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Steamer agents of Chennai and Ennore ports continue to get waiver of service tax thanks to Madras high court order

The steamer agents and cargo charterers continued to get exemption from payment of 4.5 service tax levied on transportation of goods through sea following the order of the Madras high court on March 13.

The Division Bench of the court of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice Anitha Sumanth through on order passed on February 25 said no coercive action can be taken against the petitioners Chennai Ennore Port Steamer agents association (CHENSAA) for filing the writ petition against the levy by the Union government.

The Union Finance Ministry had levied a service tax of 4.5 per cent on transportation of goods by sea on ship charterters and owners and made steamer agents liable for collection of the tax. The levy came into force from January 22 though a finance ministry notification. Chensaa filed a writ petition in the Madras high court against the levy the court had passed interim orders and asked the centre to respond within three weeks.

When the matter came up again for hearing before the bench on March 13, the union government sought some time to file the reply and sought adjournment. The court posted the case on April 18 for the next hearing in the matter. It however made it clear no coercive action should be taken against the petitioner in the meanwhile.


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