Trust is eligible for benefit u/s 11 when the activities of the trust are purely religious and spiritual in nature

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Trust is eligible for benefit u/s 11 when the activities of the trust are purely religious and spiritual in nature
Trust is eligible for benefit u/s 11 when the activities of the trust are purely religious and spiritual in nature
ITO Vs Bhagwan Shree Laxmi Narayan Dham Trust
Whether when the activities of the trust are purely religious and spiritual in nature, they are entitled for benefit u/s 11 – YES: ITAT
Whether without there being any material on record to show how the addition for unexplained cash donations is computed, such addition can sustain – NO : ITAT
– Revenue’s appeal dismissed: DELHI ITAT
Whether when the activities of the trust are purely religious and spiritual in nature, they are entitled for benefit u/s 11 – YES: ITAT
Whether without there being any material on record to show how the addition for unexplained cash donations is computed, such addition can sustain – NO : ITAT
++ there is no change in the objects. The entire case of the AO revolves around the premise that assessee in this year has carried out mainly religious activities simply because assessee has established one Mandir devoted to Hindu God and Goddess. And it is on this fact he has tried to take a divergent view from the earlier years and also not following the precedence of the Tribunal. In para 3 of the assessment order he himself has admitted that trust has been holding spiritual and religious discourses at various Samagam and also on TV channels which are conducted and addressed by Bramrishi Shree Kumar Swamiji wherein the disciples / participants are given imparted that disease, mental tensions and materialist worries. He has also tried to distinguish the words religious and spiritual are two different concepts and they cannot be treated as one and the same and it is for this reason also he has tried to distinguish the past precedence. He further held that intention of the legislature to cover trust for charitable purpose which are for religious for charitable and since here in this case none of the objects are religious, therefore , assessee cannot be held tobe religious trust. We find that the Tribunal after noting down the single objects at para 10.4 have also occasioned to discuss the concept of the term “wholly for religious purposes” or “wholly for religious and charitable purposes”;
++ activities of the trust and CIT(A) held that these activities are for imparting spiritual education to the persons of all the caste and religion by organising samagam distribution of free medicines, etc. to needy and disabled people. They have also quoted the judgment of Apex Court in the case of CIT vs Bhagwan Shree Laxmi Naraindham Trust, wherein the Apex Court has defined the concept of religion and also in another judgment as quoted in para 14 their Lordship has also defined the religious activities under the Hindu faith which is mainly a way of life. After referring to these judgments their Lordships have held that the religious institutions like assessee are also engaged in charitable activities which are very much part of religious activities and such activities alongwith organising spiritual lectures by no means to be a religion institution and has to be seen in the context of objects of the assessee trust and accordingly by such reasoning the order of the Tribunal was affirmed. It was very difficult to fathom that simply because assesssee’s activities have been held to be religious by the AO then same is either not charitable or assessee on his transgress its activities from the objects the so called religious activities here in this case is nothing but spiritual activities because it has been making spiritual and religious discourses in various samagams for providing spiritual healing to the public at large. In a country like India the religion is mostly a way of life and the goal for every human has been for spiritual upliftment which in turn gives strength to overcome many problems arising from materialistic worries. Such kind of spiritual and religious discourses in our country has to be seen from a broader perspective and as quoted by the High Court falls in the broad concepts of Hindu religious activities which is within the permissible objects of trust which is giving spiritual lectures to the needy persons. Thus the observations and the findings of the AO that it is purely a religious trust and hence the objects of the trust cannot be sustained;
++ legislature has categorically given the specified nature of benefits for which section 13(2) can be invoked. No such benefits have been prescribed by the AO which is simply based on hypothecs that defects of TV telecast benefits to the Guruji because he has benefited by these TV programmes. In fact such kind of spiritual lectures telecast comes on TV is main for general public at large and not for benefit of the delivery of the lectures. Hence this contention of the disallowance made by the AO is rejected. Further on the issue of addition of Rs. 50 lacs on account of anonymous donations that assesee must have incurred expenditure from anonymous donations for organising samagam here also whereas it is not disputed by the AO that expenditure incurred on Samagam expenses then how there being any material on record he can hold that assesee must have spent Rs. 50 lacs which in turn must have given through anonymous donations. Accordingly the findings of the CIT(A) is affirmed. Accordingly, appeal of the revenue is dismissed.

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