Jyoti Balasundaram, Vice-President
1. The penalty imposed upon the respondent herein by the adjudicating authority in terms of Section 76 of the Finance Act, 1994, has been set-aside by the lower appellate authority on the ground that the entire Service Tax amount was deposited together with interest before the issue of show cause notice (amount was paid on 5-2-2003, while the show cause notice was dated 21-6-2004). The Revenue is in appeal against the setting-aside of the penalty.
2. As none appears for the respondent, I have heard the learned DR and perused the record. I find that in the case of Sieger Spintech Equipments Pvt. Ltd. v. Commissioner of Central Excise, Coimbatore – 2006 (3) S.T.R. 736 (T-Chennai), penalty has been held to be not imposable under Section 76 of the Finance Act, 1994, for the reason that the Service Tax was paid prior to the issuance of the show cause notice. The same view has been expressed by this Tribunal in earlier decisions in the case of Commissioner v. Pioneer Plastic Products – 2005-TIOL-1175-CESTAT-KOL and Commissioner v. Top Detective and Security Services Pvt. Ltd. . The reliance placed by the learned DR on the amendment to Section 76 w.e.f. 14-5-2003 to hold that decision of the Tribunal in the case of Sieger Spintech Equipments Pvt. Ltd. v. Commissioner of Central Excise, Coimbatore (supra), would not apply as it covered the period post amendment, while the period in the present case is October, 2002, which is prior to the amendment in Section 76, does not make any difference in view of the above judgments of the Tribunal.
3. Following the ratio of the above decisions of the Tribunal, I see no ground to interfere with the order of the Commissioner (Appeals) and accordingly uphold the same and reject the appeal.
(Dictated and pronounced in the open Court on the 17th day of December, 2007)