Registration of Public Charitable Trust, Trust Registration in India 2017: The application for registration should be made to the official having jurisdiction over the region in which the trust is sought to be registered. In states or Union Territories where there is no Trusts Act, the general principles of the Indian Trusts Act 1882 will apply.

Public Trusts can submit an application for registration to the deputy / assistant Charity Commissioner having jurisdiction over the region / sub region in which the trust is sought to be registered. The office of the charity commissioner is situated in Mumbai (Bombay) for Maharashtra, and in a Lower Registry Court in other major cities (including Delhi, Chennai and Calcutta). Now check more details for “Trust Registration in India” from below….

Registration of Public Charitable Trust, Trust Registration in India

While states like Maharashtra and Gujarat have a Charity Commissioner much of North and North-East India does not have a Charity Commissioner. The Maharashtra Public Trusts Act, 1950 is applicable only in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have their own Trust Acts. Most charities have to be registered as a Charitable Trust. Only the state of Maharashtra has a Charity Commissioner and a Charity Administration Fund helps support the office of the charity commissioner in the state.

A Public Charitable Trust can be legally created by executing a ‘Trust Deed’ on stamp paper and obtaining the signatures of all the ‘Settlors/Founders’ and the ‘Trustees’. This legal document is then registered with the Sub-Registrar’s Office. After this, the trust may proceed to obtain tax exemptions with the Income Tax authorities.

Registration of Public Charitable Trust, Trust Registration in India

Procedure for Registration of Public Charitable Trust – Section 18 of the Maharashtra Public Trust Act, 1950.

The application for registration of a public charitable trust should be submitted (under Section 18 of the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950) to the deputy/assistant Charity Commissioner having jurisdiction over the region / sub region within the limits of which the trustee has an office for the administration of the trust or the trust property or substantial portion of the trust property is situated, as the case may be.


Such application shall be in writing, shall be in such form and accompanied by such fee as may be prescribed. The application should be made in the prescribed form i.e. Schedule II of Bombay Public Trusts Rules, 1951, which is available from the office of the Charity Commissioner.

After providing details (in the form) regarding designation by which the public trust shall be known, names of trustees, mode of succession, etc., the applicant has to affix a court fee stamp of Rs. 2/- to the form and pay in cash, registration fee that may range from Rs. 3/- to Rs. 25/-, depending on the value of the trust property. The application form should be submitted, together with a copy of the trust deed (the original may be produced, later, for verification) which is the main instrument of the trust.

According to article 61 of Schedule I of the Maharashtra Stamp Act, 1958, “where there is disposition of property” and “where the Trust is made for a religious or charitable purpose”, the stamp duty is “the same duty as a Bond (article 13) for a sum equal to the amount settled or market value of the property settled”. On reading the aforesaid article 61, together with article 13, of the Maharashtra Stamp Act, we understand that for “every rupees five hundred or part there of the stamp duty (w.e.f. 1-5-1993) is “rupees twenty”. If one decides to start a trust with a token amount of Rs. 1,000/-, the trust deed should be executed on a non-judicial stamp paper of Rs. 40/-. It is advisable to use both sides of the paper, and the pages, other than the stamp paper, are of a variety known as “ledger paper”. Both the settler/s and trustee/s in the presence of a witness should sign the trust deed. The witness may be a friend or relative. Some even prefer to sign before a notary.

Every application made shall be signed and verified in the prescribed manner by the trustee or his agent specially authorized by him in this behalf. It shall be accompanied by a copy of an instrument of trust, if such instrument had been executed and is in existence.

The application in addition to a copy of the instrument of trust, shall be accompanied by a copy of the scheme, if any, in operation in regard to the public trust. Two other documents which should be submitted at the time of making an application for registration is

  • Affidavit which must be sworn (by the trustees making the application) before a notary and executed on non-judicial stamp paper of Rs 10/- .
  • Consent letter, which may be prepared on an ordinary sheet of paper and signed by the trustee/s other than the trustee making the application.

In the absence of a consent letter from the remaining trustees, the deputy/assistant charity commissioner can insist on the presence of all the remaining trustees for the hearing.

It shall also be the duty of the trustee of the public trust to send a memorandum in the prescribed form (Schedule IIA of Bombay Public Trusts Rules, 1951) containing the particulars, including the name and description of the public trust, relating to the immovable property of such public trust, to the Sub-Registrar of the sub-district appointed under the Indian Registration Act, 1908, in which such immovable property is situate for the purpose of filing in Book No. 1 under section 89 of that Act.

Processing the application usually takes about six to eight weeks. A notice informing the applicant about the day and time fixed for a formal hearing is dispatched usually 10 to 15 days in advance. The applicant generally has to appear in person or depute his / her lawyer. The original trust deed should be produced for verification at the time of the hearing.

The deputy / assistant charity commissioner before whom the enquiry is held will ascertain:

  • Whether a trust exists and whether such trust is a public trust;
  • Whether any property is the property of such trust;
  • Whether the whole or any substantial portion of the subject matter of the trust is situated within his jurisdiction;
  • The names and addresses of the trustees and managers of such trust; 26
  • The mode of succession to the office of the trustee of such trust;
  • The amount of gross average annual income and expenditure of such trust;
  • Any other particulars as may be prescribed under sub-section (5) of section 18.

After making inquiries on the aforesaid issues, the deputy/assistant charity commissioner makes entries in the Register and issues a certificate of registration which bears the official seal and registration number of the trust.

If the certificate of registration is lost or damaged over the years, a duplicate certificate can be obtained from the department, on application and payment of a nominal fee.

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Author – Dr. Rajkumar Adukia

Categories NPO

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