What is a Society and how it is different from other NGO in India?

A society can be understood as different from that of a Non-Governmental Organization. They are not an organization and in the same way are not legally bound also to the government. It is therefore formed by
the initiative generated by some people with a particular common interest and with their resources to accomplish a particular goal. It can be a particular ethnic group, a broader cultural group or can refer to
an organized voluntary association of people for various reasons.
The Society is registered under the Indian Societies Act of 1860. Under this pre-independence act of registration,
the process can take up to 2-3 months from the date of filling up of the application form
for a society. The societies can be formed at both State and National level where a minimum of seven
members would be required to form the society for the state level. In the case of the National Level society, a
minimum of 8 members would be required from eight states. If the society needs to be registered in the
NCT of Delhi, then one of the members of the society must hail from Delhi region who should have in
possession a Aadhar Card and an address Proof. The address proof can be electrical power expense or water
costs of any authorized location in Delhi. The rest of the members should be from other parts of the
country but there is one condition that every such members should be from other state. At the time of the
registration of Society, the members must produce individual identity certificates along with 2 photos
and address proof. Further a society registration in Delhi would also require 2 additional persons as
witness who must have Aadhar Card from Delhi. While they can register in Delhi, they are allowed to
function in the entirety of the country.
In the normal functioning of the Society, a member of group of members cannot take monetary benefit from
the Society unless it is mentioned in the society document which particularly allows for a definite
payment as remuneration to some members for providing specific services. The members of the society can
be terminated in case of fatality of the member, resignation or unsound mind. If the member of the
society is found to be part in any anti-social activities, then he/she can be terminated too. If the
members of the society have not attended the meeting for 3 consecutive times, the membership can be ended
in that case as well. There is usually one member who functions as the Management Member of the Society
in case of any voting to end membership of society in the cases mentioned above.
A society has a particular decision to make in case of choosing a committee or committees from among the
members for effective running of the branch of the society. As per the Section 20 of the Societies
Registration Act of 1860, the following societies can be registered under the ambit of this law:
a) Charitable Societies
b) Military Orphan Funds
c) Societies established at the several presidencies of India
d) Societies established to promote Science, Literature, fine arts, instructions, diffusion of
language and knowledge
e) Foundation or maintenance of societies of libraries or reading rooms for general use of members
f) Societies for public museums, galleries of paintings, instruments or designs
The major ambition to form a society is the memorandum of association and rules and regulations on which
there is no certain requirement of stamp paper. It is here that the aims and objectives and modes of
management of the society is enshrined.
A society must have at least seven members to act as managing committee members. However, there is no
upper limit to the number of managing committee members. The Board of Management is in the form of
governing body or council or a managing or executive committee. The major function of the committee is to
form proper and suitable guidelines and policies for a particular branch. In the case of the CSR Funding, the society is preferred as compared to trust.

How to do Amendments in NGO and Society time to time?

There can be various reasons and conditions wherein the society would be required to change its name or to alter, abridge or amend its objectives and general rules and regulations of conduct. Therefore the act of registration of societies provides for the procedure of alteration, amendment, and abridgment of the objective clause as prescribed in Section 12 of the Principal Act. The act provides for a systematic and synchronized adoption of the acts of the amendment.
For the certification of the Governing Body List or for alteration in the objectives and general rules and regulations of conduct or other changes, following documents must be submitted to Registrar of Societies under the Act:
I. The Membership Register or a copy of it
II. Valid Proceedings of the Society function. The societies can also submit a notice duly received by all members and minute signed by the quorum. It is required for addition and deletion for members over the years or for holding elections as per rules and process of the society.
III. No Dispute Certificate or Affidavit signed by President or Secretary of the Society
IV. An updated annual list of Governing body members (Year-wise)
V. Comparative statement of amendments i.e. existing and proposed
VI. Two complete sets of amended MOA /RR duly signed by members
VII. Valid Proceedings of the Society function for the meeting of the governing body with a resolution for amendments to the existing provision as recommended
VIII. Valid Proceeding of the Society function for a special meeting of General body in which the resolution for the amendment was adopted/considered
IX. Valid Proceeding of the Society function for the second special meeting of General body in which the resolution for the amendment was confirmed by 3/5th of the members present
X. No Objection certificate with ownership proof in the case of change of address of the society.
N.B – All the valid proceedings must have notice duly received by all the members and minutes must be signed by the quorum.

Difference between Society Registration and Trust Registration

There are various forms of Public Charitable organizations in the country and their registrations can be done in the form of Trusts and Societies. The Non Profit Organizations in our country can be classified under the following:

  1. As existing independently of the State with minimal or less interference
  2. As the body of self-governing through a board of trustees or managing committees or through governing councils comprising of individuals serving in the fiduciary capacity.
  3. Producing benefits or appraisals for others who are generally not the members of the organization
  4. In the capacity of Non-Profit making entities and prohibited from distributing a monetary benefit to their members.

About Society

As per section 20 of the Societies Registration Act, 1860, the following societies can be registered under the prevalence of the Act –

  • Charitable Societies or Military Orphan Funds.
  • Societies which are formed at various presidencies of the Country
  • Societies which are formed for Promotion of Science, Literature, fine arts, instruction of distribution of knowledge like Political education
  • Maintenance of public libraries or general reading rooms for members of the organization or may be open to public
  • Public museums and galleries of paintings
  • Works of Art, the collection of natural history
  • Mechanical and Philosophical Inventions, instruments or design

Legislation:  The societies get registered under the regulation of Societies Registration Act of 1860. This legislation has been taken from pre-independence federal jurisdiction and hence called a federal act applicable to the registration of societies. In some of the states who have a charity commissioner, the societies are registered under two prospective laws: The Societies Registration Act and the Bombay Public Trust. The major instrument of the societies happens to be their Memorandum of Association. To adjudge the rules and regulation binding on other parties, the societies do not require no stamp paper. There must be a clear understanding of aims and objectives and mode of management of these Societies so that members and other parties understand it clearly and fully.


A trustee can be understood as a person or firm who holds and administers property or assets for the benefit of the third party. Hence, they can be understood as people who take care of the management who take care of the daily proceedings of the society or trust. Therefore, society needs at least seven managing committee members called as Trustees to take care of the business but there is no upper limit for the management. They are the form of governing council or executive committee members.

Application for Registration

The registration of the societies can be done either at the state level in the office of the Registrar of Societies or at the district level in the office of the District Magistrate or the local office of the Registrar of societies.

However, the procedure of the registration of societies differs from state to state. But some documentation is similar at all the states. The trustees can submit the application for registration of the societies along with:

  1. Memorandum of Association as well as the Rules and Regulations
  2. Consent letters of all the members of the Managing Committees
  3. An Authority Letter which has been duly signed by all the Members of the Managing Committees
  4. An Affidavit which has been sworn by the President or Secretary of the Society on Non-Judicial stamp paper of Rs.20/- along with a court fee stamp
  5. A declaration by the Members of the Managing Committee saying that the funds of the society will be used only for the purpose of spending towards getting the objectives of the Society fulfilled.

All the documents mentioned above for the application for registration of society must be submitted in duplicate with the required registration charges at the state or district level office of the Registrar of Societies.

About Trust

A trust can be understood as an entity which is created when a person (the settler) gives their property to another person called the trustee to hold for the benefit of a third person or general public called the benefactors. In other words, a trust gets floated when there is an involvement of property in terms of land and building.

Legislation: Trust is a liquid organization and hence many states in India have different legislation in regards to registration of Trusts. If the states do not have a particular act for a Trust, the general principles of the Indian Trusts Act of 1882 are applied for registration and governance purposes. The major instrument of implementation of a Trust lies in the ‘Trust Deed’ which can be understood as a legal document covering the aims and objectives of the Particular trust. It can differ from the trust to trust and basically covers the will of the Settler. The settler also specifies the minimum and the maximum number of trustees in the Deed and however the numbers can be increased or decreased with the voting of Trustees. The Trust Deed must always be signed by both the Settlor Party and Trustee in the presence of two witnesses. The Trust Deed is always executed on non-judicial stamp paper, the value of which is directly proportional to the valuation of the Property.


A trust would generally require a minimum of three trustees while there is no such restriction on the upper limit of the number of Trustees. The trustees comprise the Board of Management and help the settlor run the Trust successfully.

Application for Registration

Application for registration of Trust is not much different to that of a Society. The application for registration of a Trust must be made to the officials who have the jurisdiction over the region where the trust is being registered. The Applicants must submit in details in the form regarding the designation of the Public Trust, Names of Trustees, Mode of Succession. They must also affix a court fee stamp of Rs.2/- to the form and pay the registration fee which ranges from Rs.3 to Rs. 25 depending on the value of the Trust Property.

The application form for the registration of a trust must be signed by the applicants before the regional office or Superintendent of the Regional office of the Charity Commissioner or a Notary. The application form must be submitted along with a copy of the Trust Deed. There would also be the requirement of two other documents at the time of registration: An Affidavit and a consent letter.


What is a Trust ?

A trust can be understood as an entity which is created when a person (the settler) gives their property to another person called the trustee to hold for the benefit of a third person or general public called the benefactors. It is a form of Non-Governmental Organization which is registered under the Indian Trust Act of 1882 if the states fail to comply with their own trust acts.
For registration of Trust, it might take a time span of around 15-20 days from the date of filing and submission of the application along with other details. To register a trust, a minimum of three members would be required. If you want to register the Trust in the Delhi area, there should be one member from the Delhi area who would be asked to supply their Aadhar Card details with one address proof. The address proof can be anything like the electrical power bill or water bill generated by the Delhi Jal Board or any other authorized governmental Id card. The other two members may not be Delhi and can hail from any part of the country.
At the time of the Registration of Trust, there would be the requirement of 2 Photos and the address proofs of all the members would be required. Further, 2 members would also be required as witnesses at the time of Trust Registration. These people should be from Delhi in case of registration at Delhi and should have in possession the Aadhar Card. While it can be registered in one place, it can also function throughout the country. In a trust, the members of the family can also act as a member Or Trustee. A trustee is not supposed to use the trust as a proprietary business or gain revenue from its working. The trust document can make way for payment of some of the officials and then the fund can be used for payments as well. A trusteeship might see an end in the times of fatality of the trustee, resignation or unsound mind. If the member of the trust is found to be part in any anti-social activities, the trustee can be reprimanded. If the trustees have not attended the meeting for 3 consecutive times, the trusteeship can be ended in that cause. There is usually one member who functions as the Handling Trustee of the Trust in case of any voting to end trusteeship of a trustee in the cases mentioned above.
A trust is a liquid organization and it can allow the beneficiaries to choose a particular committee from among themselves towards running a certain branch of the trust and see through its activities. They have also been armed with privileges of forming guidelines and policies for the particular branch with guidelines from the trust.
The major ambitions of a charitable trust include the social and cultural upliftment of the societies and particularly those who are downtrodden and require a helping hand to stand and perform. The major goals and organization of the Trusts are as follows:
• The trusts are enshrined with an objective of enhancing the cultural, academic and social conditions of the people who cannot, therefore, afford for themselves. They also undertake the role of conducting multidisciplinary programs and getting works done for democracy, good governance, the realization of human rights, worldwide peace, cooperation, and justice.
• They also work towards the eradication of the poverty and eradication of the beggar’s system in the country while assisting them to rehabilitate in good conditions by providing them with shelter, money and job assistance. To cost-free kids who have been trafficked unlawfully into the dark world of begging.
• They also work towards making people aware about the eradication of corruption and to stay away from corrupt activities as well. They would, therefore, organize workshops and meetings to expose corrupt people in the society while also enlightening the youth and common people about the corrupt values.
• For doing such programs, the trusts help in educating people about black money and its underlying problems in the country.

NGO: The Non Government Organisation in India

Non-Governmental Organizations can be defined as such organizations or association of people or agencies having fixed and definite cultural, educational, economical, religious and social associations. NGO or Non-Profit Organization (NPO) are the non-profit establishments or non-profit entrepreneurships of individuals. These kinds of organizations are not owned by a single entity and hence cannot have the distribution of profit per se. The economic profit that they might earn from any or substantial ventures by them are distributed or reinvested or viably spent on further non-profit activities. But questions might arise as to how an NGO or NPO gain their income or what sources of revenue do they have in general?

The NGOs have a fixed or flexible source of revenue from donations, membership fees, interests and dividends on investments. All the NGOs have a basic orientation of tasks divided on a variety of grounds such as bringing resident issues to the Governments, awareness about certain policies and individual or group interests, humanitarian services, encourage political participation through varieties of awareness programs and simulated campaigns through their niche. While some NGOs have general tasks at hand, some are particular about their involvement in society through human rights, environment or wellness activities. NGO Registrations can be a daunting task but can be made easy through particular awareness. It is here that they offer a variety of analysis and experience while also functioning as caution mechanisms. They also keep track while also implementing international agreements between India and other countries. In this way, the functioning and relationship with various agencies of United Nations are kept professional depending on the goals and mandate of the particular organization.

The NGOs in the country can be registered under the following Acts –

  1. Indian Trust Act, 1882
  2. Societies Registration Act, 1860
  • Companies Act, 1956, u/s 25
  1. Charitable and Religious Trusts Act, 1920
  2. Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925
  3. Trustees and Mortgagees Powers Act, 1866
  • Wakf Act, 1995
  • Indian Trustees Act, 1866
  1. Religious Endowment Act, 1863

A Non-Profit Organization or NGO can have varieties of benefits and one such benefit is the tax exemption. To avail such benefit, the NGO must get itself registered and abide by certain other procedures. AAS does not provide any such benefit to the people or organizations making donations to it. The exemption to the Income Tax is made through the Income Tax Act 1961 which provides benefits to the donors. It is done through 35Ac where the donors get 100% tax exemption and through 80G where the donors get 50% exemption.

In our country, the Non-Profit Organizations or Public Charitable Trusts or such companies can be registered as: Trusts, Societies, or a personal Limited Non-Earning Business under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956. These NPOs in our country have existed as independent and have no interference of the state. These NGOs have self-governance bodies through a board of trustees or handling committees. The governing council is made up of people or members who have fiduciary abilities and can produce perks for others. These people are generally not the members of the NGO.

The Section 2 (15) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 has its application seen throughout of the country irrevocably and homogenously. It defines  the NGOs as having charitable purpose to consist of ‘relief of the inadequate, education, clinical relief and the advancement of any other object of general public energy’. There are many activities that cannot be called charitable. One such activity is religious teaching or worship. Hence, to see if the activities of the NGOs and NPOs are charitable, one must see if the activities have a beneficiary function to the general purpose.

An open altruistic capacity or Registration of NGOs need to profit a large number of people separated from pointed out people. Associations which don’t have general society viewpoint, for example, trusts for the perks and living conditions of laborers in the factories or staff individuals from an organization, cannot be treated as charitable functions and hence do not fit to be valid. For whatever length of time that the recipients of the organization make up a changing and questionable body of the overall population noting an explicit depiction, the way that the recipients may have a place with a specific religious confidence or a group of people of a specific profound influence, would not affect the association’s ‘open’ character. Such trusts, societies, and companies with section-25 category require to give all classifications equal therapy to grant 80G Certificates. It is noteworthy that all foreign contributions to any Non-Profit Organizations would be governed under FCRA Protocol under the Home Ministry and any such violations lead to criminal prosecutions.

Therefore, it must be clarified that this material would only provide broad standards of operation and hence the companies or any party must also confirm the same to legal advisors or financial experts at broad lengths before taking any such measures.

Types of NGOs

  1. Trusts

A Trust is a type of Non-Governmental Organization who have been licensed under the Indian Trusts Act of 1882. It takes only around 15 days to form a legal trust through AAS. A minimum of three members would be required to form a trust while relatives can also be engaged as members of the trust by the individual leading it. While the minimum number can be three, the maximum number can be around 21. You can classify the Trustees as President, Vice-President, Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and so on. To register a trust in Delhi, the main founder of the Trust must have in possession of Aadhar Card with the electricity bill or water bill from the Delhi Jal Board to confirm the permanent address of the founder at the main office. Each member of the trust must give two photographs along with their Id proofs and address proofs. The address proof can range from voter Id cards to driving license to passport to any other valid governmental photo id card.

  1. Society

A society can be defined as a type of NGO which is registered under the Indian Societies Act 1860. The requirement of the validation is the same as that of the Trust formation. The only difference between the Trust and Society is that Family members cannot form a society together while they can form a trust. In a society, the minimum number of members can be seven and all the seven members must be different state or nationalities. The development of a society might generally take up to 1.5 months to 2 months time.

  1. Section 25 Company

The section 25 company can be understood as a Non-Revenue Assortment which is licensed under the Indian Companies Act of 1956. Section 25 companies can be formed as private entities or public business with a strict obligation. It can be registered with or without capital. To set such a company, a minimum of three members would be required while there is no cap to the uppermost number of members in such a company. There has to be a single management acknowledged by the board of directors. Though these kinds of companies are not signed up by the Registrar of Companies, the funds of these companies can only be used for social welfare tasks only.