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19-11-2019, BHAGWAN SHREE LAXMI NARAIN, Section 260A, 12A, HIGH COURT OF DELHI

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8 months 1 week ago #11612 by amit
Section - 260A, 12A, 11, 13(3), 13(1)(c), 115BBC, 13(1)(C)(ii)
Order Date - 19-11-2019
Favouring - Assessee
Court - HIGH COURT OF DELHI
Appellant - CIT
Respondent - BHAGWAN SHREE LAXMI NARAIN
Justice - VIPIN SANGHI & SANJEEV NARULA
Citation - 1219Taxpundit1
Appeal No. - ITA 955/2019
Asstt. Year - 2011-12

Order

PER : SANJEEV NARULA, J (ORAL)

C.M. No. 49726/2019

1. Issue notice. Learned counsel for the respondent accepts notice. He fairly does not oppose the application seeking condonation of delay. Accordingly, the same is allowed. The delay is condoned.

ITA 955/2019

2. The present appeal under Section 260A of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred as „the Act‟) assails the order dated 08.03.2019 passed by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (hereinafter referred as „ITAT‟) New Delhi, in ITA No. 6564/Del./2015 for Assessment Year (AY) 2011-12 (hereinafter referred as „Impugned Order‟). By way of the Impugned Order, ITAT has dismissed the appeal of the revenue, and confirmed the order of CIT (A) overturning the Assessing Officer‟s (AO) reasoning and findings to the effect that the assessee trust is carrying out „religious activities‟, not enshrined in the objects of the trust. As a result, the disallowances and additions made by the AO and deletion made by the CIT (A), have been sustained.

3. Briefly stated, the factual matrix leading to filing of the present appeal is that the respondent-assessee was created vide Trust Deed dated 30.12.2002, by its founder Brhamrishi Shree Kumar Swamiji also called as „Gurudevji‟. It was granted registration under Section 12A of the Act vide certificate/order dated 20.05.2005.

4. The assessee filed return for AY 2011-12 on 29.09.2011 in the status of “Trust” declaring “NIL” income. The AO noted that in the year under consideration, the assessee was mainly involved in imparting spiritual education through lectures/samagams (congregation) and on TV channels; and had also established a temple of Hindu Gods/Goddesses for the general public. On that basis, he formed an opinion that the assessee was predominantly carrying out religious activities in accordance with Hindu religion. Further, after analysing the objects of the Trust as mentioned in the Trust Deed, the AO concluded that the assessee was not created for religious purposes and since its income was applied for purposes other than for which it was created, it was not entitled to seek exemption under Section 11 and 12 of the Act. A similar view was taken by the AO in AY 2009-10 and 2010-11.

5. The AO held that Gurudevji is a person specified under Section 13(3) of the Act, and the assessee had applied its income and incurred an expenditure of Rs.3,10,01,535/- on telecast of samagams under the head "Aadhyatamik Pravachan Expenses", for his benefit in violation of Section 13(1)(c) of the Act and forfeited the exemption under Section 11 and 12 of the Act.

6. Besides, the AO held that the assessee had received donation of Rs.11,01,15,431/- out of which identity of donors in respect of donation of Rs. 94,66,053/- could not be proved and the same was treated as unexplained/anonymous donation in terms of section 115BBC of the Act. Further, since the assessee could not furnish the necessary details of Rs. 50 lacs, incurred as expenditure for arrangement of samagams, it was treated as unexplained/anonymous donation. Since, the anonymous donation of Rs. 1,47,69,053/- exceeded 5% of the total donation of Rs. 11,01,15,431/- received during the year, the excess donation of Rs. 92,63,281/- was taxed under Section 115BBC of the Act. The assessee was treated as an Association of Persons (“AOP”) and an assessment under Section 143 (3) was framed vide order dated 24.03.2014 at a total income of Rs. 5,33,81,050/-, after making the additions/disallowances due to denial of exemption under Section 11 and 12 of the Act.

7. On the appeal filed by the assessee, CIT (A) vide order dated 23.09.2015 deleted all the additions. It relied upon the order of this Court in ITA 269/2015 dated 07.09.2015 for AY 2009-10, and held that the AO erred in

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