Sri Kalahasthi Vasavi Nithya Anna Santharpana Samastha, CHENNAI v. DIT, CHENNAI

ITA 1225/CHNY/2011 | misc
Pronouncement Date: 29-11-2011 | Result: Allowed

Appeal Details

RSA Number 122521714 RSA 2011
Assessee PAN AAJTS1098P
Bench Chennai
Appeal Number ITA 1225/CHNY/2011
Duration Of Justice 4 month(s) 29 day(s)
Appellant Sri Kalahasthi Vasavi Nithya Anna Santharpana Samastha, CHENNAI
Respondent DIT, CHENNAI
Appeal Type Income Tax Appeal
Pronouncement Date 29-11-2011
Appeal Filed By Assessee
Order Result Allowed
Bench Allotted D
Tribunal Order Date 29-11-2011
Date Of Final Hearing 29-11-2011
Next Hearing Date 29-11-2011
Assessment Year misc
Appeal Filed On 30-06-2011
Judgment Text
IN THE INCOME TAX APPELLATE TRIBUNAL D BENCH CHENNAI BEFORE SHRI ABRAHAM P. GEORGE ACCOUNTANT MEMBER AND SHRI GEORGE MATHAN JUDICIAL MEMBER I.T.A. NOS. 1225 & 1226/MDS/2011 M/S SRI KALAHASTHI VASAVI NITHYA ANNA SANTHARPANA SAMSTHA 34/33 RAILWAY BORDER ROAD KODAMBAKKAM CHENNAI 600 024. PAN : AAJTS1098P (APPELLANT) V. THE INCOME TAX OFFICER (EXEMPTIONS) CHENNAI 600 034. (RESPONDENT) APPELLANT BY : DR. ANITA SUMANTH ADVOCATE RESPONDENT BY : SHRI K.E.B. RAN GARAJAN JUNIOR STANDING COUNSEL DATE OF HEARING : 29.11.2011 DATE OF PRONOUNCEMENT : 29.11.2011 O R D E R PER ABRAHAM P. GEORGE ACCOUNTANT MEMBER : THESE ARE APPEALS FILED BY THE ASSESSEE AGAINST A COMMON ORDER DATED 30.8.2010 OF DIRECTOR OF INCOME TAX (EX EMPTIONS) I.T.A. NOS. 1225 & 1226/MDS/11 2 CHENNAI DENYING REGISTRATION UNDER SECTION 12AA OF INCOME-TAX ACT 1961 (IN SHORT THE ACT) AND APPROVAL UNDER SECTIO N 80G OF THE ACT. 2. THE APPEALS HAVE BEEN FILED WITH A DELAY OF 164 DAYS AND PLEAS FOR CONDONATION HAVE BEEN FILED. LEARNED A.R. SUBM ITTED THAT THE IMPUGNED ORDER OF LD. DIT(E) WAS RECEIVED BY SMT. M . SABITHA WIFE OF SHRI SREENIVASULU ONE OF THE TRUSTEES OF THE AS SESSEE-TRUST. AS PER THE LEARNED A.R. SMT. M. SABITHA WAS AGED 70 Y EARS AND NEVER UNDERSTOOD THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ORDER AND DID NOT GIVE INFORMATION OF RECEIPT OF THE SAME TO HER HUSBAND. LEARNED A.R . FURTHER SUBMITTED THAT THE ASSESSEE WAS ALWAYS UNDER THE IM PRESSION THAT APPLICATION FILED BEFORE LD. DIT(E) WAS STILL PENDI NG. THE DELAY AS PER LEARNED A.R. WAS NOT WANTON NOR WILLFUL BUT DUE T O THE FACT THAT THE ASSESSEE COULD FILE THIS APPEAL ONLY WHEN ITS TRUST EE SHRI SREENIVASULU FOUND OUT THE ORDER REJECTING ITS APPL ICATION. 3. LEARNED D.R. DID NOT RAISE ANY SERIOUS OBJECTION AGAINST CONDONING THE DELAY. 4. WE FIND THAT ASSESSEE BEING A TRUST AND REASONS GIVEN FOR THE DELAY HAVING NOT BEEN REBUTTED THE DELAY HAS TO BE CONDONED. I.T.A. NOS. 1225 & 1226/MDS/11 3 EFFECTUATION OF SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE IS THE PRIMARY OBJECT OF ANY COURT OR TRIBUNAL AND TECHNICALITIES SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED T O DEFEAT THIS AVOWED OBJECT. WE THEREFORE CONDONE THE DELAY AN D ADMIT THE APPEALS. 5. SHORT FACTS GIVING RAISE TO APPEAL IS THAT ASSES SEE HAD FILED APPLICATIONS IN FORM 10A AND 10G ON 15.2.2010 FOR R EGISTRATION UNDER SECTION 12AA AND FOR APPROVAL UNDER SECTION 80G OF THE ACT RESPECTIVELY. ASSESSEE WAS REQUIRED TO FURNISH CER TAIN ADDITIONAL INFORMATION BY LD. DIT(E) AND THE SAME WERE PROVIDE D BY THE ASSESSEE. ASSESSEE-TRUST WAS FORMED ON 4.12.2009. LD. DIT(E) WAS OF THE OPINION THAT THE DATE ON WHICH ASSESSEE- TRUST HAD COME INTO EXISTENCE WAS NOT CLEAR AND THERE WAS NO CLARI TY ON THE PROPERTY OWNED AND ACCUMULATED BY THE ASSESSEE. LD. DIT(E) OBSERVED FROM ANOTHER APPLICATION FILED ON 22.3.2010 BY ANOTHER T RUST NAMELY M/S VANKAYALA KUPPAIAH CHETTY VYSYA DHARMA SATHRAM THA T THE TRUSTEES OF THE ASSESSEE-TRUST WERE COMMON WITH THA T TRUST AND THE ADDRESS WAS ALSO SAME. LD. DIT(E) NOTED THAT ASSES SEE HAD NOT GIVEN DETAILS OF ITS ACTIVITIES OF EARLIER PERIOD A ND THEREFORE THERE WAS NO TRANSPARENCY OF ITS AFFAIRS. AFTER GOING THROUG H THE MAIN OBJECTS OF I.T.A. NOS. 1225 & 1226/MDS/11 4 THE TRUST LD. DIT(E) CAME TO A CONCLUSION THAT PRO VIDING ANNA SANTHARPANA AND ACCOMMODATION AT REASONABLE COST TO PILGRIMS VISITING SRI KALAHASTHEESWARA TEMPLE AT SRIKALAHAST HI WAS A RELIGIOUS ONE SINCE ANNA SANTHARPANA WAS TO BE PROVIDED ONLY TO THOSE PERSONS WHO WERE VISITING SRI KALAHASTHEESWARA TEMP LE. HE THEREFORE CAME TO A CONCLUSION THAT ASSESSEE-TRUST WAS HAVING RELIGIOUS OBJECT AND NOT A PUBLIC CHARITABLE TRUST. RELYING ON EXPLANATION 3 READ WITH CLAUSE (II) OF SECTION 80G( 5) OF THE ACT LD. DIT(E) CAME TO A CONCLUSION THAT THE TRUST HAVING B EEN ESTABLISHED FOR A SUBSTANTIALLY RELIGIOUS PURPOSE IT COULD NOT BE ACCORDED APPROVAL UNDER SECTION 80G OF THE ACT. RESULTANTLY HE REFUSED BOTH REGISTRATION UNDER SECTION 12AA AND APPROVAL UNDER SECTION 80G OF THE ACT. 6. NOW BEFORE US LEARNED A.R. PLACING A COPY OF TH E TRUST DEED DATED 4 TH DECEMBER 2009 SUBMITTED THAT THE MAIN OBJECT OF THE TRUST WAS TO PROVIDE ANNA SANTHARPANA FREE OF COST DAILY TO THE PILGRIMS VISITING SRI KALAHASTHEESWARA TEMPLE. BUT SUCH AN NA SANTHARPANA WAS TO BE GIVEN IRRESPECTIVE OF CASTE CREED SEX O F THE PERSONS VISITING THAT TEMPLE. AS PER LEARNED A.R. THE PRE SUMPTION TAKEN BY I.T.A. NOS. 1225 & 1226/MDS/11 5 LD. DIT(E) THAT PILGRIMS VISITING SRI KALAHASTHEESW ARA TEMPLE WERE FROM ANY PARTICULAR RELIGION AND PROVIDING ANNA SAN THARPANA TO PERSONS COMING TO THE TEMPLE WAS NOT CHARITABLE BUT RELIGIOUS WAS FAR FETCHED AND UNFOUND. ACCORDING TO HER JUST BE CAUSE ASSESSEE- TRUST HAD THE SAME TRUSTEES AS THAT OF ANOTHER TRUS T M/S VANKAYALA KUPPAIAH CHETTY VYSYA DHARMA SATHRAM WHICH CAME IN TO EXISTENCE IN 1923 LD. DIT(E) OUGHT NOT HAVE BEEN COME TO A C ONCLUSION THAT ASSESSEE-TRUST WAS ALSO QUITE OLD AS THE LATTER TRU ST AND HAD SUBSTANTIAL PROPERTY AND ASSETS. SHE THEREFORE P LEADED THAT ASSESSEE-TRUST HAD TO BE GIVEN REGISTRATION UNDER S ECTION 12AA AS WELL AS APPROVAL UNDER SECTION 80G OF THE ACT. 7. PER CONTRA LEARNED D.R. SUBMITTED THAT ASSESSEE WAS UNABLE TO SHOW ANY CHARITABLE ACTIVITIES BEING CARRIED ON BY IT. AS PER LEARNED D.R. THE OBJECT OF THE ASSESSEE SHOWED THA T IT WAS RELIGIOUS IN NATURE AND HENCE ITS APPLICATIONS FOR REGISTRAT ION UNDER SECTION 12AA AND APPROVAL UNDER SECTION 80G OF THE ACT WERE RIGHTLY DENIED BY LD. DIT(E). I.T.A. NOS. 1225 & 1226/MDS/11 6 8. WE HAVE PERUSED THE ORDER OF LD. DIT(E) AND HEAR D THE RIVAL CONTENTIONS OF LD. COUNSELS. THE MAIN OBJECT OF TH E ASSESSEE-TRUST AS FOUND UNDER CLAUSE 3 OF THE TRUST DEED IS REPROD UCED HEREUNDER:- I. TO PROVIDE ANNA SANTHARPANA AT FREE OF COST DAILY TO THE PILGRIMS IRRESPECTIVE OF THEIR CASTE CREED S EX VISITING SRI KALAHASTHEESWARA TEMPLE AT SRIKALAHASTHI CHITTOOR DISTRICT ANDHRA PRADESH INDIA AND TO SUCH OTHER PLACE OR PLACES AS THE TRUSTEES DETERMINE FROM TIME TO TIME. II. TO PROVIDE ACCOMMODATION AT A REASONABLE COST TO THE PILGRIMS VISITING SRI KALAHASTHEESWARAR TEMPLE AT SRIKALAHASTHI IN PREMISES OWNED OR CONSTRUCTED OR TAKEN ON LEASE. III. TO CONSTRUCT AND MAINTAIN RESIDENT HOMES LIKE OLD AGE HOMES ETC. FOR NEEDY PEOPLE. IV. TO ESTABLISH MAINTAIN SPIRITUAL LIBRARIES CONSISTI NG OF VARIOUS BOOKS AND MAGAZINES RELATED TO SPIRITUAL FIELD PUBLISHED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. V. TO PROMOTE EDUCATION FOR POOR AND DESERVING STUDENTS BY GRANTING SCHOLARSHIPS OR ASSISTANCE IN CASH OR KIND BY WAY OF DISTRIBUTION OF BOOKS NOTEBOOKS UNIFORMS ETC. VI. TO DO ALL SUCH OTHER LAWFUL ACTS AS ARE NOT CONTRADICTORY TO THE ABOVE OBJECTIVES AND THOSE WHICH ARE INCIDENTAL OR CONDUCIVE TO AND IN FURTHERANCE TO THE ATTAINMENT OF THE ABOVE OBJECTIVES. VII. THE ACTIVITIES OF THE TRUST WILL BE CONFINED TO THE INDIAN TERRITORY ONLY. AND THE ACTIVITIES OF THE TRUST WILL BE PURELY CHARITABLE IN NATURE WITHOUT TH E INTENTION OF MAKING PROFIT. I.T.A. NOS. 1225 & 1226/MDS/11 7 VIII. THE BENEFITS OF THE OBJECTS OF THE TRUST WOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE TO ALL PEOPLE IRRESPECTIVE OF THEIR NATIONALITY CASTE CREED RACE RELIGION OR SEX. IX. TO GRANT AID TO SUCH OTHER CHARITABLE INSTITUTIONS WITH SIMILAR OBJECTS FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC. FIRST TWO OBJECTS OF ASSESSEE-TRUST SHOW THAT IT WA S ESTABLISHED FOR PROVIDING ACCOMMODATION AT REASONABLE COST TO PILGR IMS VISITING SRI KALAHASTHEESWARAR TEMPLE AND ALSO TO GIVE FREE FOOD TO PERSONS VISITING THE TEMPLE. IN OUR OPINION LD. DIT(E) CA ME TO A WRONG CONCLUSION THAT THIS WOULD MAKE THE TRUST A RELIGIO US ONE. THE TRUST WAS NOT ESTABLISHED TO RUN SRI KALAHASTHEESWARAR TE MPLE. THERE IS NO RESTRICTION AS TO THE CASTE CREED AND RELIGION OF THE PERSONS VISITING THAT TEMPLE. IT IS VERY CLEARLY MENTIONED IN CLAUSE (I) THAT FREE FOOD HAD TO BE GIVEN TO THE PILGRIMS IRRESPECTIVE O F THEIR CASTE CREED AND SEX. THERE MIGHT BE A REMOTE CONNECTION OF SUC H PHILANTHROPY IN THE NATURE OF FREE FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION GIVEN TO PERSONS VISITING THE TEMPLE WITH THEIR PURPOSE OF VISITING THE TEMP LE. THE PURPOSE OF THE VISIT OF THE PERSONS TO A TEMPLE CAN BE RELIGIO US IN NATURE. BUT NEVERTHELESS FEEDING PILGRIMS AND GIVING FREE STAY TO PERSONS VISITING A TEMPLE CANNOT BE CONSIDERED AS RELIGIOUS OBJECT. GIVING SHELTER AND I.T.A. NOS. 1225 & 1226/MDS/11 8 FOOD TO ANY SECTION OF PUBLIC IS PURELY CHARITABLE AND NOT RELIGIOUS IF SUCH FACILITIES ARE GIVEN WITHOUT CONSIDERATION AND WITHOUT DIFFERENTIATION BETWEEN CASTE CREED AND SIX. LD. DIT(E) WITHOUT RECOGNIZING THE SUBTLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A RELIGIO US AND A CHARITABLE PURPOSE IN OUR OPINION ERRED IN TREATING THE ASSE SSEE AS A RELIGIOUS ONE. A LOOK AT EXPLANATION TO SUB-SECTION (5C) OF SECTION 80G WOULD SHOW THAT CHARITABLE PURPOSE WILL NOT INCLUDE ANY P URPOSE THE WHOLE OR SUBSTANTIALLY WHOLE OF WHICH WAS OF A RELIGIOUS NATURE. AS ALREADY MENTIONED BY US NONE OF THE OBJECTS OF THE ASSESSE E COULD BE CLASSIFIED AS WHOLE OR SUBSTANTIALLY WHOLE OF RELIG IOUS NATURE. IN OUR OPINION OBJECTS OF THE TRUST WERE PURELY CHARITABL E IN NATURE SINCE THEY WERE ALL LAUDATORY AND PHILANTHROPIC. 9. COMING TO OTHER REASONS CITED BY LD. DIT(E) THAT ASSESSEE MIGHT HAVE BEEN EXISTING SINCE 1923 AND IT MIGHT BE HAVING PROPERTY THESE WERE ALL SUSPICIONS NOT BORNE OUT OF RECORDS. THE TRUST DEED DID NOT MENTION ANYTHING REGARDING ANY SUCH PROPERT Y EXCEPT FOR THE INITIAL FUND OF ` 6000/- WHICH WAS CONTRIBUTED BY THE TRUSTEES. I.T.A. NOS. 1225 & 1226/MDS/11 9 10. WE THEREFORE QUASH THE ORDERS OF LD. DIT(E) A ND DIRECT HIM TO GRANT ASSESSEE BOTH REGISTRATION UNDER SECTION 12AA AS WELL AS APPROVAL UNDER SECTION 80G OF THE ACT. 11. IN THE RESULT BOTH THE APPEALS FILED BY THE AS SESSEE STAND ALLOWED. ORDER PRONOUNCED IN THE OPEN COURT AFTER CONCLUSION OF HEARING ON 29 TH NOVEMBER 2011. SD/- SD/- (GEORGE MATHAN) (ABRAHAM P. GEORGE) JUDICIAL MEMBER ACCOUNTANT MEMBER CHENNAI DATED THE 29 TH NOVEMBER 2011. KRI. COPY TO: (1) APPELLANT (2) RESPONDENT (3) DIT(E) CHENNAI (4) D.R. (5) GUARD FILE