New Delhi: The Supreme Court has agreed to examine an important legal question whether nuns and priests, working as teachers in government-aided Christian missionary schools, are entitled to income tax exemption.
A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra on Thursday took note of the submissions of senior advocate Arvind Datar that the plea of several dioceses and congregations from Tamil Nadu and Kerala on the issue needed an urgent hearing.
The bench agreed to consider listing the plea, which raised the issue whether the income of nuns and priests, working as teachers, can be subjected to income tax. In December, 2014, the Income Tax department asked the educational authorities to effect TDS (tax deducted at source) from persons working as teachers.
The appeals have been filed in the top court after the high courts did not agree to the challenge raised by nearly 100 dioceses and congregations from Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The plea said the income of nuns and priests become the income of the congregation which runs the school and that these teachers personally do not acquire the money paid as salaries.
The high courts at Madras and Kerala rejected the pleas for income tax exemption. The pleas said the IT exemption was being enjoyed by government-aided missionary schools from 1944 till the union government decided to impose tax deduction at source in 2014.