Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Registration to trust couldn’t be denied even if it breached Right to Education Act and generated profit

Registration under section 12A couldn’t be denied to assessee-trust merely on ground that it earned profits by charging substantial fees and had violated requirements of Right to Education Act

In the instant case the assessee, an educational society, filed application for registration under sections 12A. The CIT rejected application for registration on ground that the society was running its institution purely on commercial basis and earning profits by charging substantial fees from students. He also cited violation of requirements of Right to Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act) and non-furnishing of original instrument of establishment of society as reasons for rejection of application. Aggrieved assessee filed the instant appeal to the Tribunal.

The Tribunal held in favour of assessee as under:

1) It was found that the CIT didn’t raise any objection against the objects of assessee-society. Its main object was education, which undeniably was of charitable nature, in line with the provisions of section 2(15);

2) Further, it was not within the CIT's purview to take recourse to the RTE Act to reject assessee’s application. While considering an application for grant of registration under section 12A, the CIT was only required to see whether the object of the applicant was charitable and as to whether its activities were genuine, and no further. The jurisdiction and competence to examine an issue under the RTE Act lay before the authorities mentioned therein;

3) Where the purpose of a trust or institution is education, it would constitute 'charitable purpose', even if it incidentally involves carrying on of commercial activities. Mere charging of high fees was no ground for refusing it registration, where the CIT had not doubted the objects and genuineness of the assessee's activities;

4) Merely because the assessee had generated surplus income after meeting expenditure on its educational activities, such activities could not be regarded as trade and commerce, so as to invite cancellation of registration and that education was a charitable purpose in itself. Thus, in view of the above the order passed by the CIT was to be cancelled  and he was to be directed to grant registration to the society on verifying the original documents of establishment of assessee-society - Shri Gian Ganga Vocational & Educational Society v. CIT [2013] 35 17 (Delhi - Trib.)

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