Prior to 1950, the religious and charitable trusts in the State were governed under various enactments, Central as well as provincial. In 1950, a composite legislation called the Bombay Public Trusts Act (XXIX of 1950) was passed, which could be made applicable to all public trusts without distinction of religion. This Act defines public trust as an express or constructive for either a public religious or charitable purpose or both, and includes a temple, a math, a wakf, a dharmada or any religious or charitable endowment and a society formed either for a religious or charitable purpose or both and registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860.

The State Government is empowered to apply this Act to any public trusts or class of public trusts and on such application the provisions of previous Acts cease to apply to such trusts or class of trusts. The Act has been made applicable to temples, maths, dharmadas, wakfs, public trusts created or existing solely for the benefit of any community or any section thereof; societies formed either for religious or charitable purposes or for both registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1960; and all other trusts, express or constructive, for either a public religious or charitable purpose or for both.

The Act has not been made applicable to the charitable endowments vested in the treasurer of charitable endowments under provisions of the Charitable Endowments Act (VI of 1890). The Charity Commissioner, with head-quarters at Bombay, administers the Act. An Assistant Charity Commissioner, Pune Region, exercises jurisdiction over the district of Sholapur.

According to the provisions of the Act, a trustee of a public trust has to make an application for the registration of the trust within three months of the application of the Act, or its creation giving particulars of (a) approximate value of the trust, (b) the gross average annual income and (c) expenditure of the trust. No registration is, however, necessary in the case of dharmadas which are governed under the special provisions of the Act in certain respects. Trusts registered under any of the previous Acts are deemed to be registered under this Act.

Table No. 1 furnishes statistics relating to the public trusts in Sholapur district registered at the Public Trust Registration Office, Pune Region, till 31st December 1968.