University cannot be said to be a ‘dealer’ under Section 2(11) of RVAT if the predominant and main activity is that of imparting education

Rajasthan High Court: Deciding on a revision petition filed by Revenue officials wherein the issue was whether a University/Institution, whose dominant activity is imparting education to the students merely, by providing cement, iron and steel to its contractors for execution of civil work and by providing prospectus to the prospective students, can be said to be carrying on a business activity and could the institution be a dealer under Section 2(11) of Rajasthan Value Added Tax Act, 2003, a bench of R.K. Janka J held that imparting of education cannot be said to be in the nature of business activity, trade, commerce or manufacture, hence the assessee is not carrying on business or a trade or commerce or manufacture. As the dominant activity is that of imparting education in the present case, it cannot be said to be a dealer.

In the instant case, the respondent is an institution imparting education primarily to female students. It is registered under Section 12AA of the Income Tax Act and is treated as a “university” as per notification issued by the Education Department. After conducting a survey, Revenue officials claimed that providing cement, iron and steel to the contractors for civil work and also selling of the prospectus to the students is sale liable to RVAT under Entry 104. The contention of the Revenue is that the respondent being a dealer is liable to get registered under the RVAT.

The Court also referred to a number of cases such as, State of Tamil Nadu v. Board of Trustees of the Port of Madras (1999) 4 SCC 630 in which it was observed that “if the main activity was not “business”, then the connected, incidental or ancillary activities of sales would not normally amount to “business” unless an independent intention to conduct “business” in these connected, incidental or ancillary activities is established by the Revenue”. Considering the relevant facts and law, the Court held that the respondent is not required to be granted “Obligatory Registration” under Section 11 of the RVAT Act. Commercial Taxes Officer vs. M/s. Banasthali Vidyapith2015 SCC OnLine Raj 2755decided on on 6.02.2015

 

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