By the crux of the decision of the Calcutta high court in  443 ITR 173 – (Cal)-CREATIVE MUSEUM DESIGNERS it is now almost certain that a non for profit company status u/s25/8 of the companies act cannot be ignored in dealing with a case of entitlement to exemption under income tax act. The same is held as relevant and core to such exemption granting.
This is a case of one such section 25 company having been formed to establish museums, galleries and science centres in india and abroad with the aim of dissemination of knowledge on non-formal science education/program/ activities and scheme for general public and also held registration as charitable institution under section 12AA of income tax act. The assessee participated in tenders and succeeded to take up two such projects on turnkey basis for RBI and Surat Municipal Corporation.
The AO as well as both the appellate level authorities viz., CIT(A) and ITAT held a view that the assessee is only engaged in as a turnkey contractor to undertake projects on commercial basis and is not directly providing any education/knowledge to general public so as to acquire the character of charitable character notwithstanding their holding registration as charitable organisation under income tax act and completely ignoring their status as not for profit company.
The High Court rendered decision of the authorities and ITAT as flawed essentially because each of them failed to note that the assessee has had disseminated knowledge in the process of establishing museums, galleries and science centres for the RBI and Municipal Corporation as it is also involved in conceptualization, design and development of exhibits, preparation of project reports , development of modules and to conduct training of science museums/ science centres/museums professional on museum practice Implementation of non-formal science education/program/ activities and schemes and other core activities in the process of knowledge dissemination.
Interestingly in this case the predominant object of the society was not dissemination of knowledge and education yet because it happened to have been formed to establish centres for dissemination of knowledge on turnkey basis it acquired the benefit of tax exemption.
Also in the context of meaning of education while referring to ever increasing advances in technology/ fast changing medical science in landmark Alembic Chemical case 177 ITR 377 (SC) the High Court held that if the term “education” as occurring of section 2(15) cannot be restricted to formal school or college education then dissemination of knowledge through a museum, science park , galleries for public etc. would undoubtedly fall within the meaning of “education” as occurring in section 2(15) of the Act.