Delhi H.C : We, therefore, do not find any infirmity in the impugned order for us to interfere. This petition is, therefore, dismissed in limine.

High Court Of Delhi

Safdarjung Enclave Educational Society vs. Municipal Corporation Of Delhi

R.N. Pyne, C.J. & D.P. Wadhwa, J.

C.W.P. No. 263 of 1989

9th February, 1989

The judgment of the Court was delivered byWADHWA J.:

The petitioner, a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, is challenging the order dt. 4th Nov., 1988, of the Dy. Assessor and Collector, passed under the provisions of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 (for short “the Act”), and assessing the society to general tax. The Dy. Assessor and Collector rejected the contention of the petitioner-society that no tax could be levied on its building as it was a society for a charitable purpose and entitled to exemption under sub-s. (4) of s. 115 of the Act. The society runs a school called the Green Field School and the tax in question has been levied on the school building.

2. A general tax is levied under cl. (d) of sub-s. (1.) of s. 114 of the Act. The petitioner-society contends that no general tax under the Act could be levied as it was exempt from any such taxation under sub-s. (4) of s. 115 of the Act. It appears that, against the impugned order, a suit was also filed which was withdrawn “with liberty to take action before the forum which is competent to hear the subject-matter of the amount involved in the present case.” The relevant portion of s. 115(4) of the Act may be reproduced as under : “(4) Save as otherwise provided in this Act, the general tax shall be levied in-respect of all lands and buildings in Delhi except (a) lands and buildings or portions of lands and buildings exclusively occupied and used for public worship or by a society or body for charitable purpose: Provided that such society or body is supported wholly or in part by voluntary contributions, applies its profits, if any, or other income in promoting its objects and does not pay any dividend or bonus to its members.

Explanation.—’Charitable purpose’ includes relief of the poor, education and medical relief but does not include a purpose which relates exclusively to religious teaching ;”

Mr. Bhasin, learned counsel for the petitioner-society, submitted that the petitioner-society was running a school which was a charitable purpose as given in the Explanation and that it was applying its profits and all its income on running of the school. He stated that a similar writ petition had been admitted by another Bench of this Court, it being C. W. P. No. 2835 of 1988 entitled Kamla Nehru College vs. Municipal Corporation of Delhi. We have gone through the record of that writ, petition and we find that that case is entirely different from the one before us. In that case, the petitioner’s college was established by the Delhi Administration. It was run by a society registered under the Societies Registration Act and was an independent legal entity. It was an affiliated college of the Delhi University and it was run entirely with the grants given by the University Grants Commission and the Delhi Administration.

At our instance, Mr. Bhasin brought on record the balance-sheets of the school for the years 1981 to 1987-88 and that of the society for the years from 1978-79 to 1984-85. It was stated that the balance-sheets of the petitioner- society for subsequent years were not ready. If reference is made to the income and expenditure account of the school for the year ending 31st March, 1988, it would be seen that the school has collected Rs 25,35,900.66 as fees and has given a contribution of Rs. 17,148.60 to the petitioner-society. Again, if reference is made to the balance- sheet as on 31st March, 1985, of the school, the school has collected over Rs. 14.5 lakhs as fees and contributed to the petitioner-society Rs. 1,00,724.13. This amount is reflected in the balance-sheet of the petitioner-society as having been received from the school. The contribution of the school for the year ending 31st March, 1984, to the petitioner-society is Rs. 1,06,459.50. As on 31st March, 1983, the amount of contribution from the school to the petitioner-society is Rs. 2,43,398.91. It is not, therefore, that there is any contribution being made by the society for the running of the school. Rather, the school is contributing various amounts to the petitioner-society. With reference to a decision of this Court in New Delhi Holy Hospital Society vs. Municipal Corporation of Delhi (1947(?)) 10 DLT 39, it was submitted that one thing that distinguished charitable objects from all others was that they were for the good of the community, i.e., for public rather than for private benefit. It was further observed in this case that, in order to qualify for the relief given by s. 115 (4) of the Act, there must be present the concept of public benefit. Mr. Bhasin said that the very fact that the petitioner-society was not distributing profits and it was not declaring or paying any dividends would in itself show that the purpose was charitable. We do not think that this decision is of any help to the petitioner in the present case. In that case, the petitioner was running a hospital and there was no dispute that the society in that case was supported by voluntary contributions. This is not the case here. In answer to our query as to what tuition fee a student of class V of the petitioner’s school was paying, we were told that it was Rs. 180 per month while a student of class V in an aided school paid Rs. 18 only. Merely because the petitioner-society is not distributing profits or is applying the profits earned from running of the school on construction of school building is not enough for it to claim exemption. It has to be shown that the petitioner- society is supported wholly or in part by voluntary contributions. The learned Dy. Assessor and Collector has given weighty reasons to come to the conclusion that there were no voluntary contributions to the petitioner- society and also to show that the case of the petitioner-society was not covered by s. 115(4) of the Act. As has been noted above, in the present case, it is the school which is generating income for the petitioner-society and no amount whatsoever is being spent by the petitioner-society on the school. The learned Dy. Assessor and Collector has further observed that the petitioner-society is being run purely on commercial lines for the purpose of profits and it is in receipt of income generated from this activity in the form of building fund and donations, etc., which are forced on the students and their guardians. Thus, there is no voluntary contribution.

We, therefore, do not find any infirmity in the impugned order for us to interfere. This petition is, therefore, dismissed in limine.

[Citation :181 ITR 154]

Malcare WordPress Security