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2015 (6) TMI 441 - CESTAT MUMBAI

2015 (6) TMI 441 - CESTAT MUMBAI - 2015 (40) S.T.R. 537 (Tri. - Mumbai) - Health and fitness services - Meditation services - Held that:- The argument that, Meditation does not induce any physical well-being is erroneous, inasmuch as that by undergoing meditation course, an individual will definitely be physically well as he is at peace with his inner soul, the fact that cannot be disputed by any one. If that be so, the argument of the appellant's that spiritual meditation as conducted by the ap .....

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the appellant that physical well-being is incidental would not carry the case any further. - appellant was first informed as to there being no tax liability on the meditation courses conducted by them, subsequently there was a change in view of the Board and it was opined that service tax liability arises on the meditation courses. In our considered view, revenue authorities cannot demand service tax liability from the appellants for the period prior to 18 March 2009 - Decided in favour of asses .....

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estion of law and facts, they are being disposed of by a common order. 2. The revenue authorities started an investigation against the appellant as to that they providing services of yoga, meditation and massage to the customers/participants on payment of specified charges/fees. Subsequent to detailed enquiries undertaken and after obtaining the relevant documents, lower authorities came to a conclusion that the services rendered by the appellant would fall under the category of "health and .....

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ing that the meditation courses conducted by them is spiritual meditation and is not what is stipulated as services under the category of "health and fitness Centre" as the meditation courses conducted by the appellant does not help in physical well-being and revenue authorities were aware of the activities. The adjudicating authority after following the due process of law did not agree with the appellant's contention. She confirmed the demands along with interest and imposed penal .....

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ed by the appellant are spiritual meditation and has nothing to do with the physical well-being of an individual undergoing the meditation courses. He would also submit that the reading of the definition indicates all other activities like sauna steam bath, Turkish bath, solarium, spas, reducing or slimming salons, gymnasium, yoga are pertaining to the physical well-being of individual and the word meditation in the definition is a misfit. He would emphasize that meditation is not connected with .....

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d submit that any activity related to spirituality has been exempted from the service tax. He would then draw our attention to a letter dated 25 April 2003, vide which the office of the Chief Commissioner of Central Excise and Customs Pune Zone has clarified to appellants no service tax registration is required for the meditation and yoga. He would submit that subsequently on 18 th February 2009, the Central board of Excise and Customs on an query raised by Commissioner of Central Excise, Pune-I .....

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item in question is taxable in the manner claimed by them and the burden to the same is on the taxing authorities. He would rely upon the decision of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in the case of Dalmia Biscuits Limited - (1992) 194 ITR 749 for the proposition that every word of the statute has to be assumed to have been deliberately and consciously incorporated therein by the legislature and has thus to be given a meaning and effect. He would also rely upon the following case laws. 3.1 L .....

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asmuch as the word "meditation" is included specifically and there is no scope to exclude the activities undertaken by the appellant from the definition. He would submit that there is no dispute as to the fact that the appellant are collecting fees when individuals enrols for meditation course. He would also draw our attention to the fact that appellant's own website indicates physical benefits by undertaking the meditation courses offered by them. He would also submit that on simi .....

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ance can be placed on such website information. It is also his further submission that physical well-being due to meditation, is an incidental benefit that arises hence the primary objective of the meditation being of spiritual in nature cannot be overlooked. 6. We have considered the submissions made at length by both sides and perused the records. It is a case of the revenue that appellants herein fall under the definition of "health and fitness services" by offering meditation cours .....

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yoga, meditation, massage (excluding therapeutic massage) or any other like service". 8. It is undisputed that appellants are holding meditation courses for individuals on receipt of an amount as a consideration. The definition of "health and fitness services" clearly includes the word "meditation" in the ambit of charging service tax. It was argued on behalf of appellants that the courses conducted by the appellant in medication does not help an individual for physical .....

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one. If that be so, the argument of the appellant's that spiritual meditation as conducted by the appellant does not help physical well-being is to be discarded. Secondly, the meditation courses offered by the appellant may be for spiritual balance, in life, but fundamentally contributes towards the physical well-being and the physical benefits of an individual. In our considered view, there cannot be a dispute that meditation helps an individual attaining mental peace. In our view, physical .....

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F.No. 237/1/2003-CX.4 Government of India Ministry of Finance & Company Affairs Department of Revenue New Delhi, the 27 th February 2003 To: The Chief Commissioner of Central Excise, Pune Subject: Applicability of service tax on the activities of meditation run by the Osho International Foundation - Regarding Sir, I am directed to refer to your letter No. IV/16/37/CCOP/SI/2001/347 dated 28/01/2003 on the above subject and to say that the decision taken for taking registration for service tax .....

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rvices. We reproduce the said letter dated April 2003. OFFICE OF THE CHIEF COMMISSIONER CENTRAL EXCISE & CUSTOMS PUNE ZONE ICE HOUSE, E-WING, 41-A, SASSOON ROAD, PUNE - 01 F.No. IV/16-37/CCOP/SI/2001/PI Pune, the 25 th April, 2003 To: OSHO International Foundation 17, Koregaon Park Pune - 411001 Sir, Sub: Applicability of Service Tax on the activities of meditation run by the OSHO International Foundation - reg., Please refer to your letters dated 09/10/2002 and 14/10/2002 on the above subje .....

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he Commissioner, Central Excise Pune-III - for information and necessary action with reference to Board letter F.No. 237/1/2003-CX-4 dated 27/02/2003." 12. The appellants were subsequently informed by the office of the Commissioner of Central Excise-service tax cell, Pune-III Commissionerate wide letter dated 18 to march 2009 as under. "OFFICE OF THE CHIEF COMMISSIONER CENTRAL EXCISE, SERVICE TAX CELL, PUNE-III COMMISSIONERATE ICE HOUSE, E-WING, 41-A, SASSOON ROAD, PUNE -01 F.No. VGN ( .....

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n are specifically included in the definition of taxable service namely, "Health and fitness service" [Section 65 (105) (zw) read with section 65 (51) of the Finance Act, 1994]. The taxability of the activities falling under the definition is independent of the status of the service provider. Even a charitable institution providing these taxable services is liable to service tax. The letter F.No. 237/I/2003-CX.4 dated 27/02/2003 is in contradiction of this definition. It has no applica .....

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