Maharashtra has been a leading state in India, having maximum public charitable trusts and N.G.O.s being registered since the last ten years. Presently in Maharashtra there are about 7,50,000 public charitable trusts and charitable societies which are in the form of N.G.O.s, educational institutes, charitable hospitals, secular institutes, sports institutes, religious institutes, etc.
As per the rough calculation, every day about 750 new public trusts and charitable organisations are registered in Maharashtra, with various charitable objects.
This trend has shown fruitful results that a lot many governmental functions are carried out or helped to be carried out through these voluntary organisations and N.G.O.s. There is a huge spread of work in the fields of education, health, medical aid, irrigation, and many other social fields where these voluntary organisations/ N.G.O.s have played a key rôle without taking much help and support from the government.
The tendency of the people is also prone in forming and registering public trusts and working for the society. These public trusts, voluntary organisations and N.G.O.s are registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860 and the Maharashtra Public Trusts Act 1950 in Maharashtra.
Both these Acts have provided various mandatory requirements, noncompliance of which warrant even criminal liability against the trustees.
However, it has been a common experience that people who are very much interested in formation and registration of trust, either are totally ignorant about the further compliances, or do not bother about the importance of the same.
Working as a trustee is an onerous job, and the same is coupled with the responsibility and liability of the compliances of the mandatory requirements.
Initially, for a period of about the first five to six years, these noncompliances may not affect the working of the Trust, but later on, when the Trust starts gaining name, fame, reputation and income, these noncompliances may become serious hurdles and obstacles in the further progress and smooth functioning of the Trust, making the trustees face serious consequences including criminal actions.
In order to avoid the above-mentioned, the trustees must be keen in making the compliances of the mandatory requirements since the time of registration of the Trust, and should see that the compliances are not kept pending, raising clouds of doubt about the working of the trustees.
The Charity Commissioner of Maharashtra, in his speech giving in the workshop on Online Procedures, organised by Progressive Education Society on 24/5/2017, has specifically warned trustees that the Maharashtra Public Trusts Act 1950 is a peculiar Act, where doing nothing itself is an offence for the trustees, and therefore they must do/ act pursuant to the provisions of the Act and keep the compliances up to date, in order to avoid criminal liability. A trustee should bear this in mind.
Lex-Eye Services helps and guides the trustees for compliances of the mandatory requirements and timely submissions at the office of the Charity Commissioner.