Yoga also gives medical relief as per definition of charitable purpose us 2(15). Propagation of yoga was charitable purpose and also imparting of education – ITAT
ABCAUS Case Law Citation:
ABCAUS 1127 (2017) (02) ITAT
Assessment Year : 2009-10
Date/Month of Pronouncement: February, 2017
Important Case Laws Cited/relied upon:
Divya Yog Mandir Trust Vs. JCIT
The Relevant Question for the discussion :
Whether propagation of Yoga by the assessee qualifies as a medical relief or imparting of education or not or does it fall in the residuary category of “advancement of any other object of general public utility”.
Brief Facts of the Case:
The assessee had raised as many as 19 grounds asssailing the order of the CIT(A).
The assessee (Patanjali Yogpeeth) was a public charitable trust duly registered under section 12A of the Income tax Act, 1961 (“the Act”) and was also duly approved under section 80G(5)(vi) of the Act. As per the Trust deed, the predominant objects of the assessee which had been claimed to have been carried out over the years were as under:
(a) providing medical relief through Yoga/Prayanam;
(b) imparting education in the field of Yoga; &
(c ) providing relief to the poor.
For the relevant assessment year, the Assessing Officer (AO) framed the assessment u/s 143(3) of the Act and assessed the income at Rs.72,37,98,956/- against the returned NIL income after denying exemption under section 11/12 of the Act.
The CIT (Appeals) had also upheld the same which resulted in the filing of the present appeal before the Tribunal.
Contention of the Respondent Revenue:
The contentions of the Revenue were multi-fold and with respect to many aspects as per various ground raised by the assessee. However, the present discussion is being limited to the question of whether propagation of Yoga by the assessee qualifies as a medical relief or imparting of education or not or does it fall in the residuary category of “advancement of any other object of general public utility”.
It was contended on behalf of the Revenue that under the facts of the case of the assessee it falls under the sixth limb of the definition of charitable purpose given under section 2(15) of the Act i.e. advancement of any other object of general public utility and was thus covered within the mischief to proviso of section 2(15) of the Act. The transactions indulged by the assessee were in the nature of business or commerce which are similar to private commercial concern in the market.
It was contended that the objectives of the assessee being propagation of Yoga does not qualified as “medical relief or imparting of education but falls in the residuary category of advancement of any other object of general public utility.
Observations made by the Tribunal:
Yoga as “medical relief”
The Tribunal observed that an identical issue was dealt with by the ITAT in the case of Divya Yog Mandir Trust. The Tribunal added that there are several pathies and methods (i.e. allopathy, homeopathy, neaturopathy, Ayurvedic, Unani, Yoga etc.) by which the medical relief is achieved. A person suffering from any disease including chronic diseases approaches these pathologies and method for the relief and for such person the pathy or method from which he gets relief is the medical relief from the method or pathy followed by him. In other words, the ultimate goal of all these pathies and methods is to achieve relief and certainly Yog is the one of such method or pathy.
The Tribunal stated that there is no dispute that in case of certain diseases certain pathy or method is more helpful and other pathy or other method is helpful for the relief in the other type of sufferings. Now it is well established fact that the practice of yoga gives positive reliefs in the cases of asthma, migraine, hyper tension, stress etc. apart from other examples wherein following of Yoga has become very helpful.
The Tribunal pointed out that the very insertion of “Yoga” in the definition of “charitable purpose” under section 2(15) of the Act by the Finance Act, 2015 with effect from 1.04.2016 has removed all the doubts that propagation of yoga itself is a charitable purpose to make the assessee eligible for claiming exemption under sections 11/12 of the Act.
Thus, the Tribunal held that Yoga also gives medical relief and thus also falls under the definition of charitable purpose. The Income Tax authorities were not right in denying claimed exemption under section 11/12 of the Act on the basis that propagation of yoga does not give medical relief and thus not fall under “charitable purpose” defined under section 2(15) of the Act and it falls in the residuary category of “advancement of any other object of general public utility” within the proviso to section 2(15) of the Act.
Yoga as “imparting of education”
The Tribunal placing reliance on the judgment delivered in the case of Divya Yog Mandir Trust held that propagation of yoga as pre-dominant objective in the case of present assessee very much falls within the definition of “charitable purpose” provided under section 2(15) of the Act as it is also “imparting of education”.
The Tribunal also pointed out that the assessee had applied substantial amount in setting up of “Patanjali University”, a Deemed University set up under the University of Patanjali Act, inter-alia, for having courses in M.A. (Yoga Science), M.Sc. (Yoga Science), B.A. (Yoga Science) Post Graduate Diploma in Panchkarma, Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga Science and Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga Health and Cultural Tourism. The Tribunal also noted that as informed, the university had become operational on September, 2009.
The finding of the Income Tax authorities that propagation of Yoga by the assessee does not qualify as medical relief or imparting of education was held as not justified. Thus the relevant ground of the appeal was allowed.