Delhi High Court: The Division Bench of Manmohan and Dinesh Kumar Sharma, JJ., expressed that just because the scholarship advertisement was published in the Urdu language, does not mean that it was targeted at students belonging to a particular community only.

Appellant’s Counsel submitted that the Income Tax Tribunal while passing the impugned order overlooked the fact that the Assessing Officer had found that the Respondent-assessee had given merit-cum-scholarship/financial assistance to candidates predominantly belonging to a particular religious community which is violative of Section 13(1)(b) of the Act. He further stated that the advertisement for an educational scholarship was published by the assessee in Urdu language and, that too, in one newspaper only.

Primary Issue

Whether in the facts and circumstances of the case, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal was correct in allowing the appeal of the assessee ignoring the fact that the assessee had paid most of the scholarship amount to the students of a particular religious community which was a clear violation of Section 13(1)(b) of the Income Tax Act, 1961?

Analysis and Decision

High Court found that the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeal) and Tribunal gave a concurrent finding of fact that the benefit of scholarship to the poor and needy students was not confined to students of a particular community and a perusal of the list submitted by the assessee showed that the benefit had been granted to students from all communities without any discrimination.

The Bench expressed that,

 “…just because advertisement was published in Urdu language and that too in one newspaper, it cannot be presumed that it was targeted at the students belonging to a particular community only.”

Adding to the above, Court stated that undoubtedly, the principle of res judicata and estoppel are not applicable in taxation matters.

Stating that consistency of approach must be maintained, High Court held that no substantial question of law arose in the present appeals. [Commr. Of Income Tax {Exemption) v. Hamdard National Foundation (India), 2022 SCC OnLine Del 979, decided on 6-4-2022]

Advocates before the Court:

For the Appellant: Abhishek Maratha, Sr. Standing Counsel.

For the Respondent: Salil Aggarwal, Sr. Advocate with Madhur Aggarwal and Uma Shankar, Advocates

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