Usually, it refers to a group of individuals who share a common interest or cause, whether religious, cultural, political, charitable, scientific, or many other reasons. It is natural for us as social creatures to bond with those who share a common belief or set a common goal. A group of bibliophiles may want to create a free library for the local people in order to raise awareness about environmentally friendly practices, organize regular charitable blood drives for patients in need, or even organize a group to spread awareness of eco-friendly practices. You must have seen such a foundation for public museums, libraries, or charitable trusts. But how is society registration in India? What is the purpose of society registration? This blog explains the Society Registration Act 1860 that governs the registration process.
Society Registration Act: Definition
An association of various individuals who come together for a mutual purpose to “deliberate, govern, and act” for a common goal is defined by law as a society. There are a number of societies registered to advance charitable causes such as music, culture, art, religion, sports, education, etc. As a result of the British Indian Empire’s Society Registration Act 1860 (a.k.a. Societies Registration Act, 1860), Indian legislation was enacted in May 1860. It is still incorporated under the Right to Information Act of 1860, which gives any citizen the legal right to request information regarding any society under the Right to Information Act. During 1960, the Society Registration Act 1960 was introduced for Karnataka in place of the 1860 act in order to improve the legal conditions established by the previous act. West Bengal and other Indian states have also adopted a variation of the Societies Registration Act 1961. In section 20, a society can be registered for any of the following purposes:
- The promotion of fine arts, science, and literature
- Knowledge dissemination that is practical or useful
- Educating the public about politics
- Providing charitable assistance
- Funding for military orphans
- Building or maintaining a library, gallery, or public museum
- The collecting of philosophical designs, inventions, and instruments that are philosophical or mechanical
India’s society registration process
In order to earn a society registration certificate, one must meet the minimum requirement of seven or more Indian individuals, companies, or even foreigners combining for any of the above purposes. To register a cooperative society, for example, you need at least ten individuals.
The rules and regulations governing society registration are maintained by state governments, even though one can register societies online for convenience. In other words, the society registration application must align with the authority of the state where it is located. It is similar to the process of registering a cooperative society, which requires at least ten people to work together for a common purpose. Prior to registering the society, the members must agree on its name. When selecting a name for your society’s registration, it is important to remember that you cannot use a name that has already been registered. Also, neither the Indian government nor the state government can be honored with a name.
Then, they will need to prepare the Memorandum of Association of Societies’ rules and regulations. Every founding member must sign both the rules and regulations of the society, as well as its Memorandum of Association. The memorandum should include not only the name and objectives of the society, but also the names of its founding members as well as their current addresses, occupations, and designations. There must be a witness present when the signature is made, such as a Notary Public, Gazetted Officer, Advocate, Chartered Accountant, Oath Commissioner, or Magistrate. Similarly to the registration fees for housing societies and cooperative societies in India, society registration fees usually cost INR 50 for the process to be completed.
There are some advantages to registering a society with the government, even though the process is a bit complicated since several members must work together to form the society. In addition to being considered a separate legal entity once registration has been completed, the society has the right to enter into contracts in its own name, borrow money from the bank, buy, lease, rent, and sell any property in its own name. In addition, no individual member of the society will be responsible for the society’s debts or obligations. Finally, like any other Indian citizen, the society can also benefit from several tax exemptions.