A provocative Ruling
Expenses incurred on worshipping of Lord Shiva, Hanuman, Goddess Durga and on maintenance of temple cannot be regarded as incurred for religious purpose.
In the instant case, the assessee-trust filed an application seeking approval under section 80G(5)(vi). The Commissioner took the view that the expenses incurred related to the religious object and since expenditure on religious object exceeded 5% of total income, he rejected application for approval under section 80G(5)(vi).
On appeal, the Tribunal held in favour of assessee as under:
1) Lord Shiva, Hanuman, Goddess Durga do not represent any particular religion, they are regarded as super natural powers of the universe;
2) Hindus consist of a number of communities having different Gods who are being worshipped in a different manner, different rituals, and different ethical codes. Even the worship of God is not essential for a person who has adopted Hinduism way of life. Thus, Hinduism holds within its fold men of divergent views and traditions who have very little in common except a vague faith in what may be called as the fundamentals of the Hinduism. Therefore, it cannot be said that Hinduism is a separate community or a separate religion;
3) Technically Hinduism is neither a religion nor a community. Therefore, expenses incurred for worshipping of Lord Shiva, Hanuman, Goddess Durga and for maintenance of temple cannot be regarded to have been incurred for religious purpose. Thus, the Commissioner was not correct, in law, in not allowing the approval to the assessee-trust under section 80G. Accordingly, the order of the Commissioner was to be set aside and the Commissioner was to be directed to grant approval to the assessee-trust under section 80G(5)(vi) - SHIV MANDIR DEVSTTAN PANCH COMMITTEE SANSTAN v. CIT  27 taxmann.com 100 (Nagpur - Trib.)