Society, in general terms, it means aggregate of people living together,
having common interest to serve certain functions and to achieve their
particular aims and goals, these goals could be any legitimate goals. The
societies, the non-profit organizations are usually created for the promotion
and advancement of the charitable activities such as literature, science, art,
culture, music, education, sports and many others. The societies being
registered helps in providing
free education, promotion of literature, art, science, expansion of knowledge,
for creating and promoting awareness regarding these charitable activities.
Indian legal system has given legal recognition to the registration of the
societies in the territory of India through an act named Societies Registration
Act, 1860 (hereinafter referred as S.R. Act) which is a governing body of
registered societies in India. It is a pre- independence Act which is still
enforceable in India. Several states of India has accepted this act as it is
enacted or with further amendments to the same. Such societies has to operate
according to the provisions of the said act.
Procedure For Registration Under Societies Registration Act
According to Section 1 of the S.R. Act, Societies are formed by memorandum of
association. At least seven members are required for the Society Registration in
India and these members must be associated for any literary, scientific, or
charitable purpose, or any other purpose as described in section 20 of this Act.
The members by subscribing their names to a memorandum of association and filing
the same with the registrar of joint stock companies, can form themselves into a
society under this act. Apart from members from India, companies, foreigners and
other registered societies can also register to Society's MOA. The members of
the society must be individuals completing the age of 18 years, mentally sound
and competent to contract according to the Indian Contract Act, 1872. "Members"
is defined under section 15 of the Act
as a member of a society, he shall be a person who has been admitted therein
according to the rules and regulations thereof, he shall have paid a
subscription, or shall have signed the roll or list of members thereof, and
shall not have resigned in accordance with such rules and regulations as
mentioned. If the number of members reduced below seven, the court can dissolve
the society, it is one of the grounds under Section 13 B of the Act, where on
application of the Registrar under section 13A or under section 24 or on an
application made by not less than one- tenth of the members
of a society registered under this Act, the Court may make an order for the
dissolution of the society. Similar to Partnership Firms in India, Society can
also be either registered or unregistered. A society has the liberty to function
as an unregistered entity. However, only those societies which are registered
holds the properties in their name or have the right to sue the defaulter in
State governments administer societies registration Act.
The application for registering the societies must be filed before the specific
authority of the concerned state, where the society has the registered office.
Registration process usually begins with the name approval process where the
established members has to agree with concerned society's name and then they
must draft the memorandum, the rules and regulations of the society.
Name of the society:
The members of the society must agree to approve a
name for the society being registered. According to the S.R. Act, choosing
similar or identical name which resembles an existing registered society is not
permitted. The society must not attract the provisions of the Emblem and Names
(Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950. The name being proposed should not link
with any law for the time it is in force.
Drafting of MOA:
The Memorandum of association must contain certain clauses as mentioned in
the section 2 of the S.R. Act.
The clauses are given below:
- Name of the society
- Objective of the society
- Registered Office Clause
- The names, addresses, and occupations of the governors, council, directors, committee, or other governing body to whom, by the rules of the society, the management of its affairs is entrusted.
Rules and Regulations: The rules and regulations as drafted by the members of
the Society should be certified by not less than three members of the governing
body of the society, which shall be filed with the memorandum of association.
The members has to prepare other necessary documents along with the memorandum
and the rules and regulations. These documentations has to be submitted to the
concerned registrar of the particular state along with the stated fee. The MOA
and Rules and Regulations should be signed by at least seven members of the
Ram Sajiwan v. The II Additional District Judge, Fatehpur
AIR 1994 NOC 273 (All). The rules and regulations given in the memorandum of
association form a contract amongst the members of the society and they are
necessarily required to be registered under statute, these rules or regulations
do not acquire any statutory character. And even if rules or bye-laws do not
provide for the observance of the rules of natural justice before an expulsion,
the courts will imply them in the contract which is a body of rules or bye-laws.
Certificate of registration: The state government, through notification in the
official gazette, appoints a person to be called as Registrar of societies who
exercises such power and performs such duties and functions as conferred by or
under the provisions of this act These documentation has to be submitted to the
concerned registrar of the particular state along with the fee of fifty rupees
or smaller fees as the state government direct, who verifies the documents
submitted and may request for any additional information or necessary changes in
If the application is found to be in compliance with the
requirements of the Societies Registration Act, the registrar will issue the
certificate of registration to the society. Generally the registration of a
society takes around one month and the official website of the Municipal of
corporate affairs keeps the track of the registration status. In State Bank of
India Staff Association v Mohindra Bhattacharyya
, AIR 1991 Cal 378, the court
held that the Registrar can refuse to register a society in case all the
necessary requirements as contemplated in the Act are not fulfilled.
Renewal: A registered society, whether before or after the commencement of the
said act, should be entitled to have its certificate of registration renewed for
five years at a time. In the case of a society registered before the
commencement of the Act, the Registrar shall refuse to renew the certificate of
registration if after giving it, an opportunity of showing cause against such
refusal, he is satisfied that any of the grounds mentioned in sub-section (2) of
section 3 exist in respect of it.
Fee must be paid to the registrar with every
application for renewal of the certificate of registration. Every application
for renewal of the certificate has to be accompanied by a list of members of the
managing body who are elected after the registration of the society or after the
renewal of certificate of registration and also the certificate sought to be
renewed unless dispensed with by the Registrar on the ground of its loss or
destruction or other sufficient cause.
If a society fails to get its certificate of registration renewed in accordance
with the provision of the said act within one year from the expiration of the
period for which the certificate was operative then a society become an
Termination Of Membership Of The Society:
In Halsbury's Laws of England it is stated:
- In case if a society is not so registered, if no such body been
constituted on the establishment of the society, the members of the
concerned society are competent, upon due notice, to create for itself a
governing body to act for the society thenceforth.
- Expulsion of a member:
5 The association have the right to manage their affairs by themselves. The
association even have the right to expel an erring member by enforcing
internal discipline but it is exceptional decision taken only in the
exceptional circumstances. After due consideration, the decision is taken
cautiously and in strict compliance with law.
- 201. Expulsion. As a society is founded on a written contract expressing
the terms on which the members associate together, there is no inherent
power to expel a member, and a member may not therefore be expelled unless
the rules provide that power. Any power of expulsion must be exercised in
good faith, for the benefit of the society and strictly in accordance with
the rules. If rules give the committee or some other authority power to
expel a member for some act of disobedience or misconduct on his part, its
decision cannot be questioned, provided the decision is arrived at after the
member's defense has been heard or he has been given an opportunity of being
heard. If a member is not given the opportunity the decision will be null
and void. If the rules have been strictly observed, and the member has had
due notice and full opportunity of answering the charges made against him
and the power of expulsion has been exercised in good faith and for a reason
which is not manifestly absurd, no tribunal can interfere to prevent the
In the case of A.C. Muthiah v. Board of Control for Cricket: (2011) 6 SCC 617:
2010 (2) CTC 429, the court stated that when a member is expelled on the
allegation of violation of Rules, the Rules violated has to be cited in the
show-cause notice. Every Society should state the following grounds in their
MOAs for the removal of a member from the society. Resolution for removal of a
member should be proposed at the meeting of the General body. Provided that no
such resolution shall be passed unless a prior written notice is given to the
Member who is sought to be removed. The Notice shall specify the grounds on
which the Member is sought to be removed and the conduct for which the removal
is being sought. The Member shall thereafter be given an opportunity to present
his case against his removal.
- Resignation from membership:
Section 15 of the Societies Registration Act 1980 postulates that a person
may resign at any time from the membership of the society and such
resignation shall be accepted by the General Body, subject to the Member
fulfilling any pending obligations and clearing all dues with the Society. A
Member willing to resign from the Society should submit a resignation letter
to the General Body. It also states that a member has to be served with
notice before expulsion and in the absence of notice the aggrieved party
would be deemed to be a member of the society. He will not be entitled to
vote at the meeting until the up-to-date subscription has not been paid, he
can therefore bring suit in the court by virtue of section 13 of the
Societies Registration Act.
In the case of Sarabjit Singh v. All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, AIR
1990 NOC 26 (Del)", the defendant contended that " the Societies Registration
Act does not postulate expulsion of any member from the Society. All that it
postulates is that a person may resign from the membership of the Society.
In case a member is in arrears of subscription for a period of over three
months, he is not entitled to vote. The emphasis in Section 15 appears to be
on voting alone, as it is reiterated in that section that a person whose
subscription is in arrears for a period of more than three months, shall not
be counted as a member. Prima fade. a person is likely to be counted as a
member only at the meetings of the Society, and when any particular matter
is sought to be voted upon, and not otherwise.
- The High Court of Karnataka in the case of 8 Lingappa Police Patil V Registrar
of Societies, by considering section 2(b) of the Karnataka Societies
Registration Act (the provision is similar to the provision of the Societies
Registration Act.1980), held: - In view of what we have noted hereinabove, it
cannot be said that mere non-payment of the subscription would amount to
resignation within the meaning of Section 2 (b) of the Act.
- Non-payment of subscription would also not amount to relinquishment of
membership, unless a person is afforded a specific opportunity of making
payment by calling upon him to pay the arrears or face the consequences. It
is also held that the Rule of the Society which declared a person would
cease to be a member merely on his default to make the subscription, without
even providing him an opportunity to show cause for not making the payment
within a specified period appeared "to be very harsh" and that "confiscatory
and deprivative provisions
made, resulting in civil consequences, should not have been allowed" to be
incorporated in the bye laws. It is on the principle that rules of natural
justice require that that no person can be condemned unheard. The Division Bench
struck down the impugned Rule, it being contrary to the provisions of the Act.
- Whom to Approach:
Any dispute arises among the. members of the society should be referred to
the Principal court of original jurisdiction of the district in which the
chief building of the society is situated, the dispute relating to the
membership of the Society. In TP Daver Vs. Lodge Victoria, it is held that
jurisdiction of courts to interfere in cases involving expulsion of a member
from the organization is extremely limited, and the Court's enquiry is confined
to find out whether the decision making is within the four corners of the rules,
and the Courts cannot sit in appeal over the decisions of the organization.
According to the 10Societies Registration (amendment) act 2021, any person
convicted by the court and awarded sentence of two years or more will be
disqualified to be a member and office-bearer of a society registered under the
Act. This amendment bill was passed by the UP Assembly in 2021.
Section 3 and 4 has been amended, according to the amendment, the societies
aggrieved by the orders passed by the deputy registrar and assistant registrar
in the matters of registration would no longer be required to approach the High
Court to appeal against in the matters of registration, renewal, selection and
election of the office bearers of the society. Instead of approaching High
Court, the aggrieved party can appeal in the office of the divisional
The other amendment in the Act is the restrictions on the transfer of fixed
assets/property of the society registered under the Act. The assets can be
transferred to a third party but it can be done only with the approval of the
competent court in order to control and prevent the irregularities and
The Government has enacted Societies Registration Act, 1860, a central law
formed to give the registered societies legal existence for promoting the
literature, art, science and charitable activities and regulations for the
formation of the societies, registration and functioning which has gone through
various amendments to reach the current requirements of the registered society.
The States and Union Territories have also adopted this central law with
specific amendments according to their requirements.
The Government, in order to promote the non-profit and charitable activities and
to disseminate the knowledge, create awareness, has focused and amended this act
on time-to-time basis. The erring members of the society can be expelled by the
association if they do not strictly comply with the provisions made under the
There are various case laws where the court has awarded judgment on expelling of
a member of the society. The member can also resign from the membership of a
society but has to submit the resignation letter to the governing body.
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Yashika Pondi
Authentication No: JL355845528871-11-0723