The Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act, 2001
Prior to 2001, the law relating to registration of a society in Andhra Pradesh was governed by:
- the Societies Registration Act, 1860, in the Andhra Area of the state, and,
- the Andhra Pradesh (Telangana Area) Public Societies Registration Act, 1350 Fasli, in the Telangana Area of the state.
In order to secure uniformity, it was proposed to have a single and comprehensive legislation to be applicable throughout the state. Accordingly, the Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act, 2001 (the Act) was enacted. The Act came into force on 10th December 2001, and extends to the whole of Andhra Pradesh.
The Act prescribes that for a society to be registered under the Act, it must:
- have been formed by seven or more persons (but it cannot have a firm, whether registered or unregistered, as a member), and
- have as its objective, the promotion of art, fine art, charity, crafts, religion, sports (excluding games of chance), literature, culture, science, political education, philosophy or diffusion of any knowledge or any public purpose.
Every society must have a Memorandum of Association and Bye-Laws. The Memorandum of Association must state the name, aims and objects of the society, and the names and description of the members of the committee elected by the society. The Bye-Laws must contain provisions relating to, among other things, the activities, membership, finances, appointment/election/removal of office bearers of the society, settlement of internal disputes, dissolution of the society etc.
Note 1: The Memorandum of Association must be signed by at least 7 members, who are majors, in the presence of 2 witnesses. The Bye-Laws must be signed by the signatories to the Memorandum of Association. Further, all signatories in the Memorandum of Association and the Bye-Laws, including the witnesses, must add their address, description and occupation in the document.
Note 2: Standard, printed templates of Memorandum of Association and Bye-Laws are generally available in shops close to the Registrar’s office where Registration of Societies are carried out. However, it is important to keep in mind that Memorandum and Bye-Laws are the fundamental documents relating to the composition and governance of the society. Therefore, care must be taken to ensure incorporation, in these documents, of provisions that suitably reflect the intention of the members of the society. While the Act empowers societies to amend their Memorandum of Association and Bye-Laws, incorporating suitable provisions in the first instance would save the society lot of procedural hassles in the future. It is therefore advisable that members of a society may engage a competent person to draft the Memorandum of Association and Bye-laws, and deliberate on the provisions contained therein thoroughly before submitting them for registration.
Members of a society seeking registration under the Act, must file before the District Registrar in the district where the registered office of the society is to be situated, an application in the prescribed form, accompanied by Memorandum of Association, Bye-Laws, proof of address of the registered office of the society, proof of address and identity of the signatories to the Memorandum of Association, and the prescribed fees.
After due verification, the Registrar will issue a certificate of registration to the society, which shall be conclusive evidence of registration of the society. In cases where the Registrar refuses to register a society, the society may file an appeal before the Registrar General within 60 days from the date of communication of the order of the Registrar refusing to register the society.
Obligations of a Society under the Act:
A few key obligations imposed upon societies that are registered under the Act, are as follows:
- Every society must display its name outside its office premises in a conspicuous position, legible, in the language in general use in that place.
- Every society must give notice of any change in location of its registered office to the Registrar, within 28 days of such change.
- Every year, the society must furnish to the Registrar a list containing the names and addresses of the members of the Managing Committee and officers entrusted with the management of the affairs of the society, within 15 days from the date on which the General Body meeting is held.
- Every society must file with the Registrar, every amendment or alteration carried out in its Memorandum of Association, and its Bye-Laws.
- Every society must keep at its office, a copy of the Act, a copy of its registered Memorandum of Association and Bye-Laws, minutes book, up-to-date register of members, and such other documents as prescribed by the Act.
- Every society must deliver a copy of its Bye-Laws to each member at the time of admission, and must supply to every member a copy of balance sheet or statement of accounts together with the auditor’s report at its Annual General Body meeting.
- Every society must record the minutes of all proceedings of every General Body meeting and every committee meeting in a minutes book, and communicate the minutes of the meeting to all members invited for the meeting.
- Every society must keep at its registered office, a register of mortgages and charges in which details of all mortgages and charges affecting the property of the society must be recorded.
The above are a few key obligations, among the many that are imposed on a society registered under the Act. It is advisable that at the time of registration of the society, the members of the society seek guidance from the Registrar about the various obligations that the society needs to fulfill and take steps to ensure effective compliance with all such provisions under the Act.
Note: The above article is academic in nature, and is neither intended to be, nor should it be construed as a legal advice. Please see our disclaimer. You are always advised to consult an advocate and get clarified from him or her, the latest position in law, and obtain legal advice on what you may or may not do in your situation.