1. The question referred to us for the assessment years 1964-65 to 1969-70, in the case of the present assessed is as follows :
'Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the whole or any portion of the income of the assessed was exempt under section 11 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 ?'
2. From the facts, it appears that the assessed is an association of persons constituted by a deed dated December 11, 1963, which was registered as a society in November, 1963, under the Societies Registration Act, 1960. The corpus of the assessed-trust was Rs. 5,83,137 which came from the World Agriculture Fair organized by Bharat Krishak Samaj. The only source of income of the trust is from a building purchased in 1964 situated in Connaught Place area of New Delhi. The trust deed shows that the principal objects are many, i.e., to establish institutions for education, granting scholarships, to maintain and develop the World Agriculture Fair Memorial Shivaji College affiliated to the Delhi University and trying to develop it into an agricultural college, assisting and strengthening the Bharat Krishak Samaj, Young Farmers' Association of India, to open guest houses for farmers or hostels, purchasing lands from national and international organisations and to establish contacts with similar institutions of the world. Generally, all these objects are with a view to improve the lot of farmers. However, the ITO found two of the objects Nos. 1 and 2 to be non-charitable. These objects can now be stated :
'1. To finance projects and activities organized by the Bharat Krishak Samaj;
2. to undertake and support campaigns for working towards freedom from hunger initiated by the Bharat Krishak Samaj or by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations or otherwise.'
3. As far as the first of these objects is concerned, it would only depend on as to what are the activities of the Bharat Krishak Samaj. It has been brought to our notice that in the case of M/s. Bharat Krishak Samaj, it has been independently held by this court that it is a charitable organisation. That decision was recorded in I.T.R. No. 77 of 1974 decided on April 27, 1981. Following the judgment of the Supreme Court in Addl. CIT v. Surat Art Silk Cloth Manufacturers Association : 121ITR1(SC) , it was held that an organisation which had for its object the protection, promotion and advancement of agricultural producers in India was an object of general public utility and to improve the lot of the farming community is as much a matter of public utility as to improve the lot of art silk industry. We must, thereforee, assume that the first of these objects is a charitable object.
4. As far as the second object is concerned, it appears to us that to undertake and support campaigns for working towards freedom from hunger initiated by the Bharat Krishak Samaj or by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations or otherwise seems to be a matter manifestly of public utility. thereforee, we must characterise both the objects in question as charitable or at least objects of public utility within the definition of s. 2(15) which has defined charitable purpose as relief to the poor, medical relief and advancement of any other object of general public utility.
5. We may also say that while deciding the appeal of the assessed, both at the AAC stage as well as before the Tribunal, the conclusion arrived at in the case of Bharat Krishak Samaj was followed and both these appellate authorities concluded that the assessed's income was exempt under s. 11 of the I.T. Act, 1961. We, accordingly, answer the question referred to us in the affirmative following the judgment in Bharat Krishak Samaj.
6. For the sake of clarification, it may be stated that though the question referred in the case was the whole or any portion of the income, it appears to us that the whole of the income is exempt. Parties will bear their own costs.