Volume VII
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Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

2. Interpretation.

3. Societies which may be registered.

4. Limited application of the Ordinance.

5. Registry of societies.

6. Cancelling and suspension of registry.

7. Rules and amendments.

8. Duties and obligations of societies.

9. Privileges of societies.

10. Property and funds of societies.

11. Officers in receipt or charge of money.

12. Legal proceedings.

13. Disputes.

14. Special powers of Registrar.

15. Special resolutions and proceedings.

16. Dissolution of societies.

17. Limits of benefit.

18. Public Auditors.

19. Fees.

20. Regulations to be made for carrying out Ordinance.

21. Evidence of document.

22. Offences.

23. Persons liable for offences by society.


16 of 1891,

17 of 1926,

14 of 1932,

55 of 1949,

11 of 2005.

AN ORDINANCE to make provision for the registration of Mutual, Provident and other Societies.

[Date of Commencement: 13th December, 1891]

1. Short title.

This Ordinance may be cited as the Societies Ordinance.

2. Interpretation.

In this Ordinance, if not inconsistent with the context, the following terms shall have the meanings hereinafter respectively assigned to them—

"amendment of rule” shall include a new rule and a resolution rescinding a rule;

"the committee” shall mean the committee of management or other directing body of a society;

"meeting” shall include (where the rules of a society so allow) a meeting of delegates appointed by members;

"officer” shall extend to any trustee, treasurer, secretary, member of the committee, manager, or servant other than a servant appointed by the committee of a society;

"persons claiming through a member” shall include the heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns of a member, and his nominees, where nomination is allowed;

"property” shall mean all movable and immovable property (including books and papers);

"registered society” shall mean a society registered or deemed to be registered under this Ordinance;

"Registrar” means the Registrar of Companies, and includes any such officer in the department of the Registrar of Companies as may be authorised by the Registrar of Companies to discharge the duties of the Registrar under this Ordinance;

"rules” shall mean rules for the time being.

3. Societies which may be registered.

The following societies may be registered under this Ordinance—

(a) societies (herein called "mutual provident societies”) established for the object of promoting thrift, of giving relief to members in times of sickness or distress, of aiding them when in pecuniary difficulties, and for making provision for their widows and orphans;

(b) societies for any purpose which the Minister may, by notification in the Gazette, authorise as a purpose to which the powers and facilities of this Ordinance ought to be extended (herein called "specially authorised societies”).

4. Limited application of the Ordinance.

The Minister may limit the application of this Ordinance as respects specially authorised societies to such of the provisions herein contained as may be specified in the notification authorising the registration of any such society.

5. Registry of societies.

With respect to the registry of societies the following provisions shall have effect—

(1) No society can be registered under this Ordinance which does not consist of seven persons at least, and has not a subscribed capital of at least ten thousand rupees.

(2) For the purpose of registry an application to register the society, signed by seven members and the secretary, and two written or printed copies of the rules, shall be sent to the Registrar.

(3) No society shall be registered under a name identical with that under which any other existing society is registered, or so nearly resembling such name as to be likely, in the opinion of the Registrar, to deceive the members of the public as to its identity; and no society shall change its name without sanction of the Registrar, or otherwise than as hereinafter provided.

(4) The words "Society Limited” shall be the last words in the name of every society registered under this Ordinance.

(5) The Registrar, on being satisfied that a society has complied with the provisions as to registry in force under this Ordinance, shall issue to such society an acknowledgment of registry.

(6) If the Registrar refuses to register any society, or any rules, the society may appeal from such refusal to the Court of Appeal.1

(7) If the refusal of registry be overruled on appeal, an acknowledgment of registry shall thereupon be given to the society by the Registrar.

(8) The acknowledgment of registry shall be conclusive evidence that the society therein mentioned is duly registered, unless it be proved that the registry of the society has been suspended or cancelled.

6. Cancelling and suspension of registry.

With respect to the cancelling or suspension of registry the following provisions shall have effect—

(1) Cancelling.

The Registrar may cancel the registry of a society, by writing under his hand—

(a) if he thinks fit at the request of a society, to be evidenced in such manner as he shall from time to time direct;

(b) with the approval of the Minister, on proof to his satisfaction that an acknowledgment of registry has been obtained by fraud or mistake, or that a society exists for an illegal purpose, or has willfully and after notice from the Registrar violated any of the provisions of this Ordinance, or has ceased to exist.

(2) Suspension.

The Registrar in any case in which he might with the approval of the Minister, cancel the registry of a society, may suspend the same, by writing under his hand, for any term not exceeding three months, and may, with the approval of the Minister, renew such suspension from time to time for the like period.

(3) Notice of cancelling and suspension.

Not less than two months' previous notice in writing, specifying briefly the ground of any proposed cancelling or suspension, of registry, shall be given by the Registrar to a society before the registry of the same can be cancelled (except at its request) or suspended; notice of every cancelling or suspension shall be published in the Gazette as soon as practicable after the same takes place.

(4) Appeal from cancelling or suspension.

A society may appeal from the cancelling of its registry or from any suspension of the same which is renewed after six months, in manner herein provided for appeals from the Registrar's refusal to register.

(5) Effect of cancelling or suspension.

A society whose registry has been suspended or cancelled shall, from the time of such suspension or cancelling (but if suspended, only whilst such suspension lasts, and subject also to the right of appeal hereby given), absolutely cease to enjoy as such the privileges of a registered society, but without prejudice to any liability actually incurred by such society, which may be enforced against the same as if such suspension or cancelling had not taken place.

7. Rules and amendments.

With respect to the rules of societies the following provisions shall have effect—

(1) Provisions to be contained in rules.

The rules of every society sent for registry shall contain provisions in respect of the several matters mentioned in the Schedule.

(2) Amendments to be registered.

No amendment of a rule made by a registered society shall be valid until the same has been registered under this Ordinance, for which purpose copies of the same, signed by three members and the secretary, shall be sent to the Registrar.

(3) Provision applicable to amendments.

The provision herein contained as to appeals from a refusal of registry shall apply to amendments of rules.

(4) Acknowledgment of registry of amendments.

The Registrar shall, on being satisfied that any amendment of a rule is not contrary to the provisions of this Ordinance, issue to the society an acknowledgment of registry of the same, which shall be conclusive evidence that the same is duly registered.

(5) Copies of rules to be delivered on demand.

A copy of the rules of a registered society shall be delivered by the society to every person on demand on payment of a sum not exceeding twenty-five cents.

8. Duties and obligations of societies.

With respect to the duties and obligations of registered societies the following provisions shall have effect—

(1) Every society shall.

(a) Registered office—

have a registered office to which all communications, and notices may be addressed, and send to the Registrar notice of the situation of such office and of every change therein;

(b) Publication of name—

paint or affix and keep painted or affixed its name on the outside of every office or place in which the business of the society is carried on, in a conspicuous position, in letters easily legible, and have its name engraven in legible characters on its seal, and have its name mentioned in legible characters in all notices, advertisements, and other official publications of the society, and in all bills of exchange, promissory notes, endorsements, cheques, and orders for money or goods purporting to be signed by or on behalf of such society, and in all bills of parcels, invoices, receipts, and letters of credit of the society;

(c) Audit—

once at least in every year submit its accounts for audit to a public auditor appointed as herein mentioned, who shall have access to all the books and accounts of the society, and shall examine the general statement of the receipts and expenditure, funds and effects, of the society, and verify the same with the accounts and vouchers relating thereto, and shall either sign the same as found by him to be correct, duly vouched, and in accordance with law, or specially report to the society in what respects he finds it incorrect, unvouched, or not in accordance with law;

(d) Annual returns—

once in every year before the first day of June send to the Registrar a general statement (to be called the return) of the receipts and expenditure, funds and effects, of the society as audited, which shall show separately the expenditure in respect of the several objects of the society, and shall be made out to the thirty-first day of December then last inclusively, and shall state that the audit has been conducted by a public auditor appointed as by this Ordinance is provided, and by whom, and together therewith shall send a copy of the auditor's report:

Provided that the Minister may by notification in the Gazette order that, as respects any specially authorised society the return shall be made out to, and be sent to the Registrar on, such days as may be specified in the Notification;

(e) Inspection of books—

allow any member or person having an interest in the funds of the society to inspect the books and the names of the members at all reasonable hours at the registered office of the society, or at any place where the same are kept, subject to such regulations as to the time and manner of such inspection as may be made from time to time by the general meetings of the society, except that no such member or person, unless he be an officer of the society or be specially authorised by a resolution thereof, shall have the right to inspect a loan or deposit account of any other member without the written consent of such member;

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