A society is a group of people joint together by their consent knowingly, identifying and act mutually for a common goal. Societies are generally registered for promoting charitable activities such as art, religion, culture, education, music, sports, etc., Here in India, the Societies Registration Act, 1860 states procedures for society registration and their operation in India.
As per the Societies Registration Act, 1860 which was started aiming to improve the legal situations of societies, registration for upgrading literature, fine arts or science or for circulation of valuable knowledge for charitable purposes. The Act, has been adopted mostly by the State Governments with or without any additional changes.
Societies in various states are ruled by the Societies Registration Act, 1860 in its either original or amended form. However, few states have passed their own laws for regulating societies – these laws have replaced the original Societies Registration Act, 1860.
Society is formed with seven persons from each state and thus has the right to operate such state only and to cover the operation of society all over India. The society needs to be formed with at least seven different states members.
Public filing and governance related requirements differ from one state to the other. Generally, all the societies should file a list of governing body members yearly. Many states are asked for filing of audited accounts also. Still, there are many which do not provide. The original act itself does not have any provision for filing of audited accounts.
Creation and authority of a society is tough than a trust, but simpler than a company. Though, searching and gathering these seven members can sometimes be not so simple. This works best for people with state-level objectives, who focusses on their activities, and are not bothered with so many formalities.
Society formation is done in order to promote science, literature or fine arts or diffuse of valuable knowledge or education or for charitable purposes. In accordance with Section 20 of the act, a society can be registered for the following purposes:
Adding to the mentioned purposes stated by the Societies Act, 1860, a Society can be also registered for some other purposes depending upon the amendment that has been passed to the Societies Act, 1860 by the related State Government.
A society is formed with minimum of seven or more persons. In addition to the persons from India, companies, foreigners, and further registered societies can subscribe to the Memorandum of a society. Similarly, Partnership Firms and Societies can be either registered or unregistered. Also, only registered societies get benefit with vested properties and/or file a suit by or against the society.
Society registration is handled by State Governments. Hence, the application in registering of society should be done the concerned authority in the State, where the registered office of the Society is located.
In order to register a society, the found members should initially agree on the name of the Society and further create Memorandum and Rules and Regulations of the Society.
When picking a name for the society, it is significant to remember that according to Societies Act, 1860, same or alike name of an existing registered society is not allowed. Also, the planned name for the society must also not suggest patronage of the Government of India or any State Government or attract the provisions of Emblem and Names Act, 1950.
The Rules and Regulations and Memorandum of the Society should be designed by each of the founding members, witnessed by a Notary Public, Gazetted Officer, Advocate, Oath Commissioner, Chartered Accountant or Magistrate 1st Class along with their official stamp and full address. The below mentioned documents should be prepared, signed and submitted for Society Registration:
Societies, unlike trusts, should essentially file yearly with the Register of Societies including a list of the names, addresses and occupations of their committee members.
Also, in case of a society, all property is in the name of the society, where all the property of a trust lawfully vests with the trustees. Unlike trusts, societies can also be dissolved. In order to dissolve, there must be approval by at least three-fifths of the society’s members. After the dissolution, and further after the settlement of all the related debts and liabilities, the property and funds of the society can be distributed amongst the members of the society. Relatively, rest of the funds and property should be either given or transferred to any other society, mostly one with alike objects as the dissolved entity.
Obligatory Compliance’s after Registration
Most common problem experienced soon after Society registration, is, they do not follow the obligatory compliances after registrations, due to which penalty may be associated to the Society and its members along with Society registration may be accountable to cancellation. All societies have to work within the timeframe stated in rules/regulation and MOA as mentioned at time of Registration. Some of the most common compliances need to comply timely:
Annual list of managing body to be filed
Once in a year, on or before the 14th day following the day on which, as per to the rules of the society, the annual general meeting of the societies is to be held, or, if its rules do not deliver for an annual general meeting, then in the upcoming months of January, the list, comprising the names, addresses and occupations of the committee, governors, council, or some other governing body further assigned with the management of the affairs of the society shall be filed with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies.
Scrutiny of documents
There can be any person who may check all documents filed with the Registrar under the Act on making the payment of a fee of one rupee per inspection; and anybody may require an extract or a copy of the document or any particular part of any document, is to be certified by the registrar, on payment of two annas for every single hundred words of the copy or extract; and such a certified copy can be prima facie proof of the matters included in all legal proceedings.
Few frequently asked questions: –
Ques: Are the governing body members same as the desirous person in the memorandum of Association?
Ans:At the time of Filing of Memorandum of association with the registrar of societies it should be ensured that the name of members of the given as governing body in the memorandum of association should necessarily part form part of the persons who have signed in the memorandum as the desirous persons of the society.
Ques: What are the documents required for registration of society?
Ans: Documents required for registration of society are:-
Ques: What action is taken if more than one society in the same and similar name is Registered?
Ans: On Receipts of such compliant, all concerned are given opportunity to represent their case and after hearing an enquiry,if the complaint is found correct, action to cancel register on later date is Initiated.
Ques: What is a General body of society?
Ans: General body of society comprises of all the members who subscribed to the memorandum of society.
Ques: What is the Governing Body of Society?
Ans: Governing Body under the societies Registration act, 1860 can be said to be consisting of the Governor council, committee, Trustee or some other body by whatever name called to whom to which by the rules or regulations of the society of the Management of its affairs is Entrusted.
Ques: How a society can be dissolved?
Ans: A society can be dissolved by:-
Ques:- IS CSR -1 form is mandatory to file on MCA portal for Receiving Corporate Social Responsibility Fund?
Ans:- Yes, below mentioned types of NGO’s are eligible for filing Form CSR-1 on MCA Portal for getting CSR Funding:
Form CSR-1 is to be signed digitally by the authorized person of NGO and a practicing professional.
The Professional may be Chartered Accountant/ Company Secretary/ Cost Accountant who is in whole time practicing, so NGOs cannot directly file Form CSR-1, they have to approach the professional for filing Form CSR-1.
Following documents are required for filing Form CSR-1:-
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