Syed Mahaboob Peer
The then Government of the then Andhra Pradesh State, had successfully enacted the Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act, 2001 [Act No. 35 of 2001] with the following “specialized advantages & privileges to the Societies” under the Act:
1. Only 7 (seven) Persons joined together as General Body could register a Society [Vide Sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the APSRA No. 35 of 2001].
2. Right to the Society to get registered without declaring or mentioning its Registered Address in Bye-Laws & then notice of the location of the Registered Office shall be given within 28 days after the date of its registration [Vide Sub-section (1) of Section 10 of the APSRA No. 35 of 2001].
1. The Society’s Governing Council or Executive Committee could be with minimum 3 (three) Members elected from the General Body of the Society [Vide Sub-section (1) of Section 14 of the APSRA No. 35 of 2001].
2. Right to the General Body of the Society to change the name of the Society [Vide Sub-section (3) of Section 6 of the APSRA No. 35 of 2001].
3. No Society with identical name shall be registered in a District in which another Society’s name already exists/registered [Vide Sub-section (2) of Section 6 of the APSRA No. 35 of 2001].
4. Applicability of the provisions laid under the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996 to the Societies for its internal and external disputes’ resolution [Vide Section 23 of the APSRA No. 35 of 2001].
The “SOCIETIES” are to forego many of its specialized privilleges, if filing the documents/papers & obtaining certified copies are still continued mandatorily through “MEE-SEVA” Centers. Thus, there is urgent need either to revert back to old method of filing the documents/papers & obtaining certified copies thereof through the Offices of the District Registrars of Societies or to arrange for the parallel service facility at both “Mee-Seva” & “Offices of the District Registrars of Societies”. Otherwise, the main purpose of incorporating the specialized provisions in the Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act, 2001 [Act No. 35 of 2001] will be deprived or defeated.
Prior to linking with the “Mee-Seva” services, there was scope to avail the above specialized provisions/privileges/facilities/services through the Offices of the District Registrar of Assurances (Societies), but ever since it is mandated to file the documents/papers & obtain certified copies thereof through the “Mee-Seva” only, the managements’ of Societies & newly forming Societies are much handicapped as their “rights” in the above aspects are automatically seized because of the errant or unsuitable (prefixed format feeder) process software or programmes arranged/linked to the Computer Systems engaged at the Mee-Seva Centers with prefixed or pre-framed proformas for data feeding.
In addition to the above, the following are certain disparities & lacunae in the present Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act, 2001 [Act No. 35 of 2001], causing confusion in these aspects:
1. Even-though certain provisions of Sections 5(iv), 9, 14(1), 17, 20(1), 20(2), 20(3), 24(1) & 26(1) of the Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act, 2001 [Act No. 35 of 2001], speak about the prominence of the “General Body” of the Society, there is no specific definition for the “General Body” under definitions section of the Act.
2. The Sub-Section (vi) of the Section 5 of the Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act, 2001 [Act No. 35 of 2001] read as “Finances, which includes types of funds to be raised, appointment of auditors, liability of members for discharge of debts, etc.”. As per this section of the Act, the Bye-Laws of the Society are to contain the clear terms, limits and restrictions about the “liability of members for discharge of debts” of the Society too. If so, this provision seems to be providing an “Option” and either the “Society” or the “Authors of the Bye-Laws of Society” are at liberty either to eliminate or fix up the “liability of members” as they deem fit & essential.
3. The Definition under Section 2(o) emphasizes that a “three-fifths” of the members present & voting can pass the “Special Resolution”. However, whereas the Section 8(1) conveys that by a “Special Resolution” the Society may alter its Memorandum, the Section 8(2) says that a Society may, by an “Ordinary Resolution” passed by not less than ½ (half) of the members present & voting could alter its Bye-Laws, which are not only “Contrary” to each other, but also most “Confusing”. Further, as per other provisions of the Act, unless not less than –
A. 1/3 (One-third) Members [per Section 20(2)],
B. ½ (Half) of Members [per Section8(2)],
C. 3/5 (Three-fifth) of Members [per Section 2(o)], and
D. A majority of Members present and entitled to vote [per Section 14(1)]
are voting in favour of the subject matter, the “Resolution” could not be “Passed”. Is there any special need of adopting so many forms, just to prove the “Voting” by “Majority” of the members?
4. As per Section 15 of the Act, any person falling under one of the 5 (five) categories [i.e., (a) to (e)] is “not eligible to become the Member of the Committee”. If so, whether such person is eligible for the basic membership of “General Body” i.e., Ordinary Member of the Society enjoying the “Right” to “Vote” in the General Body Meetings and Elections for the Executive/Governing Committee?
5. Whereas the provision of Section 21 is dealt with the (1) Amalgamation of different societies in one Society, and (2) Division of a Society into two or more Societies, there is no specific mention as to whether the Registrar of Societies will issue New Registration Certificate/s to the consequential Society or Societies.
6. In the erstwhile Societies Act [i.e., Indian Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860] there was scope for admission of even “Foreigners” as Members of the Society. Such provisions could not be seen in the present Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act, 2001 [Act No. 35 of 2001].
To bring the consistency, all the above anomalies have to be removed from the present Act with suitable amendments. Instead, it would be much better, if New Societies Act would be enacted for the New State of “Andhra Pradesh” existed after Bifurcation/Separation of Telangana State. If the Government of the New Andhra Pradesh State, is about to attempt for the New Societies Act for the New Andhra Pradesh State, it is advisable to consider the “need of creating new avenues for Self-Employment for the Educated Youth” by incorporating a provision in the Act for Authorized Representative / Societies Consultant, prescribing the following eligibility criteria:
a) Any Degree, or
b) Intermediate with 3 years of experience in Liaisoning with the District Registrar of Societies and preparing Bye-Laws, Amendments, etc.
c) High School/ Matriculation with 5 years of experience in Liaisoning with the District Registrar of Societies and preparing Bye-Laws, Amendments, etc.
d) Any Person with 10 years of experience in Liaisoning with the District Registrar of Societies and preparing Bye-Laws, Amendments, etc.
so as to enable the educated youth looking for the suitable alternative employment opportunity, to take up a dignified profession as “Societies’ Consultants”.