BRIEF FACTS OF THE CASE AND QUESTION OF LAW
This appeal by the Assessee is directed against the Order of the Ld. Commissioner of Income Tax, Haldwani (Camp at Dehradun) dated 23.7.2014 passed u/s. 12AA(1)(b)(i) of the I.T. Act, 1961 and raised the following ground. The assessee-society made an Application for registration under section 12AA of the I.T. Act, 1961 (hereinafter called “the Act”) on 13.1.2014. The Ld. CIT, Haldwani, examined the contents of the Application and after providing the opportunity of hearing to the assessee has rejected the Application by passing this impugned order.
Question of Law:
That on the facts and in the circumstance of the case and in law the action of the Ld. CIT in refusing to grant registration u/s. 12AA of the Income Tax Act, 1961 is most grossly arbitrary, palpably erroneous and wholly unjust. It is prayed that this action must be quashed with directions to grant the registration as sought.
CONTENTION OF THE REVENUE
The Revenue supported the orders of the authorities and contended that the request of the assessee should be strongly opposed and stated that the issue in dispute may be set aside to the file of the Ld. CIT, Haldwani to pass a fresh order, keeping in view of the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India passed in the case of Queen’s Educational Society vs. CIT.
CONTENTION OF THE ASSESSEE
a. The contention of the assessee was that Ld. CIT, Haldwani has passed the impugned order mainly by relying upon the order passed by the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Dehradun dated 13.9.2012 wherein Ld. CIT has denied the approval of the Society under section 10(23C)(vi) of the Act. He has also relied upon the judgment passed by the Hon’ble Uttarakhand High Court in the case of M/s Queens Educational Society reported in 177 Taxmann 326.
b.It was further contended that assessee has filed a Writ Petition against the order dated 13.9.2012 before the Hon’ble Uttrakhand High Court and the same is pending, as stated by the Ld. CIT, Haldwani in the impugned order. This finding has also not been controvered by both the parties before us. Secondly, the judgment of the Hon’ble Uttarakhand High Court passed in the case of M/s Queens Educational Society reported in 177 taxmann 326 on the basis of which the Ld. CIT, Haldwani has rejected the Application filed by the assessee u/s. 12A has also been set aside by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Civil Appeal NO. 5167 of 2008 in the case of M/s Queen’s Educational Society vs.CIT vide Order dated 16.3.2015 reported in (2015) 55 taxmann.com 255 (SC). He stated that once the order relied upon by the CIT, Haldwani has been cancelled, then the impugned order may be set aside and the Appeal of the assessee may be allowed and registration u/s. 12AA of the I.T. Act may be given to the asseessee-society.
HELD BY ITAT, NEW DELHI
After hearing the rival contentions, ITAT held that the documentary evidence filed by the Ld. Counsel of the assessee, we are of the considered that Ld. CIT, Haldwani has passed the impugned order on the basis of the order dated 13.9.2012 passed by the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Dehradun against which a Writ Petition is pending before the Hon’ble Uttrakhand High Court.
According to the provisions of section 12AA of the I.T. Act, the Commissioner, on the receipt of Application for registration of a trust or institution shall (a) call for such documents or information from the trust or institution as he thinks necessary in order to satisfy himself about the genuineness of activities of the trust or institution and may also make such inquiries as he may deem necessary in this behalf; (b) after satisfying himself about the objects of the trust or institution and the genuineness of its activities, he shall pass an order in writing registering the trust or institution; if he is not so satisfied, pass an order in writing refusing to register the trust or institution. In the present case, we find that Ld.CIT, Haldwani in the impugned order has not followed the prescribed procedure u/s. 12AA of the I.T. Act and passed the impugned order on the basis of the order dated 13.9.2012 passed by the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Dehradun against which a Writ Petition is pending before the Hon’ble Uttrakhand High Court. In our considered view the impugned order is not sustainable in the eyes of law, therefore, is deserved to be cancelled. Secondly, the Ld. CIT, Haldwani has also not given full opportunity to the assessee for substantiating its claim before him and passed the impugned order in a hurry manner which is also not permissible under the law and is contrary to the principles of natural justice. We are not commenting upon the merits of the case as well as documentary evidence filed by the assessee in the shape of Paper Book. Therefore, in the interest of justice, we are setting aside the issue in dispute to the Ld. CIT,Haldwani to pass a speaking order, after giving the assessee proper opportunity, after going through the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India delivered in the case of Queens Educational Society vs. Commissioner of Income Tax. In the result, the Appeal filed by the Assesssee stands allowed for statistical purpose.