A person is liable to file his income tax return as per section 139(1) only if his gross total income [ before giving exemption under section 10(AA) and section 10 (38) ] exceeds the basic exemption limit of that previous year. As in your question the gross total income will be nil as the income is exempt . so that person is not bound to file his income tax return but he can do so voluntarily if he wants.
No i mean before giving exemption under the above mentioned two sections. Nature of exempt income is only relevant for the above mentioned two sections, for all other sections it is not relevant. As gross total income is computed after giving exemptions.
please consider a scenerio a person have been only agricultural income, which is exempt, of Rs. 1 cr per year from last 10 yrs. As his total income was nil in all the years, he did not filed his ROI for any of the years since he was not liable to file it. Now, when tax sleuths raid his home, decleares it blackmoney. what is the way out for him.
In such a scenario as his gross receipts had exceeded Rs 1 crore ,so he must get his books of accounts audited as per section 44AB of the IT Act 1961. So at the time of raid he can show his audited books of accounts, and definitely he is required to maintain books of accounts as per section 44AA of the same Act.