Saturday, March 16, 2013

Nagpur IT Tribunal : Hinduism not a religion - 2

The Income Tax Tribunal's judgment is here.

How they cite the Supreme Court case:

1. In the case of Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Madras vs. Sri Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar 1954 SCJ335, Religion has been expressed to mean a matter of faith with individuals or communities and it is not necessarily theistic. There are well known religions in India, like Buddhism and Jainism, which do not believe in God or in any intelligent first cause. A religion undoubtedly has its basis in a system of beliefs or doctrines which are regarded by those who profess that religion as conducive to their spiritual well being, but it will not be correct to say that religions is nothing else but a doctrine or belief. A religion may not only lay down a code of ethical rules for its followers to accept, but it might prescribed rituals and observances, ceremonies and modes of worship which are regarded as integral parts of a religion, and these forms and observances might extend even to matters of food and dress.
No material or evidence has been brought on record by the department which may prove that any person coming, worshipping and maintaining the temple has to follow a particular code of ethical rules and has to carry out the prescribed rituals and observances, ceremonies and modes of worship. The entry is not restricted to a particular group of persons. Any body whether want to worship or not and want to maintain or not can come to the temple and avail of all the facilities available to the public at large. Therefore, these objects cannot be regarded to be the religious objects. In our opinion, until and unless the activities for which the trust is established, involve the activity religious purpose, it cannot be said that the assessee has not complied with the condition No. (iii) enumerated u/s. 80G(5) of the Act.