No denial of exemption just because trust failed to produce necessary records as same got destroyed during floods: HC

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  • Last Updated on 17 August, 2021

Charitable or religious trust

Case details: Morbi Plot Jain Tapgachh Sangh v. CIT - [2021] 129 84 (Gujarat)

Judiciary and Counsel Details

    • J.B. Pardiwala and Ilesh J. Vora, JJ. 
    • Manish J Shah for the Petitioner.
    • Mrs. Mauna M Bhatt and Karan Sanghani, Adv. for the Respondent.

Facts of the Case

Assessee was claiming the benefit of exemption under Section 11 as a registered trust. From the assessment year 2013-14, the Trust was required to upload return of income on the website of the Income-tax department. Trust had lost its entire records during the flood and did not have a copy of the registration certificate. However the department insisted on such a copy to grant the benefit of exemption. Accordingly, the department denied the benefit of exemption to assessee.

On writ, Gujrat High Court held that there was contemporaneous record available with the Trust, which should be looked into minutely by the department to satisfy itself that the Trust had been issued a registration certificate under section 12A and had been availing the benefit of exemption over a period of time under section 11.
The department was expected to undertake some homework in this regard seriously. The Trust should not be denied the benefit of exemption only on account of its disability to produce the necessary records, which got destroyed during the floods of 1978. There was nothing doubtful or fishy as regards the Trust.

High Court held

Accordingly, High Court held that whatever record is available with the Trust, as on date, should be produced before the department. The department should look into the records minutely and give an opportunity of hearing to the Trust or its legal representative and take an appropriate decision according to law.

List of Cases Referred to

    • Sardar Bhavan Trust v. ITO [IT Appeal Nos. 876 to 881 (Ahd.) of 2010, dated 10-5-2013] (para 13).

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