NGO Society Formation in India 2014

Written By Sushma Singh

NGO Formation as a Society


Society can be described as an association of persons united together by mutual consent to act jointly for some common purpose.

The provisions of the Societies Registration Act, 1860 aim at improving the legal conditions of societies established for the promotion of literature, science, or fine arts or for the diffusion of useful knowledge or for charitable purposes.

NGO Society Formation in India 2014


Society can be formed by a minimum of seven or more persons, eligible to enter into a contract including the following:

i. foreigners, even if all the subscribers are foreigners

ii. partnership firms

iii. a limited company

iv. a registered society

Why Registration of Society is Recommended?

The registration gives the society a legal status and is essential for:

i. opening bank accounts,

ii. obtaining registration and approvals under the Income-Tax Act,

iii. lawful vesting of properties of societies, and

iv. recognition to the society at all forums and before all authorities.

v. A suit can be filed by or against a registered society:

a) in the name of certain office bearers or trustees, as provided by the rules and regulation of the society, or

b) in the name of such persons as may be appointed by the governing body of the society.

In the absence of registration, the society has no legal status and, therefore, it cannot sue or be sued.

Governing Body of the Society

The activities of the society are managed, executed, and supervised by the governing body. The principal Act defines the governing body to be the governors, Councils, Directors, Committee, Trustees, or other body to whom by the rules and regulations of the society the management of its affairs is entrusted.

There should be at least two members of any governing body. In Tamil Nadu, there should be at least three members of the governing body.

The members of the governing body are either elected or nominated as per the rules and regulations of the society.

The term of office of members of the governing body is generally provided in the rules of the society. In Tamil Nadu, the term of office of a member of the governing body can’t exceed more than three years. The members of the governing body may retire or be expelled if provided in the rules of society.

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