Income-tax Act prevails over Canon Law; Salary received by Nuns/Missionaries is taxable

Income-tax Act prevails over Canon Law; Salary received by Nuns/Missionaries is taxable

March 22, 2019[2019] 103 333 (Madras)


IT : Section 192 has nothing to do with Religious character of Teachers who are paid such salary by State in form of Grant-in-aid. Whether they are Nuns, Sisters or Missionaries on one hand or normal persons serving as Teachers in Government Aided Schools on other hand and their religious character or bindings have no effect on uniform application of section 192 . Salary is paid under contract of employment with which Educational Institution or Church or Diocese is not even a privy to such contract of employment qua the State Government. Moreover, State Government as a Payer of salary under Income Tax Act is not bound by any Religious tenets or provisions of Canon Law. It has nothing to do with Religious freedom as guaranteed under Articles 25 and 26 of Constitution of India.

• Vows of poverty taken by Nuns and their surrender to Church or Diocese does not affect taxability of receipt as salary from State Govt. It is nature and character of receipt as salary at time of payment, which is important under Act. Provisions of Income Tax Law are dry, plain and simple, a-political, a-religious in character. Circulars/Notifications issued by CBDT cannot decide question of taxability and Board does not have any power to exempt a taxable income without any statutory basis available for same. State Government as a payer of salary under Income tax Act, is not bound by any religious tenets or provisions of Canon Law. Therefore, neither Income Tax Department nor State Government have anything to do with religious character of Institution, may be Teachers or Nuns or Missionaries and therefore, they cannot take a stand for not making tax deduction at source in view of Canon Law.

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