1. The petitioner is one G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Sports Trust, Kovilpatti. The trust is said to have been created under a deed of trust dated August 12, 1960, by one K.R. Appaswami Naidu, with the object of encouraging sports of all kinds, building stadia, maintaining play grounds and doing all such acts and things for the promotion of sporting activity of all kinds all over India in general and in Kovilpatti in particular. It is claimed that the trust has been conducting various sports activities, particularly Hockey tournaments, at Kovilpatti and also promoting other sports activities.
2. It appears the Commissioner of Income-tax granted a certificate under Section 88 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (hereinafter called 'the Act'), to the effect that donations to the trust would be exempt from tax. Later, the said certificate was cancelled on the ground that an association encouragingsports will be specifically covered by Section 10(23) of the Act and it was suggested that an application for exemption under Section 10(23) could be made. The petitioner thereafter applied to the Secretary, Central Board of Direct Taxes, on July 29, 1970, for exemption under Section 10(23) praying that the Government of India may notify in the Official Gazette that the petitioner-trust was exempt from income-tax under the said section in the assessment year commencing from April 1, 1961, and subsequent assessment years. Though in the application the petitioner has sought the orders of the Government of India under Section 10(23) of the Act, the Central Board of Direct Taxes has itself considered the said application on merits, and rejected the same holding that the petitioner is not entitled to exemption under Section 10(23) as it has been established to encourage and promote sports activities of all kinds without confining its activities to any one specified sport activity. The petitioner has questioned the correctness of the said order passed by the Central Board of Direct Taxes and seeks a writ of mandamus directing the Central Board of Direct Taxes, the 2nd respondent herein, to grant the required exemption under Section 10(23) of the Act.
3. A perusal of Section 10(23) clearly shows that the authority to exercise the power under that section is the Central Government and not the Central Board of Direct Taxes. It has been held by this court in Carborundum Universal Ltd v. Union of India,  61 ITR 269 , that the Central Government and the Central Board of Direct Taxes are two different authorities and, therefore, it is not open to the Central Board of Direct Taxes to exercise the power conferred by the statute on the Central Government. In this case the Central Board of Direct Taxes has purported to entertain the application filed by the petitioner under Section 10(23) and deal with the same on merits. The authority to exercise the powers under Section 10(23) being the Central Government, the Central Board of Direct Taxes cannot have any authority to pass an order thereunder and, therefore, the order impugned in this writ petition has no validity. At the same time the petitioner's request for issue of a writ of mandamus to direct the Central Board of Direct Taxes to issue a certificate exempting the petitioner cannot also be granted for the same reason that the Central Board of Direct Taxes is not the authority to pass an order under the relevant statutory provision.
4. The learned counsel for the petitioner contends that though the application for exemption was sent to the Secretary, Central Board of Direct Taxes, the prayer in the application is for getting the requisite orders of exemption from the Central Government under Section 10(23) and that, therefore, application should have been forwarded to the Government of India for passing necessary orders under that section or the applicationshould have been returned to the petitioner for presentation to the Central Government. It is true the Central Board of Direct Taxes could well have transmitted the application to the appropriate authority for disposal though they might not be obliged to do so, which would have tended to the convenience of everybody, would have saved a lot of time and perhaps needless expenditure and unnecessary effort. As the application filed by the petitioner for relief under Section 10(23) has not been disposed of by the appropriate authority, it is even now open to the Central Board of Direct Taxes to either return the application to the petitioner for presentation to the appropriate authority or to transmit the same to Central Government for exercising the powers under Section 10(23) of the Act. With these observations the writ petition is dismissed, but the petitioner is at liberty to pursue the matter before the Central Government who will consider the application for exemption on merits. No costs.