Jagannatha Shetty, J.
1. The question referred by the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, Bangalore Bench, is :
'Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the income of the trust was exempt under section 10(22A) of the Act ?'
2. The assesses trust was constituted by a deed dated March 17, 1973. The object of the trust, among others, was to provide medical relief to the needy. In furtherance of that object, the assessee established a dispensary in a rented building and incurred an expenditure to the extent of Rs. 21,953 for the year 1974-75. The assessee claimed exemption of that sum from assessment, but the ITO rejected that claim under s. 11 of the I.T. Act, 1961. The AAC, however, accepted the claim of the assessee and allowed deduction not under s. 11 but under s. 10(22A) of the Act.
3. The Department went up in appeal before the Tribunal contending that the assessee could not be given the benefit of s. 10(22A) since it applies only to hospital with facilities for patients' admission and treatment and not for dispensaries where patients come and go without being admitted for treatment. The Tribunal accepted that contention and allowed the appeal. It held that since the assessee had just a dispensary, it was not entitled to the exemption under s. 10(22A) of the Act.
4. Section 10(22A) of the Act reads : '10. In computing the total income of a previous year of any person, any income falling within any of the following clauses shall not be included - ......
5. (22A) any income of a hospital or other institution for the reception and treatment of persons suffering from illness or mental defectiveness or for the reception and treatment of persons during convalescence or of persons requiring medical attention or rehabilitation, existing solely for philanthropic purposes and not for purposes of profit.'
6. The section not only refers to the income of 'a hospital' but also of 'other institution' as well. 'Other institution' has not been defined hut that depression has been well understood in legal parlance. It means an establishment, organisation or association for the promotion of some objects like religious, charitable, educational, etc. Same meaning has been given in Webster's New International Dictionary and Oxford Dictionary. Generally, it is understood to mean an undertaking formed to promote some definite purpose, especially one of public or general utility. In the context in which 'other institution' occurs in s. 10(22A), it must mean an organisation or undertaking established solely for philanthropic purposes and to cater to the needs of persons suffering from illness or treatment of persons during convalescence or requiring rehabilitation.
7. According to the Tribunal, 'hospital or other institution' referred to under s. 10(22A) must be alike and both must have beds for treatment of in-patients and a dispensary without such facilities cannot fall under s. 10(22A).
8. It seems to us that the view taken by the Tribunal appears to be incorrect. The Tribunal has put a narrow construction on the words 'the reception and treatment of persons......' used in s. 10(22A). These words do not necessarily mean that the patients must be admitted and treated as in-patients as in hospitals or there must be facilities for much treatment in the institution so as to claim the benefit of s. 10(22A). In our opinion, in the institution may not have any facility for treatment of in-patients an yet it could qualify for the benefit of s. 10(22A) provided it exists for treatment of persons solely for philanthropic purposes. An institution with facilities for diagnosis and treatment of patients cannot be denied the benefit of s. 10(22A) of the Act solely on the ground that there is no facility for treating in-patients.
9. But there has been no investigation by any one of the authorities below as to the nature of the service rendered in the dispensary established by the assessee. In the absence of any finding, whether the dispensary could be considered as 'institution' in the light of the principles stated by us, it is not possible to answer the question. We, therefore, decline to answer the question. The Tribunal may now dispose of the matter in the light of the observations made and in accordance with law.