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HC interim relief to NE charitable institutions

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 2 � A Division Bench of the Gauhati High Court, comprising Chief Justice (Acting) K Sreedhar Rao and Justice P K Saikia has allowed interim stay in a series of writ petitions filed by four NE charitable institutions, on the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) notification to transfer the jurisdiction in the case of charitable institutions of the NE states to offices located in West Bengal.

The CBDT had, through its notifications [No 52/2014 {F No. 187/ 38/ 2014 (ITA-I)}]/S.O 2754 (E) dated 22/10/2014 and No 65/ 2014 [F. No. 187/ 38/2014 (ITA-I)]/ SO 2911E, dated 13/11/2014], sought to transfer the jurisdiction in the case of the charitable institutions operating in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Tripura from the income-tax (IT) offices situated in the North Eastern Region to the IT offices located in West Bengal.

Accordingly, the Commissioner of Income-tax (Exemptions), Kolkata and the subordinate authorities under him in West Bengal, issued consequent notifications transferring the cases, and also served notices on the charitable institutions of the above States to continue their pending proceedings in the offices of the department at Kolkata and Siliguri. This caused great hardship to the non-profit organisations of these States.

Several professional bodies and other associations have expressed resentment and submitted representations to the CBDT, the Ministry of Finance and the office of the Prime Minister to revert to the earlier position. A number of parliamentarians of the region also took it up with the Ministry of Finance. But, the notifications remained to be withdrawn or modified.

Being aggrieved, four charitable institutions operating in the region � North East Network, Shree Gauhati Gausala Trust, Shree Marwari Databya Aushadhalaya and Assam Maheshwari Seva Trust� challenged this bid of the CBDT before the Gauhati High Court seeking its intervention through separate writ petitions. Pending disposal of the petitions, they prayed for interim stay of the operation of the above CBDT notifications. They also prayed for interim stay of the consequent notifications and notices issued by the Commissioner of Income-tax (Exemptions), Kolkata and other subordinate authorities.

The court, after hearing the parties, passed an order on February 23, 2015 granting the interim stay, as prayed for, and directed the respondents to file objections within two weeks.

K Agarwala, UK Borthakur, M Borah and A Goenka appeared for the petitioners and S Sharma, standing counsel of the Income Tax Department appeared for the respondents.

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HC interim relief to NE charitable institutions

GUWAHATI, March 2 � A Division Bench of the Gauhati High Court, comprising Chief Justice (Acting) K Sreedhar Rao and Justice P K Saikia has allowed interim stay in a series of writ petitions filed by four NE charitable institutions, on the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) notification to transfer the jurisdiction in the case of charitable institutions of the NE states to offices located in West Bengal.

The CBDT had, through its notifications [No 52/2014 {F No. 187/ 38/ 2014 (ITA-I)}]/S.O 2754 (E) dated 22/10/2014 and No 65/ 2014 [F. No. 187/ 38/2014 (ITA-I)]/ SO 2911E, dated 13/11/2014], sought to transfer the jurisdiction in the case of the charitable institutions operating in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Tripura from the income-tax (IT) offices situated in the North Eastern Region to the IT offices located in West Bengal.

Accordingly, the Commissioner of Income-tax (Exemptions), Kolkata and the subordinate authorities under him in West Bengal, issued consequent notifications transferring the cases, and also served notices on the charitable institutions of the above States to continue their pending proceedings in the offices of the department at Kolkata and Siliguri. This caused great hardship to the non-profit organisations of these States.

Several professional bodies and other associations have expressed resentment and submitted representations to the CBDT, the Ministry of Finance and the office of the Prime Minister to revert to the earlier position. A number of parliamentarians of the region also took it up with the Ministry of Finance. But, the notifications remained to be withdrawn or modified.

Being aggrieved, four charitable institutions operating in the region � North East Network, Shree Gauhati Gausala Trust, Shree Marwari Databya Aushadhalaya and Assam Maheshwari Seva Trust� challenged this bid of the CBDT before the Gauhati High Court seeking its intervention through separate writ petitions. Pending disposal of the petitions, they prayed for interim stay of the operation of the above CBDT notifications. They also prayed for interim stay of the consequent notifications and notices issued by the Commissioner of Income-tax (Exemptions), Kolkata and other subordinate authorities.

The court, after hearing the parties, passed an order on February 23, 2015 granting the interim stay, as prayed for, and directed the respondents to file objections within two weeks.

K Agarwala, UK Borthakur, M Borah and A Goenka appeared for the petitioners and S Sharma, standing counsel of the Income Tax Department appeared for the respondents.