Karnataka Societies (NGO) Registration Act

Karnataka Societies (NGO) Registration Act

The British passed the Societies Registration Act in India in 1860. The Act was based on The Literary and Scientific Institutions Act, which was passed in England in 1854.

The main Act is simple enough. However, the states have power (Charitable and Religious institutions fall under state list) to amend the main Act for their own state. Many states have amended the main Act, These amendments create confusion in section references, such as Section 4A for Bihar is different from section 4A for Goa. Others have passed their own independent Act.

It has proved very complex task to get the latest amendments for each state. Therefore, please reconfirm the information presented here before taking any important decisions.

Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960


By filing application for registration as given in schedule A [rule 3(1)] along with Memorandum of Association and certified copy of Rules and Regulations (Sec. 8). A copy of the relevant extracts from the minutes of the general meeting (at which the registration was resolved) should also be given with the memorandum.

All documents to be filed with the Registrar of Societies at Raichur, Bellary or Shimoga District with a fee of Rs.100.

Registrar will issue a certificate as prescribed in schedule B [rule 3(5)] on registering the society.

If the registrar refuses to register a society, you can appeal to the Karnataka Appellate Tribunal within 60 days of the refusal.


You are allowed to alter the objects of the society or change its name. For this, you have to convene a special general body meeting. A written notice of this meeting should be delivered to the members of the society 21 days before the meeting. Three-fourths (75%) of the members have to approve the change (Sec. 10).

Every change has to be filed with the Registrar within 30 days from its making.

The change will become effective only when approved by the Registrar of Societies [Sec. 10(2)]. If the registrar does not approve the change, you can appeal to Karnataka Appellate Tribunal within sixty days from the date of refusal to register amendment [Sec. 10(3)].

You can also amalgamate the society with another society either wholly or partly. For this, you have to convene two special general meetings. A written notice of this meeting should be delivered to the members of the society 21 days before the first meeting. Three-fourths (75%) of the members have to approve the change at both the meetings (Sec. 21).

Annual General Meeting

A society registered under this act has to hold general meetings every year [Sec. 11(1)]. First annual general meeting is to be held within 18 months of registration. Subsequent meetings should be held within nine months of the end of the year [Sec. 11(2)].

List of Governing Body Members

To be filed every year within fourteen days of annual general meeting (Sec. 13).


The society should keep books of accounts at the registered office or at any other place. These books of accounts should include Income and Expenditure Account, Balance Sheet, and books of sale and purchase of goods by the society (Sec. 12).

File a copy of audited Balance Sheet and Income and Expenditure Account to the Registrar of Societies along with list of governing body members.

Fee of Rs.100 is to be paid for every one lakh rupees of the total amounts of Income and Expenditure or part thereof for filing (Sec. 13).

Enquiry by the Registrar

If one-third of the members of the society apply to the Registrar for holding an enquiry, then the Registrar must hold the enquiry. The Registrar can initiate such an enquiry on his own also (Sec. 25).

During the enquiry, the Registrar shall have free access to the books of accounts, documents, securities, cash and other properties belonging to the society. He can summon any person to produce relevant documents. He can also examine such a person under oath.


Three-fourths of the members or more may decide in a special general meeting to dissolve the society (Sec. 22). However, Government's consent is required for dissolving the society, if it is a member or a contributor or interested in the society. However, the government can neither dissolve a society on its own, nor can it take over the society.

Disposal of property upon dissolution

After dissolution members will not receive any profits from the society. Three-fifths of the members can decide to give the property (left after settlement of all debts and liabilities) to another society. In case of default, the principal civil court can decide to give the property to any other society [Sec. 23 (1)].

Majority of members can also decide to give the property of the society to the state Government at the time of dissolution [Sec. 23(2)].


All documents of the society are open to public for inspection on payment of fee of Rs.25. Copies can be taken and can also be certified by the Registrar on payment of Rs.5 for every hundred words (Sec. 24).

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