Decided on July 20,1994



R.N. SINGHAL, A.M. : - (1.) THESE eight appeals by the assessee involve an identical issue. They were heard together. Hence for the sake of facility they are disposed of by a consolidated order.
(2.) For each of the four years involved original assessments were completed by granting benefit of S. 11. Subsequently for all the four years the CIT passed orders under S. 263 by holding that the original assessment orders were erroneous in so far as they were prejudicial to the interests of Revenue. He recorded certain observations but in the ultimate analysis he set aside the original orders with direction to pass fresh assessment orders. In the fresh assessments the Assessing Officer (AO) denied exemption under S. 11 and the CIT(A) agreed with the AO. So we have one set of four appeals which are directed against the orders under S. 263. Then we have another set of four appeals which are directed against the orders of the CIT(A) wherein the latter approved the AOs action of denying the benefit of S. 11 on fresh assessments. The Departmental authorities have in effect held that the assessee trust is not a religious trust but it is a charitable trust and further that in view of the provisions of S. 13(1)(b) it is not entitled to exemption under S. 11. The learned advocate for the assessee before us first gave the background of the case by stating that the trust was created by trust deed dt. 15th July, 1976. Drawing our attention to the objects of the trust he very emphatically submitted that it was in reality a religious trust. He therefore, urged that the provisions of S. 13(1)(b) were not applicable at all because they applied to charitable trust and not religious trust. He drew supports from observations in the celebrated book by Shri Palkhiwala. He further submitted that for the sake of argument if it is not regarded as a religious trust then reasons for rejection of assessees first contention would come to the assessees rescue for supporting that it is not for a particular religious community or caste. He elaborated that if Jainism is religion the trust is a religious trust and if Jainism is not a religion then the trust even if regarded as charitable trust cannot be held to be for the benefit of a particular religious community.
(3.) IN support of the contention that Jainism is not a religion he relied on observations in certain books on Jainism. His last alternative argument was that since trust had been registered under S. 12A and it had been finally held for and upto asst. yr. 1984-85 (from asst. yr. 1977-78) as entitled to exemption under S. 11 the said exemption cannot be denied without cancellation of registration under S. 12A. He relied on certain decisions for the purpose.;

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