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Diocese of Pune (CNI) Versus Commissioner of Income-tax -I, Pune

2015 (5) TMI 759 - ITAT PUNE

Non-grant of registration under section 12A - activities carried on by the trust were meant for members of the Christian community and thus it is established for the benefit of specific religious community attracting the provisions of section 13(1)(b) and therefore no purpose will be served by granting registration u/s.12A as held by CIT(A) - Held that:- Looking at the objects of the trust, we find that one of the objects of the assessee trust was to provide Ambulance facility to people at large .....

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y only, but for the public at large.

The Hon'ble Gujarat High Court in Chandra Charitable Trust case (2006 (7) TMI 96 - HIGH COURT , GUJARAT) had laid down that even where the objects of the trust were not only to propagate the Jainism or help and assist maintenance of temples, Sadhus, Sadhvis, Shraviks and Shravaks, and other goals as set out in the trust deed, the trust was a charitable as well as religious trust and section 13(1)(b) of the Act would not be applicable. Similar propo .....

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ould not be applicable. In view thereof, we direct the Commissioner to grant registration to the assessee under section 12A of the Act as charitable religious trust - Decided in favour of assesseee. - IT APPEAL NO. 1352 (PUNE) OF 2014 - Dated:- 31-3-2015 - SHRI G.S. PANNU AND MS.SUSHMA CHOWLA, JJ. For The Appellant : S.N. Doshi for the Appellant. For The Respondent : Adarsh Kumar Modi ORDER PER SUSHMA CHOWLA, JM: This appeal filed by the assessee is against the order of CIT-I, Pune dated 22.05.2 .....

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b) and therefore no purpose will be served by granting registration u/s.12A. 2. The above ground of appeal may kindly be allowed to be amended, altered, modified etc., in the interest of natural justice. 3. The assessee vide present appeal is aggrieved by non-grant of registration under section 12A of the Act. 4. The brief facts of the case are that, the assessee was created vide a Deed of Trust dated 01.08.2014. It was registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950 vide Certificate of Regi .....

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of the Act and it was also requisitioned as to how these could be considered as charitable. The Commissioner further from the details of the activities carried out for financial years 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 noted that the activities were also for the benefit of a particular religious community in contravention of section 13(1)(b) of the Act. The assessee vide written submissions dated 15.04.2014 regarding objects at serial Nos.2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 submitted that reference to the Christian comm .....

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garding the activities carried on, it was also explained that these were benefitting all the members of the public at large. The Commissioner was of the view that the objects at serial Nos.2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 were not charitable in the strict sense of the term and, instead, were religious and if these objects were considered carefully, then there was no doubt that the same were meant for the benefit of specific religious community i.e. the community of Christianity. Further, reference was made to t .....

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which has been distinguished by the Commissioner, even the ratio laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in CIT v. Dawoodi Bohra jamat [2014] 364 ITR 31(SC). The Commissioner was of the view that under section 13(1)(b) of the Act, where the charitable trust or institution is established for the benefit of any specific religious community or caste, the benefits of sections 11 and 12 of the Act would not be available to such a trust or institution, in the light thereof, the grant of registrati .....

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d Authorized Representative for the assessee was that the assessee was a public charitable trust as it was registered under Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950. It was further contented by the learned Authorized Representative for the assessee that the trust was not established for Christian community only, but for the public at large. Further, reliance was placed on the ratio laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Dawoodi Bohra Jamat case (supra). 7. The learned Departmental Representative fo .....

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issioner, Pune Region, Pune dated 10.04.2007. 8. We have heard the rival contentions and perused the record. The assessee trust was created as per the Deed of Trust dated 01.08.2004. It was registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950 vide Certificate of Registration issued by the Asst. Charity Commissioner, Pune Region, Pune on 17.04.2007. The assessee also registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. The objects of the trust are as under:- 2. Generally to do all such other dee .....

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and dumb, students and to establish primary, high school, higher secondary, degree course and post-degree education for needy and deserving Christian students in particular and others in general. 5. To establish Hostels, Libraries, Computer Centers for Christian boys and girls in particular and other deserving & needy boys and girls in general. 6. To establish centers to propagate, co-ordinate and to secure the rights guaranteed under Act and 30(1) and 16(4) of the constitution of Indian to .....

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d also through worship and other activities of the Church which promote spiritual growth, self reliance, social justice and moral regeneration, irrespective of caste, creed or colour, has been deleted by the order of Asst. Charity Commissioner, Pune Region, Pune dated 10.04.2007. A copy of the said order is placed at pages 32 to 34 of the Paper Book. Under the said order, it has also been held that the objects of the society are of general public utility and all within section 9 of BPT Act, 1950 .....

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unity and other public at large. The object No.3 i.e. the provision of Ambulance facility to people at large cannot be said to only for the benefit of Christian community. In the above said facts and circumstances, where the trust has been created both for the charitable and religious purposes, the issue arise whether it is entitled for registration under section 12A of the Act. 10. We find that the Hon'ble Gujarat High Court in CIT v. Chandra Cahritable Trust [2007] 294 ITR 86 (Guj) which h .....

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ble as well as religious trust and section 13(1)(b) of the Act would not be applicable. The Hon'ble High Court has held as under:- "5. The question, that what should be the principle adopted and whether Jainism is a lifestyle or a religion, would lose much of its importance in view of the judgment of this Court in the matter of CIT v. Barkate Saifiyah Society (supra). If Jainism is accepted to be a religion and from the covenants of the trust deed it can be spelt out that not only to pr .....

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reference stands disposed of accordingly. No costs." 11. The Hon'ble Supreme Court in Dawoodi Bohra Jamat, (2014) 364 ITR 31 (SC) had observed that the objects of trust as declared in the Trust Deed would govern its right of exemption under sections 11 and 12 of the Act. The Hon'ble Supreme Court also recognized the creation or establishment of trust for either religious or charitable or both religious and charitable purposes. By looking at the objects of the trust, it had to be de .....

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ed on religious tenets but where the activities of the trust for both charitable and religious were not exclusively meant for a particular religious community, then it would not fall under the provisions of section 13(1)(b) of the Act and it was further held that where the assessee was charitable and religious trust, which did not benefit any specific religious community and hence, it could not be held that the provisions of section 13(1)(b) of the Act would be attracted to the assessee trust an .....

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ntained in the trust deed. It is only the objects of a trust as declared in the trust deed which would govern its right of exemption under section 11 or 12. It is the analysis of these objects in the backdrop of fiscal jurisprudence which would illuminate the purpose behind creation or establishment of the trust for either religious or charitable or both religious and charitable purpose. Therefore, the High Court had erred in refusing to interfere with the observations of the Tribunal in respect .....

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to the Holy Quran and resolved to abide by the path of godliness shown by Allah would not be sufficient to conclude that the entire purpose and activities of the trust were purely religious in colour. The objects reflected the intent of the trust as observance of the tenets of Islam, but did not restrict the activities of the trust to religious obligations only and for the benefit of the members of the community. The provision of food to the public on religious days of the community, the establ .....

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mbers of the specific community. The establishment of Madarsas or institutions to impart religious education to the masses would qualify as a charitable purpose qualifying under the head of education under the provisions of section 2(15) of the Act. Similarly, assistance by the assessee-trust to the needy and poor for religious activities would not divest the trust of its altruist character. Therefore, the objects of the trust exhibited the dual tenor of religious and charitable purposes and act .....

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ssessee-trust were based on religious tenets under the Quran according to the religious faith of Islam. The activities of the trust though both charitable and religious were not exclusively meant for a particular religious community. The objects did not channel the benefits to any community if not the Dawoodi Bohra community and thus, would not fall under the provisions of section 13(1)(b) of the Act. The assessee-trust was a charitable and religious trust which did not benefit any specific reli .....

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before us is whether the trust whose objects were religious as well as charitable would be entitled for registration under section 12A of the Act. Looking at the objects of the trust, we find that one of the objects of the assessee trust was to provide Ambulance facility to people at large. The object Nos. 2, 6 and 7 of the Trust, were admittedly relating to Christian community. However, other object Nos. 3, 4, 5 was to provide Ambulance facility to people at large, to establish and administer .....

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