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COURT:
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DATE: February 19, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: March 7, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
S. 12AA: Registration can be applied for by a newly registered trust. There is no stipulation that the trust should have already been in existence and should have undertaken any activities before making the application for registration. The term ‘activities’ in s. 12AA includes ‘proposed activities’. The CIT must consider whether the objects of the Trust are genuinely charitable in nature and whether the activities which the Trust proposed to carry on are genuine in the sense that they are in line with the objects of the Trust. However, he cannot refuse registration on the ground that no activities are carried out

Since section 12AA pertains to the registration of the Trust and not to assess of what a trust has actually done, we are of the view that the term ‘activities’ in the provision includes ‘proposed activities’. That is to say, a Commissioner is bound to consider whether the objects of the Trust are genuinely charitable in nature and whether the activities which the Trust proposed to carry on are genuine in the sense that they are in line with the objects of the Trust. In contrast, the position would be different where the Commissioner proposes to cancel the registration of a Trust under sub-section (3) of section 12AA of the Act. There the Commissioner would be bound to record the finding that an activity or activities actually carried on by the Trust are not genuine being not in accordance with the objects of the Trust. Similarly, the situation would be different where the trust has before applying for registration found to have undertaken activities contrary to the objects of the Trust.

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DATE: January 8, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 24, 2020 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
S. 11/ 12AA: The only requirement for granting registration is that the objects of the society should be charitable in nature and activities are genuine (i) A trust may be of a public charitable nature even if the control of the trust property is not vested in the public but is retained by the settlors, (ii) Registration u/s 12A cannot be declined on the ground that the Trust Deed does not contain "dissolution clause". This is totally irrelevant & beyond the scope of enquiry contemplated u/s 12A. of the Act, (iii) Registration cannot be refused for non furnishing of registration with the Registrar of Societies. Registration with the Registrar of Societies is not a precondition for granting registration u/s 12A.

In the instant case, the Ld. CIT(E) denied the registration by observing that the head of the society is restricted to be from Shree Dhar Vansh and no other member of the Sabha will have any right to raise any objection. In my opinion that cannot also be a ground to refuse the registration when the object of the assessee society are charitable in nature. On a similar issue the Hon’ble Kolkata High Court in the case of Smt. Ganesh Devi Rami Devi Charity Trust Vs. CIT reported at 71 ITR 696 held as under: ” (i) a trust may be of a public charitable nature even if the control of the trust property was not vested in the public but was retained by the settlers

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DATE: September 27, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: October 25, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: 2004-05
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CITATION:
S. 2(15)/11 "Charitable Purpose": The fact that the carrying on of charitable activities results in a surplus does not mean that assessee exists for profit. “Profit” means that owners have a right to withdraw the surplus for any purpose including personal purpose. However, if the surplus is ploughed back into the same charitable activities, the assessee cannot be said to be carrying out commercial activities in the nature of trade, commerce or business. The fact that the assessee has dealings with, & share of profits from, BCCI (a commercial entity) does not affect its charitable status

It is not in dispute that the three Associations have not distributed any profits outside the organization. The profits, if any, are ploughed back into the very activities of promotion and development of the sport of cricket and, therefore, the assessees cannot be termed to be carrying out commercial activities in the nature of trade, commerce or business.(iii) It is not correct to say that as the assessees received share of income from the BCCI, their activities could be said to be the activities of the BCCI. Undoubtedly, the activities of the BCCI are commercial in nature. The activities of the BCCI is in the form of exhibition of sports and earn profit out of it.However, if the Associations host any international match once in a year or two at the behest of the BCCI, then the income of the Associations from the sale of tickets etc., in such circumstances, would not portray the character of commercial nature

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DATE: September 12, 2019 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: October 21, 2019 (Date of publication)
AY: 2010-11
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CITATION:
S. 2(15)/11: Though the assessee is activity contributing towards the promotion and popularity of cricket, its activities are also concentrated for generation of revenue by exploiting the popularity of the game and towards monopolization and dominant control over cricket to the exclusion of others. The commercial exploitation of the popularity of the game and the property/infrastructure held by the assessee is not incidental to the main object but is one of the primary motives of the assessee (All imp judgements on 'charitable purpose' referred)

The assessee is regularly following commercial activity by commercially exploiting its property and rights to hold matches and thereby earning huge income, hence the said activity can not be said to be incidental activity rather the commercial exploitation of the match is one of the main activity of the assessee, hence, the case of the assessee ,in our view, for the year under consideration will not fall within the definition and scope of section 2(15) of the Act and thus the assessee is not entitled to exemption u/s 11 of the Act. While holding so, we do not mean that the assessee’s activity is not at all for promotion of the game of cricket. No doubt, the assessee is also activity contributing towards the promotion and popularity of the cricket but at the same time its activities are also concentrated for generation and augmentation of the revenue by exploiting the popularity of the game and towards monopolisation and having dominant control over the cricket to the exclusion of others. What we want to convey is that the commercial exploitation of the popularity of the game and the property/infrastructure held by the assessee is not incidental to the main object but is apparently and inter alia one of the primary motives of the assessee

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DATE: October 31, 2018 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: November 3, 2018 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
S. 12A Charity Registration: Exemplary cost of Rs. 1 lakh levied upon trust for fraud in wrongly seeking exemption on basis that it is controlled & managed by the Govt. The ITAT is deemed to be a Civil Court and its proceedings are deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of s. 193 & 228 & of the Indian Penal Code. Any attempt to play fraud on the ITAT by way of conveying wrong and false facts and pleadings is required to be strictly dealt with

We are further pained to note here that identical contentions as were raised by the representatives of the Trust before the lower authorities that the Trust is controlled and managed by the Government or that its funds and properties otherwise belong to the Government, have been raised by the counsel for the assessee Trust before us also and further that even otherwise, dissolution clause has been added vide the amended resolution. This, in our view, is a clear and visible attempt on behalf of the trust to mislead this Bench of the Tribunal by way of concealing the real and true facts that the Members of the Trust have, by not extending the term of Board of Governors, conveniently entrusted unto themselves the control and management of the Trust. Had the case of the Trust been not carefully examined, these important and relevant facts would have remained wrapped under the carpet, and the Trust could have managed to get the relief of exemption from taxation by presenting wrong and false facts

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DATE: July 26, 2018 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: July 31, 2018 (Date of publication)
AY: 2013-14
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CITATION:
S. 11: Entire law on what constitutes "advancement of objects of general public utility" so as to qualify as "charitable purpose" u/s 2(15) explained. Law also explained on the impact of carrying out incidental activity in the nature of trade, commerce or business in the course of actual carrying out of advancement of object of general public utility explained (All imp judgements referred)

To remove this anomaly, proper construction will be that the institution carrying out the object of advancement of general public utility which involve the incidental or ancillary activity in the nature of trade, commerce or business and generating income therefrom, the income to such an extent as is limited by the second proviso to section 2(15) of the Income Tax Act should be taken as exempt being treated as income from charitable purposes as per the relevant provisions of sections 2(15), section 10, section 11, section 12 or section 13, as the case may be and wherever applied. The other income which is not from the commercial activity, such as, by way of voluntary donations, contributions, grants or nominal registration fee etc. or otherwise will remain to be from charitable ITA No. 1382/Chd/2016- Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association, Chandigarh 94 purposes and eligible for exemption under the relevant provisions. However, the income from activity in the nature of trade, commerce or business over the above limit prescribed from time to time as per the second proviso to section 2(15) of the Income Tax Act, should be treated as income from the business activity and liable to be included in the total income. In this way, the receipts of incidental business income while carrying out the objects of advancement of general public utility, when these cross the limit prescribed u/s 2(15) of the Act, will not render such institute as non-charitable bringing into taxation its entire income including non-business income or even income from charitable activity itself including voluntary contributions and donations. Only the business income which will be over and above the prescribed limit will be subjected to taxation.

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DATE: February 16, 2018 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: February 17, 2018 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
S. 12A: The CIT has no power to cancel/withdraw/recall the registration certificate granted u/s 12A until express power to do so was granted by s. 12AA(3). Though the grant of certificate is a quasi judicial function, s. 21 of the General Clauses Act cannot be applied to support the order of cancellation of the registration certificate

The CIT had no express power of cancellation of the registration certificate once granted by him to the assessee under Section 12A till 01.10.2004. It is for the reasons that, first, there was no express provision in the Act vesting the CIT with the power to cancel the registration certificate granted under Section 12A of the Act. Second, the order passed under Section 12A by the CIT is a quasi judicial order and being quasi judicial in nature, it could be withdrawn/recalled by the CIT only when there was express power vested in him under the Act to do so. In this case there was no such express power

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DATE: December 14, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: January 13, 2018 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
S. 12A: CIT is not justified in rejecting registration on the ground that the non-production of books and vouchers means that the genuineness of the charitable activities cannot be verified. The CIT is entitled only to examine the objects of the trust at the stage of registration and not the books of account

While dealing with the application for registration the CIT has to examine whether the application is made in accordance with s. 12A r/w r. 17A and whether Form No.10A has been properly filled up. He may also examine whether objects of the trust are charitable or not. Sec. 12AA nowhere provides that CIT while considering the application for registration is also required to examine whether the income derived by the trust is being spent for charitable purposes or the trust is earning profit. The language employed by the legislature in s. 12AA only requires that activities of the trust or institution must be genuine which should be in consonance with the object of the trust. At this stage, the CIT is not required to examine the application of income

COURT:
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COUNSEL:
DATE: September 7, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: September 15, 2017 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
S. 12AA: At the time of registration of a charitable institution u/s 12AA, the CIT is not required to look into the activities, where such activities have not or are in the process of its initiation. The registration cannot be refused on the ground that the trust has not yet commenced the charitable or religious activity. At this stage, only the genuineness of the objects has to be tested and not the activities, unless such activities have commenced

The preponderance of the judicial opinion of all the High Courts including this court is that at the time of registration under section 12AA of the Income-tax Act, which is necessary for claiming exemption under sections 11 and 12 of the Act, the Commissioner of Income-tax is not required to look into the activities, where such activities have not or are in the process of its initiation. Where a trust, set up to achieve its objects of establishing educational institution, is in the process of establishing such institutions, and receives donations, the registration under section 12AA cannot be refused, on the ground that the trust has not yet commenced the charitable or religious activity. Any enquiry of the nature would amount to putting the cart before the horse. At this stage, only the genuineness of the objects has to be tested and not the activities, which have not commenced. The enquiry of the Commissioner of Income-tax at such preliminary stage should be restricted to the genuineness of the objects and not the activities unless such activities have commenced. The trust or society cannot claim exemption, unless it is registered under section 12AA of the Act and thus at that such initial stage the test of the genuineness of the activity cannot be a ground on which the registration may be refused

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DATE: July 17, 2017 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: July 24, 2017 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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CITATION:
S. 12AA(3): The CIT is not entitled to withdraw s. 12A registration on the ground that the activities of the trust are no longer charitable after the insertion of the proviso to s. 2(15). The registration can be withdrawn only if a finding is given that the activities of the institution are not genuine or that the activities carried out are not in consonance with the object of the institution

It is apparent from the record that the Commissioner has invoked its powers under Section 12(AA)(3) of the Act. The said powers are circumscribed by the limitations imposed under Sub Section 3 of Section 12AA of the Act. The Commissioner, nowhere has given the finding that the activities of the Respondent institution are not genuine one or that the said activity carried out are not in consonance with the object of the institution. The Commissioner has merely relied on proviso to Sub-Section 2 of Section 15 of the Act, as it stood then