Gujarat Societies (NGO) Registration Act
The British passed the Societies Registration Act in India in 1860. The Act was based on The Literary and Scientific Institutions Act, which was passed in England in 1854.
The main Act is simple enough. However, the states have power (Charitable and Religious institutions fall under state list) to amend the main Act for their own state. Many states have amended the main Act, These amendments create confusion in section references, such as Section 4A for Bihar is different from section 4A for Goa. Others have passed their own independent Act.
It has proved very complex task to get the latest amendments for each state. Therefore, please reconfirm the information presented here before taking any important decisions.
[Societies Registration Act, 1860 as amended by the State]
By filing Memorandum of Association and certified copy of Rules and Regulations along with a fee of Rs.50/- (Sec. 3). All documents to be filed with the Registrar of Societies or Assistant Registrar of Societies at Ahmedabad, Nadiad or other regional centers.
Name should not be similar to another Society. It should not suggest that the Government is involved with the Society (Sec. 3A).
You can alter the objects of the society, change its name or merge with another society. For this, you have to convene two general body meetings (at interval of one month). Three-fifths of the members have to approve the change (Sec. 12).
Change of name becomes effective only when approved by the Registrar of Societies (Sec. 12A). It does not affect any rights or obligations of the society. It also does not affect any legal proceedings by or against the society (Sec. 12B).
List of Governing Body Members
File it every year within 14 days of annual general meeting. If general meetings are not held, file this in January (Sec. 4). A list showing changes in Governing Body during the year should also be filed. If there is any change in the rules, a corrected and certified copy of rules of the society should also be filed (Sec. 4A). This should be done within 30 days of the change.
The Registrar can ask for additional information regarding persons employed, their emoluments, any contributions, concessions or other benefits and amenities provided for employees by the society [Sec. 4B(1)]. However, no such information can be published (or shown to others) without the previous written consent of the society [Sec. 4B (4)].
The society should keep proper accounts. These should be closed on 31st March each year. These should also be audited each year (Sec. 12D).
The auditor should prepare and send a copy of the Income and Expenditure Account and Balance Sheet to the Registrar. He / she should report any irregularity. The auditors should say whether this was due to breach of trust, misappropriation or misconduct of governing body or any other person (Sec. 12E).
At least three-fifths (60%) of the general body members have to vote for dissolution of the society at a special meeting (Sec. 13). However, Government’s consent is required for dissolving the society, if it is a member or a contributor or interested in the society. However, the government can neither dissolve a society on its own, nor can it take over the society.
Disposal of property upon dissolution
A society’s property cannot be distributed among its members. Further, after dissolution, the members can not give away the property to another society. However, the majority of members present at the time of dissolution can give the property left after settlement of all debts and liabilities to the Government. The Government can utilise the property for any of the purposes mentioned in section 1 of the Act (Sec. 14 as amended by State Act).
All documents of the society are open to public for inspection on payment of Re.1. Copies can be taken and also can be certified by Registrar of Societies (Sec. 19).
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