What are Public and Private Temples under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882? Get All the Updates you need to know!

calendar22 Apr, 2020
timeReading Time: 9 Minutes

Temples as Trust: Temples set up for the social causes and sanctioned by the Income Tax Department get not only immunity from ‘payment of tax’ but also the donors to such temples can subtract the amount of donation to the Trust from their taxable income. 

Section 8 of Companies Act: Companies shaped under ‘Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013[1]’ for endorsing charity also obtain benefits under law including exclusion from various bureaucratic provisions of the ‘Companies Act,’ and are also permitted to such other exceptions that the Central Government may agree through its orders.

Religious Trust: Religious Trusts has not been defined below the income tax act. The particular laws of religion dictate the creation of Religious Trust. But in conventional connotation, it can be considered as the Trusts, which are included in the exercises of supporting religion or particular belief. Most of the ‘Religious Trusts’ also support Religious purposes as well, e.g., ‘education,’ ‘medical facility,’ ‘catering food,’ the poor, etc. and before-mentioned types of Trust are called Religious Trust.

In the case of Hindus, the private law provisions governing the religious trusts have not been ordered and are found dispersed in different holy books and epics.

Essentials for Temples to get registered under the Trust Act

  • The credentials of trustees of the temple, like Name, Occupation, Address, Age, Father’s Name, Title, Mobile Number, Email Address, and Two Photographs.
  • Residency Proof of Trustee as well as Settler is required, such as Voter I.D./ Driving license / Passport.
  • Electricity Bill or Water Bill Receipt or Ownership Proof of Property compulsory.
  • If the property is rented, Rent Deed should be duly notarised with rent receipt in addition to NOC form Land Lord on Rs 10/- Stamp Paper. The credentials have to be filled up such as Name of Landlord, Father’s name, Residence Address.
  • Physical Existence of Settler/all essential at the time of Registering trust along with Original I.D.s.
  • Name and signature of settler on all the pages of the Trust Deed
  • Witness by two persons on the Trust Deed is mandatory.

What are the important mechanisms of the Temple Trust Deed?

  • Objects: The purpose for which the Temple-trust is formed is specified in this requirement. This is an imperative clause, as all the activities are undertaken for the realization of these purposes only.
  • Approval of Reserves: The Temple can acquire donations, grants, recommendations, aids, or donations from any person, Government, or any other Religious organizations, in cash or kind, including immovable property without any cost on it. But it shall not take any such funds collected with the condition which is incompatible with the purposes of the Trust.
  • Accounts and Inspection: The trustees are expected to keep proper books of accounts of all the assets, liabilities, income, and expenses of the temple and also get the reports reviewed by a ‘chartered accountant.’
  • Winding up: In the case of ‘winding up,’ the assets of the temple should not be conveyed to the trustees. They shall be transferred to any other similar temple/trust or association whose objects are indistinguishable to those of this Trust with the permission of the ‘charity commissioner/Court/any other law’ as may be appropriate for the time being.
  • Expenses: It is the efficiency of the trustees to distribute the funds of the Trust efficiently. The funds which are not expected shortly for meeting current needs should be bought in securities, banks, and other expenses to get good returns in the same way as a prudent man would do the equivalent.
  • Control of the Trustees: The trustees cannot perform any act which is exceeding their capabilities specified in the trust deed. The trustees are frequently given the following skills for the overall conduct and supervision of the Trust:

How to identify if a Temple is public or private? Understand the concept with Supreme Court Verdict:-

Case: In the plea in contradiction of the “Madhya Pradesh High Court” verdict that alleged that “Shri Ram Mandir” is a public temple and that the suit property is conferred in the ‘Divine being; and Ram Das’ and at that juncture‘BajrangDas’ are simply ‘pujaris’ and not ‘Mahant-Manager’ of the temple.

Judgment: It was held by ‘R. Banumathi and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ’ that involvement of the participants/members of the public in the Darshan, entry in Directory comprising names of all public temples and no ‘blood-relationship’ among the sequential pujaris, are significant factors for shaping the public/private class of a temple.

Illustrations: The litigant had opposed that the ‘Ram Mandir’ in interrogation, is a private temple established customarily by ancestorGurus and that the assets had been assumed to given to the suit temple; as ‘Inam’ and ‘Ram Das’ was not a simple ‘pujari’ but the ‘Mahant’ of the said temple permitted to manage and direct the temple and the properties. There are certain test which clarifies the temple is meant to be private or public, and those are:

  • Access in Manual Directory comprising names of public temples

In the year of 2013, Madhya Pradesh Government issued a Directory covering names of all ‘public’ temples in Region‘Ujjain’bring up-to-date. Shri Ram Mandir got cited therein in the Directory as Entry 135, which clearly displays that the temple has been documented as a public temple.

  • Involvement of public is unrestricted during Darshan

The participation of the fellows of the public is unrestricted during the Darshan in the temple. Moreover, it should be in the everyday acts of worship or in the celebrations, which is a very important factor to consider in defining the status of the temple.”

  • No links in Blood-relationship among  successive Pujaris

Conditionally, if the temple was a private temple, the series would have been inherited and would be ruled by the ideologies of ‘Hindu succession,’ i.e., by ‘blood,’ ‘marriage,’ and ‘adoption.’ In the circumstance, succession is certainly ruled by ‘Guru-shishya’ relationship/bond. Each pujari is not consuming blood relation with his ancestor pujari.

  • The Temple property Should be taken on rent from the Government

Having occupied the Mandir possessions on rent from the Government, the litigant is prohibited from rejecting the fact that the temple properties are under the administration and control of the Government. Moreover, for the public temple and the pujari have no right to hinder the administration of these lands as his position is only that of ‘pujari.’

Read our article:Charitable Institutions Related Changes u/s 12A/12AA and 80G-Budget 2020

How to capture the benefit under the Income-tax Act by Temples?

  • For possessing the advantage of exclusions under the income tax act, 1961, the temples -‘Religious Trusts’ have to get themselves registered under the ‘income tax act’ under section 12AA.
  • If the objects of temple have been modified, the temple has to apply for the modification of the Registration Certificate. If such change has not been done, then exceptions would not be permitted.
  • Additionally, Return needfully has been filed on the due date.
  • If Gross Receipts surpasses Rs. 2, 50,000/- then the reports of temple – Religious Trust must be checked to get the tax benefit possible to the Trusts under the act.

What is the New Era of Religious Trust under influences of Taxation?

  • A Fresh Era of Taxation of temple -Religious Trusts- is Facing the challenges ahead between a Standard Transformation in the Regulatory Scheme, equipped with some supplementary compliance responsibility for the Financial Year’ 2020-21.’
  • This specific year the Taxman has come with an abundant overhaul having contemplation to the Taxation of the Trusts, Societies, NGOs, etc. i.e., temple -Religious Trusts including educational, medical and/or religious one through the ‘Finance Bill, 2020’ (of-course which has now reached the position of ‘Finance Act, 2020’). For the escaping of recurrence, we will use the term Religious trust or trust only from now on in this article moderately to mention in detail all forms of such ‘trusts/societies.’
  • The resolve of present variations as computed by Hon’ble FM while giving the budget is

(a) To provide a balanced process of recordkeeping, on the one hand,

(b) To offer for an instrument of regular/periodic check to safeguard that the settings of approval or registration or announcement are adhered to and additional

(c) To evade a non-adversarial rule.

Registration procedure of temple – Religious Trust u/s 12aa plus/or 10(23c)

That previous registration section 12AA has been replaced by section 12AB. Earlier provision of section 12AA will be out of use, w.e.f. 01.06.2020. Registering Process for all is as below:

(a) Registered trust u/s 12AA or 10(23C)

  • All prevailing registered Trust is obligatory to re-apply for re-registration inside a period of 3 months from 06.2020 and will be permitted for five years within three months after the end of the month.

(b) Non- concurrent registration in esteem to tax exemption ‘u/s 12AA or approval u/s 10(23C)’

  • Nowadays, it is not allowable to simultaneously enjoy both of exceptions u/s 12AA or endorsement u/s 10(23C).
  • A choice to apply again for process ‘u/s 12AB’ (new section) for such trust/s is delivered.
  • On registering u/s 12AB, the approval u/s section 10(23C) or u/s 10(46) stands withdrawn/inapplicable.

(c) New submission for registration u/s 12AA or endorsement u/s 10(23C)

  • After receiving fresh application as overhead or in case of any pending requests under the old regime, initially, interim registration will be given for a period of three years.
  • The conditional registration will be arranged within one month from the end of month in which submission received by ‘Pr.CIT/CIT’.
  • Such Trust to whom interim registration is established will then apply for final registration at least 6 months erstwhile to the expiry of the period of interim registration or within 6 months from beginning of the activities of the Trust, either is earlier.

Significant changes about Temple – Religious Trusts

The registration of Trust may get cancel in any of the following cases:-

  • Pr.CIT/CIT chronicles a satisfaction that the events of such Trust or establishment are not honest or are not being supported out under the matters of the Trust.
  • Pr.CIT/CIT signs that the happenings of the Trust are carried out in such a custom that there happens to be a breach of the provisions of section ’13(1)’

(a) Trust unsuccessful to invest/deposit as arranged u/s 11(5) or

(b) Any advantage directly/indirectly has been providing to trustee/relatives of trustee etc. in breaking to necessities of section 13(3) or

(c) The Trust is shaped for any particular religious public or caste.

(d) It occurs to be a reserved/private religious trust.

  • Pr.CIT/CIT posters that the Trust has not observed with any such necessities of any other law for the time actuality in force as may be appropriate to trust or institution in case any such acquiescence is material to achieve the substances of the Trust.
  1. The books of Trust must be examined before the due date prearranged u/s 44AB, which usually ensues to be 30.09.2020 unless explicitly extended.
  2. The examination/audit report so found by the Trust must be filed up to such due day, i.e., up to 30.09.2020.
  3. A supplementary period of one month is presented for filling ITR to such trusts.
  4. The provisions regarding the prohibition of cross contributions in between not the same charitable trusts have been made explained.
  5. A explaining in the form of enlightenment to section 10(23C) has been supplementary to provide that corpus contributions are not part of the revenue of such trust/institution.
  6. Far-reaching changes to give effect to considerable changes as above have been complete in Section 56 (‘Income from other sources’), Section 253 (‘Appeals to ITAT’), Section 115BBDA (‘Concerning Dividend’) & section 115TD (‘Taxation of trust which has ceased to be qualified for exemption as a recorded charitable institution’).

Registration Procedure of Temple – Religious Trust u/s 80G

As we recognize that in circumstance of section 80G recorded Trust, a benefit is given upon the donors to gain deduction u/s 80G regarding the amount of contribution so made (‘subject to some limits’) from dutiable income. The ‘Finance Act 2020’ has come up with some variations meant for the donee trust obtainable of which some are of attention for donors also:-

  • The prevailing accepted donee trust/fund, etc. Which are previously permitted u/s 80G of the Act shall have to put on for approval again?
  • Any new candidates will be arranged provisional registration majorly.
  • The time parameters and registration progression is more or less similar as prearranged in the section ’12AB’ above with an important exception of non-applicability of any disorder as to the acquiescence of any other laws for the time existence in force.
  • Unquestionably the statement will materialize to be in the form of e-filing of the enlightenment, and the same must be working to reflect in the ‘annual statement’ concerning donor (e.g., 26AS)
  • A consequence of Rs.200/- per day u/s 234G in case of disappointment to furnish statement and to subject a certificate as above.
  • The boundary of cash donations u/s 80GGA has been limited to Rs.2000/-.

What is happening to Public Temples? Know about tax imposition on Hindu Temples.

This may upset many Hindu people, but this is factual and true that Hindu temples are brought about and managed by Government, and they do pay tax. Here are certain key explanations –

  • It is for Hindu temples that the management wishes to confirm proper supervision and its revenue used for ‘correct’ resolves.
  • Contributions given to Hindu temples are recycled or used by the commissioner usages to fund numerous government platforms.
  • Temple gatherings are not made to set up ‘vedpathshalas’ and educational establishments for coaching Indian philosophy and custom.
  • The fact says that the ‘SrirangamRanganathat’ Temple provided the Government a fee of ‘Rs 18.56 crore (2010-11)’ for ‘managing the temple,’ for workers interpreting religious service area like reciting ‘Vedas,’ ‘Pasurams’ throughout the deity processions, no salary is paid. They get contributions made by believers and cut in sale of ‘Archana’ tickets”.
  • The temple belonging has‘de-facto’ become ‘pseudo-government’ property. Even amid of 1986 and 2005, Tamil Nadu temples just ‘lost’ 47,000 acres of land and presently extra 10 million square feet of valued sites belonging to ‘Hindu Temples’ in Tamil Nadu are under infringement/encroachment.
  • Idols since ancient temples, which are part of India’s heritage, going disappeared. In relevant well-managed establishment, those accounts would be held answerable and penalized, but not in the Government.
  • Government intervention has disturbed the antique ancestry of priesthood.


Temple-Trust is a notion which generally features all over the place of the author, the ‘trustee,’ and the ‘beneficiary’/’beneficiaries’ having rights and duties assigned to each of them. Nearby, there are many advantages of the temple- trust like safety of wealth, protection of liquidation, Taxation, well-being of public and Deities members, and many more. If the temple-trust is formed with all the compulsory legal measures, then it is for helping each of the structure of a temple.

Read our article:Trust: Definition, Advantage, and Types

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