UTTAR BHARTIYA SWARNAKAR (SONAR ) VIKAS MANDAL, MUMBAI v. DIT (E), THANE

ITA 878/MUM/2009 | misc
Pronouncement Date: 31-05-2010 | Result: Allowed

Appeal Details

RSA Number 87819914 RSA 2009
Bench Mumbai
Appeal Number ITA 878/MUM/2009
Duration Of Justice 1 year(s) 3 month(s) 19 day(s)
Appellant UTTAR BHARTIYA SWARNAKAR (SONAR ) VIKAS MANDAL, MUMBAI
Respondent DIT (E), THANE
Appeal Type Income Tax Appeal
Pronouncement Date 31-05-2010
Appeal Filed By Assessee
Order Result Allowed
Bench Allotted F
Date Of Final Hearing 03-03-2010
Next Hearing Date 03-03-2010
Assessment Year misc
Appeal Filed On 10-02-2009
Judgment Text
IN THE INCOME TAX APPELLATE TRIBUNAL MUMBAI BENCHES 'F' : MUMBAI BEFORE SHRI D. MANMOHAN HON'BLE VICE PRESIDENT AND SHRI R.K. PANDA ACCOUNTANT MEMBER ITA. NO. 878/MUM/2009 UTTAR BHARTIYA SWARNAKAR (SONAR) VIKAS MANDAL MUMBAI 003 PAN AAATU-0102-B VS. DIT (EXM.) 6 TH FLOOR PIRAMAL CHAMBERS PAREL MUMBAI 400 012 (APPELLANT) (RESPONDENT) FOR APPELLANT : SHRI S.M. JAIN FOR RESPONDENT : SHRI VIRENDRA OJHA ORDER SHRI D. MANMOHAN V.P. 1. THIS APPEAL BY THE ASSESSEE-TRUST IS DIRECTED A GAINST THE ORDER PASSED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX (EXE MPTION) MUMBAI. 2. THE ASSESSEE-TRUST WAS ORIGINALLY CONSTITUTED O N 13-02- 1995 AND HAS FILED AN APPLICATION IN FORM 10A FOR R EGISTRATION OF TRUST UNDER SECTION 12A OF THE ACT 1961. IN ORDER TO VER IFY THE GENUINENESS OF THE TRUST APPLICANT WAS ASKED TO PRODUCE ALL RE LEVANT DOCUMENTS ON 20/10/2008 BUT NONE APPEARED ON BEHALF OF THE AS SESSEE-TRUST IN SPITE OF SEVERAL OPPORTUNITIES GIVEN TO THE ASSESSE E-TRUST. FINALLY ON 16/12/2008 SHRI BASANTILAL SONI TRUSTEE ATTENDED A ND PRODUCED THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS FOR VERIFICATION ALONG WITH STA TEMENT OF ACCOUNTS FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS UPDATED BANK STATEMENT AN D PROOF OF ACTIVITY BEFORE THE COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX (EXEMPTION) C ONTENDING INTER ALIA THAT THE ASSESSEE-TRUST IS REGULARLY CONDUCTI NG GROUP MARRIAGES WHERE THEY INVITE THE FAMILIES OF BRIDE AND BRIDE G ROOM WHO CANNOT AFFORD TO ARRANGE THE MARRIAGE ON THEIR OWN AND ARR ANGING OF THE 2 FUNCTION FOR GROUP MARRIAGE IS A CHARITABLE ACTIVIT Y. IN SUPPORT OF ITS CONTENTION LEARNED COUNSEL RELIED UPON THE JUDGMEN T OF THE ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT IN THE CASE OF CIT VS. BHARTIY A KHATRI SEVA TRUST 205 ITR 96 WHEREIN IT WAS HELD THAT GIVING FI NANCIAL OR OTHER HELP ON THE OCCASION OF MARRIAGE IS REGARDED AS A P ART OF RELIGIOUS CHARITABLE ACTIVITIES AND ENTITLED FOR REGISTRATION UNDER THE ACT. THE LEARNED COMMISSIONER REJECTED THE APPLICATION FOR R EGISTRATION OF THE ASSESSEE-TRUST ON THE GROUND THAT WHERE THE OBJECTS ARE MIXED I.E. RELIGIOUS AND CHARITABLE AND IF THE TRUST IS FORME D AFTER 1-4-1961 IT MAY NOT QUALIFY EITHER AS A PUBLIC RELIGIOUS TRUST OR PUBLIC CHARITABLE TRUST. IN THIS REGARD HE RELIED UPON THE FOLLOWING DECISIONS. (I) STATE OF KERALA VS. M.P. SHANTI VARMA JAIN (1998) 231 ITR 787 (SC) (II) CIT VS. PALGHAT SHADI MAHAL TRUST (2002) 254 ITR 212 (SC) (III) CIT VS. UPPER GANGES SUGAR MILLS LTD. (1997) 227 ITR 578 (SC). 3. AGGRIEVED ASSESSEE IS IN APPEAL BEFORE US. LEA RNED COUNSEL REITERATED HIS CONTENTIONS RAISED BEFORE T HE LEARNED DIRECTOR OF INCOME TAX (EXEMPTION). 4. ON THE OTHER HAND LEARNED DR RELIED UPON THE OR DER OF THE DIRECTOR OF INCOME TAX (EXEMPTION) MUMBAI. 5. JOINING THE ISSUE LEARNED COUNSEL SUBMITTED TH AT THE CASE LAW RELIED UPON BY THE REVENUE ARE DISTINGUISH ABLE ON FACTS. IN ALL THOSE CASES THE ACTIVITIES WERE IN VIOLATION OF SECTION 13 OF I.T. ACT 1961 WHEREAS IN THE INSTANT CASE THE HONBLE ALLA HABAD HIGH COURT CATEGORICALLY HELD THAT EXTENDING HELP ON THE OCCAS ION OF A MARRIAGE IS CHARITABLE ACTIVITY. 3 6. WE HAVE CAREFULLY CONSIDERED THE RIVAL SUBMISSI ONS AND PERUSED THE RECORD. AS COULD BE NOTICED FROM THE MA IN OBJECTS OF THE TRUST THE DOMINANT OBJECT WAS TO ACCELERATE CULTURA L PROGRAMMES NATIONAL FESTIVALS ETC. FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND TO ERADICATE THE FEELINGS OF DIVIDE ON ACCOUNT OF CASTE CREED LANG UAGE RELIGION ETC. AND IN THE PROCESS CARRYING OUT ITS OBJECTS IT HA D ALSO UNDERTAKEN TO CELEBRATE GROUP MARRIAGES. IN THIS REGARD ASSESSEE EXPLAINED AS UNDER: THE TRUST WAS REGULARLY CONDUCTING GROUP MARRIAGES WHERE THEY INVITE FAMILIES OF BRIDE AND BRIDE-GROOM WHO CANNOT AFFORD TO ARRANGE THE MARRIAGE ON THEIR OWN- ---. 7. LEARNED DIRECTOR OF INCOME TAX (EXEMPTIONS) ADM ITS THAT OTHER OBJECTS MENTIONED IN MOA DEPICTS THAT THEY AR E CHARITABLE ACTIVITIES. MUCH STRESS WAS GIVEN TO THE CLAUSE PER TAINING TO CELEBRATING RELIGIOUS PROGRAMMES IN THE FORM OF CONDUCTING GROUP MARRIAGES WHICH WAS HELD TO BE A RELIGIOUS ACTIVIT Y. IN THE CASE OF CIT VS. BHARTIYA KHATRI SEWA TRUST 205 ITR 96 THE HONB LE ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT CONSIDERED AN IDENTICAL ISSUE WHEREIN THE COU RT OBSERVED THAT SPENDING MONEY ON THE MARRIAGES OF GIRLS IS TO BENE FIT A SECTION OF PUBLIC AS DISTINGUISHED FROM SPECIFIED INDIVIDUALS AND BEARING IN MIND THE OBLIGATORY ACTIONS OF THE HINDUS FINANCIAL AID ON THE OCCASION OF MARRIAGE IS REGARDED AS PART OF CHARITABLE ACTIVITY . NO DOUBT THE COURT OBSERVED THAT IT IS A RELIGIOUS CHARITABLE ACTIVIT Y BUT THE UNDERLYING MEANING OF THE EXPRESSION HAS TO BE LOOKED INTO IN THE PERSPECTIVE IN WHICH EXPENDITURE WAS INCURRED BY THE ASSESSEE. IN THE INSTANT CASE IT WAS NOT AN EXPENDITURE INCURRED TO BENEFIT SPECI FIED INDIVIDUALS BUT TO BENEFIT A SECTION OF THE PUBLIC I.E. CONDUCTING GROUP MARRIAGES WHERE THEIR FAMILIES CANNOT AFFORD TO ARRANGE MARRI AGES OF THEIR OWN. 4 IN OUR OPINION THE DECISION OF THE ALLAHABAD HIGH C OURT SQUARELY APPLIES TO THE FACTS OF THE INSTANT CASE. 8. LEARNED DR RELIED UPON THREE DECISIONS OF THE A PEX COURT. IN THE CASE OF CIT VS. UPPER GANGES SUGAR MILLS LTD . (SUPRA) THE HONBLE COURT WAS CONCERNED WITH A TRUST WHOSE MAIN OBJECT WAS TO SUPPORT PRAYER HALLS AND PLACE OF WORSHIP ; BY ANAL YSING PROVISIONS OF SECTION 80G OF THE ACT THE COURT OBSERVED THAT PURP OSE OF DONATION WAS EITHER WHOLLY OR SUBSTANTIALLY IS OF RELIGIOUS NATURE AND THUS CONCLUDED THAT THE DONATION AND TRUST FALLS OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF SECTION 80G OF THE ACT. IN THE CASE OF STATE OF K ERALA VS. M.P. SHANTI VERMA JAIN (SUPRA) BASED UPON CATEGORICAL FINDING THAT THE DOMINANT PURPOSE OF TRUST WAS PROPAGATION OF JAIN RELIGION INCOME OF TRUST WAS HELD TO BE NOT ENTITLED TO EXEMPTION. SIMILARLY IN THE CASE OF CIT VS. PALGHAT SHADI MAHAL TRUST (SUPRA) THE MAIN PLEA OF THE ASSESSEE WAS THAT THE TRUST ENURES ONLY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE R ESIDENTS OF THE LOCALITY AND THUS IT IS COVERED BY SECOND EXPLANATION TO SEC TION 13 WHEREAS IT WAS FOUND BY THE COURT THAT THERE WAS NO LIMITATION IN THE TRUST DEED IN REGARD TO WHICH MUSLIMS CAN AVAIL OF THE BENEFIT S OF THE TRUST. IN OTHER WORDS SINCE BENEFIT IS TO MUSLIMS FROM ALL OV ER THE WORLD PROVISIONS OF SECTION 13 (1) (B) OF THE ACT WAS HEL D TO BE APPLICABLE. THUS IT WAS CONCLUDED THAT PALGHAT SHADI MAHAL TRU ST CANNOT BE CONSIDERED AS A CHARITABLE TRUST. 9. THE AFORECITED CASE LAW ARE DISTINGUISHABLE ON FACTS. IN THE CASE BEFORE US IT IS NOT DISPUTED THAT ALL THE OTHER CLAUSES/DOMINANT CLAUSES POINT OUT THAT THE OBJECT OF THE TRUST IS TO CARRY OUT CHARITABLE ACTIVITIES. CONDUCTING GROUP M ARRIAGES TO BENEFIT POOR BRIDES AND GROOMS WHICH WOULD FALL IN THE CATE GORY OF CHARITABLE ACTIVITY TO ONE SECTION OF THE SOCIETY AS DISTINGUI SHED FROM SPECIFIED INDIVIDUALS - CANNOT BE CONSIDERED AS A DOMINANT RE LIGIOUS ACTIVITY THOUGH HINDUS CONSIDER PERFORMING MARRIAGES AS A RE LIGIOUS 5 OBLIGATION. IN OUR OPINION THE DOMINANT OBJECT BEI NG CHARITABLE IN NATURE ASSESSEE IS ENTITLED TO BE GRANTED REGISTRA TION. WE THEREFORE SET ASIDE THE ORDER OF THE DIRECTOR OF INCOME TAX ( EXEMPTION) AND DIRECT HIM TO GRANT EXEMPTION. 10. IN THE RESULT APPEAL FILED BY THE ASSESSEE IS ALLOWED. ORDER PRONOUNCED ON THIS THE 31 ST DAY OF MAY 2010. SD/- SD/- (R.K.PANDA) (D.MANMOHAN) ACCOUNTANT MEMBER VICE PRESIDET MUMBAI DATED 31 ST MAY 2010. VBP/- COPY TO 1. UTTAR BHARTIYA SWARNAKAR (SONAR) VIKAS MANDAL 3 2 DARIYASTAN STREET 4 TH FLOOR AMBE ASHISH BLDG. MUMBAI 003. PAN AAATU-0102B 2. DIRECTOR OF INCOME TAX-(EXEMPTION) 6 TH FLOOR PIRAMAL CHAMBERS PAREL MUMBAI 400 012. 3. DIRECTOR OF INCOME TAX-(EXEMPTION)-II (2) MUMBA I. 4. D.R. 'F' BENCH MUMBAI 5. GUARD FILE (TRUE COPY) BY ORDER ASST. REGISTRAR ITAT PUNE BENCHES PUNE. SL. NO. PARTICULARS DATE INITIAL 1. DRAFT DICTATED ON 24-05-2010 SR. P.S. 2. DRAFT PLACED BEFORE THE MEMBER 24-05-2010 SR. P.S. 3 DRAFT APPROVED AND SENT TO SECOND MEMBER 24-05-20 10 V.P. 4. DRAFT APPROVED BY SECOND MEMBER -05-2010 A .M. 5. DRAFT RECEIVED BY SR. P.S. -05-2010 SR. P.S. 6. KEPT FOR PRONOUNCEMENT -05-2010 SR. P.S. 7. SENT TO BENCH CLERK -05-2010 SR. P.S. 8. DATE OF DISPATCH OF THE ORDER