Jyoti Balasundaram, Vice-President
1. In this case the Commissioner (Appeals) has reduced the penalty imposed on the respondents herein for delay in payment of service tax from Rs. 4,897/- to Rs. 2000/-. It is against this reduction that the Revenue has come up in appeal. The assessee is in appeal against the reduction, contending that no penalty is called for at all.
2. I have heard the learned DR and perused the records and none appears for the respondents inspite of notice. I find that the Commissioner (Appeals) has relied upon the provisions of Section 80 for reduction of penalty while recording a finding that the major delay relates to initial months, namely September and October 2004 when banking and financial services were included in the service tax net with effect from 10.9.2004. In other words, he has held that the assessees had explained that there was a reasonable cause for the delay in payment of service tax. It is already settled that the provisions of Section 80 will have overriding effect over the provisions of Section 76 of the Finance Act. Therefore, no ground has been made out by the Revenue for enhancement of the penalty to the amount as imposed originally by the adjudicating authority and the impugned order is, therefore, upheld and the appeal dismissed. In the cross-objections the prayer of the respondents is setting-aside of the penalty. However, there is no merit in the prayer for the reason that although the major delay in payment of service tax was during the initial months for levy of service tax on the services rendered by the respondents, the fact remains that the delay continued and there was no reasonable cause for the delay after the initial period, therefore, some penalty was definitely required to be retained. I dismiss the cross-objections.
[Dictated and pronounced in the open Court]