Lok Sabha Passes Companies Act Amendment Bill

The amended Companies Act provides for severe punishment for those raising illegal deposits from the public


The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the amended Companies Act that prescribes specific punishment for those who raise deposits illegally from the public.

The amendments to the Companies Act, 2013, which came into effect from 1st April this year, have been proposed in order to address some issues raised by stakeholders.

"Now, after the provisions were implemented... while enforcing the provision, we found that there were certain difficulties with regard to the enforcement of certain provisions or certain errors, while drafting had taken place," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said while presenting the Bill.

Under the new norms proposed, the paid-up capital criteria has been scrapped, while threshold limits for various transactions for getting shareholders' nod has now been stipulated.

Another amendment approves prescribing specific punishment for deposits accepted, a condition that was left out in the act inadvertently, the ministry said.

Towards meeting a "corporate demand," an amendment proposes "prohibiting public inspection of Board resolutions filed in the registry".

Among the major concerns of stakeholders were protecting confidentiality of board resolutions, as well as the provision of auditors being required to report suspected frauds at the companies audited by them.

Stakeholders were also concerned that stringent regulations for related party transactions, or those transactions between the company and another in which a board member or members are interested, could hurt routine business activity.

The amendment also proposes to exempt corporates from the need to get shareholders' nod in the case of related party transactions valued lower than Rs100 crore or 10% of net worth.

Under the old system, shareholders' permission through a special resolution was required in case of related party transactions for all firms with a paid up capital of Rs10 crore or more.

Another amendment exempts related party transactions between holding companies and wholly owned subsidiaries from the requirement of approval of non-related shareholders. "In doing so, it seeks to partly align the requirements of the Act with the SEBI requirements whereas in some other aspects, it has sought to provide greater relaxation as compared to the SEBI requirements," KPMG said about the provision.


On the question of areas of concern still to be addressed in the Companies law, KPMG said, "Areas such as related party transactions, inter-corporate loans, and fraud reporting have had corporates struggling for a while now, trying to balance compliance with the new requirements without hampering business requirements.  Some of these amendments will provide the necessary relief to corporates, and also bring certainty to certain other relaxations that were earlier provided through the rules accompanying the Act."




Blessing Agro Farm India directed not to collect money from investors by SEBI

Blessing Agro Farm India was found collecting funds from the "customers/ investors” for its land schemes, prima-facie violating the provisions of the SEBI Act and SEBI (Collective Investment Schemes) Regulations, 1999


A SEBI order today restrained Blessing Agro Farm India from approaching investors for money. The order inter-alia directed the company, its directors viz., Innsaipillai Lurdpillai Joseph Jeyaraaj, Prakasam Sagaya Packia Santhi, Irudayaraj Manickam Pillai Jeyabalan and Ex-Director Santhanapeter, not to collect any fresh money from investors under its existing schemes and not to launch any new schemes or plans or float any new companies to raise fresh funds.


The SEBI order directed the company and its directors not to dispose of or alienate any of the properties/assets of the existing schemes and not to divert any funds raised from the public, which had been kept in bank accounts and/or in the custody of the company. The company was also directed to submit a full inventory of its assets, details of amounts mobilised and the investors.


Blessing Agro Farm India Limited a company having its registered office at Madurai was found collecting funds from the "customers/investors” for its land schemes, prima-facie violating the provisions of the SEBI Act and SEBI (Collective Investment Schemes) Regulations, 1999.


SC directs Centre to submit CVC candidates' names

CVC appointment process to continue under SC supervision, while the PIL against the appointment process is decided


The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to submit a list of 15 names of candidates for the post of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), by 15 January 2015. The SC also directed the Centre to obtain its permission before making the final appointment.
The SC was hearing a PIL accusing the Centre of lacking transparency in the process of appointing the CVC. There has already been a question on the requirement of a Leader of Opposition in matters of such sensitive appointments. 
"Transparency should be the hall mark of such selection procedure and existing system is being criticised because of lack of transparency," the SC bench said. The Court criticised the fact that only bureaucrats were picked for the post.
In an earlier hearing in September, the court had criticised the government for the shortlisting process being left to senior bureaucrats in the many ministries. The PIL had said that in doing so, the government was adopting a non-transparent, restrictive and non-uniform approach for the appointment.
The Centre had said it was in the process of short-listing 20 candidates from 120 names received by various ministries and that the job was being done by the cabinet secretary and 36 secretaries of other departments. 


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