Societies Registration Act, 1860, which was enacted by the Governor General in Council upon registration a society is entitled to sue and can be sued in the name of its President, Secretary etc., as shall be determined by its rules or by its governing body. A suit by or against the society would not abate by reason of the death of the person through whom or against whom the suit had been brought. A judgment obtained against a person sued as representing a society shall not be enforced against him but against the property of the society. The society can sue any of its members for arrear of subscription, damages etc. It can also enter into contracts as an entity. Upon dissolution, its property cannot be distributed amongst is members but must go to some other society.
All these are the characteristics of a separate legal entity such as a corporation. If the law confers on a body all the normal powers of a legal person it will be a corporation in all but name. A registered society, however, cannot hold property and to that extent it must be treated as a voluntary association, made up of its constituents. Therefore, it can be regarded as a quasi-corporation or, in the words of Lords Morton and Porter, a “near-corporation”. Now, a quasi-corporation or a near corporation – whatever we may call it – being a legal entity at least for some purposes is not a mere society made up of its constitutes.