The Mumbai Bench of Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) ruled that coaching for competitive entrance examinations, provided to students seeking admission in engineering and medical colleges, is exempted from “Training or Coaching Services.” The appellant, Chhatrapati Shikshan Sanstha, is a Trust registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, operating various schools and colleges in and around Latur locality
. It also imparts coaching for competitive exams like MPSC, UPSC, IIT-JEE, AIEEE, MHT-CET, etc. The department claimed that the services provided by the appellant are taxable under “Commercial Training or Coaching Services” and “Renting of Immovable Property Service.” Demands for the period from April 2015 to June 2017 were made in a follow-up show-cause notice dated April 6, 2018, leading to a confirmation of duty, interest, and penalty under Section 78 of the Finance Act, 1994. The appellant, asserting exemption under Sr. No. 9 of Notification No. 25/2012-ST, filed an appeal, contending that the adjudication order was based on earlier legislation and thus inapplicable to the present one. Makarand P. Joshi, Counsel for the appellant, argued that coaching for competitive exams provided to its own students should not be classified under “Commercial Training or Coaching Services.”
No coaching was imparted to students other than those enrolled for obtaining degrees or diplomas. Piyush Barasu, counsel for the respondent, argued that the commercial coaching provided by the appellant, with additional fees collected, cannot be exempt under the definition of “Auxiliary Education Service.” Hence, the appellant falls under “Commercial Training or Coaching Services.” The two-member bench, consisting of Dr. Suvendu Kumar Pati (Member – Judicial) and Anil G. Shakkarwar (Member-Technical), held that coaching for competitive entrance exams, aimed at securing admission in engineering and medical colleges, is exempted from “Commercial Training or Coaching Services.” Therefore, the bench allowed the appeal filed by the appellant.