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NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are increasingly playing a balancing role between the state and citizens to ensure the latter’s easy access to fundamental rights and state/central government’s developmental schemes. Being an interface between the common people and government administration, an NGO’s role in streamlining the services for the masses is vital for the healthy functioning of any democracy. Kick starting an NGO requires understanding of certain procedures and laws.


NGOs in India are registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, which is a central Act. According to Section 20 of the Act, the following societies can be registered: charitable societies, military orphan funds or societies, societies established for the promotion of science, literature, or the fine arts, for instruction, the diffusion of useful knowledge, the diffusion of political education, the foundation or maintenance of libraries or reading rooms for general use among the members or open to the public, or public museums and galleries of paintings and other works of art, collection of natural history, mechanical and philosophical inventions, instruments or designs.

Basic requirements

In India non-profit organizations can be registered as trusts, societies, or a private limited company, under Section-25 Company. Non-profit organizations are always self-governed by a ‘board of trustees’ or ‘managing committee’ comprising individuals who generally serve in a fiduciary capacity.

In order to register such an organization, the basic requirements include:

  • A registration form
  • A memorandum of association and rules and regulations of the organization
  • Consent letters of all the members of the managing committee. A minimum of seven members comprise a managing committee
  • Authority letter duly signed by all the members of the managing committee
  • Copy of rules and regulations certified to be a correct copy of original rules and regulations by at least three managing committee members
  • A declaration by the members of the managing committee that the funds of the society will be used only for the purpose of furthering the aims and objects of the society
  • In case any government servant holds elective office, previous sanction of the government (concerned minister) is needed
  • All the documents mentioned above are to be submitted in duplicate, together with the required registration fee.
  • The registrar’s office issues a certificate to the society on the completion verification procedure.

Documents & Information required for Society Registration

Society can be registered under Society Registration Act, 1860 or the laws of State Governments relating to Societies and therefore, the process, documentation, fee varies upon state to state. Below is the common list of documents and information required for Society Registration:

  • Covering letter requesting for registration;
  • Name (4–5) of the proposed society;
  • Two sets of memorandum of Association;
  • A Power of Attorney to submit application and to liaison with the Registrar of Societies.
  • Address proof of principal place of business:- Electricity Bill / House Tax Receipt / Water Bill;
  • NOC from Landlord for principal place of business on Rs.20/- stamp paper (If rented);
  • Names, addresses and occupation of all the members of the governing body;
  • Address Proof – Voter ID / Driving License/ Passport of all the members of the governing body;
  • Two sets of memorandum of Association;
  • Names, addresses and full signatures of the seven or more persons subscribing their names to the memorandum of Association;
  • Renewal procedure


All registered NGOs have to get their certificate of registration renewed after every five years. For the purpose of renewal, the managing committee members need to fill a renewal of registration form (available at the registrar’s office), along with:

  • A fee equal to the registration fee if the NGO’s registration period has not expired.
  • An additional fee of Rs 25 if the application is filed within one month of the date of registration expiration date.
  • An additional fee at the rate of Rs 5 per month if the renewal application is filed after one month of the registration expiration date.


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