This will enable the donors to claim rebates in their income tax returns.
SGPC chief secretary Harjinder Singh Dhami, who is an also an advocate, told that SGPC had been struggling to get this recognition since 1984.
“It was a long pending demand which was fulfilled after several hiccups. Now, the pilgrims who offer daswand (10th part of their income) for the services of the SGPC would be benefitted for tax rebate under the Income Tax Act”, he said.
SGPC had filed the application for registration under section 80G of Income Tax to the Commissioner of Income Tax, Amritsar, but it was rejected in 2009 with a perception that SGPC is a religious body working for a particular religion (Sikhs) only.
SGPC challenged the order of Commissioner of Income Tax and filed an appeal before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Amritsar. “Our senior advocate Prem Singh, Gunjeet Singh Syal, TS Aurora and Chartered Accountant Gurcharan Singh Syal acted wisely.
After 12 years, the case was heard and the Judicial Member Laliet Kumar and Accountant Member Dr. M.L Meena of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Amritsar granted exemption under section 80G in favour of the SGPC.
The lawyers convinced the jury that the SGPC was never created for the benefit of Sikh Religious Community only, but is in service for the public at large as charitable activities were being provided without discrimination of religion, caste, creed, colour, sex and race.
It is interesting to note that four doors of famous Gurdwaras (including Darbar sahib/ golden Temple), are opening out in four difference directions to signify and welcome all without any discrimination of class or creed. Similarly, the services of langar (cooked food from community kitchen), medical aid and rescue arrangements in times of crisis and lately, the free vaccination, oxygen supply during the current Covid-19 pandemic was offered without any discrimination.