Monday, November 7, 2016

Trust promoting Jain Community entitled to registration if it was also working for benefit of general public

Facts:

a) The assessee-trust applied for registration in terms of section 12A.

b) The Commissioner refused such registration on the ground that the objects and activities of the trust were not charitable and were mainly for the purposes of a Jain Community and, therefore, provisions of section 13(1)(b) were attracted.

c) On appeal, the Tribunal was of the view that the Commissioner could not mix the requirements of registration of a trust with that of granting exemption under section 13.

The High Court held as under:

1) It was seen that, the Commissioner focused his attention on particular clauses of the objects of the trust to come to the conclusion that the same were for the benefit of a certain religious communities only, in the process ignoring various other objects, for e.g., the trust would engage itself in activities relating to education by maintaining and running education centers, run hostels, training centers for creating awareness in the common people and to make the education available to the public.

2) It would also engage in imparting training in computers. The trust would engage in doing all activities for medical help and to establish and administer dispensaries, hospitals and laboratories etc. It would also help the patients by supplying medicines and financial assistance. Likewise the trust could engage in rural development schemes.

3) The trust would engage in literary and cultural activities by making efforts for the development and protection of Indian culture. Further, it had done activities such as running cow shelters, provide food, cloth and financial help for economically weaker persons, help during natural or other calamities, serve humans and animals etc.


4) Thus, very premise for the Commissioner to come to the conclusion that the objects of the trust were confined to the benefit of a religious community, was incorrect. There after to suggest that the activities were carried out only for such purposes would be entering in the realm of granting exemptions in terms of section 13, which would be the task of the Assessing Officer to be undertaken at the time of assessment on the basis of material that may be brought on record.

5) Thus, the Tribunal was correct in allowing registration to trust - [2016] 74 taxmann.com 199 (Gujarat)
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