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Society Registration Process in Bangladesh

Introduction: In Bangladesh, many local and international NGOs are working day and night with its noble objectives in various sectors. Very often many foreign and national charitable organization wants to know the registration process of NGO or charitable organization. This article talks about the registration procedures of various kinds of NGOs i.e. charitable organizations in Bangladesh.

Types of NGO:
  1. International NGO
  2. National NGO

Registration of NGO: International NGO

NGO Affairs Bureau (NGOAB): An international organization, which is registered outside of Bangladesh needs to be registered with NGO Affairs Bureau (NGOAB) before it can be operated in Bangladesh. Furthermore, to receive donations from foreign organizations or institutions, registration under NGOAB is mandatory for an International NGO or charity.

Process of Registration of NGO and Charity

Concerned Laws: Process of Registration of NGO and Charity:

  1. Step 01:  Application to the NGOAB
  2. Step 02: Follow the prescribed format, namely ‘FD -1 Form
  3. Step 03: Submission of Necessary documents with FD-1 Form
  4. Step 04: Payment of government fees, i.e. Treasury challan, VAT etc.
  5. Step 05: Application forwarded to Ministries
  6. Step 06: Security Check by the Law enforcement agency, i.e. Special Branch of Police and National Security Intelligence etc.
  7. Step 07: Inspection, Monitoring and Review of the NGO by the Ministry
  8. Step 08: Review and final scrutiny by the NGOAB and if satisfied then issuance of a letter of registration to operate in Bangladesh.
  9. Step 09: Timeframe for Registration process officially stated that 90 working days but in practice the entire procedure may take 6-7 months.
Time limit of Registration and Renewal

Time limit of Registration and Renewal:

The operational permit for an International NGO is for the next 10 years but the documents must be resubmitted within 6 month prior to the end of that 10 years to renew the time for operation in Bangladesh.

Option to operate without registration:

If an international NGO or charity has yet not been registered under NGOAB, then there is another way to operate its activities in this country and that is to partner up with an international organization which already has been duly registered, as per the said Act in Bangladesh. For example: working under the banner of a larger organization, with or without the associated services fees through abiding by the policy of the partner organization etc.

Registration of NGO: National NGO

NGO Affairs Bureau (NGOAB): Apart from availing registration under various departments, i.e. Department of Social ServicesMicrocredit Regulatory AuthoritiesDepartment of Women Affairs, Bangladesh Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms etc., the local based NGOs in Bangladesh are also required to register at NGO Affairs Bureau (NGOAB) to receive donations from abroad, i.e. foreign organizations or institutions.

Process of Registration of NGO and Charity

Concerned Laws: Process of Registration:

  1. Step 01: Issuance of name clearance from the concerned office.
  2. Step 02:  Application for registration to the authority in the prescribed form that is ‘Form-B’.
  3. Step 03:  Submission of required documents along with ‘Form-B’.
  4. Step 04: Payment of government fees, i.e. Treasury challan, VAT, etc.
  5. Step 05: Application forwarded to concerned Ministries
  6. Step 06: Security Check by the Law enforcement agency, i.e. Special Branch of Police and National Security Intelligence etc.
  7. Step 07: Inspection, Monitoring and Review of the NGO by the Ministry
  8. Step 08: Review and final scrutiny by the DSS and if satisfied then issuance of the registration.
  9. Step 09: Timeframe for the Registration process under the Department of Social Services may take around 7-8 months, which may vary depending on circumstances.
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The Societies Registration Act, 1860 ( ACT NO. XXI OF 1860 ):

Preamble: WHEREAS it is expedient that provision should be made for improving the legal condition of societies established for the promotion of literature, science, or the fine arts, or for the diffusion of useful knowledge, the diffusion of political education or for charitable purposes; It is enacted as follows:-
Societies formed by memorandum of association and registration 1. Any seven or more persons associated for any literary, scientific or charitable purpose, or for any such purpose as is described in section 20 of this Act, may, by subscribing their names to a memorandum of association and filing the same with the Registrar of Joint-stock Companies form themselves into a society under this Act.
Memorandum of association 2. The memorandum of association shall contain the following things (that is to say)-
the name of the society:
the objects of the society:
the names, addresses, and occupations of the governors, council, directors, committee or other governing body to whom, by the rules of the society, the management of its affairs is entrusted.
A copy of the rules and regulations of the society, certified to be a correct copy by not less than three of the members of the governing body shall be filed with the memorandum of association.
Registration of societies 1[3. Upon the filing of the memorandum and certified copy of the rules and regulations of the society under section 2, the registrar shall certify under his hand that the society is registered under this Act.
Fees to be paid to the Registrar 3A. There shall be paid to the registrar for registration of a society and for matters mentioned in the Schedule to this Act, fees specified in that Schedule or such smaller fees as the Government may direct.]
Annual list of managing body to be filed 4. Once in every year, on or before the fourteenth day succeeding the day on which, according to the rules of the society, the annual general meeting of the society is held, or, if the rules do not provide for an annual general meeting, in the month of January, a list shall be filed with the Registrar of Joint-stock Companies of the names, addresses and occupations of the governors, council, directors, committee or other governing body then entrusted with the management of the affairs of the society.
Property of society how vested 5. The property, moveable and immoveable, belonging to a society registered under this Act, if not vested in trustees, shall be deemed to be vested, for the time being, in the governing body of such society, and in all proceedings, civil and criminal, may be described as the property of the governing body of such society by their proper title.
Suits by and against societies 6. Every society registered under this Act may sue or be sued in the name of the president, chairman, or principal secretary, or trustees, as shall be determined by the rules and regulations of the society, and, in default of such determination, in the name of such person as shall be appointed by the governing body for the occasion:
Provided that it shall be competent for any person having a claim or demand against the society, to sue the president or chairman, or principal secretary or the trustees thereof, if on application to the governing body some other officer or person be not nominated to be the defendant.
Suits not to abate 7. No suit or proceeding in any Civil Court shall abate or discontinue by reason of the person by or against whom such suit or proceedings shall have been brought or continued, dying or ceasing to fill the character in the name whereof he shall have sued or been sued, but the same suit or proceedings shall be continued in the name of or against the successor of such person.
Enforcement of judgment against society 8. If a judgment shall be recovered against the person or officer named on behalf of the society, such judgment shall not be put in force against the property, moveable or immovable, or against the body of such person or officer, but against the property of the society.
Recovery of penalty accruing under bye-law 9. Whenever by any bye-law duly made in accordance with the rules and regulations of the society, or, if the rules do not provide for the making of bye-laws, by any bye-law made at a general meeting of the members of the society convened for the purpose (for the making of which the concurrent votes of three-fifths of the members present at such meeting shall be necessary), any pecuniary penalty is imposed for the breach of any rule or bye-law of the society, such penalty, when accrued, may be recovered in any court having jurisdiction where the defendant shall reside, or the society shall be situated, as the governing body thereof shall deem expedient.
Members liable to be sued as strangers 10. Any member who may be in arrear of a subscription which, according to the rules of the society he is bound to pay, or who shall possess himself of or detain any property of the society in a manner or for a time contrary to such rules, or shall injure or destroy any property of the society, may be sued for such arrear or for the damage accruing from such detention, injury or destruction of property in the manner hereinbefore provided.
Recovery by successful defendant of costs adjudged But if the defendant shall be successful in any suit or other proceeding brought against him at the instance of the society, and shall be adjudged to recover his costs, he may elect to proceed to recover the same from the officer in whose name the suit shall be brought, or from the society, and in the latter case shall have process against the property of the said society in the manner above described.
Members guilty of offences punishable as strangers 11. Any member of the society who shall steal, purloin or embezzle any money or other property, or wilfully and maliciously destroy or injure any property of such society, or shall forge any deed, bond, security for money, receipt, or other instrument, whereby the funds of the society may be exposed to loss, shall be subject to the same prosecution, and, if convicted, shall be liable to be punished in like manner as any person not a member would be subject and liable to in respect of the like offence.
Societies enable to alter, extend or abridge their purposes 12.(a) Whenever it shall appear to the governing body of any society registered under this Act, which has been established for any particular purpose or purposes, that it is advisable to alter, extend or abridge such purpose to or for other purposes within the meaning of this Act, or to amalgamate such society either wholly or partially with any other society, such governing body may submit the proposition to the members of the society in a written or printed report and may convene a special meeting for the consideration thereof according to the regulations of the society;
but no such proposition shall be carried into effect unless such report shall have been delivered or sent by post to every member of the society ten days previous to the special meeting convened by the governing body for the consideration thereof, nor unless such proposition shall have been agreed to by the votes of three-fifths of the members delivered in person or by proxy, and confirmed by the votes of three-fifths of the members present at a second special meeting convened by the governing body at an interval of one month after the former meeting.
12.(b) 2[Any such alteration, extension or abridgment or, as the case may be, amalgamation or any change in the name, address or list of Directors, members of the executive committee, governing body or any other body of the society shall be intimated to the registrar for record within twenty-one days from the date of such alteration, extension, amalgamation or change, as the case may be.]
Provision for dissolution of societies and adjustment of their affairs. 13. Any number not less than three-fifths of the members of any society may determine that it shall be dissolved, and thereupon it shall be dissolved forthwith, or at the time then agreed upon, and all necessary steps shall be taken for the disposal and settlement of the property of the society, its claims and liabilities, according to the rules of the said society applicable thereto, if any, and, if not, then as the governing body shall find expedient, provided that, in the event of any dispute arising among the said governing body or the members of the society, the adjustment of its affairs shall be referred to the principal Court of the original civil jurisdiction of the district in which the chief building of the society is situated; and the Court shall make such order in the matter as it shall deem requisite:
Provided that no society shall be dissolved unless three-fifths of the members shall have expressed a wish for such dissolution by their votes delivered in person, or by proxy, at a general meeting convened for the purpose:
Provided that 3[whenever the Government] is a member of, or a contributor to, or otherwise interested in, any society registered under this Act, such society shall not be dissolved without the consent of the Government 4[* * *].
Upon a dissolution no member to receive profit. Clause not to apply to Joint-stock Companies 14. If upon the dissolution of any society registered under this Act there shall remain after the satisfaction of all its debts and liabilities any property whatsoever, the same shall not be paid to or distributed among the members of the said society or any of them, but shall be given to some other society, to be determined by the votes of not less than three-fifths of the members present personally or by proxy at the time of the dissolution, or in, default thereof, by such Court as aforesaid: Provided, however, that this clause shall not apply to any society which shall have been founded or established by the contributions of shareholders in the nature of a Joint-stock Company.
Member defined. Disqualified Members 15. For the purposes of this Act a member of a society shall be a person who, having been admitted therein according to the rules and regulations thereof, shall have paid a subscription or shall have signed the roll or list of members thereof, and shall not have resigned in accordance with such rules and regulations; but in all proceedings under this Act no person shall be entitled to vote or to be counted as a member whose subscription at the time shall have been in arrear for a period exceeding three months.
Governing body defined 16. The governing body of the society shall be the governors, council, directors, committee, trustees or other body to whom by the rules and regulations of the society the management of its affairs is entrusted.
Registration of Societies formed before Act. Assent required. 17. Any company or society established for a literary, scientific or charitable purpose, and registered under Act XLIII of 1850, or any such society established and constituted previously to the passing of this Act but not registered under the said Act XLIII of 1850, may at any time hereafter be registered as a society under this Act; subject to the proviso that no such company or society shall be registered under this Act unless an assent to its being so registered has been given by three-fifths of the members present personally, or by proxy, at some general meeting convened for that purpose by the governing body.
Such societies to file memorandum, etc., with Registrar of Joint-stock Companies 18. In order to any such society as is mentioned in the last preceding section obtaining registry under this Act, it shall be sufficient that the governing body file with the Registrar of Joint-stock Companies a memorandum showing the name of the society, the objects of the society, and the names, addresses and occupations of the governing body, together with a copy of the rules and regulations of the society certified as provided in section 2, and a copy of the report of the proceedings of the general meeting at which the registration was resolved on.
Inspection of documents Certified copies 5[19. Any person may inspect all documents filed with the registrar under this Act, or require a copy or extract of a copy of any document to be certified by the registrar, on payment of the fee specified in the Schedule to this Act in this behalf or such smaller fee as the Government may direct.]
To what societies Act applies 20. The following societies may be registered under this Act:
Charitable 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 painting and other works or art, collections of natural history, mechanical and philosophical inventions, instru-ments, or designs.
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