Case Law Details

Case Name : Woodlands Hotels PVT LTD Vs C.C.E & C.S.T. (CESTAT Bangalore)
Appeal Number : ST/29/2008-DB
Date of Judgement/Order : 24/07/2018
Related Assessment Year :
Courts : All CESTAT (831) CESTAT Bangalore (109)

Woodlands Hotels Pvt. Ltd. Vs C.C.E & C.S.T. (CESTAT Bangalore)

A snack cannot be equated to a high tea; for that logic, it comes rarely closer to a ‘substantial and satisfying meal’. Therefore, it is to be concluded that snack cannot fulfill the conditions of the food being substantial and satisfying. Therefore, we are of the opinion that the ratio of the judgments cited by the appellants is not applicable to the instant case. Whereas the issue discussed in the ‘Welcome Hotel’ was high tea which is normally a replacement for dinner; the issue in the impugned case is a ‘snack’ which is normally eaten between the meals. Snack cannot be a substantial and satisfying meal.

FULL TEXT OF THE CESTAT JUDGMENT

M/s. Woodlands Hotel (P) Ltd. (the appellants) runs a chain of hotels. The appellants were served a SCN dated 10.06.2005 alleging that they have wrongly availed the Notification of existing Service Tax to hotels during 20.12.2001 to 08.07.2004 and they failed to pay Service Tax for the period from 09.07.2004 to 3 1.01.2005. The SCN was confirmed by Order-in-Original No. 3/2006 (JCT) dated 27.01.2006 for an amount of Rs.1,26,794/- while imposing interest and penalty. On an appeal filed by the appellants stating that during the period from 20.12.2001 to 08.07.2004 they have availed the benefit of Notification while providing only tea and snacks (without substantial and satisfying meal). The Commissioner (A) vide Order-in-Appeal No. 127/2007 dated 24.12.2007 has confirmed the order of Joint Commissioner stating that tea and snacks is not a substantial meal as is understood by common people.

2. The Counsel for the appellants submitted that the Tribunal in the case of Welcome Hotel Vs. CCE Vadodara- 2009 (13) STR 375 (Ahmedabad) held that the high tea provided by the appellants wherein was a satisfying meal.

The brief issue in the matter is to see whether tea and snacks served by the appellants while performing the service of ‘Mandap keeper’ amount to satisfy meal. The learned Departmental Representative has submitted that the appellants did not give exact description of the snacks in the invoices or bills raised by them; therefore, it is difficult to include whether the same amounted to a satisfy meal. The brief issue to be decided in this case is to see whether tea and snacks for amount to a satisfying meal; the appellants have relied upon the judgment of the Tribunal in Welcome Hotels case cited supra. It was observed in that case that each and every invoice disclosing as to whether the supplied item was only tea or coffee or the same was inclusive to how many number of snacks etc. so as to fulfill the meaning of ‘substantial and satisfying meal’ is not required to be gone through. It is sufficient if as ‘Mandap Keeper’; the appellants are provided catering services and the invoices raised by him show that the same were inclusive of charges for catering services. Even if such high tea as per the fixed menu agreed upon between service provider and their clients and is not unlimited like breakfast, the same has to be held as ‘substantial and satisfying meal’. It is not that menu so agreed upon is required to be scrutinized in each and every case and wherever it is found to be on lesser side, the same has to be held as not satisfying meal. This exercise would not only be impracticable but would also be impossible.

3. Heard both sides and perused the records of the case.

4. We find that the definition of snack is as under:

(i) Snack is a small amount of food that is eaten between the meals, or a very small meal (Cambridge Dictionary).

(ii) Snack is a simple meal that is quick to cook and eat (Colians Dictionary).

(iii) Snack is a small amount of food eaten between the meals or a light meal that is eaten in a hurry or in a casual manner (Oxford Dictionary).

5. Going by the above definitions and the public perception, we are of the opinion that a snack cannot be equated to a high tea; for that logic, it comes rarely closer to a ‘substantial and satisfying meal’. Therefore, it is to be concluded that snack cannot fulfill the conditions of the food being substantial and satisfying. Therefore, we are of the opinion that the ratio of the judgments cited by the appellants is not applicable to the instant case. Whereas the issue discussed in the ‘Welcome Hotel’ was high tea which is normally a replacement for dinner; the issue in the impugned case is a ‘snack’ which is normally eaten between the meals. Snack cannot be a substantial and satisfying meal.

6. In view of the above, we reject the appeal.

(Operative portion of the Order was pronounced in Open Court on 24/07/2018) 

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