India non profit / public charitable organizations can be registered as trusts, societies, or a private limited non profit company, under section-25 companies. Non-profit organizations in India (a) exist independently of the state; (b) are self-governed by a board of trustees or ‘managing committee’/ governing council, comprising individuals who generally serve in a fiduciary capacity; (c) produce benefits for others, generally outside the membership of the organization; and (d), are ‘non-profit-making’, in as much as they are prohibited from distributing a monetary residual to their own members.
Section 2(15) of the Income Tax Act – which is applicable uniformly throughout the Republic of India – defines ‘charitable purpose’ to include ‘relief of the poor, education, medical relief and the advancement of any other object of general public utility’. Thus, in ascertaining whether a purpose is public or private, one has to see if the class to be benefited, or from which the beneficiaries are to be selected, constitute a substantial body of the public. A public charitable purpose has to benefit a sufficiently large section of the public as distinguished from specified individuals. Organisations which lack the public element – such as trusts for the benefit of workmen or employees of a company, however numerous – have not been held to be charitable. As long as the beneficiaries of the organization comprise an uncertain and fluctuating body of the public answering a particular description, the fact that the beneficiaries may belong to a certain religious faith, or a sect of persons of a certain religious persuasion, would not affect the organization’s ‘public’ character. The internal governance of a section 25 company is similar to that of a society. It generally has members and is governed by directors or a managing committee or a governing council elected by its members.
Like a society (but unlike a trust), a section 25 company may be dissolved. Upon dissolution and after settlement of all debts and liabilities, the funds and property of the company may not be distributed among the members of the company. Rather, the remaining funds and property must be given or transferred to
some other section 25 company, preferably one having similar objects as the dissolved entity.
Public charitable trusts, as distinguished from private trusts, are designed to benefit members of an uncertain and fluctuating class. In determining whether a trust is public or private, the key question is whether the class to be benefited constitutes a substantial segment of the public. There is no central law governing public charitable trusts, although most states have "Public Trusts Acts." Typically, a public charitable trust must register with the office of the Charity Commissioner having jurisdiction over the trust (generally the Charity Commissioner of the state in which the trustees register the trust) in order to be eligible to apply for tax-exemption.
In general, trusts may register for one or more of the following purposes:
Relief of Poverty or Distress;
Education Medical Relief;
Provision for facilities for recreation or other leisure -time occupation (including assistance for such provision), if the facilities are provided in the interest of social welfare and public benefit; and
The advancement of any other object of general public utility, excluding purposes which relate exclusively to religious teaching or worship.
At least two trustees are required to register a public charitable trust. In general, Indian citizens serve as trustees, although there is no prohibition against non-natural legal persons or foreigners serving in this capacity.
Societies are governed by the Societies Registration Act 1860, which is an all-India Act. Many states, however, have variants on the Act.
Societies are similar in character to trusts, although there a few essential differences. While only two individuals are required to form a trust, a minimum of seven individuals are required to form a society. The applicants must register the society with the state Registrar of Societies having jurisdiction in order to be eligible to apply for tax-exempt status. A registration application includes the society's memorandum of association and rules and regulations. In general, Indian citizens serve as members of the managing committee or governing council of societies, although there is no prohibition in the Societies Registration Act against non-natural legal persons or foreigners serving in this capacity. According to section 20 of the Act, the types of societies that may be registered under the Act include, but are not limited to, the following Charitable societies; societies; Societies established for the promotion of science, literature, or the fine arts, For education; and Public art museums and galleries, and certain other types of museums.
A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a legally constituted organization created by natural or legal persons that operates independently from any government. The term is usually used by governments to refer to entities that have no government status. In the cases in which NGOs are funded totally or partially by governments, the NGO maintains its non-governmental status by excluding government representatives from membership in the organization.
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The name(s) of the author(s) or settler (s) of the trust.
The name(s) of the trustee (s).
The name(s) if any, of the recipient/ whether it shall be the public at large.
The name by which the trust shall be known.
The name where it's primary and other offices shall be situate.
The property that shall devolve ahead the trustee(s) under the trust for the benefit of the beneficiary.
An intention to divest the trust property upon the trustee.
The objects of the trust.
The procedure for appointment, replacement or removal of a trustee. Their rights, duties and powers etc.