The Societies’ Registration Act is legislation in India which allows the registration of entities generally involved in the benefit of society – education, health, employment etc.
The British Indian Empire, with a wish to encourage such activities and to promote the formal organisation of groups of like-minded people, incorporated the Act 21 of 1860, in other words, The Societies Registration Act, 1860 (21 of 1860), which came into force on 21 May 1860. The Act continues until today and being an Act of Parliament, comes under the Right To Information Act, wherein the government is legally responsible to give any information requested by any citizen of India with respect to any society
The Indian Societies Registration Act of 1860 was enacted under the British Raj in India, but is largely still in force in India today. It provides for the registration of literary, scientific and charitable societies.
Under the Act societies may be formed, by way of a memorandum of association, by any seven or more people associated for any literary, scientific or charitable purpose. The memorandum of association has to be filed with the Registrar of Societies. The memorandum has to contain the name of the society, its objects, and the names, addresses and occupations of the members of the governing body, by whatever name it may be called, duly signed for consent by all the members forming the society. A copy of the rules and regulations of the society also has to be filed along with the memorandum of association.
According to section 20 of the Societies Registration Act, 1860, the following societies can be registered under the Act: ‘charitable societies, military orphan funds or societies established at the several presidencies of India, societies established for the promotion of science, literature, or the fine arts, for instruction, the diffusion of useful knowledge, the diffusion of political education, the foundation or maintenance of libraries or reading rooms for general use among the members or open to the public, or public museums and galleries of paintings and other works of art, collection of natural history, mechanical and philosophical inventions, instruments or designs.’
Societies are registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, which is a federal act. In certain states, which have a charity commissioner, the society must not only be registered under the Societies Registration Act, but also, additionally, under the Bombay Public Trusts Act.
The main instrument of any society is the memorandum of association and rules and regulations (no stamp paper required), wherein the aims and objects and mode of management (of the society) should be enshrined.
A Society needs a minimum of seven managing committee members; there is no upper limit to the number managing committee members. The Board of Management is in the form of a governing body or council or a managing or executive committee.