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Section 12AB(4)(ii) cannot be invoked for retrospective cancellation: ITAT

Citation: Amala Jyothi Vidya Kendra Trust v. PCIT

ITAT: Bangalore

ITA No: 141 and 142 OF 2024

Assessment Year: 2017-18

Date of Order: 16.4.2024


Brief Facts:

  • The assessee was registered under section 12AA.

  • A search was carried out in the premises of the assessee trust on 18.12.2021 and various incriminating materials were found against the Trustee and Chairman of the trust suggesting that the funds were being used for personal benefit

  • Consequently, PCIT cancelled the registration w.e.f. previous assessment year 2017-18 and that of subsequent years under section 12AB(4)

  • The assessee trust contended that the PCIT could not cancel registration under section 12AB(4) with retrospective effect since it was introduced by the Finance Act 2022, w.e.f. 1-4-2022


Observations of the Tribunal

The Tribunal made the following observations:

  1. As per section 12AB(4) applicable to assessment year 2017-18, the PCIT, if he was satisfied that the activities of the trust were not genuine or were not being carried out in accordance with the objects of the trust, as the case may be, he could pass an order in writing cancelling the registration of such trust after affording reasonable opportunity of being heard

  2. PCIT had invoked the provisions of section 12AB(4)(a)(ii) as they stood in the assessment year 2022-23

  3. It is a cardinal principle of tax law, that the law to be applied is that which was in force in the assessment year unless otherwise provided expressly

  4. The law as stated in the assessment year 2021-22 was to be applied and not the law of assessment year 2022-23

  5. Without a specific mention of the amended provisions to operate retrospectively, no cancellation for the earlier years could be made  

Hence, it was held that the cancellation was not justified since no retrospective cancellation could be made u/s 12AB(4)(ii).

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