Constitutionality of Section 66B of the Finance Act, 1994, upheld

Delhi High Court: While dealing with the issue relating to challenge to the constitutional validity of Section 66B of the Finance Act, 1994 read with 65B(40) and Section 66D as amended by Clause (f) of Section 107 and Clause (2) of Section 109 of Finance Act, 2015 respectively, along with Notification No. 14/2015/-ST dated 19th May 2015, which levies service tax with effect from 1st June 2015, on persons who manufacture alcoholic liquor for human consumption on job work basis, the division bench comprising of S. Muralidhar and Vibhu Bakhru JJ.,  dismissed challenges made by the liquor manufactures.

In the present case, Petitioners filed the petition on the ground that Parliament lacks the legislative competence to enact the said amendments since the activity of manufacture of alcoholic liquor for consumption, whether for oneself or for another person, lies exclusively within the domain of the State Legislature under Entry 51 of List II of Schedule VII to the Constitution. The case of the Respondents on the other hand was that the service tax introduced by way of Chapter V to the 1994 Act is within the legislative competence of the Parliament to levy and collect. The Respondents contended that service tax is not levied on the manufacture of alcohol but on the service aspect of the contract of manufacturing of alcohol on behalf of the principal manufacturer/brand owner

The Court upon being satisfied with the contentions laid down by Respondent’s held that what is sought to be made amenable to service tax is the activity of contract manufacturing of alcoholic liquors fit for human consumption by one entity for another. Such provision of service which is in pith and substance not covered under Entry 51 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India is certainly amenable to levy of service tax by Parliament which is competent to legislate on that aspect with reference to Entry 97 of List I. The Court, therefore dismissed the challenge to the validity of Section 113(A) (1) of the  2009 Act by which Section 65(19) of the FA 1994 stood amended and the challenge to the validity of Section 66B of the 1994 Act read with 65B(40) and Section 66D of the 1994 Act  as amended by Clause (f) of Section 107 and Clause (2) of Section 109 of 2015 Act. Carlsberg India Pvt. Ltd.  v. Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine Del 4359, decided on 5.08.2016]

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