesale trade at the time of removal to

dealers (not being related persons) or where such

goods are not sold to such dealers, to dealers (being

related persons) who sell such goods in retail. The

verity of the three principles propounded by learned

counsel for the assessees has been, as indeed it had

to be, examined in the context of the Act before and

after its amendment. For the case of the assessees is

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 25 of 44

that the amendment has made no material change in

the basic scheme of the levy and the provisions for

determining the value of the excisable article.”

15) It was, thus, argued that the High Court had committed serious

error in relying upon Section 66 of the Act (which is a charging

section) while interpreting Section 67 of the Act, or for that matter,

while examining the validity of Rule 5 of the Rules. The learned

counsel also relied upon the dictionary meaning that is given to

the word ‘gross amount’. At the end, it was submitted that

Section 67 which uses the term ‘any amount’ would include

quantum as well as the nature of the amount and, therefore, cost

for providing services was rightly included in Rule 5, which was

not ultra vires Section 67 of the Act.

16) Mr. J.K. Mittal, Advocate, appeared for M/s. Intercontinental

Consultants and Technocrats Pvt. Ltd. He argued with emphasis

that the impugned judgment of the High Court was perfectly in

tune with legal position and did not call for any interference. At

the outset, he pointed out that the Parliament has again amended

Section 67 of the Act by the Finance Act, 2015 w.e.f. May 14,

2015. By this amendment, explanation has been added which

now lays down that consideration includes the reimbursement of

expenditure or cost incurred by the service provider. Taking clue

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 26 of 44

therefrom, he developed the argument that for the first time, w.e.f.

May 14, 2015, reimbursement of expenditure or cost incurred by

the service provider gets included under the expression

‘consideration’, which legal regime did not prevail prior to May 14,

2015. Therefore, for the period in question, the ‘consideration’

was having limited sphere, viz. It was only in respect of taxable

services provided or to be provided. On that basis, submission

was that for the period in question that is covered by these

appeals, there could not be any service tax on reimbursed

expenses as Section 67 of the Act did not provide for such an

inclusion. Mr. Mittal also referred to para 2.4 of

Circular/Instructions F. No. B-43/5/97-TRU dated June 6, 1997

wherein it is clarified that ‘…various other reimbursable expenses

incurred are not to be included for computing the service tax”.

17) Coming to the main arguments revolving around Sections 66 and

67, he submitted that the High Court was right in holding that as

per Section 66 which was a charging section, service tax is to be

charged only on the ‘value of taxable services’. Likewise, Section

67 which deals with valuation of taxable service categorically

mentions that it was only on the gross amount charged for

providing ‘such’ a taxable service. Therefore, any amount

collected which is not for providing such taxable service could not

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 27 of 44

be brought within the tax net. Further, w.e.f. April 18, 2006, as

per Explanation (c) to Section 67, “gross amount charged”

includes payment by cheque, credit card, deduction from account

and any form of payment by issue of credit notes or debit notes

and book adjustment, and any amount credited or debited, as the

case may be, to any account, whether called “Suspense account”

or by any other name, in the books of accounts of a person liable

to pay service tax, where the transaction of taxable service is with

any associated enterprise.” Whereas prior to April 18, 2006, as

per Explanation 3 to Section 67, – “For the removal of doubts, it is

hereby declared that the gross amount charged for the taxable

service shall include any amount received towards the taxable

service before, during or after provision of such service.” Thus,

levy on taxable services were not levied at once, but tax was

levied at different point of time, tax was levied on difference

person and also values in many taxable services was

substantially exempted. He demonstrated it from the following

table:

Sl.

No.

Taxable Services Subclause

of 65

(105)

Date of

levy

Tax

Rate

1 Consulting Engineer

Service

(g) 7-7-1997

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 28 of 44

2 Rent-a-Cab services by a

person engage in business

of renting of cabs

(o) 16-7-1997 *

3 Transport of Passenger by

Air by an aircraft operator

(a) International

(b) Domestic

(zzzo)

1-5-2006

1-7-2010

**

4 Renting of immovable

property

(zzzz) 1-7-2007

5 Restaurant services (zzzzy) 1-5-2011 ***

6 Accommodation services

by Hotel

(zzzzw) 1-5-2011 ****

7 Telephone Services/

Telecommunication

services by Telegraph

Authority

(b),

(zzzx)

1-7-1994,

1-6-2007

Notes :

* Service Tax was leviable only on 40% of value, 60%

value was exempted.

** Service Tax was leviable only on 40% of value, 60%

value was exempted, but prior to 01-04-2012, tax was

only on 10% of value of tickets.

*** Service Tax was leviable only on 30% of value,

70% value was exempted.

**** Service Tax was leviable only on 50% of value,

50% value was exempted.

18) Following judgments were referred to and relied upon by Mr.

Mittal for placating the aforesaid submissions:

(a) In the first instance, reference was made to the Constitution

Bench judgment in the case of Mathuram Agrawal v. State of

Madhya Pradesh6

wherein this Court held:

“12. … The statute should clearly and unambiguously

6 (1999) 8 SCC 667

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 29 of 44

convey the three components of the tax law i.e. the

subject of the tax, the person who is liable to pay the

tax and the rate at which the tax is to be paid. If there

is any ambiguity regarding any of these ingredients in

a taxation statute then there is no tax in law. Then it is

for the legislature to do the needful in the matter.”

(b) The learned counsel also relied upon the following

observations in case of Govind Saran Ganga Saran v.

Commissioner of Sales Tax & Ors.7

:

“6. The components which enter into the concept of a

tax are well known. The first is the character of the

imposition known by its nature which prescribes the

taxable event attracting the levy, the second is a clear

indication of the person on whom the levy is imposed

and who is obliged to pay the tax, the third is the rate

at which the tax is imposed, and the fourth is the

measure or value to which the rate will be applied for

computing the tax liability. If those components are not

clearly and definitely ascertainable, it is difficult to say

that the levy exists in point of law. Any uncertainty or

vagueness in the legislative scheme defining any of

those components of the levy will be fatal to its

validity.”

19) The learned counsel reiterated that such an ambiguity in law is

now cured by amendment to Section 67 only w.e.f. May 14, 2015.

20) We have duly considered the aforesaid submissions made by the

learned counsel for the Department as well as the counsel for the

assessees. As can be seen, these submissions are noted in

respect of Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 where the assessee is

providing ‘consulting engineering services’. In other appeals,

7 (1985) Suppl. SCC 205

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 30 of 44

though the nature of services is somewhat different, it doesn’t

alter the colour of legal issue, in any manner. In the course of

providing those services, the assessees had incurred certain

expenses which were reimbursed by the service recepient.

These expenses were not included for the purpose of valuation,

while paying the service tax. Thus, the question for determination

which is posed in Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014, answer to that

would govern the outcome of the other appeals as well. Still, for

the sake of completeness, we may give a brief resume of all

these cases.

“A. “Consulting Engineering Services” – Assessee were providing

consulting services to M/s. NHAI for highway projects. They

were paying Service Tax on remuneration only instead of the

gross value charged from the client.

Sl. No. Civil Appeal

details

Facts Reimbursable claimed

as not includible

1. 2013/2014

UOI v.

Intercontinental

Consultants

Period: Oct’2002 –

March’ 2007 (prior to

coming into effect of

impugned Rule 5 on

01.06.2007]

Demand:Rs.3,55,80,38/-

Assessee filed W.P. No.

6370/2008 directly

against Show Cause

Notice dated 17.03.2008

resulting in the

impugned judgment

Transportation, office

rent, office supplies

and utilities, testing

charges, document

printing charges,

travelling, lodging,

boarding etc. (post

19.04.2006)

Transportation, office

rent, office supplies,

office furniture and

equipment, reports

and documents

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 31 of 44

dated 30.11.2012 printing charges etc.

[Pre 19.04.2006].

[page 62-64]

2 6090/2017

CST v.

Intercontinental

Consultants

Period: 2007-2008 [post

coming into effect of

impugned Rule 5 on

01.06.2007]

Demand: Rs.

1,50,62,017/-

Show Cause Notice

dated 24.10.2008 was

issued on the basis of

the earlier SCN dated

17.03.2008 for the

subsequent period.

O-I-O dated 02.03.2010

covered both SCNs

dated 17.03.2008 &

24.10.2008.

Transportation, office

rent, office supplies &

utilities, testing

charges, document

printing charges,

travelling, lodging,

boarding etc. [page

157]

B. Share Transfer Agency Service:

Sl.

No.

Civil Appeal

details

Facts Reimbursable

claimed as not

includible

1 6866/2014

CST v. Through

its Secretary

Period: 01.04.2008-

31.03.2010

Demand:Rs.13,83,479

Reimbursement of

Expenses, out of

pocket expenses,

Postage expenses,

stationery charges

2. 3360/2015

CST v. Pinnacle

Share Registry

Pvt. Ltd.

Period: 01.05.2006-

31.03.2008

Demand: Rs. 13,83,479

Reimbursement of

Expenses, out of

pocket expenses,

Postage expenses

C. Custom House Agent covered by head “Clearing and

Forwarding Agent” prior to 18.04.2006. Procedure of raising two

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 32 of 44

sets of invoices for reimbursement of various expenses and for

service/agency charged separately started after introduction of

Service Tax on CHA’s (wef 15.06.1997) in view of Circular dated

06.09.1997.

Invoice issued for services/agency charges alone is used

for payment of Service Tax.

Sl.

No.

Civil Appeal

details

Facts Reimbursable claimed

as not includible

1. 295-299/2014

CST v. Asshita

International

Period: 01.10.2003-

31.03.2008 ([pre and

post coming into effect

of the impugned Rule 5]

Demand: 4,66,607/-

SCN dated 21.04.2009.

O-I-A dated 30.11.2010

[pages 238-259] set

aside demand prior to

18.04.2006 in view of

circular dated

06.06.1997.

Customs Examination

Chages, Misc.

Expenses, Sundry

expenses, strapping

and re-strapping

charges,

documentation

charges.

2. 2021/2014

CST v. Sunder

Balan

Period: Apr.08 to Aug’08

[post coming into effect

of impugned rule 5 on

01.06.2007]

Demand:Rs.2,26,659/-

SCN dated 24.07.2009.

Customs Examination

Charges, Misc.

Expenses, Sundry

expenses, strapping

and re-strapping

charges,

documentation

charges.

3. 4340-4341/2014

CST v. Suraj

Forwarders

Period: 01.04.2004 to

31.03.2008

Demand: Rs. 6,35,071/-

as confirmed in the O-IO.

The

Commissioner(Appeals)

set aside the demand

on the reimbursable

Customs Examination

Charges, Misc.

Expenses, Sundry

expenses, strapping

and re-strapping

charges,

documentation

charges.

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 33 of 44

expenses received

under the category

“Clearing & Forwarding

Agent” Service relation

to 1.04.2004-

17.04.2006 and

confirmed the remaining

demand.

4. 8056/2015

CST v. Suraj

Forwarders

Not Available

5. T.P.(C) No.

10431045/2017

UOI v. Sri

Chidambaram &

Ors.

A Transfer Petition for

transferring W.P. Nos.

20832, 14521 and

20590 of 2016 pending

before Hon’ble High

Court at Madras.

SCNs raised demands

for Rs. 37.13 lacs and

Rs. 53.30 lacs which

were dropped by the OI-O.

However on

appeals the O-I-O was

set aside, hence W.P’s

were filed.

CFS charges, steamer

agent charges,

delivery order charges,

Airport/Customs

charges [page 25-

26/para C]

Airline/steamer

charges, storage and

handling charges,

packing charges,

transport charges,

fumigation charges,

insurance survey

charges, original

certificate charges

[pages 62-62]

Charges paid to:

Steamer agent,

Custom Freight

Station, Airport

Authority of India and

Transporters [page

106-107]

6. 7688/2014

CST v. Shree

Gayatri Clearing

Agency

Period: 01.10.2003 to

31.03.2008

[pre and post coming

into effect of impugned

Rule 5 on 01.06.2007]

Demand: Rs. 9,65,652/-

SCN issued on

21.04.2009. O-I-A dated

Customs Examination

Charges, Misc.

Expenses, Sundry

expenses, strapping

and re-strapping

charges,

documentation

charges.

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 34 of 44

31.07.2013 set aside

demand for the period

18.04.2006-31.03.2008

in view of circular dated

06.06.1997.

7. 7685/2014

Comm. of

Customs v.

Ramdas Pragji

Forwarders Pvt.

Ltd.

Period:2004-05 & 2007-

08

The Adjudicating

Authority held that no

Service Tax was

payable on

reimbursable amount

prior to 18.04.2006. the

Circular dated

06.06.1997 lost its

validity after

introduction of Rule 5.

Hence the ST was

recoverable thereafter.

CMC charges,

CONCOR, GSEC,

Transportation

charges, Air and sea

freight, Custom Duty,

Custom Cess,

fumigation charges,

bottom paper, wooden

etc. handling charges,

labour expenses,

sundry charges, airport

charges,

documentation

charges, photocopying

charges etc. [page

181-182]

8. T.P.(C) 1932-

1934/2017

CST v. Green

Channel Cargo

Care

Period: April 2006-

March 2009

Harbour/Airport

Authority of

India/CFS/CCTL and

delivery order charges,

harbour dues, seal

verification,

warehouse/godown

charges.

D. Site Formation and clearance, excavation and earth moving

and demolition services: Assessees conduct drilling, blasting,

excavation, loading, transport etc. of overburdened at open cast

Mines. Issue is whether value of Goods/material service u/s.

65(97a), is to be included in ‘Gross Amount’ u/s 67 of Finance Act

for the purpose of S.T.

The impugned orders follow the decisions in Bhayana Builder

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 35 of 44

Intercontinental.

Sl.No. Civil Appeal

details

Facts Reimbursable claimed

as not includible

1. 6864/2014

CCE & ST v.

S.V. Engineering

Period: 01.02.2005-

31.03.2009

Demand: Rs.

74,14,396/- and Rs.

12,26,38,376/-

Value of Diesel and

explosives supplied

free of cost by service

recipient.

2. 6865/2014

CCE & ST v.

S.V. Engineering

Period: 01.04.2009-

31.03.2010

Demand: Rs.

87,63,595/-

Value of Diesel and

explosives supplied

free of cost by service

recipient.

3. 4356-4537/2016

CCE&ST v. S.V.

Engineering

Value of diesel oil and

explosives supplied

free of cost by service

recipient.

4. 5130/2016

CCE & ST v.

Sushree Infra

Demand of Rs.

18,85,88,959/- relating

to period 01.06.2008 to

31.03.2012

SCN dated 01.10.2012

confirmed by O-I-O

dated 04.05.2011

Value of explosives and

diesel oil supplied free

of cost by service

recipient.

5. 4975/2016

CCE & ST v.

Gulf Oil

Period: October 2008 to

November 2008

Demand: Rs.

50,54,746/-

Value of explosives and

diesel oil supplied free

of cost by service

recipient.

6. 5453/2016

CCE & ST v.

Period: Mar’08 to Mar’

2012

Value of explosives and

diesel oil supplied free

of cost

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 36 of 44

AMR India Demand:

Rs.57,74,30,683/-

7. 10223-

10224/2017

CCE & ST v.

Mehrotra

Buildcon

Period: Apr’09 to Jan’10

& February 2010 to

September 2010

Demand:Rs.21,48,835/-

+ Rs. 18,06,655/-

Value of diesel oil

supplied free of cost

8.

5444/2017

CCE & ST v.

Mehrotra

Buildcon

Not available Value of diesel oil

supplied free of cost

E.

Sl.

No.

Civil Appeal

details

Facts Reimbursable claimed

as not includible

1. 10626-

10627/2017

Period:Apr’04 to Mar’06

[prior to coming into

effect of impugned Rule

5 on 01.06.2007]

Demand:Rs.24,70,790/-

SCN dated 22.10.2008

Non-payment of Service

Tax on the amount

received as

reimbursement by way

of debit notes in

addition to amount

charged through

invoices for providing

‘Event Management

Service’, Section 65(40)

and Section 65(90)(zu)

[page 83]

Hiring of venue,

merchandise, artists,

travel, courier, food and

beverages,

administrative

expenses, [page 76

@78]

21) Undoubtedly, Rule 5 of the Rules, 2006 brings within its sweep

the expenses which are incurred while rendering the service and

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 37 of 44

are reimbursed, that is, for which the service receiver has made

the payments to the assessees. As per these Rules, these

reimbursable expenses also form part of ‘gross amount charged’.

Therefore, the core issue is as to whether Section 67 of the Act

permits the subordinate legislation to be enacted in the said

manner, as done by Rule 5. As noted above, prior to April 19,

2006, i.e., in the absence of any such Rule, the valuation was to

be done as per the provisions of Section 67 of the Act.

22) Section 66 of the Act is the charging Section which reads as

under:

“there shall be levy of tax (hereinafter referred to

as the service tax) @ 12% of the value of taxable

services referred to in sub-clauses …..of Section

65 and collected in such manner as may be

prescribed.”

23) Obviously, this Section refers to service tax, i.e., in respect of

those services which are taxable and specifically referred to in

various sub-clauses of Section 65. Further, it also specifically

mentions that the service tax will be @ 12% of the ‘value of

taxable services’. Thus, service tax is reference to the value of

service. As a necessary corollary, it is the value of the services

which are actually rendered, the value whereof is to be

ascertained for the purpose of calculating the service tax payable

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 38 of 44

thereupon.

24) In this hue, the expression ‘such’ occurring in Section 67 of the

Act assumes importance. In other words, valuation of taxable

services for charging service tax, the authorities are to find what

is the gross amount charged for providing ‘such’ taxable services.

As a fortiori, any other amount which is calculated not for

providing such taxable service cannot a part of that valuation as

that amount is not calculated for providing such ‘taxable service’.

That according to us is the plain meaning which is to be attached

to Section 67 (unamended, i.e., prior to May 01, 2006) or after its

amendment, with effect from, May 01, 2006. Once this

interpretation is to be given to Section 67, it hardly needs to be

emphasised that Rule 5 of the Rules went much beyond the

mandate of Section 67. We, therefore, find that High Court was

right in interpreting Sections 66 and 67 to say that in the valuation

of taxable service, the value of taxable service shall be the gross

amount charged by the service provider ‘for such service’ and the

valuation of tax service cannot be anything more or less than the

consideration paid as quid pro qua for rendering such a service.

25) This position did not change even in the amended Section 67

which was inserted on May 01, 2006. Sub-section (4) of Section

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 39 of 44

67 empowers the rule making authority to lay down the manner in

which value of taxable service is to be determined. However,

Section 67(4) is expressly made subject to the provisions of subsection

(1). Mandate of sub-section (1) of Section 67 is manifest,

as noted above, viz., the service tax is to be paid only on the

services actually provided by the service provider.

26) It is trite that rules cannot go beyond the statute. In Babaji

Kondaji Garad, this rule was enunciated in the following

manner:

“Now if there is any conflict between a statute and

the subordinate legislation, it does not require

elaborate reasoning to firmly state that the statute

prevails over subordinate legislation and the byelaw,

if not in conformity with the statute in order to

give effect to the statutory provision the Rule or

bye-law has to be ignored. The statutory

provision ahs precedence and must be complied

with.”

27) The aforesaid principle is reiterated in Chenniappa Mudaliar

holding that a rule which comes in conflict with the main

enactment has to give way to the provisions of the Act.

28) It is also well established principle that Rules are framed for

achieving the purpose behind the provisions of the Act, as held in

Taj Mahal Hotel:

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 40 of 44

‘the Rules were meant only for the purpose of

carrying out the provisions of the Act and they

could not take away what was conferred by

the Act or whittle down its effect.”

29) In the present case, the aforesaid view gets strengthened from

the manner in which the Legislature itself acted. Realising that

Section 67, dealing with valuation of taxable services, does not

include reimbursable expenses for providing such service, the

Legislature amended by Finance Act, 2015 with effect from May

14, 2015, whereby Clause (a) which deals with ‘consideration’ is

suitably amended to include reimbursable expenditure or cost

incurred by the service provider and charged, in the course of

providing or agreeing to provide a taxable service. Thus, only with

effect from May 14, 2015, by virtue of provisions of Section 67

itself, such reimbursable expenditure or cost would also form part

of valuation of taxable services for charging service tax. Though,

it was not argued by the learned counsel for the Department that

Section 67 is a declaratory provision, nor could it be argued so,

as we find that this is a substantive change brought about with

the amendment to Section 67 and, therefore, has to be

prospective in nature. On this aspect of the matter, we may

usefully refer to the Constitution Bench judgment in the case of

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 41 of 44

Commissioner of Income Tax (Central)-I, New Delhi v. Vatika

Township Private Limited8

wherein it was observed as under:

“27. A legislation, be it a statutory Act or a statutory rule or a

statutory notification, may physically consists of words

printed on papers. However, conceptually it is a great deal

more than an ordinary prose. There is a special peculiarity in

the mode of verbal communication by a legislation. A

legislation is not just a series of statements, such as one

finds in a work of fiction/non-fiction or even in a judgment of a

court of law. There is a technique required to draft a

legislation as well as to understand a legislation. Former

technique is known as legislative drafting and latter one is to

be found in the various principles of “interpretation of

statutes”. Vis-à-vis ordinary prose, a legislation differs in its

provenance, layout and features as also in the implication as

to its meaning that arise by presumptions as to the intent of

the maker thereof.

28. Of the various rules guiding how a legislation has to be

interpreted, one established rule is that unless a contrary

intention appears, a legislation is presumed not to be

intended to have a retrospective operation. The idea behind

the rule is that a current law should govern current activities.

Law passed today cannot apply to the events of the past. If

we do something today, we do it keeping in view the law of

today and in force and not tomorrow’s backward adjustment

of it. Our belief in the nature of the law is founded on the

bedrock that every human being is entitled to arrange his

affairs by relying on the existing law and should not find that

his plans have been retrospectively upset. This principle of

law is known as lex prospicit non respicit: law looks forward

not backward. As was observed in Phillips v. Eyre [(1870) LR

6 QB 1] , a retrospective legislation is contrary to the general

principle that legislation by which the conduct of mankind is

to be regulated when introduced for the first time to deal with

future acts ought not to change the character of past

transactions carried on upon the faith of the then existing law.

29. The obvious basis of the principle against retrospectivity

is the principle of “fairness”, which must be the basis of every

legal rule as was observed in L’Office Cherifien des

Phosphates v. Yamashita-Shinnihon Steamship Co. Ltd.

Thus, legislations which modified accrued rights or which

8 (2015) 1 SCC 1

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 42 of 44

impose obligations or impose new duties or attach a new

disability have to be treated as prospective unless the

legislative intent is clearly to give the enactment a

retrospective effect; unless the legislation is for purpose of

supplying an obvious omission in a former legislation or to

explain a former legislation. We need not note the

cornucopia of case law available on the subject because

aforesaid legal position clearly emerges from the various

decisions and this legal position was conceded by the

counsel for the parties. In any case, we shall refer to few

judgments containing this dicta, a little later.”

30) As a result, we do not find any merit in any of those appeals

which are accordingly dismissed.

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6865 OF 2014, CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6864 OF

2014, CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4975 OF 2016, CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5130

OF 2016 AND CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 4536-4537 OF 2016

31) In the aforesaid appeals, the issue is as to whether the value of

free supplies of diesel and explosives in respect of the service of

‘Site Formation and Clearance Service’ can be included for the

purpose of assessment to service tax under Section 67 of the Act.

These assessees had not availed the benefit of aforesaid

Notifications Nos. 15/2004 and 4/2005. Therefore, the issue has

to be adjudged simply by referring to Section 67 of the Act. We

have already held above that the value of such material which is

supplied free by the service recipient cannot be treated as ‘gross

amount charged’ and that is not the ‘consideration’ for rendering

the services. Therefore, value of free supplies of diesel and

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 43 of 44

explosives would not warrant inclusion while arriving at the gross

amount charged on its service tax is to be paid. Therefore, all

these appeals are also dismissed.

TRANSFER PETITION (CIVIL) NOS. 1043-1045 OF 2017

TRANSFER PETITION (CIVIL) NOS. 1932-1934 OF 2017

32) These transfer petitions are allowed and the writ petitions

mentioned in the prayer clause, which are pending before the

High Court of Madras, are transferred to this Court.

33) The transferred writs are also disposed of in terms of the

judgment rendered above in Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 and

other connected matters.

………………………………………J.

(A.K. SIKRI)

………………………………………J.

(ASHOK BHUSHAN)

NEW DELHI;

MARCH 07, 2018.

Civil Appeal No. 2013 of 2014 with Ors. Page 44 of 44