In a rare but completely plausible scenario, your society and its members may feel that its current name does not really represent the essence of the residents’ collective spirit and may want to change it to something more in tandem with its motto and beliefs. Some societies also intend to change the name due to astrological or numerology beliefs, while some just intend to adopt a new name for a new beginning. Whatever your reason is, the government has provided you with an option to change the name of your society. But use it wisely, follow the guidelines and pick a name that resonates at all levels.
How do I change the name of my housing society?
There are no explicit guidelines in co-operative societies acts of states or bye-laws as such. But as a matter of fact, the Societies Registration Act 1860 lists a section titled – Societies enabled to alter, extend or abridge their purposes – which does list a series of small steps that co-operative societies can adhere to if they intend to change their name. Follow the steps listed below and you’re good to go.
- If the Managing Committee decides that a name change for the society is required, it may propose the idea to its members with appropriate reasons. A special body meeting should be held in which name change proposal of the society should the talking point.
- The members who are not likely to be present at the meeting should also be notified of such a resolution ten days prior to convening the special body meeting.
- One month after the initial meeting, a subsequent special body meeting should be held where (after reviewing opinions/objections (if any) from members, a final resolution is passed involving name change.
- The new name should be approved by 3/5th of the majority. Note that some states require 2/3rd or 3/4th of the majority. Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, etc. need 3/5th majority. Unless the requirement of majority vote is met, no resolution is allowed to pass.
- A written notice is signed by the Secretary along with seven other members is to be executed and sent to the Registrar for sanction.
- If the Registrar approves the new name, the Society is required to send the original registration certificate to his office for incorporating the new name in the place of the old one in its records and the change of name is affected in the registration certificate as well. The new name is considered to be in effect from the date of registration.
The above mentioned procedure is a general one cited from the Societies Registration Act 1860. Different states may apply some minor differences, so be sure to check with the Registrar for any specific requirements.
Things to remember
- The new name of the society should be incorporated in the bye-laws and all other official documents, letterheads, etc. of the society.
- The new name should also be declared in the official government gazette so that it is publicly notified as well.
The name change of the society is just that. It doesn’t change any obligations or liabilities the society has towards other entities, local authorities, service staff, members (living or deceased) or vendors. If the society is involved in any legal proceedings or cases, they have to be continued as before.
- There is zero to minimal cost in changing the name of your society.
- The new name cannot be identical to that of an already existing society in the area under the purview of your Registrar. If it is, the Registrar will not approve it.
- The new name of the society should not be misleading, negatively charged, and be in conflict with the motto or object of the society. It should not allude to or suggest racial, gender, caste or political discrimination in any manner so as to not offend or victimise any citizen.
- The new name should also not suggest or state explicitly that it is part of the government of India or any arm, department, wing or institute which is constituted by the government of India, thus not misleading the general public into thinking that it is under the patronage of the government. In other words, the name should not evoke conflict, negativity, prejudice or misrepresentation.
Before you go through the rigamarole of the legal procedure and brainstorm new names for your society, check with the register of societies to see if another society in your area already exists with the same name. This is to avoid the pitfall of disapproval from the Registrar. Generally, this is one of the simplest procedures to abide by in the legal maze of the constitution and should cause no heartburn if you follow the guidelines listed above, conjure an acceptable and maybe even an inspiring new name for your society.