Government of India | NITI Aayog


What is a Society?

A society is an association of persons united together by mutual consent to deliberate, determine and act jointly for some common purpose. Societies are usually registered for promotion of charitable activities like education, art, religion, culture, music, sports, etc., In India, The Societies Registration Act, 1860 lays down the procedure for society registration and operation in India.

Laws Governing a Society

Societies Registration Act, 1860 is the central act for registering not-for-profit organizations.  Almost all the States in India have adopted (with modifications, if any) the Central Act for creating state level authorities for registering and supervising various types of not-for-profit entities.

While the Central Act has abstained from providing for extensive governmental control, except routine matters of filing annual statements, many of the state legislations have gone for widespread governmental controls to deal with abuses, malfeasance and nonfeasance of societies. The legal measures include: state’s power of enquiry, investigation and surcharge: cancellation of registration and consequent dissolution of societies; super session of governing body; appointment of administrator; dissolution; and removal of defunct societies.

When is a Society formed?

As per Section 20 of the Societies Act, 1860, a Society can be registered for the following purposes:

  1. Grant of charitable assistance.
  2. Creation of Military Orphan funds.
  3. Promotion of Science.
  4. Promotion of Literature.
  5. Promotion of Fine Arts.
  6. Promotion or Instruction or Diffusion of useful Knowledge.
  7. Diffusion of Political Education.
  8. Foundation or maintenance of libraries or reading rooms.
  9. Foundation or maintenance of Public Museum or Galleries.
  10. Social welfare
  11. Other required social and charitable objectives.