TDS ON SALARIES OF NUNS AND PRIESTS SAYS KERALA HIGH COURT

DEDUCTION OF TDS FORM SALARIES OF NUNS AND PRIESTS-

The Kerala government said that tax should be deducted at the source on salaries of nuns and priests. This is especially regarding the nuns and priests working in educational institutes. TDS on such salaries of nuns and priests have been paid since 1944.

  • The Kerala high court has a division bench of appeals consisting of Justice S. V. Bhatti and Bechu Kurian Thomas. 
  • This division bench considered a batch of appeals of W.A. No. 410, 2015 and others. 
  • This bench of appeals was filed by the nuns and priests, and congregations challenging the bench’s ruling regarding the Tax Deducted at Source on income earned by the nuns and priests working in educational institutes. 

PETITION REQUESTION BY THE NUNS AND PRIESTS-

  • It was said by the nuns and priests that the salaries that they receive are being handed over by them to the congregation. 
  • This is because of the vow that the nuns and priests have taken to poverty. 
  • Hence, the appliance of Tax Deducted at Source on the salaries of nuns and priests should not be applied. 

REPLY BY THE KERALA HIGH COURT TO THE PETITION OF THE NUS AND PRIESTS-

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  • To their petition against charging Tax Deductible at Source on their salaries, the Kerala high court replied that charging of TDS, in any case, does not depend on the manner of utilization of the income. 
  • Another reason is that, after the nuns and priests take their vow, they undergo civil death as per the Canon Law. 
  • Civil death means that any human being will henceforth not be considered as a person defined under the Income Tax Act. 
  • The Kerala high court said that any legislation enacted by the legislature will be considered primary and supreme over any personal laws. 

Hence, the concept of civil death is not recognized by the law. 

  • To prove their point further, the Kerala high court also mentioned that the nuns and priests engage in most of the regular activities like any other individual. 
  • Activities such as they can vote, practice any kind of profession, act as managers for institutions, and enter into contracts. 

Considering the above points, the nuns and priests cannot rely on the concept of Civil death to avoid deduction of TDS from their salaries. 

“Canon Law cannot relieve the legal obligations or duties created under the various legislations enacted by the legislature,” said the judgment. 

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