There are many ventures in the world which a person or group of persons would like to undertake. To promote such social welfare activities the Societies Registration Act was brought into effect in 1860 so that people could form a society, have a well defined purpose, have enough resources, funds etc., so that their purposes are fulfilled.
According to Societies Registration Act, 1860, the following societies can be registered under the Act: ‘charitable societies, military orphan funds or societies established at the several presidencies of India, societies established for the promotion of science, literature, or the fine arts, for instruction, the diffusion of useful knowledge, the diffusion of political education, the foundation or maintenance of libraries or reading rooms for general use among the members or open to the public, or public museums and galleries of paintings and other works of art, collection of natural history, mechanical and philosophical inventions, instruments or designs.
The main instrument of any society is the memorandum of association and rules and regulations, wherein the aims and objects and mode of management of the society should be enshrined.
A Society needs a minimum of seven managing committee members; there is no upper limit to the number managing committee members. The Board of Management is in the form of a governing body or council or a managing or executive committee.
The Income Tax Act applicable in India defines ‘Charitable Purpose’ to relief of the poor; education, medical relief etc are general public utility. A purpose related to worship or religious teachings is not as charitable purpose. A public charitable purpose has to benefit a large section of public as distinguished from specified individuals.
Whether a Trust, Society or Section – 8 company, the Income Tax Act treats them equally in terms of exempting their income and granting 80G certificate , whereby donors to non profit organizations claim a rebate against donations made.