Madras HC: Hostel services to girls/working women amount to ‘residential dwelling’; Quashes AAR-Ruling

Thai Mookambikaa Ladies Hostel vs. UOI

heading 9963 and is taxable at 18% GST; Carves an important angle that “imposition of GST on the Hostel accommodation should be viewed from the perspective of the recipient of service and not from the perspective of service provider” and places relying upon judgement in Taghar Vasudeva Ambrish case; Observes that “‘hostel services’ provided by the petitioners to the girl students and working women will squarely amount to the ‘residential dwelling’ and accordingly, the same will be squarely covered under the Entry No.12 of Exemption Notification No.12 of 2017”; Finds it evident that the expression ‘residence’ and ‘dwelling’ have more or less the connotation in common parlance and therefore, no different meaning can be assigned to the expression ‘residential dwelling’ and accordingly, the same does include hostel which is used for residential purposes by students or working women; According a purposive interpretation, HC infers that “The purpose of exemption given in the Notification is only to lessen the burden of tax on the dwellers, who are the tenants/occupants of the residential premises taken on rent”; In strict term, lays down that AAR has not ventured upon to find out whether the accommodation provided will fall within the purview of ‘residential dwelling for use as residence’ and whether the inmates of the hostels are using the premises as residential dwelling or as commercial purpose.