CA Bimal Jain
Preservation of stem cells by cord blood banks is exempted only w.e.f. February 17, 2014/ Exemption Notification will have prospective effect when nothing specifically mentioned in the Notification as such
Life Cell International (P) Ltd. Vs. Union of India, Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence, The Commissioner of Service Tax [2015 (4) TMI 290 – MADRAS HIGH COURT]
Life Cell International (P) Ltd. (the Appellant) involve in the preservation of stem cells for over number of years for appropriate clinical treatment. The Appellant claims that the activities undertaken by the Appellant can be termed as “Health Care Services”. In this regard, the Notification No. 4/2014-ST dated February 17, 2014 issued amending the Mega Exemption Notification No. 25/2012-ST dated June 20, 2012, exempting the services provided by cord blood bank by way of preservation of stem cells is merely clarificatory in nature having retrospective application.
The Hon’ble High Court of Madras has held that when nothing specifically mentioned in the Notification as such that from which date amendments will be applicable, then it cannot be construed that such exemption shall have retrospective effect. Hence, it can have prospective effect only and accordingly Service tax is applicable prior to February 17, 2014.
Our Comments: The Hon’ble High Court did not discuss the moot question that whether the activity of the Appellant falls under the definition of ‘Health care services’ or not so as to claim exemption of Service tax for the period prior to February 17, 2014.
(Author can be reached at Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)