HIGH COURT OF KERALA
Kerala State Nirmiti Kendra
Commissioner of Income-tax, Thiruvananthapuram
WP (C) NO. 30034 OF 2009
DECEMBER 31, 2012
1. The petitioner is a society registered under the provisions of the Travancore-Kochi Literary Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act, 1955. Ext.P1 is the certificate of registration. In this writ petition they seek a declaration that they fall within the purview of the notification issued by the Government of India under section 194A(iii)(f) of the Income Tax Act and thus entitled to be exempted from deduction of tax and source on the interest income received by them.
2. Section 194A(iii)(f) states that the provisions of sub Section 1 of Section 194 A shall not apply to such income credited or paid to such other association or body which the Central Government may for reasons to be recorded in writing, notified in this behalf in the Official Gazette. The extract of the notification relied on by the petitioner is Ext.P2 and the relevant provision of this notification reads thus :
“Any Corporation established by a Central, State or Provincial Act; any company in which all the shares are hold (whether singly or taken together) by the Government or the Reserve Bank of India or a corporation owned by that Bank; any undertaking or body including a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (XXI of 1860), financed wholly by the Government: SO 3489/22-10-70.”
3. Reading of the above provision of the notification shows that in so far as Societies are concerned, only such of those Societies which are registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 are exempted. In other words, the terms of the notification itself show that a society like the petitioner which is registered under the Travancore-Kochi Literary Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act, 1955 are not exempted from the levy of TDS.
4. A provision for exemption has to be construed strictly and this court has to confine the scope of the notification to its words. Words of the notification are clear that the exemption is confined to Societies registered under the Societies Registration Act. If that be so, this court cannot include societies which are not included in the notification by way of a declaration. Therefore, the prayer sought in the writ petition has to be declined.
5. Be that as it may, Section 197 of the Income Tax Act authorises the assessing officer to grant certificate as contemplated therein if he is satisfied that the total income of the recipient justifies deduction of tax at a lower rate or without any deduction of income tax. Therefore, I dispose of this writ petition leaving it open to the petitioner to approach the assessing officer by making an application under Section 197 of the Income Tax Act.
The writ petition is disposed of as above.