Case Law Details

Case Name : Hindi Sahitya Sammelan Vs Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (ITAT Allahabad)
Appeal Number : ITA Nos.169 to 174/Alld./2017
Date of Judgement/Order : 11/10/2022
Related Assessment Year :

Hindi Sahitya Sammelan Vs Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (ITAT Allahabad)

ITAT Allahabad held that while rejecting the application for grant of approval u/s 10(23C)(vi) CCIT has not dealt with all the aspects in a comprehensive manner and hence the matter restored back for passing detailed and exhaustive order.

Facts-

The only question which has arisen here is that whether the assessee, Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, is entitled for exemption u/s 10(23C)(vi) of the Income Tax Act.

Assessee stated that earlier they were getting exemption u/s. 10(22) of the 1961 Act, and both Section 10(22) and Section 10(23C) (vi) of the Act are analogous. It was submitted that Hon’ble Allahabad High Court remanded the matter back to ld. CCIT for considering grant of exemption u/s 10(23C)(vi) of the 1961 Act. It was submitted by ld. Counsel for the assessee that the assessee is duly registered u/s 12A of the 1961 Act . It was submitted that now after amendment in the 1961 Act , the assessee is eligible for exemption u/s 10(23C)(vi) .

Conclusion-

Held that CCIT while rejecting application of the assessee for grant of approval u/s 10(23C)(vi) has not exhaustively dealt with all the aspects of the matter in a comprehensive manner. The matter needs to be restored back to CCIT for passing a detailed and exhaustive order by going through various activities carried on by the assessee, and then arriving at decision as to the allowability of claim of the assessee seeking approval u/s 10(23C)(vi).

The ld. CCIT shall also consider recent decision of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of PCIT v.Wipro Limited as the assessee in the instant case before us is already claiming benefit of exemption u/s 11 and 12 of the 1961 Act for all these years , on strength of registration u/s 12A , and accordingly returns were filed by assessee with Revenue for all those years. It is also claimed by assessee that exemption provisions are to be liberally construed , however we draw attention to Constitution Bench Judgment and Order of Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Commissioner of Customs(Imports) , Mumbai v. Dilip Kumar & Co., wherein Hon’ble Supreme Court held that exemption provisions are to be strictly construed. We clarify that we have refrained ourselves from commenting on merits of the issue’s in this appeal, so that ld. CCIT can decide the issue unhindered by any of our observations.

FULL TEXT OF THE ORDER OF ITAT ALLAHABAD

These six appeals, filed by assessee, being ITA Nos.169 to 174/Alld./2017 for assessment year’s(ay’s): 2000-01 to 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2007-08, are directed against common order dated 03.08.2015 passed by ld. Chief Commissioner of Income-tax , Allahabad (hereinafter called “the CCIT”) u/s 10(23C)(vi) of Income-tax Act, 1961 (hereinafter called “the Act”) holding that the assessee does not qualify to be accorded recognition as a charitable institution for granting exemption u/s 10(23C) (vi) of the 1961 Act for assessment year’s (ay’s): 2000-01 to 2003-04 , 2006-07 and 2007­-08.

2. The common grounds of appeal raised by assessee in all the six appeals in ITA Nos. 169 to 174/Alld./2017 for assessment year’s 2000-01 to 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2007-08, in memo of appeal(s) filed with Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, Allahabad Bench , Allahabad(hereinafter called “ the tribunal”) , reads as under:-

“1. That in any view of the matter order passed under Section 10(23C)(vi) of the IT Act dated 03.08.2015 by the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, rejecting the claim of the exemption is highly unjustified/illegal when the Society is actively engaged in education activity from the date of its Inception of 1910 and the entire activity is within the frame work of the bye laws of the Society hence the approach of the lower authorities is not a judicious approach.

2. That in any view of the matter the order passed under Section 10(23C)(vi) of the IT Act dated 03.08.2015 by rejecting the application of the appellant by saying that the Society was conducting examination as prathma, madhyama, uttama and Visharad without holding teaching classes or lecture, hence it does not fall in the category of educational institution and injustice and liable to be set aside in the facts and circumstances of the case.

3. That in any view of the matter the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax recorded a finding that the appellant merely conducting examination based on own syllabus or courses and award degree in the name of parathma, Madhyama, Uttama and visharad in absence of normal schooling and therefore the appellant cannot be treated to be educational institution for educational purpose as for actual imparting of the education in school and college to the student are mandatorily is wholly misconceived and uncalled for and therefore the same is liable to be quashed.

4. That in any view of the matter the order of the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Allahabad rejecting the exemption application under Section 10(23C)(vi) of the IT Act by relying on the decision in the case of SOLE TRUSTEE LOK SHIKHSAN SANSTHAN Vs. CIT reported in (1975) 101 ITR 234 (SC) is wholly misconceived and liable to be set aside as the said decision is prior to insertion of section 10(23C)(vi) of the Act by Finance (2) Act 1998 as such the same cannot be basis for rejecting of exemption application.

5. That in any view of the matter Lower authority failed to consider that the appellant Society is printing and publishing educational books, magazine, other literatures and also maintaining big Hindi library and museum/manuscripts having more than lacs books hence the order dated 03.08.2015 is misconceived, unjustified and illegal therefore the same is liable to be set aside in all fairness and interest of justice.

6. That in any view of the matter since the appellant Society has been treated educational Society by the department from the date of its inception i.e. 1910 to assessment year 1999-2000, registration under Section 12AA of the IT Act was granted, Society is registered under the Society Act and also not involved in any profit motive till date, therefore without any change in similar set of fact, forming of a different view during the assessment years in question arbitrarily by the chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Allahabad to debar the appellant society from due justice is highly unjustified, illegal, unethical and injustice, hence the Society deserves to get its genuine claim of exemption.

7. That on 23.07.2015 the appellant submitted detail reply before the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Allahabad regarding the non-applicability of the decision reported in (1975) 101 ITR 234 (SC) in the appellant’s present case in view of the amendment but the learned Chief Commissioner has erred in not dealing with the objection, therefore the impugned order is illegal and liable to be set aside and the exemption application deserves to be allowed in interest of justice.

8. That in view of the matter the finding of the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, that the aim, objects and the activities of the appellant Society could not be held as education as it was not in a process of training and development of students in normal school is wholly misconceived and therefore liable to be set aside as the term ‘educational purpose’ is not restricted merely to holding classes or normal schooling, as the holding of the classes is not mandatory for the institution to qualify and to be treated as educational institution especially when the appellant Society publishes education book, maintaining library and undertakes examination on the basis of its own syllabus.

9. That in any view of the matter with regard to the exemption under Section 10(23C)(vi) of the IT Act, as inserted by Finance (2) Act 1998 with effect from 01.04.1999 it is a settled principle that the exemption provisions are to be examined in liberal manner with judicious approach and this view is duly supported by the decision of the apex court also reported in (2006) 204 CTR 27 in the case of P R Prabhakar Vs. CIT, hence the lower authority failed to consider the issue fairly in the light of cited decision which is injustice.

10. That in any view of the matter exemption had been granted to the appellant Society section 11 and 12 of the IT Act in earlier years and during the year also in question hence there was no change in the circumstances/ consistency and in its activity, hence there was no justification to warrant a different approach during the assessment years in question.

11. That in any view of the matter in the appellant’s own case the jurisdictional High Court in the writ petition in various cases connected with labour matter under the Bonus Act held that the appellant society is an educational institution and not a commercial establishment hence the order dated 03/08/2015 is bad in law contrary to the said decision.

12. That in any view of the matter observations and findings of the chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Allahabad in his order dated 03/08/2015 for rejecting the appellant’s genuine claim are quite misleading unjustified, wrong and contrary to the actual facts of the case therefore the same deserves to be sponged of and the claim of the appellant be allowed in interest of justice.

13. That in any view of the matter the delay in filing appeal against the order dated is 03/08/2015 due to mistaken impression, unintentional and bona fide belief hence the delay is liable to be condoned in the facts and circumstances of the case.

14. That in any view of the matter the appellant reserves his right to take any fresh ground of appeal before hearing of the appeal.

2b. The assessee has also raised additional grounds of appeal for all the six ay’s: 2000-01 to 2003-04 , 2006-07 and 2007-08, as under:

“1. That in any view of the matter according to the syllabus of the appellant the various centres situated in the country are imparting education to the student with respect those subject, over which the appellant is conducting examination and awarding degree of Prathima, Dwitya and madhama which are equivalent to High School Inter and B.A.

The learned prescribed authority did not appreciate the aforesaid fact while rejecting the exemption u/s 10(23C) of the Act to the appellant.

2. That in any view of the matter in the appellant own case the Hon’ble Jurisdiction High Court observed and held that the assessee have been granted registration u/s 12A, the object of the society are of the general public utility as defined u/s 2(15) of the Act, and held that there is no instance of misuse of fund by the trustees hence in the light of such observation of the court claim of the appellant u/s 10(23C)(vi) deserve to be allowed.

3. That in any view of the matter from the year of inception of the society, the claim u/s 10(22) was allowed by holding the society as educational institution hence in the light of Principles of consistency rejection of claim u/s 10(23C)(vi) is unwarranted and not liable to be sustained.

4. That in any view of the matter “educational purpose” was not restricted to holding of teaching classes but educational purpose was equally served with educational text book and the courts have repeatedly held that holding of classes are not necessary hence the decision referred in the impugned order is not applicable.

5. That in any view of the matter the Hon’ble Allahabad High Court in the petitioner matter about the dispute of Labour Law with employees observe that the law is not applicable to the society because the society is the educational institution hence claimed u/s 10(23C)(vi) is allowable.”

3. These six appeals filed by assessee for assessment year’s 2000-01 to 2003-04 , 2006-07 and 2007-08, are all against common order dated 3rd August, 2015 passed by Learned Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Allahabad, holding that the assessee does not qualify to be accorded recognition as a charitable institution for granting exemption u/s 10(23C)(vi) of the 1961 Act , for ay’s : 2000-01 to 2003-04 , 2006-07 and 2007-08.

4. The ld. Counsel for the assessee opened arguments before the tribunal and submitted that in all these six appeals filed by assessee for ay’s: 2000-01 to 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2007-08, the only question which has arisen for adjudication before the Division Bench is as to whether the assessee is entitled for exemption under Section 10(23C)(vi) of the 1961 Act or not , keeping in view facts and circumstances of the case. The learned counsel for the assessee drew our attention to Paper Book-1 filed by the assessee / page no. 1-42 , wherein written submission of the assessee before tribunal are filed. The ld. Counsel for the assessee also drew our attention to Page no.48 to 50 of the Paper Book-1 filed by the assessee and it was submitted that the assessee is providing education to students by conducting various courses named Prathama, Madhyama and Uttama. The ld. Counsel for the assessee submitted that these courses are duly recognized by various Universities and Boards ,wherein its degrees are recognized. Our attention was drawn to page No. 84 of the Paper Book-1, wherein order of the Hon’ble Allahabad High Court in Writ Tax No. 443 of 2011 , dated 28.01.2015 is placed. The Learned counsel for the assessee submitted that the assessee was earlier getting exemption under Section 10(22) of the 1961 Act, and both Section 10(22) and Section 10(23C) (vi) of the Act are analogous. It was submitted that Hon’ble Allahabad High Court remanded the matter back to ld. CCIT for considering grant of exemption u/s 10(23C)(vi) of the 1961 Act. It was submitted by ld. Counsel for the assessee that the assessee is duly registered u/s 12A of the 1961 Act . It was submitted that now after amendment in the 1961 Act , the assessee is eligible for exemption u/s 10(23C)(vi) . Our attention was also drawn to Paper Book / Page No. 127 wherein tribunal in ITA No. 26/Alld/2006 vide order dated 9th of March 2006 has directed that registration granted in favour of the assessee under Section 12A(a) of the Act to be effective from 26th May, 1982. It was submitted that earlier the assessee was getting exemption under Section 10(22) of the 1961 Act. Our attention was also drawn by ld. Counsel for the assessee to Page No. 149 of the Paper Book-1 and it was submitted that vide order dated 4th January, 2005 passed by Hon’ble Allahabad High Court, it is recognized that the assessee is an educational institution although said order was passed in a matter concerning labour laws. Our attention was further drawn by ld. Counsel for the assessee to page 159 of the Paper Book-1 wherein the order dated 05th December, 1995 of Hon’ble Allahabad High Court is placed , and in which the assessee was held to be educational institution in a matter concerning payment of Bonus to employees.Our attention was also drawn by ld. Counsel for the assessee to Page No.87 of the Paper Book-1, wherein order dated 25.07.2014 passed by Hon’ble Allahabad High Court in ITA No. 341 of 2010 for ay: 2000-01 is placed , in which the Hon’ble Allahabad High Court upheld that the assessee is entitled for exemption under Section 11 of the 1961 Act , by holding as under:

“The brief facts of the case are that the assessee-respondent is a society created on 1.5.1910 and registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, which was established by the founders of the Society namely, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Rajarshi Purshottam Das Tandon.

The Society is engaged in various types of educational activities from the date of its inception such as popularising national language ‘Hindi’ in public at large. It is conducting various types of examination based on own syllabus and to award various degrees to qualified candidates, also maintains a big library which is running in a big compound. It also published the books and other literature. It has about thousand centres at various places in India and having about a lakh students on its role. The books of account were properly maintained and were audited. No defect was found by the A.O. in the books of accounts.

However, for the assessment year under consideration, the A.O. has declined to extend the benefit of Section 11 of Income Tax Act, though the Society is registered under Section 12A of the Act. Finally the A.O. made various additions, which were deleted by the CIT (A) as well as by the Tribunal.Being not satisfied, the Department has filed the present appeals.

With this background we heard Shri Shambhu Chopra, the learned counsel for the Department-appellant and Shri Rakesh Ranjan Agarwal, the learned Senior Counsel assisted by Shri Vijai Kumar Agarwal, the learned counsel for the respondent-assessee.

Having heard both the parties and on perusal of the record, it is an undisputed fact that the assessee has been granted registration under Section 12A of the Act. The objects of the Societies are the general public utility as defined under Section 2(15) of the Act. No action was taken by the A.O. under Section 12-AA(3) of the Act, before denied the benefit, but directly disallowed the exemption/benefit under Section 11 of the Act. From the order of the CIT (A), it appears that there is no instance of misuse of the funds by the trustees of the Society.

The grant of exemption under Section 11 is not automatic and the assessee shall have to meet out the requirements of Section 11 of the Act. Once, the registration is granted to the assessee under Section 12-A, then the A.O. cannot pass a contrary order without following the provisions of Section 12AA(3), but the same was not done in the instant case. When it is so, then by keeping mind the ratio laid down in the case of CIT Vs. Gujarat Maritime Board, 295 ITR 561 SC, as well as C.M.S. Vs. Union of India, 315 ITR 48 Allahabad, we find no reason to interfere with the impugned orders passed by both the Appellate Authorities, the same are hereby sustained along with the reasons mentioned therein.

No substantial question of law is emerging from the impugned orders. The appeal filed by the department against the judgment and order dated 23.02.2010 passed by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Allahabad in I.T.A.T. No. 49/A/2009 & 09/A/2009 for the Assessment Year 2000- 01 is dismissed at the admission stage.”

It was submitted by ld. Counsel for the assessee that the above order passed by Hon’ble Allahabad High Court has attained finality. The learned senior counsel for the assessee submitted that registration under Section 12A was granted to the assessee by tribunal with effect from 26th May, 1982.Our attention was drawn to tribunal order dated 09.03.2006 wherein tribunal in ITA No.26(Alld.)/2006 modified the order passed by ld. CIT dated 20.12.2005 granting application u/s 12A(a) of the 1961 Act effective from 01.04.2005, to be taken as effective from 26.05.1982(PB-1/page127-134). Our attention was also drawn to Page No.98 of the Paper Book-1 , wherein order of the tribunal in ITA No. 193-197/Alld/2013 for ay’s: 2000-01, 2001-02, 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 , vide common order dated 30.09.2016 is placed , wherein tribunal has accepted the claim of the assessee for grant of exemption under Section 11 of the Act for the aforesaid assessment years. Our attention was also drawn by ld. Counsel for the assessee to page No.214 to Page No. 367 of Paper Book-1 filed by the assessee , and it was submitted that there are several centers of the assessee at various place in India and abroad ,wherein teaching is carried out. It was submitted that Ld. CCIT vide order dated 3rd August, 2015 has denied the assessee’s claim of exemption under Section 10(23C)(vi) by rejecting its application for grant of exemption u/s 10(23C)(vi) by relying upon decision of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Sole Trustee Lok Shikshan Trust v. CIT (1975) 101 ITR 234(SC) and decision of Hon’ble Gujarat High Court in the case of CIT v. Sorabji Nusserwanji Parekh (1993) 201 ITR 939 (Guj.HC) . The ld. Counsel for the assessee submitted that it is not necessary that there should be normal schooling to be eligible for exemption u/s 10(23C)(vi) , and reliance was placed by ld. Counsel for the assessee on following judgments :-

a) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Gujarat High Court in the case of Gujarat State Co-operative Union v. CIT , reported in (1992) 195 ITR 279(Guj. HC)

b) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Gujarat High Court in the case of Director of Income-tax(Exemption) v. Ahmedabad Management Association , reported in (204) 366 ITR 85(Guj. HC)

c) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Madras High Court in the case of Investor Financial Education Academy v. ITO , reported in (2020) 16 ITR-OL176(Mad. HC)

d) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Gujarat High Court in the case of CIT v. Sorabji Nusserwanji Parekh , reported in (1993) 201 ITR 939(Guj. HC)

e) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations v. Director General Of Income-tax , reported in (2012)362 ITR 436(Del HC)

f) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Gujarat High Court in the case of Director of Income-tax(Exemption) v. Ahmedabad Management Association , reported in (2014) 366 ITR 85(Guj. HC)

g) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of Delhi Bureau of Text Books v. Director of Income-tax (Exemption) , reported in (2017) 394 ITR 387(Del HC)

h) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Allahabad High Court in the case of Simpkins School v. Director General Of Income Tax (Investigation) & Ors. , reported in (2014) 367 ITR 335(Alld. HC)

i) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Bombay High Court in the case of Director of Income-tax v. National Safety Council, reported in (2008)305 ITR 257(Bom HC)

j) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Rajasthan High Court in the case of Agarwal Shiksha Samiti Trust v. CIT , reported in (1988) 168 ITR 751(Raj. HC)

k) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Rajasthan High Court in the case of CCIT v. Geetanjali University Trust, reported in (2013) 352 ITR 433(Raj. HC)

l) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of Delhi Music Society v. DGIT , reported in (2013) 357 ITR 265(Del HC)

m) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Calcutta High Court in the case of Creative Music Designers v. ITO(E) , reported in (2022)443 ITR 173(Calcutta HC)

n) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of American Hotel & Lodging Association, Educational Institute v. CBDT , reported in (2008) 301 ITR 86(SC)

o) Order passed by ITAT, Delhi in the case of Haryana State Remote Sensing Application Centre v. CIT(E ) , reported in (2022) 193 ITD 706(Del-trib.)

p) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of Director of Income-tax Exemptions v. Escorts Cardiac Diseases Hospital Society , reported in (2008) 300 ITR 75(Del HC)

q) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Aditanar Educational Institution v. Additional CIT, reported in (1997) 224 ITR 310(SC)

r) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Bombay High Court in the case of Tolani Education Society v. Deputy Director of Income-tax(Exemptions) , reported in (2013)351 ITR 184(Bom)

s) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of CIT v. Lagan Kala Upvan , reported in (2003) 259 ITR 489(Del HC)

t) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of CIT v. Delhi Kannada Education Society, reported in (2000) 246 ITR 731(Del HC)

u) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of DDIT v. Shanti Devi Progressive Education Society , reported in (2011) 340 ITR 320(Del )

v) Judgment and Order passed by Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of Digember Jain Society for Child Welfare v. DGIT(E), reported in (2010) 329 ITR 459(Del)

w) Order passed by ITAT, Jaipur in the case of Singhania University v. CIT, reported in (2021) 210 TTJ 161(Jp.-trib.)

x) Order passed by ITAT, Delhi Benches in the case of ACIT(Exemptions) v. India Habitat Centre , reported in (2021) 86 ITR(T) 290(Del.-trib.)

y) Order passed by ITAT, Hyderabad Benches in the case of ADIT(E) v. Hyderabad Study Circle , reported in (2015) 38 ITR 293(Hyd-trib)

z) Order passed by ITAT, Mumbai in the case of Indian Institute of Banking and

aa) Finance v. CIT(E) , reported in (2020)186 DTR 108(Mum-trib.) aa) Order passed by ITAT, Mumbai in the case of Indian Institute of Bankers v. DDIT(E) , reported in (2002)74 TTJ 523(Mum-trib.)

bb) Orders passed by ITAT, Rajkot in the case of Rajkot Visha Shrimali Jain Samaj v. ITO , reported in (2008)111 ITD 238(Rajkot-trib.)

The ld. Counsel for the assessee drew our attention to the page 57-60 of Paper Book-IV filed by the assessee, which contains specimen degrees awarded by the assessee. The assessee has also filed copy of registration certificate dated 20th December, 2005 granting registration U/S 12AA w.e.f. 01.04.2005(Paper Book –V/Page 1) , as also the assessee has filed certificates regarding recognition of educational institution by various authorities and various Universities , which are placed at page 4-61 in paper book-V filed on 20th July, 2022 by assessee.

4b. The Learned CIT-DR, on the other hand submitted that application filed by the assessee for grant of exemption under section 10(23C)(vi) was rejected by Ld. CCIT, vide common order dated 03.08.2015 for ay’s: 2000-01 to 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2007­08. It was submitted by ld. CIT-DR that the assessee was granted exemption under Section 11 and 12 of the 1961 Act for ay: 2000-01 . It was submitted by ld. CIT-DR that for ay: 2005-06 , the assessee was granted exemption u/s 11 and 12 of the 1961 Act. Our attention was drawn to judgment and orders passed by Hon’ble Allahabad High Court in ITA No. 340 and 341 of 2010, both dated 25.07.2014, for ay: 2000-01 and 2005-06. (paper book-1/ page 90-92 and 87-89). Our attention was drawn by learned CIT DR to page No. 193-194 of the Paper Book-1 filed by the assessee , wherein Press Note dated 05.05.1988 issued by Education Department, Ministry of Human Resources Development, New Delhi is placed , wherein the Ministry clarified that the examination conducted by the assessee are not recognized by Central Government as equivalent to High School, Intermediate or BA. It is clarified in the aforesaid Press Note that the assessee was only granted recognition to conduct examination in Hindi Subject . The ld. CIT-DR relied upon the decision of Hon’ble Supreme Court reported in AIR 2002 Supreme Court 2642, State of Rajasthan v. Lata Arun, dated 17th July, 2002. The Ld. CIT DR submitted that the assessee is a voluntary association for promotion of Hindi and is not recognized by any Board /University. By referring to para 5 of the aforesaid Judgment and order of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Lata Arun(supra), the ld. CIT-DR submitted that the educational qualification by way of Madhyama Certificate issued by the assessee, was previously recognized as equivalent to a Degree in Hindi, but the said recognition ceased to be operative w.e.f. 1.4.1985. The ld. CIT DR further referred to a letter dated 4.12.1991 addressed by Deputy Secretary, Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi written to the Registrar, Rajasthan Nursing Council, Jaipur, in which it was stated “ Hindi Sahitya Samellan , Prayag, Allahabad is one of the voluntary Hindi Institution set up for promotion of Hindi. Its exams are not equated with the regular examinations of Secondary Boards/Universities. Our attention was drawn to para 14 , wherein Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that the Madhayama Certificate from Hindi Sahitya Sammelan Prayag, Allahabad was deleted from the recognized qualifications by the notification dated 28.6.1985. It is also brought to our notice from para 12, that Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Allahabad, was recognized for the period from 1931 to 1967 only, with respect to diploma/degree of Vaidya Visharad or Ayurveda Ratna issued by it. The ld. CIT DR submitted that Section 6 of The Hindi Sahitya Sammelan Act, 1962 provides that the assessee is only for promotion of Hindi language, and our attention was drawn to page 174 of the Paper Book- 1 filed by the assessee. The ld. CIT DR relied upon decision of Hon’ble Gujarat High Court in the case of Saurashtra Education Foundation v. CIT , reported in (2005) 273 ITR 139(Guj. HC),and submitted that Educational institution which is recognised by any competent authority and imparts formal education systematically and has control over its trainees, is eligible for exemption under section 10(22) of IT Act . There has to be registration with authority and answerability to the authority. The ld. CIT DR submitted that Section 10(23C) contemplates exemption to institutions existing exclusively and solely for educational purposes. The ld. CIT DR relied upon judgment and order passed by Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations v. DGIT reported in (2014)362 ITR 436(Del HC), it was submitted that the appellant cannot be treated as the educational institution existing solely for educational purposes and it cannot be compared with the ISCE. The Ld. CIT DR prayed that the order of ld. CCIT be confirmed.

4c. In rejoinder, the Ld. counsel for the assessee drew our attention to Page No. 17 of the paper book of case law and submitted that Hon’ble Gujarat High Court in a subsequent decision in the case of DIT(E) v. Ahmadabad Management Association reported in (2014) 366 ITR 85(Guj) distinguished the decision of Saurashtra Education Foundation(supra) . It was submitted that the assessee is imparting education in Hindi. Our attention was drawn to page No. 177 of the paper book , and in particular to various clauses of Sections 6 of The Hindi Sahitya Sammelan Act, 1962 to submit that the assessee is engaged in imparting education. Our attention was also drawn to page no. 61 of the paper book-V filed by the assessee, wherein Uttama Certificate awarded by the assessee is recognized by Punjabi University, Patiala. Our attention was also drawn to page 1 of PB-V , wherein registration granted by ld. CIT under Section 12AA w.e.f. 01.04.2005 is placed. The Ld. counsel for the assessee relied upon decision of Hon’ble Allahabad High Court in the case of J K Bankers v. CIT, reported in (1974) 94 ITR 107(All. HC) , and explained the powers of tribunal , which cannot go beyond the subject matter of appeal. The ld. Counsel for the assessee also relied upon the decision of Hon’ble Allahabad High Court in the case of S P Kochhar v. ITO, reported in (1984) 145 ITR 255(All. HC).

5. We have considered rival contentions and perused the material on record including cited cases laws. At this stage it will be relevant to give complete background of the case. The assessee had filed an application in From No. 56-D for grant of exemption under Section 10(23C) (vi) for assessment year 2000-01 to 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2007­08 before learned Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Allahabad, belatedly beyond the time prescribed for filing the aforesaid applications. The ld. CCIT dismissed the application for assessment year’s 2000-01 to 2003-04 and 2007-08 vide orders dated 21st June, 2010 and application for ay: 2006-07 was dismissed by ld. CCIT vide orders dated 22.06.2010, on the grounds that there was delay in filing of Form No. 56D and thus the same being prima facie non maintainable. The assessee being aggrieved by the aforesaid order’s of Ld. CCIT dismissing the applications filed by assessee for ay: 2000-01 to 2003-04 , 2006-07 and 2007-08 in Form No. 56D as not maintainable , filed Writ Petition before Hon’ble Allahabad High Court in Writ Tax No. 443 of 2011 , which stood allowed by Hon’ble Jurisdictional High Court vide orders dated 28.01.2015, wherein Hon’ble High Court was pleased to set aside the impugned order’s passed by ld. CCIT and condone the delay with a direction to the competent authority to pass afresh order on merit for the above mentioned assessment years 2000­01 to 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2007-08 at the earliest, preferably within a period of 4 months after receiving certified copy of the order passed in Writ Tax No. 443 of 2011, dated 28th January, 2015 , by holding as under:

“By this writ petition, the petitioner has assailed the order dated 9/10 August, 2010 passed by the department of the revenue where the application for relaxation of time in filing the petition under Section-10(23C) (vi) was rejected for the assessment years 2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2006-07 & 2007-08.

Sri Shakeel Ahmad, learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the petitioner-society was registered under Section-12-A and also exempted under Section-10(22) of the Act till assessment year 1999-2000. For the assessment year under consideration, the assessments were completed and there was no occasion to the petitioner to file any fresh application for exemption. The society was under bona-fide belief that exemption is continuing but w.e.f. 01.06.2006, the second amendment came into force where fresh application for exemption was required. Only after receiving the notice under Section-148, the society had approached the authorities for the exemption alongwith application for condonation of delay. By the impugned order, the authority concerned has rejected the application for condonation of delay. He further submits that there was no mistake on the part of the society-assessee.

On the other hand, Sri Sambhoo Chopra, learned counsel for the department has submitted that there was no genuine hardship as rightly observed in the impugned order, so the application for condonation of delay was rightly rejected.

We have heard both the parties at length and gone through the materials available on record. It may be mentioned that the Income Tax Act is most complicated piece of legislation. The assessee-society is exclusively engaged for the promotion of Hindi language, so amendment was not known to assessee. In the instant case, the assessee-society was already enjoying the benefit under Section-10(22) of the Income Tax Act and was under bona-fide belief that exemption is continuing. The assessee was totally ignorant about the amendment and department is not supposed to take the advantage of the ignorance of the assessee as per CBDT Circular No. 14 (XL-35)/1955 dated 11 April, 1955 (published in 150 ITR 105).

In the circumstances mentioned above, we set-aside the impugned order and condone the delay with a direction to the competent authority to pass afresh order on merit for the above mention assessment years at the earliest, preferably within a period of four months soon after receiving the certified copy of this order.

In the result, the writ petition is allowed.”

Then the matter again reached Ld. CCIT for passing fresh orders as directed by Hon’ble Jurisdictional High Court. The ld. CCIT dismissed the application’s filed by assessee in Form No. 56D by holding that the assessee does not qualify to be accorded recognition as a charitable institution for granting exemption u/s 10(23C)(vi) of the 1961 Act for ay’s: 2000-01 to 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2007-08, vide common order dated 3rd August, 2015 , by holding as under:

“4. Vide its written submission filed on 16.07.2015, the assessee society has submitted as under;

“…… That the other activities of the Society is to provide education to the students in form of Prathama, Madhyama, Uttama. The subjects of the said courses in brief are as under:-

Prathama (Equivalent to High School):

1. Hindi Sahitya

2. History

3. Geography

4. Science

5. Mathematics

6. Home Science for Ladies only.

Madhyama (Equivalent to Intermediate):

    1. Hindi Sahitya
    2. Mathematics
    3. Social Studies
    4. Psychology
    5. Sanskrit
    6. Agriculture
    7. Commerce.

Uttama (Equivalent to B.A. (Honours Hindi):

    1. Hindi Sahitya
    2. Sanskrit Sahitya
    3. History’
    4. Political Science
    5. Economics
    6. Sociology

That it is necessary to mention here that there are various centers all over the country through which the Society is providing education of above courses. In this connection main centres situated outside Allahabad and is at Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) known as “Rajkiya Hindi Vidyapeeth:, Gorakhi Lashkar in which education to the students are provided according to the syllabus of the Society.

That the Society is also conducting various examinations based on its own syllabus/courses for awarding degree named Prathama, Madhyama and Uttama (Sahitya Ratna) and Visharad which are equivalent to High School, Intermediate and B.A. (Honours in Hindi). The total centers in the country for preparing the students to appear in the examinations and other educational activities of the society are about 1,000. Approximate strength of the students appearing in the above examinations is 70,000 to 1,00,000 every year. The degrees conferred by the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan has been recognized by various Universities of the country and various Educational Boards, of the State Government and Indian Medical Council of various Governments.

That the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan has a Hindi Library and Museum which has its own international importance and is the biggest Hindi Library in the World. The Hindi Library owns about one lacs books and twenty five rare manuscript of Hindi, Sanskrit, History and other alike and connected matters to the Hindi Literature and some of them are more that thousand years old and the same are valuable property of the nation. The Government of India is actively contemplating to provide grant to this Hindi Library for making it Air-conditioned so that its rare manuscript may be preserved for longer period and also considering for improvising Micro Filming Facilities for rare manuscript of ancient times.

That the research in Hindi Literature done by the eminent persons and the scholars cannot be completed unless they consult the Hindi Library. The research work were carried on by them is totally dependent on the Hindi Library and the Museum of the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan. The Hindi Sahitya Sammelan provides a free residential facility to the research scholars and for that purpose the Society has already constructed a guesthouse so as to enable them to carry on their research work in a cool and calm atmosphere.

That the Society has its own press where test-books, subjective magazines and question papers are printed. During the progress of study, proper guidance is also provided to the students/research students by the institution in the library free of cost. This is with a view to have and maintain a complete educational and peaceful environment to the students and research Scholars. For managing the affairs there are about 125 employees who are paid by the Society for the services rendered by them every month. It is a unique library of the country for Hindi Students where students, Professors and foreigners also visit and consult the books. The entire institution is in big campus of the land, which consists of office, Sangrahalaya, Printing Press, provision for stay of guests/students (Guest House) and big seminar hall, which is used for various seminars and other educational activities including playground etc. In this way the institution is providing the above activities in the own premises for encouraging the moral of student for higher education.

That for proper guidance and to keep the control of activities, the Society is bound by the objects mentioned in its memorandum/bye-laws. The above rules and bye-laws of the Societies lay down the object of this Association and the manner of its working. Under the Rules and bye-laws of the Society as mentioned above other bodies could be constituted for carrying on the activities of the Society as mentioned above other bodies could be constituted for carrying on the activities of the Society. These activities were manifold and multifarious including a Governing Body, the working committee a Hind University Council, Literary Council (Sahitya Samiti) Library committee, Prachar Samiti, through these Agencies of these various committees the Society carried on the work of promotion and propagation of Hindi, of spreading the use of Devnagri script, holding examination and of conferring degrees for proficiency in Hindi. The objects of the Society brief are as under:-

careful consideration

5. After careful consideration of the activities of the assessee-society and the submissions made during the proceedings, I find that in the activities of the assessee-society there is no element of normal schooling and also there are no teachers and taught present. The assessee has not setup any school or college for imparting education. It merely conducts exams based on its own syllabus/course and awards degrees named as Prathama, Madhyarna Uttama and Visharad.

6. In the above context, it is pertinent to note that the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Sole Trustee Lok Shikshan Trust Vs. CIT (1975) 101 ITR 234 has ruled the following with regard to the “Education” for the purpose of clause (15) of section 2 of the IT Act;

“The sense in which the word “education ” has been used in section 2(15) is the systematic instruction, schooling or training given to the young in preparation for the work of life. It also connotes the whole course of scholastic instruction which a person has received. The word “education” has not been used in that wide and extended sense, according to which every acquisition of further knowledge constitutes education. According to this wide and extended sense, travelling is education, because as a result of travelling you acquire fresh knowledge. Likewise, if you read newspapers and magazines, see pictures, visit art galleries, museums and zoos, you thereby add to your knowledge. Again when you grow up and have dealing with other people, some of whom are not straight, you learn by experience and thus add to your knowledge of the ways of the world. If you are not careful, your wallet is liable to be stolen or you are liable to be cheated by some unscrupulous person. The thief who removes your wallet and the swindler who cheats you teach you a lesson and in the process make you wiser though poorer. If you visit a night club, you get acquainted with and add to your knowledge about some of the not much revealed realities and mysteries of life. All this in a way is education in the great school of life. But that is not the sense in which the word ”’education” is used in clause (15) of section 2. What education connotes in the clause is the process of training and developing the knowledge, skill, mind and character of students by normal schooling.

7. Further, in the case of CIT VS. Sorabji Nusserwanji Parekh (1993) 201 ITR 939, Hon’ble Gujrat High Court have held that there has to be an activity of normal schooling or actual imparting of education by the institution to claim exemption.

8. In the case of assessee no educational activity in the sense of normal schooling or actual imparting of knowledge or learning to the students is carried out. The assessee society was simply conducting examination as Prathama, Madhayama, Uttama and Visharad without keeping any control over such students or without actually imparting any knowledge to the said students. Therefore, it cannot be said that the assessee society was carrying on educational activities or that it was an educational institution established for educational purposes. Education for the purposes of section 2(15), has a very specific meaning and is not used in a wide and extended sense. Education should normally be considered as a process, training and development of knowledge, mind and character of students in normal schooling. The aims, objects and the activities of the assessee society could not be held as education as it was not a process of training and development of the students in normal schooling.

9. In view of the above findings and reasons given in the foregoing paragraphs, it is hereby held that the applicant does not qualify to be accorded recognition as a charitable institution for granting exemption U/s 10 (23C) (vi) of the I.T. Act for the assessment years 2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2007-08, Thus, the application for the above mentioned years stand rejected.”

Thus, the Ld. CCIT held that there is no element of normal schooling in the activities of the assessee. The ld. CCIT also observed that there are no teachers and taught. The assessee has not set up any school or college for imparting education. It merely conducts exams based on its own syllabus/courses and awards degrees named as Prathama, Madhayama, Uttama and Visharad. The ld. CCIT relied upon decision of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Sole Trustee Lok Shikshan Trust v. CIT (1975) 101 ITR 234(SC) and decision of Hon’ble Gujarat High Court in the case of CIT v. Sorabji Nusserwanji Parekh (1993) 201 ITR 939(Guj. HC), to hold that the assessee is not conducting educational activities in the sense of normal schooling nor actual imparting of knowledge or learning to the students is carried out. The ld. CCIT observed that the assessee is simply conducting examination as Prathama , Madhyama, Uttama and Visharad without keeping any control over such students or without actually imparting any knowledge to the said students. The ld. CCIT observed that it cannot be said that the assessee society was carrying on educational activities or that it was an educational institution established for educational purposes. The ld. CCIT observed that education for the purposes of section 2(15) of the 1961 Act , has a very specific meaning and is not used in a wide and extended sense. Education should normally be considered as a process, training and development of knowledge, mind and character of students in normal schooling. The aims, objects and the activities of the assessee society could not be held as education as it was not a process of training and development of the students in normal schooling. The ld. CCIT held that the assessee does not qualify to be accorded recognition as a charitable institution for granting exemption U/s 10 (23C) (vi) of the 1961 Act for the assessment years 2000-01 to 2003­04, 2006-07 and 2007-08, and thus, the application filed by the assessee for all these years for grant of exemption u/s 10(23C)(vi) of the 1961 Act stood rejected by ld. CCIT, vide common order dated 03.08.2015 passed by ld. CCIT.

The assessee being aggrieved by common order dated 03.08.2015 passed by ld. CCIT for ay’s: 2000-01 to 2003-04 , 2006-07 and 2007-08 rejecting application filed by assessee for according recognition as a charitable institution for grant of exemption u/s 10(23C)(vi) , filed writ petition with Hon’ble Allahabad High Court which was listed as Writ Tax No. 891 of 2015. The aforesaid Writ Tax Appeal stood dismissed by Hon’ble Allahabad High Court vide order dated 2nd August, 2017 , wherein Hon’ble High Court observed that alternate remedy against the impugned order dated 3rd August, 2015 passed by Ld. CCIT, Allahabad under Section 10(23C)(vi) lies with Income Tax Appellate Tribunal(ITAT) under the provisions of Section 253 (1)(f) the 1961 Act which was inserted with effect from 01/06/2015 by Finance Act, 2015, by holding as under:

“Heard Shri R. R. Agarwal learned Senior Counsel assisted by Shri Suyash Agarwal learned counsel for the petitioner and Shri Shubham Agarwal learned counsel for respondent no. 1.

Shri Shubham Agarwal has raised the preliminary objection that the order impugned in this petition is appealable and therefore the petition is not maintainable or ought not to be entertained unless the petitioner exhausts the remedy of appeal.

The order impugned in this appeal is an order passed under Section 10(23C) (vi) of the Income Tax Act 1961, dated 03.08.2015 passed by the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Allahabad.

Section 253 (1)(f) which was inserted with effect from 01.06.2015 vide Finance Act 2015 provides for an appeal against the order passed by the Prescribed Authority under Section 10(23C) (vi) of the Act.

In view of the above provisions, there is a clear statutory remedy of appeal available to the petitioner which has not been availed.

Shri R.R. Agarwal learned Senior Counsel has submitted that this petition was filed on 17.11.2015 but no such objection was raised at that time or even in the counter affidavit.

The mere fact that the department may or may not have raised the above objection earlier would not obliterate the legal position as the right to file appeal available under the Act. Thus, irrespective of the fact that there was no objection earlier regarding alternate remedy as undisputedly the petitioner has a remedy of filing an appeal against the impugned order, we do not deem it proper to proceed further and to adjudicate the rights of the parties involving factual aspects in exercise of extraordinary jurisdiction.

Accordingly, we dismiss the petition on the ground of alternate remedy with liberty to the petitioner to avail the remedy of appeal. It is expected that in case any application for condoning the delay on account of the fact that the petition was incorrectly filed and was pending in the High Court, the Appellate Authority would consider the delay condo nation application sympathetically.

The certified copy of the impugned order enclosed with the petition is directed to be returned to the petitioner within a week after retaining a copy of the same on record.

The petition is dismissed accordingly.”

The Hon’ble Jurisdictional High Court while dismissing Writ Petition filed by assessee in view of alternate remedy of filing appeal with tribunal u/s 253(1)(f) of the 1961 Act available to the assessee against the impugned order dated 03.08.2015 passed by ld. CCIT, also observed that it is expected of the tribunal to consider sympathetically condo nation of delay application filed by assessee on account of the fact that Writ Petition was incorrectly filed by assessee and was pending with Hon’ble High Court. The Writ Petition was dismissed by Hon’ble Jurisdictional High Court on 02.08.2017. The assessee filed all the six appeal(s) with tribunal on 18th August, 2017 against impugned common order dated 3rd August, 2015 passed by ld. CCIT for ay’s : 2000-01 to 2003-04 , 2006-07 and 2007-08 rejecting application filed by assessee for according recognition as a charitable institution for grant of exemption u/s 10(23C)(vi) of the 1961 Act. The assessee has duly filed condo nation application(s) dated 17.08.2017 along with affidavit dated 16.08.2017 executed by Shri Vibhuti Narain Mishra , Head of the Society, requesting for condoning delay in filing these six appeal(s) with tribunal wherein it is mainly averred that the assessee under bonafide belief was perusing remedy by filing Writ Petition with Hon’ble Allahabad High Court, while the correct legal forum to challenge the impugned order dated 03.08.2015 passed by ld. CCIT was by filing an appeal with tribunal . These six appeal(s) were to be filed with tribunal within 60 days of service of the impugned order dated 03.08.2015 passed by ld. CCIT for all the six assessment years viz. ay’s : 2000-01 to 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2007-08. The common order dated 03.08.2015 passed by ld. CCIT was served on the assessee on 07.08.2015, as is stated to be in Form No. 36 filed with tribunal. The appeal(s) with tribunal ought to have been filed by assessee latest by 06th October, 2015. The assessee filed Writ Petition with Hon’ble High Court on 17.11.2015, which was filed within 102 days of service of impugned order. Although the assessee filed writ petition, the time otherwise available to file appeal u/s 260A with High Court against the order of tribunal is 120 days. Thus, it could not be said that there was delay and latches on part of the assessee, although assessee was pursuing legal remedy at wrong forum by filing Writ Petition with Hon’ble Jurisdictional High Court instead of filing an appeal with tribunal u/s 253(1)(f) of the 1961 Act. Section 253(1)(f) was inserted by Finance Act, 2015 , w.e.f. 01.06.2015. The assessee also filed all the six appeals with tribunal on 18.08.2017, while writ petition was dismissed by Hon’ble High Court on 02.08.2017. So, it cannot be said that assessee is not vigiliant nor these six appeal’s now filed with tribunal could be said to be suffering from delay and latches on part of the assessee, although much time was consumed by assessee from 17.11.2015 till 02.08.2017 in persuing legal remedy at wrong forum viz. Hon’ble Jurisdictional High Court . Section 253(1)(f) was itself inserted w.e.f. 01.06.2015 by Finance Act, 2015, while ld. CCIT passed impugned order on 03.08.2015. The department has also not resisted condo nation application now filed by the assessee praying for condoning delay in filing all these six appeals with tribunal beyond the time as stipulated u/s 253(3) of the 1961 Act. Thus, keeping in view overall facts and circumstances as enumerated above and also keeping in view directions of Hon’ble Allahabad High Court to consider sympathetically condo nation application filed by assessee, we condone the delay in filing these six appeal’s late beyond the time prescribed u/s 253(3) of the 1961 Act. These six appeals stand admitted and we shall now proceed to adjudicate these six appeals on merit in accordance with law, after hearing contentions of both the parties.

The only question which has arisen before us for adjudication is as to whether the assessee is eligible for getting exemption u/s 10(23C)(vi) of the 1961 Act. The assessee is already registered u/s 12A of the 1961 Act, and we have been informed that the assessee is getting necessary exemptions u/s 11 and 12 of the 1961 Act, over the years. The Hon’ble Allahabad High Court in Income Tax Appeal No. 341 of 2010 for ay: 2000-01 , vide judgment and order dated 25.07.2014 , after considering its objects and activities, observed that the assessee’s objects are of general public utilities as defined u/s 2(15) of the 1961 Act and the assessee being registered u/s 12A will be entitled for exemption u/s 11 and 12 of the 1961 Act, by holding as under:

“The brief facts of the case are that the assessee-respondent is a society created on 1.5.1910 and registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, which was established by the founders of the Society namely, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Rajarshi Purshottam Das Tandon.

The Society is engaged in various types of educational activities from the date of its inception such as popularising national language ‘Hindi’ in public at large. It is conducting various types of examination based on own syllabus and to award various degrees to qualified candidates, also maintains a big library which is running in a big compound. It also published the books and other literature. It has about thousand centres at various places in India and having about a lakh students on its role. The books of account were properly maintained and were audited. No defect was found by the A.O. in the books of accounts.

However, for the assessment year under consideration, the A.O. has declined to extend the benefit of Section 11 of Income Tax Act, though the Society is registered under Section 12A of the Act. Finally the A.O. made various additions, which were deleted by the CIT (A) as well as by the Tribunal.Being not satisfied, the Department has filed the present appeals.

With this background we heard Shri Shambhu Chopra, the learned counsel for the Department-appellant and Shri Rakesh Ranjan Agarwal, the learned Senior Counsel assisted by Shri Vijai Kumar Agarwal, the learned counsel for the respondent-assessee.

Having heard both the parties and on perusal of the record, it is an undisputed fact that the assessee has been granted registration under Section 12A of the Act. The objects of the Societies are the general public utility as defined under Section 2(15) of the Act. No action was taken by the A.O. under Section 12-AA(3) of the Act, before denied the benefit, but directly disallowed the exemption/benefit under Section 11 of the Act. From the order of the CIT (A), it appears that there is no instance of misuse of the funds by the trustees of the Society.

The grant of exemption under Section 11 is not automatic and the assessee shall have to meet out the requirements of Section 11 of the Act. Once, the registration is granted to the assessee under Section 12-A, then the A.O. cannot pass a contrary order without following the provisions of Section 12AA(3), but the same was not done in the instant case. When it is so, then by keeping mind the ratio laid down in the case of CIT Vs. Gujarat Maritime Board, 295 ITR 561 SC, as well as C.M.S. Vs. Union of India, 315 ITR 48 Allahabad, we find no reason to interfere with the impugned orders passed by both the Appellate Authorities, the same are hereby sustained along with the reasons mentioned therein.

No substantial question of law is emerging from the impugned orders. The appeal filed by the department against the judgment and order dated 23.02.2010 passed by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Allahabad in I.T.A.T. No. 49/A/2009 & 09/A/2009 for the Assessment Year 2000- 01 is dismissed at the admission stage.”

The Hon’ble Allahabad High Court in Income Tax Appeal No. 340 of 2010 , vide Judgment and Order dated 25.07.2014, has held that the assessee being registered u/s 12A will be eligible for getting exemption u/s 11 of the 1961 The assesse has also enclosed assessment orders for ay: 2012-13 and 2016-17 , wherein income of the assessee after granting exemption u/s 11 and 12, was assessed at Rs. Nil(Page 135-139/PB-1). The tribunal vide orders dated 09th March 2006 in ITA No.26/Alld/2006, has directed department to grant registration u/s 12A(a) effective from 26.05.1982(page 127-134/PB-1). The tribunal vide common orders dated 30.09.2016 in ITA No. 193 to 197/Alld/2014 for ay: 2000-01, 2001-02, 2004-05 , 2005-06 and 2006-07, has by following the decision of Hon’ble Allahabad High Court for ay: 2000-01, dismissed the appeal of the Revenue being infructuous. Act .Thus, the assessee is getting the benefit of exemption u/s 11 and 12 of the 1961 Act, being registered u/s 12A. The assessee is now seeking approval u/s 10(23C)(vi) of the 1961 Act for all the impugned assessment years, to claim necessary exemptions, by claiming that the assessee is an educational institution existing solely for education and not for purposes of profits. Section 10(23C)(vi) provides exemption from income on fulfillment of stipulated condition as are provided u/s 10(23C)(vi) read with applicable proviso’s. The issue before us for adjudication is limited as to whether the assessee is an educational institution existing solely for education and not for purposes of profits. Section 10(23C)(vi) provides exemption from income to University or other educational institutions existing solely for education and not for the purposes of profits. It is admitted and not disputed that the assessee is not a University. Thus, the assessee is contending that it is covered under ‘other educational institution’ and it exists solely for education and not for the purposes of profits. The word ‘ other educational institution’ is to be interpreted keeping in view that it is used immediately after ‘university’ and hence has to take its color from it. The rule of construction of Noscitur A Sociis will apply which means that the meaning of the word is to be judged by the company it keeps. Thus, the word ‘other educational institution’ is to be interpreted with reference to the word ‘University’ found in immediate connection with it. Thus, when two or more words are susceptible of analogous meaning are coupled together, they are understood to be used in cognate sense . They take color from each other, that is, the more general is restricted to a sense analogous to a less general. ( Refer Principles of Statutory Interpretation by Justice G P Singh). In Cambridge dictionary, ‘University’ is defined as ‘ a place where people study for an undergraduate (= first) or postgraduate (= higher level) degree’. In Black law Dictionary, ‘University’ is defined as ‘An institution of higher learning, consisting of an assemblage of colleges united under one corporate organization and government, affording instruction in the arts and sciences and the learned professions and conferring degrees. See Com. v. Banks, 198 Pa. 397. 48 Atl. 277’. Thus in short, University is an institution of higher learning of study, which confers Degrees. The ‘other educational institution’ will definitely take its color from the word ‘University’ . There is no definition of ‘educational institution’ provided in the 1961 Act, and Hon’ble Courts have interpreted the same through judicial orders . We have observed that there is a definition of ‘Educational Institution’ provided under the erstwhile Service Tax Law which was implemented by Finance Act, 1994(Section 66D(l)) and now GST(clause 2(y) of the Notification No. 12/2017-Central- Tax (Rate) dated : 28.06.2017) which is implemented through a separate statute (both Service tax and GST are taxing statute) , which provides that :

“educational institution” means an institution providing services by way of,-

(i) pre-school education and education up to higher secondary school or equivalent;

(ii) education as a part of a curriculum for obtaining a qualification recognized by any law for the time being in force;

(iii) education as a part of an approved vocational education course;”

We are of the considered view that the expression educational institution when used in conjunction with University , cannot be given a very broader definition, and the above definition gives a very vivid description of ‘educational institution’ . Further, these educational institutions should exist solely for education purposes and not for the purposes of profits, in order to avail approval u/s 10(23C)(vi) . The word education has been defined in different dictionaries as follows:

  • the act or process of imparting or acquiring knowledge , developing the powers of reasoning and judgment , and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life( com)
  • the act or process of imparting knowledge or skills to another( Merriam Webster Dictionary)
  • the act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills , as for a profession(dictionary com)
  • the act or process of acquiring knowledge, esp. systematically during childhood and adolescence(Collins Dictionary)
  • the activity of educating people in schools, colleges and universities, and all the policies and arrangements concerning this(Macmillan Dictionary)
  • Discipline that is concerned with methods of teaching and learning in schools or school-like environments as opposed to various non formal and informal means of socialization (e.g. , education through parent-child relationships). (Britannica)

The education is different from training or coaching. The person admitted in school or college will have no choice but to attend all the subjects stipulated in the syllabus, while in the case of coaching class, the student will have an option to select coaching for specific subject. All the institutions which are providing education upto higher secondary are affiliated to Board constituted by State/Central Government for this purpose, while coaching classes are not affiliated to any Board. They can provide training or coaching of their choice. The degree, diploma , certificate is awarded by the Board/University to whom the institution giving education is affiliated. While the Coaching and Training provided by the Coaching Class is not affiliated to any Board or University and , therefore, teaching therein does not provide any degree, diploma or certificate.

The activities of the assessee are to be evaluated in the above context as well judicial precedents. The assessee has claimed that it is promoting Hindi Language . The assessee has also claimed that it is providing education to students by conducting various courses named Prathama, Madhyama and Uttama and claim is made that these courses are duly recognized by various Universities and Boards. It is also claimed by assessee that it is running various centers for providing education in Hindi. While ld. CIT-DR has seriously disputed the same and contended that these courses are not recognized by any University/Board. The ld. CIT DR referred to Press Note dated 05.05.1988 issued by Education Department, Ministry of Human Resources Development, New Delhi, wherein the Ministry clarified that the examination conducted by the assessee are not recognized by Central Government as equivalent to High School, Intermediate or BA. It is clarified in the aforesaid Press Note that the assessee was only granted recognition to conduct examination in Hindi Subject . The ld. CIT-DR relied upon the decision of Hon’ble Supreme Court reported in AIR 2002 Supreme Court 2642, State of Rajasthan v. Lata Arun, dated 17th July, 2002. The Ld. CIT DR submitted that the assessee is a voluntary association for promotion of Hindi and is not recognized by any Board /University. By referring to para 5 of the aforesaid Judgment and order of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Lata Arun(supra), the ld. CIT-DR submitted that the educational qualification by way of Madhyama Certificate issued by the assessee, was previously recognized as equivalent to a Degree in Hindi, but the said recognition ceased to be operative w.e.f. 1.4.1985. The ld. CIT DR further referred to a letter dated 4.12.1991 addressed by Deputy Secretary, Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi written to the Registrar, Rajasthan Nursing Council, Jaipur, in which it was stated “ Hindi Sahitya Samellan , Prayag, Allahabad is one of the voluntary Hindi Institution set up for promotion of Hindi. Its exams are not equated with the regular examinations of Secondary Boards/Universities. Our attention was drawn to para 14 , wherein Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that the Madhayama Certificate from Hindi Sahitya Sammelan Prayag, Allahabad was deleted from the recognized qualifications by the notification dated 28.6.1985. It is also brought to our notice from para 12, that Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Allahabad, was recognized for the period from 1931 to 1967 only, with respect to diploma/degree of Vaidya Visharad or Ayurveda Ratna issued by it. Every assessment year is a separate unit and the activities of the taxpayer are to be evaluated for each of the assessment year, before granting exemption u/s 10(23C)(vi). These are factual aspects which need verification of facts. The assessee has not even filed before us the audited financial statements for the impugned ay’s . The ld. CCIT while rejecting application of the assessee for grant of approval u/s 10(23C)(vi) has not exhaustively dealt with all the aspects of the matter in a comprehensive manner. The matter needs to be restored back to ld. CCIT for passing a detailed and exhaustive order by going through various activities carried on by the assessee , and then arriving at decision as to the allowability of claim of the assessee seeking approval u/s 10(23C)(vi). The ld. CCIT shall also consider recent decision of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of PCIT v.Wipro Limited , reported in (2022) 140 taxmann.com 223(SC), as the assessee in the instant case before us is already claiming benefit of exemption u/s 11 and 12 of the 1961 Act for all these years , on strength of registration u/s 12A , and accordingly returns were filed by assessee with Revenue for all those years. It is also claimed by assessee that exemption provisions are to be liberally construed , however we draw attention to Constitution Bench Judgment and Order of Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Commissioner of Customs(Imports) , Mumbai v. Dilip Kumar & Co. (2018) 95 taxmann.com 327(SC) , wherein Hon’ble Supreme Court held that exemption provisions are to be strictly construed. We clarify that we have refrained ourselves from commenting on merits of the issue’s in this appeal , so that ld. CCIT can decide the issue unhindered by any of our observations. We are setting aside the common order dated 03rd August, 2015 passed by ld. CCIT u/s 10(23C)(vi) holding that the assessee does not qualify to be accorded recognition as a charitable institution for granting exemption u/s 10(23C) (vi) of the 1961 Act for assessment year’s (ay’s): 2000-01 to 2003-04 , 2006-07 and 2007-08, for denovo determination of the issue after granting proper and adequate opportunity to the assessee. All the evidences/submissions filed by the assessee in its defense shall be admitted by ld. CCIT , and then adjudicated on merits in accordance with law. The ld. CCIT shall consider all the judicial precedents relied upon by the assessee, including any other judicial precedent(s) found relevant by ld. CCIT to adjudicate the issue on merits in accordance with law. We order accordingly.

8. In the result, all the six appeals filed by assessee in ITA Nos. 169 to 174/Alld./2017 for assessment year(s) 2000-01 to 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2007-08, are allowed for statistical purposes.

Order pronounced on 11/10/2022 at Allahabad in accordance with Rule 34(4) of the I.T.A.T. Rules, 1963.

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