Kerala H.C : Whether since employees of GCDA were contributing and from that contribution their dependents were getting pension, such an object could not be said to be an object of general public utility therefore, registration under section 12AA could not be granted

High Court Of Kerala

GCDA Employees, Pension Fund Trust Vs. CIT

Section 2(15),12AA

Antony Dominic And Anil K. Narendran,JJ.

IT Appeal No. 131 Of 2014

October 8, 2014

JUDGMENT

Antony Dominic, J. – This appeal is filed against the order passed by the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal in I.T.A. No. 503/Coch/2013 by which the order passed by the Commissioner of Income-tax rejecting the application made by the appellant for registration under section 12AA of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (“the Act” for short).

2. We heard the learned senior counsel for the appellant and the learned standing counsel for the respondents.

3. The facts of the case are that, the appellant is a trust. The object of the trust is to pay pension to the employees of the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) from the corpus created out of the contributions made by the employees of the GCDA itself. Taking the view that the said object of the trust did not spell out any charitable purpose as defined in section 2(15) of the Act registration under section 12AA was declined and was affirmed by the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal.

4. The learned senior counsel for the appellant contended that even if it is true that the distribution of pensionary benefits is to the employees of the GCDA itself, this activity of the trust is general public utility attracting the provisions of section 2(15) of the Act and that, therefore, the trust is entitled to registration as prayed for. The learned senior counsel also placed reliance on the judgments in CIT v. Bar Council of Maharashtra [1981] 130 ITR 28/6 Taxman 1 (SC), Hiralal Bhagwati v. CIT [2000] 246 ITR 188 (Guj.), Coffee Board v. Dy. CAIT [1964] 52 ITR 126 (Mys.), CIT v. Andhra Chamber of Commerce [1965] 55 ITR 722 (SC), Commissioner of Agrl. I.T. v. Rubber Board [1997] 226 ITR 722 (Ker.), CIT v. Ahmedabad Rana Caste Association [1983] 140 ITR 1 (SC) and Norka Roots v. CIT [2010] 320 ITR 733/[2009] 183 Taxman 417 (Ker.) in support of his contentions.

5. As we have already stated, the object of the trust is to pay pension to the employees of the GCDA or their dependents from out of the corpus collected from the beneficiaries themselves. In other words, the employees of the GCDA are contributing and from out of that contribution, they or their dependents are getting pension. Such an object implemented by the appellant-trust cannot be said to be an object of general public utility attracting section 2(15) of the Act. The decisions cited by the learned senior counsel are all cases where the beneficiaries are persons other than the contributories and, therefore, the principles laid down in those cases are not applicable to the facts of this case. The learned senior counsel also made reference to the list of other institutions which are registered under section 12AA of the Act. The eligibility for registration depends upon the object of each of those trusts. Such objects are not before us. In such circumstances, we are unable to rely on the list now provided to us.

6. We, therefore, do not find any reason to disagree with the view taken by the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal. The income-tax appeal fails and the same is dismissed.

[Citation : 369 ITR 532]