What Is The Societies Registration Act 1860

What Is The Societies Registration Act 1860

According to the preamble, Societies Registration Act, 1860 is an Act for the Registration of Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies.

Whereas it is expedient the provision should be made for improving the legal condition of societies established for the promotion of literature,
science, or
the fine arts, or
for the diffusion of useful knowledge, the diffusion of political education or for charitable purposes.

What is The Societies Registration


After the Constitution of India came into force,
the Societies Registration Act 1860, (the main Act) has continued to be in force in all the States by virtue of Article 372 of the Constitution.

A registered society is a legal entity but it is not a body corporate It is separate from its members.

Read:- (Board of Trustees v. State of Delhi AIR 1962 SC 458).

It can own properties.
It is capable of suing or being sued.

The position of a
society is comparable with an incorporated company under the Companies Act 1956.

Hence, a Company Secretary has an important role to play in registration and management of a registered society.

The main Act has been continuing to be applicable in all the States with some amendments made by almost all the States in operation, administration and management of societies within the respective States.


A society can be registered by minimum seven individuals which may include foreigners, or
registered society for the promotion of literature, science or fine arts or diffusion of useful knowledge and political education or charitable purposes, as specified in Section 20 of the main Act as under:-

(i) Grant of charitable assistance.
(ii) Creation of military orphan funds.
(iii) Societies established at the several Presidencies of India.
(iv) Promotion of –

– Science.
– Literature.
– Fine Arts.
– Instructions or diffusion of useful
– Diffusion of political education.
– Foundation or maintenance of libraries or reading rooms.
–Public museum and galleries of paintings.
– Works of art.
– Collections of natural history.
– Mechanical and philosophical
– Instruments.
– Designs.

Various States have added other objects like social welfare,
sports & games,
compassion of
living creatures,
cultural activities,
research work,
welfare of physically handicapped etc.

A “charitable purpose” is a purpose which has some element of general public benefit; it does not embraces purposes which are religious or predominantly religious.

(Md. Yunus v. The Inspector General of Registration AIR 1980 Pat. 138).

A charitable purpose includes religious purpose.
(Hindu Public and another v. Rajdhani
Puja Samithee and others AIR 1999 SC 964).

Procedure for Registration

The following documents are required to be filed with the Registrar of Societies for registration of a society under the main Act or corresponding Acts of various State Governments:-

  1. Covering letter requesting for registration stating various documents annexed to it addressed to the registering authority and signed by all the subscribers to the Memorandum or
    by a person authorised by all of the them.
  2. Memorandum of Association
    (in duplicate) containing

(a)name of the society;
(b) the objects of the society;
(c) the names, addresses and occupation of the members of the governing body;
(d) the place of registered office of the Society, and
(e) the names, addresses and full signatures of the seven or more persons subscribing their names to the memorandum of Association.

Their signatures should be witnessed.

  1. Rules & Regulations/Bye-laws
    (in duplicate) duly signed by atleast three members of the governing body.
  2. Affidavit on non-judicial stamp paper of requisite value by the President or secretary of the society duly attested by Oath Commissioner or
    Notary Public or
    Magistrate of first class.
  3. Documentary proof such as rent receipt or property tax receipt in respect of the Registered office of the Society or no-objection of the owner of the premises.
  4. Registration fee in cash or by demand draft.

The formalities and requirements may differ from State to State.

Hence, it is advised that the applicant should contact the registering authority of the State in advance.

The Registering authority shall satisfy himself/herself about the compliance of the provisions of the Act and correctness of the documents and only thereafter certify in his/her hand that the Society is registered under the main Act or the corresponding Act of the State. On registration, the society becomes a legal entity or a judicial person apart from its members.

(K.C. Thomas v. R.L. Gadeock AIR 1970 Pat. 160/163).

Its Rules & Regulations bound its members.

It must confine its activities to the sphere embraced by its objects.

(Ram Kumar v. State of West Bengal AIR 1953 Cal 534).

Any inconsistent object with the provisions of the applicable Act shall be inoperative even after registration.

(Radhaswami Satsang Sabha Dayal Bag Vs. Hans Kumar Kishan Chand AIR 1959 MP 174).

A non-registered society may exist in fact but not in law. A unregistered society cannot claim benefits under the Income tax Act, 1961.

What is The Societies Registration

SEE ALSO : http://The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996

Rules & Regulations

The Rules & Regulations help and guide the members and management of the society in carrying out its objects.

They also bind members of the society. The Rules that are inconsistent with the provisions of the Act are inoperative although registered with the Registrar of Societies.

The Rules & Regulations of a society may
provide for–

(i) the conditions of admissions of members,
(ii) the liability of members for fines,
forfeitures under certain circumstances,
(iii) the consequence of non-payment of any
subscription or fine registration and
expulsion of members,
(iv) the appointment and removal of trustees
and their powers,
(v) the manner of appointing and removing
the governing body,
(vi) the manner in which the notice of
meetings may be given,
(vii) the quorum necessary for the
transactions of business at meetings of
the society,
(viii) the manner of making, altering and
rescinding regulations,
(ix) the investment of funds, keeping of
accounts and for annual or periodical
audit of account,

(x) the manner of dissolving the society,

(xi) the determination upon the dissolution
that the property be utilised by the
Government or others in particular

(xii) matters to be provided in bye-laws and
the manner in which they shall be

(xiii) such other matters as may be thought
expedient having reference to the
nature and objects of the society.

What is The Societies Registration

Q:- is society can make it’s own law’s.?

Ans :-

Society may make bye-laws

A society can make its bye-laws in accordance with the Rules and Regulations of the society.

If the rules do not provide for the making of bye-laws, bye-laws can be made at a general meeting of the society at which concurrent votes of three-fifths of the members present shall be necessary.

If any penalty is imposed for the breach of any rule or bye-law of the society, such penalty can be recovered through the Court.

The bye-laws of a society may provide for:

(a) The business hours of the society;
(b) The objects of the society;
(c) The activities of the society in
furtherance of its objects;

(d) The name of the person or officer, if any, authorised to sue or to be sued on behalf of the society;

(e) The name of other person or officer who is empowered to give directions in regard to the business of the society;

(f) Enrolment of members –

(i) Qualifications for
restrictions and conditions,
if any, therefor,

(ii) The entrance and other fee, or
subscription, if any, to be collected from

(iii) The dates prescribed for payment of the amount specified in sub-clause (ii) above and levy of penalties or fine, if any, imposed on defaulting members.

(g) Removal of members, the circumstances under which members could be removed from the rolls and the procedure for such removal and appeal, if any, against such removal;

(h) Rights, applications, privileges of

(i) The manner in which the society shall
transact its business;

(j) The constitution of the Committee and
qualifications of the members of the
Committee, their term of office and the
procedure for their appointment and

(k) The preparation and filing with the
concerned Registrar, of records, annual
lists or other statements;

(l) Audit of accounts and the balance-sheet
for the financial year;

(m) The supply of copies of bye-laws, the
receipt and expenditure account and of
the balance sheet to the members on
application and the fee payable for the

(n) Imposition of fine, if any, for breach of
the provisions of the bye-laws by any
member or officer;

(o) The mode of custody, application and
investment of the funds of the society
and the extent and conditions of such

(p) Funds earmarked specifically for the
purpose of making provisions for
dependent of a deceased or disabled
member and the quantum of payment to
be made thereof;

(q) Arrangements for transactions of
day-to-day business of the society, the
expenditure to be incurred therefor, the
staff to be employed and condition of
services of such employees;


(i) Conduct of annual general meetings and
procedure therefor,

(ii) Conduct of extraordinary general
meetings and procedure therefor and
the number of members required for
making a requisition in writing, calling
for such a meeting,

(s) Exhibition of the Register of Members,
the books containing minutes and the
books of accounts at the registered office
of the society during business hours for
inspection by its members free of

The bye-laws may also deal with such other matters incidential to the organisation and working of the society and the management of its business as may be deemed necessary.

Members and Their Rights and Liabilities

A member means a person who has —

(a) been admitted to the society according to its rules and regulations;

(b) paid subscription provided in the rules;

(c) signed the roll or list of members of the
society, and

(d) not resigned or ceased from the
membership of the society.

Any arrear of subscription amount for a period of exceeding 3 months is disqualification for continuing to be a member and vote.

Q:- Which of the following must be adhered
to by a society while making its

(a) The rules and regulations of the society
(b) The shape and size of the society
(c) The power and stability of the society
(d) None of the above

Correct Answer: A

Q:- When members treated as strangers?

A member of the society is liable to be sued as stranger in the following cases:

(i) When he is in arrear of a subscription which he is bound to pay according to the rules, or

(ii) When he has detained any property of the society, or

(iii) When he has destroyed any property of the society.

In above cases the member may be sued for such, arrears and damages. But he can recover the costs if he is successful in the suit (Section 10).

A member is subject to prosecution and punishment as stranger for committing the following offences:

If he

(i) steals, or purloins, or embezzles any money or other property or

(ii) willfully and maliciously destroy or injures any property of the Society or

forges any deed,
security for money,
receipt or other instrument whereby the funds of the Society may be recovered when accrued in any Court having jurisdiction where the defendant resides or the Society is situated, as is deemed expedient by the governing body.
(Section 11).

Members guilty of offences are punishable as strangers. A member of the society may be prosecuted for wilful and malicious destruction or injury to the property of the society or for forgery, exposing the funds of
the society to loss.

Q:- Property of Society: Where it vests?

Section 5 of the Act lays down the provisions for vesting of property of the Society.

It is presumed that the property, both movable and immovable, belonging to the Society, vests in trustees. But if it is not vested in trustees, Section 6 provides that then it shall be deemed to be vested in the governing body of such Society for the time being. In all civil or criminal proceedings the property may be described as the property of the governing body of such society by their proper title.

The Act does not create in the members of the registered Society any interest other than that of the bare trustees.

A property, which has vested in the trustees before registration of the Society, becomes as from, the registration of the Society, a property belonging to the Society and must be deemed to be the property of
the Society.

As a matter of fact there is no transfer of ownership that which belonged to a registered Society continues after the change in status of that Society on being registered, as belonging to the registered
Society (AIR 1953 Cal. 140).

Conclusion :-

In the case of Board of Trustee, Ayurvedic and Unani Tibbia College v. State of Delhi, A.I.R. 1962, SC 458, the Board of Trustees of Tibbia College was dissolved by the Tibbia College in 1952 and the property which
had vested in the Board of Trustees, passed to the newly constituted Board.

What is The Societies Registration

Suits by and against Society..!

A Society registered under the Act is a legal entity.

It is capable of suing and be sued in the name of the
chairman or
principal, secretary or
trustees as
determined by the rules and regulations.

If there is
no such prescribed determination then in the name of such person as appointed by the governing body for
the occasion.

If no such person is nominated by the governing body on an application made to it, then a person having a claim against society may sue the president or chairman or secretary or trustee.

No suit or proceeding in any Civil Court shall abate or discontinue if the person in whose name the suit has been brought has died or ceased to fill the character.

Such suit shall be continued in the name of or against the successor of such person.

The section is merely an enabling provision and does not take away the right of society to sue or be sued in its own name.

Read Case :- (Govind Prasad v. Laxminarain 1960 MPLJ 145).

Enforcement of Judgement Against Society

It is the property of the Society against whom the judgment is enforced although the judgment is named
against the person or officer on behalf of the society.

It will not be enforced against the person or officer or his property.

The application for execution shall setforth the fact of the party against whom it shall have been recovered.

Judgements recovered against the nominees of a society are enforceable against the property of the society and not against the property or bodies of those nominees.

What is The Societies Registration

Offences and Penalties________

The main Act does not provide for any offences and penalties for breach or contravention of its provisions.

However, various State Governments have amended the main Act to provide for offences and penalties for

No Court inferior to that of a Magistrate of the first class shall try any offence punishable under the main Act.

No Court shall take cognizance of any offence except upon complaint made by the
Registrar of Societies or any authorised person by him.

What is The Societies Registration

See Also : https://itohg.com/the-merchant-shipping-act-1958/

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