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Rahul Travels, Deepak Transport Bus Service And Anay Tours & Travels Versus Commissioner of Central Excise Nagpur / Pune III And Commissioner of Central Excise Nagpur / Pune II Versus V-Link Tours and Travels Pvt. Ltd. Travel Link

Taxability - contract carriages - rent-a-cab service - 'tour operators' service - Held that: - There is, compelling logic for, by any other interpretation, would render the taximeter cab-driver/operator also liable to tax. That such has been the intent of the legislature appears far-fetched and we hold that vehicles contracted out in return for payment on actual usage is not taxable under section 65 (105) (o) of Finance Act, 1994. Revenue has not appealed the finding that contracting the use of .....

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ical) Shri None for appellant Rahul Travels Shri Prasad Paranjape, Advocate for Travel Link. Shri Anupam Dighe, Advocate for Deepak Transport Shri Anand Kulkarni, Advocate for Anay Tours Shri A.K. Goswami, Addl. Commissioner (AR), Shri P. Damle, Asstt. Commissioner (AR), Shri S.R. Nair, Enquiry Officer (AR) and Shri B.K. Iyer, Superintendent (AR) for Revenue. Per: C J Mathew: Five appeals are taken up for disposal in this order. The common issue in these appeals is the applicability of tax as pr .....

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g of demands confirmed by the lower authorities. The other three appellants are M/s Rahul Travels, M/s Anay Tours & Travels and M/s Deepak Transport Bus Service. M/s Deepak Transport Bus Service operates their vehicles as stage carriages for M/s Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd. 2. All the operators have the same claim, viz., that they are not in the business of renting their vehicles to their clients; their contention is that the vehicles remain in their possession with maintenance a .....

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amp; Travels Pvt Ltd for the period from April 2002 to March 2006 respectively by the lower authorities, the dispute pertained to providing of motor cars to clients under contract and to providing buses to clients for transport of staff between various locations and the premises of the client. In the matter of bus operations, alleged by tax authorities to be taxable under the category of tour operators, the first appellate authority held that these, being contract carriages, came under the pur .....

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thereafter. It was further held that the agreements to provide cars to clients was not period-specific but distance-specific and, relying upon the decisions of the Tribunal in re RS Travels [2008 (12) STR 27 (Tri-Del)], Miglani Taxi Service [2009 (15) STR 566 (Tri-Del)], Sri Sai Krishna Travels [2010 (18) STR 220 (Tri-Bang)], Sunil L Parmar [2010 (19) STR 584 (Tri-Ahmd)] and Bharat Travels Co [2010 (20) STR 646 (Tri-Ahmd)], the first appellate authority held that the demands do not sustain. 4. .....

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the Learned Counsels appearing for the different vehicle owners and the Learned Authorised Representatives appearing for Revenue in the different cases. Except in the matter of M/s Deepak Transport Bus Service which is for the period from June 2007 to December 2008, all other disputes pertain to the period prior to March 2006. Our attention was drawn to the decision of this bench of the Tribunal in Commissioner of Central Excise, Nagpur v. PB Bobde [2015 (40) STR 953 (Tri-Mumbai)] which, relying .....

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Punjab & Haryana in Commissioner of Central Excise Chandigarh v. Kuldeep Singh Gill [2010 (18) STR (708)] were cited. We note that the judgment relied upon in re PB Bobde did consider the submissions of Revenue relying on those very judgments before going on to hold that possession and control of the vehicle are the essence of the difference between renting and hiring. In view of the chronological proximity of the judgment of the Hon ble High Court of Uttarakhand in re Sachin Malhotra, reaff .....

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on the strength of a permit issued by the Motor Vehicles Department, then the owner of the vehicle, who may or may not be the driver, will offer his service while retaining the control and possession of the vehicle with himself. The customer is merely enabled to make use of the vehicle by travelling in the vehicle. In the case of a passenger, he is expected to pay the metered charges, which is usually collected on the basis of the number of kilometers travelled. These are all matters, which are .....

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-a-cab also, there is hiring in the general sense. As we have already noted, the word hire is used even in the rent-a-cab scheme. But, what is of fundamental importance and constitutes the distinguishing feature between rent-a-cab and hiring is that, in the case of hiring , undoubtedly, the owner of the vehicle retains control and possession; he either drives the vehicle himself or employs somebody else to drive the vehicle; and the customer merely makes use of the vehicle by travelling in the v .....

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ntext of rent-a-cab scheme and hiring, we are of the view that they signify two different transactions. What the lawgiver has chosen fit to tax by way of imposition of Service Tax is only transaction relating to business of renting of cabs. It is also pertinent to bear in mind that, in the case of hiring, the hirer may refuse to provide the service to the prospective customer. We cannot accept the argument of the learned counsel for the appellant that the Court must ignore the provisions of Sect .....

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