IMPRESSARIO EDUCATIONAL TRUST Vs. CIT
INCOME TAX APPELLATE TRIBUNAL
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N.R.S.Ganesan, Member (J) -
(1.) THIS appeal of the assessee is directed against the order of the Commissioner of Income -tax -1, Kochi dated 26 -02 -2014 rejecting the application of the assessee for registration u/s. 12AA of the Act.
(2.) SHRI Joshi John, the ld. representative for the assessee submitted that the assessee charitable institution was established by a trust deed dated 22 -07 -2013. The object of the institution is to establish and administer school, colleges, etc. In furtherance of its objects, the assessee established an institution for teaching event management course. The Administrative Commissioner rejected the application of the assessee on the ground that the assessee trust is conducting course without approval of any statutory authorities. The Administrative Commissioner has also observed that the assessee was charging exorbitant fee for conducting event management course and as a result of course conducted by the assessee, no certificate was issued by any statutory authority. Referring to the judgment of the Apex Court in Sole Trustee, Loka Shikshana Trust vs. Commissioner of Income -tax : (1975) 101 ITR 234 (SC), the ld. representative submitted that "education" means process of training and developing the knowledge of skill, mind and character of a student. In this case, according to the ld. representative, the assessee is imparting training and knowledge in event management to the students. Therefore, the course conducted by the assessee falls within the four corners of the definition of "education". According to the ld. representative, approval of any statutory authority or university is not a pre -condition for grant of registration u/s. 12AA of the Act. What is required to be seen is whether the assessee is conducting the course for the benefit of the students by imparting knowledge to the students. Since the approval by the university/statutory authority is not a pre -condition, the Administrative Commissioner is not justified in rejecting the application of the assessee. The ld. representative placed his reliance on the decision of the Mumbai Bench of this Tribunal in Samudra Institute of Maritime Studies Trust (2014) 6 TMI 350 -ITAT, MUMBAI. On the contrary, Smt. Latha v. Kumar, the ld. DR submitted that the assessee trust is not conducting any normal schooling. It is conducting classes for event management course which is not approved by any university or regulatory body. Mere coaching class cannot be considered to be "education" within the meaning of section 2(15) of the Act. Referring to the decision of the Chennai Bench of this Tribunal in Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar Foundation : (2011) 48 SOT 502, the ld. DR submitted that when the assessee is charging exorbitant fees, the element of charity no longer remains; hence the assessee is not eligible for registration u/s. 12AA of the Act.
(3.) WE have considered the rival submissions on either side and also perused the material available on record. Admittedly, the assessee is conducting classes for even management course. The event management course conducted by the assessee is not approved by any governmental agency or affiliated to any university. The course conducted by the assessee does not result in conferment of a degree or diploma by a governmental agency or affiliated to any university. The question arises for consideration is whether a mere class conducted by the assessee would fall within the definition of "education". No doubt, the class conducted by the assessee may facilitate the students to acquire some kind of knowledge. The acquisition of all kinds of knowledge is not education as held by the Apex Court in Sole Trustee, Loka Shikshana Trust (supra). The acquisition of knowledge shall be through a normal schooling. In fact the Apex Court observed as follows:
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 is 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 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 dealings 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 that clause is the process of training and developing the knowledge, skill, mind and character of students by normal schooling.;
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