CA Rajkumar S. Adukia

Since time immemorial, India has a rich tradition of philanthropy. There are innumerable charitable organizations (registered and unregistered) operating all over India. “Charity” being a State subject allows different states in India to have separate Acts to govern and regulate charitable organizations. For example, all public charitable trusts in the state of Maharashtra are governed by the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950 and the same Act, with minor changes, is also operational in the state of Gujarat. Rajasthan, too, has a trusts Act of 1959. In certain southern states like Andhra Pradesh, there are endowment Acts, while a number of northern and north-eastern states in India have no trust Act at all. The Societies Registration Act, 1860, however, is an All-India Act, with each state adopting certain modifications.

Charitable Organisations are a much misunderstood sector in India as the legal framework for the charity sector in India is quite complex with a number of different acts of legislation governing it in their own way. Although section 20 of the Societies Registration Act, 1860, specifies the types of societies, which can be registered under the Act, which includes charitable societies, however interestingly, the words, “charity” and “charitable society” have not been defined under this Act, which is applicable (with certain modifications from state to state) throughout India.

There is no single piece of legislation, which comprehensively governs the sector and similarly no single regulator exists, in contrast to other countries where a Charity Commissioner regulates the individual organizations on nationwide basis. Charities can be formed in multiple ways and may be subject to various acts of legislation. It is the choice of the persons forming the charity to decide which form to take. Different legal provisions exist at the national and state level. Some states in India have enacted their own law to govern certain forms of charities.

Understanding the Charity Sector and the laws governing formation and administration of charitable organizations in India is a complex task. It is a subject of vast scope but also of vast importance for the social sector. This handbook is an attempt to unravel the nuances of this sector. Free Handbook on Laws Governing Formation and Administration of Charitable Organisations In India covers the following Topics

1. Introduction

2. Evolution and Growth of Charitable Organisations in India

3. Meaning of Charitable Organisation

4. Laws governing Charitable Organisations in India

5. Formation and Registration of the various forms of Charitable Organisations

I. Public Charitable Trust under the State Trusts Act

II. Section 25 Company under the Companies Act 1956

III. Society under the Societies Registration Act 1860

6. Multi-State Societies Registration Bill 2012

7. Reporting requirements for a Charitable Organisation

8. Overview of provisions of Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950

9. Trust Deed

10. Foreign Contributions to Charitable Organisations

11. Religious and Charitable Endowments

12. Authorities regulating Charitable Organisations

13. Taxation aspects of Charitable Organisations

14. Direct Tax Code Bill and Charitable Organisations

15. Professional Opportunities In the Charity Sector

16. Laws governing Charitable Organisations in other Countries

17. Useful Websites

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June 2021