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religious activity - section 80G

Started by vsaiyar, April 14, 2012, 10:54:09 AM

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conducting Bhagwat Katha is considered as a religious activity by the ITAT in [2012] 20 taxmann.com 221 (Jaipur - Trib.)  The serials Shree Krishna, Sampurna Ramayana etc. is considered as entertainment  What is the difference between Bhagwat Katha and these pictures/serials.  In olden days when electronic, or mechanical entertainments were not available people used to entertain themselves by Dances, Drama, Singing, Story telling etc.  Though these modes are not completly discontinued, and it continues in some form, could it be said religious.  Bhagwat Katha is telling the stories from Maha Bhagwat.  The participants attend these with piety and discipline.  When there is no religion called Hindu - Hindu is a sanskriti and culture exclusive to India how could it become religious.  I think the Courts need to address the issue instead of coming from assumptions.

sai prasad

trend  in the judicial approach is that all literature and  works related to religion is not charitable but religious. A reference may be made to the A.P. High court case in 295 ITR 437 wherein publication of books on epic literature like ramayana and bharatham is religious actiivty.


IN 295 ITR 437 the court proceeded on the presumption that Mahabharat and Ramayan were religious texts.  Whether they are really religious books.  Because of the advocacy of high moral principles and how rama lived or Krishna stood for principles and consequently became ideal heroes, they cannot be declared as religious.  In USA, UK, China, Japan or that matter in any other country these books are simply literature and not religious texts.  These books were popular books in those days and today with a section of people as Shakespeares dramas, Kalidasa Sakuntalam etc. In Tamil Naadu there are temples dedicated to MGR and Jayalalita and tomorro any biography of these people written can become religious activity if the books Mahabhagwat, Mahabharat and Ramayans are religious texts.  This issue was not argued before the AP High Court though Dr.Radhakrishnan hailed from Andhra who said 'HINDUISM IS A WAY OF LIFE AND NOT A RELIGION'


You all have discussed very well on the topic. I am glad to find this forum. Really very helpful. Looking forward to more information. Thanks


Advancement of religion can be a charitable purpose - In some cases, even a religious activity by a particular sect would be a charitable activity; for some, supply of fodder to animals and catter is a religious object, while to others it may be a charitable purpose. According to the Hindu religious system, donations on some occasions would be considered to be a religious activity. Similarly, Khairat under the Mohammedan law would be considered to be a religious activity. The said activities may be for a charitable purpose to some. Hence, in many cases, both the purposes may be overlapping. The purposes may have both the elements, charity and religious. A trust can be either for religious purposes or for charitable purposes or it can be for both charitable and religious purposes. Hence, the words 'trust for charitable purpose' would include even a trust for advancement of religion - CIT v. Barkate Saifiyah Society [1995] 213 ITR 492 (Guj.).

Please see the link below:-


Also there is a judgment of a court/ITAT from South India which says that Religious activity to be included as "advancement of anyother objects of public utility" and qualify for registration. In case I lay my hand on this judgment I sahll forward u all.

Also there is a classic case of Tirupati Devasthan wherein the said resligious trust was given 80G benefit for the charitable activities run by it. If interstes will send the link of the said judgment.


Thirupathy Venkatachalapathy is very influential for two reasons: a) there is lot of wealth and income b) there are lakhs of devotees from all over India.  Any step by any political party which denies the benefit of 80G is likely to fall out of favour of the people who come to pay their respects to Thirupathy Venkatachalapathy .  That is not the case with other temples.  You may quote any judgement, but the result is it will be treated as a religious activity.  I do not by which government, but an amend was made whereby it was enacted that a trust may apply 5% of its income for charitable purposes and yet avail of the benefit of 80G. 


when we talk about religion , it means faith of public... one cannot make a standard definition of religion. thus is very common that a person who does not have faith in a particular religion will criticize the activities of that religion, more particular in our Indian society. However, a judge is not a person but an institution and thus he cannot issue judgments on personal beliefs and sentiments. Thus , whenever, it is to be decided whether an activity is a religious activity or not it is to be seen that whether in society the particular activity is considered as religious activity or not. There is no specific definition of religious activity to rely on under the Act.   


Christianity is an organised and so also Islam.  It has a heirarchical system for its administration.  Hindus are not administered by any organisation and it is a culture or tradition followed by the people.  They worship idols, animals, birds, snakes, water, fire, directions, air, sun, moon, creator, protector and recreator etc. according the priority to these they give.  To put these worshippers in one basket and call it a religion is a political ploy to exploit the people and even the judges appears to have fallen in the political trap.


A deduction under Indian income tax act at least cannot be based on religion. view regarding allowing deduction to one religion and not other based on one's perception that one religion is more organised than other is really disappointing. 

It is more dangerous to have such thoughts in the society than to allow  a wrong deduction under income tax act.


it is not advocated that income tax deduction should be based on the degree of organisation of a religion.  The point is that is emphasised is that Hinduism is not a religion irrespective of the fact some may worship Sun, some may worship Sea, Some may Worship Water etc.  and this worship is his personal choice and is not a practice of religion.  The Indians living as a community has adopted all the good principles from all the religions and there was no objections to difference of opinion within the community.  If ever any part of the community declared itself as a religion, there is no proof of it.  So Bhagwat Saptaha is not a religious activity.


which certificate does the other religion possess that hinduism does not possess. This mankind was not born with certain certified religions. It is only the by practice and faith of of people that religions are recognized. There is no definition or criteria of religion that a faith has to fulfill to call it a religion. If people have faith in sun, moon & air and they believe that the mankind cannot survive without the energy of sun , moon & air , then what is wrong in it, it is a universal fact. If worship of a book is a organised & hierarchical religion then, worship of the energies that gives life to mankind is no doubt a religion.


Among christians there is a function called Holi Communion/baptism before one becomes a christian.  He has to follow the instructions of the Church even in regard to his marriage i.e. announcement in Public of the proposed marriage on three sundays etc.  There are such systems in Islam there is initiation ceremony and circumcision.  The same is true of Jews.  It is only Indians ; i mean those who do not belong to the organised religions; live the natural way without entering into any of these initiations.  Religions are like Trade Unions.  The more the members the more powerful they become.  That is why there is spree among the religious heads to convert people to Islam, Christianity etc.


Yes I agree, you are right Hinduism is not like a trade unions.....  and in my opinion it is good thing about this religion. Let the Income Tax department take away tax exemption , Hinduism prefer to forego exemption than  to become  a trade union.