Warning that the higher judiciary would be compelled to take drastic action of suspending the judicial officer if it continued to receive petitions, the Chief Justice of Madras HC pointed out to the recent case of Ramanathapuram District Judge, who was suspended on five counts, including corruption and sleeping during hearings
Chennai: Issuing a stern warning against corruption in judiciary, Madras High Court Chief Justice MY Eqbal on Thursday said 500 petitions against judicial officers were under the Court's scrutiny and anyone coming under a cloud should better quit, reports PTI.
In a candid talk while administering oath of office to the newly appointed civil judges, he said the common opinion of general public was not appreciative and Judicial officers are also equally blamed along with any other government servants.
"At present there are about 500 petitions under the scrutiny of High Court as against about 900 judicial officers working now. In all the complaints we are not taking drastic action of suspension or removal from service, but we will be keeping a watch of all the petitions received," he said.
Warning that the higher judiciary would be compelled to take drastic action of suspending the judicial officer if it continued to receive petitions, he pointed out to the recent case of Ramanathapuram District Judge, suspended on five counts, including corruption and sleeping during hearings.
"If we receive petitions continuously, then we will be compelled to take the drastic action of suspending the Judicial Officer, whether they are at the higher level in the cadre of District Judge or lower level in the cadre of Civil Judge Junior division," the Chief Justice said.
There were complaints about some judicial officers of the last batch which were being carefully scrutinised, he said.
Observing that judiciary is the last resort of an affected common man and every one looks upon a judicial officer with utmost respect and reverence, he said that respect and reverence must be kept up.
"If anybody raises a little finger against any judicial officer making allegation of corruption or favouritism, then it is better to quit the job and can resume practice again instead of continuing as judicial officer," he said.
"I have to say these harsh words because nowadays the common opinion of the general public is not appreciative.
Judicial officers also are equally blamed along with any other government servants," he said.
Minority shareholders are empowered under the Companies Act to force the management to correct its actions and/or reverse the transactions. Will institutional investors take the lead or sit like the three monkeys
‘Vadra-gate’ has not just rocked the Congress and its ruling ‘dynarchy’, but also the share price of real estate mogul, DLF. It has also eroded investors’ confidence in the company and its management. Since the disclosure of the sweet deals, a select section of media has targeted the First Family and raised the issue of corruption and nepotism. At the same time, an equally important issue has gone totally unnoticed—safeguarding the rights of minority shareholders of DLF.
Any retail investor—“mango people” in this “banana republic” as per First Son–in–Law of the nation—would just accept it as “the way this country works” and sell whatever shares he holds in DLF. Very few people, except for chartered accountants, company secretaries and lawyers would know that they have adequate rights to force the management to correct its actions and/or reverse the transactions.
Here, DLF has advanced interest-free loans to Robert Vadra’s companies. This is also evident from the financial statements filed by his companies with the Registrar of Companies (RoC). DLF has not yet confirmed whether these interest-free loans can be returned. According to Arvind Kejriwal’s first set of revelations, DLF sold properties to Vadra’s companies at deeply discounted rates. His second round of attack gave justification of the benefits accrued to DLF and its shareholders (including minority shareholders) for which Vadra was remunerated in form of interest-free loans and properties sold at a deep discount. However, DLF maintains that there are no convolute arrangements and transactions between DLF, the ruling Congress party in Haryana state and Vadra.
A shareholder is not at a loss if DLF is benefited by dealing through Vadra and compensating him for his services. However, if whatever DLF says—that it has not received any benefits from the ruling Congress government—is true, then it’s a bigger cause to worry. In that case, following issues arise:
In such situations minority investors have rights under a few provisions of Companies Act, 1956, to bring management down to discuss these issues and also propose resolutions to force corrective actions. Section 169 of Companies Act requires the board of directors of the company to call for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of the company on the requisition of shareholders of the company. Here the Companies Act stipulates that shareholders collectively holding 10% of total equity of the company must make this application. This requisition must mention matters which need to be considered in the meeting and submitted at registered office of the company.
If the board does not call for a meeting within 45 days from the date of the deposit of a valid requisition, the requisitionists themselves can call for an extraordinary general meeting. In case of failure of the board of directors to call for an extraordinary general meeting and hence requisitionists calling for the same, any reasonable expenses incurred by the requisitionists shall be repaid to the requisitionists by the company. The company has the right to retain expenses of such meetings from fees or other remuneration paid to the directors.
It may sound difficult and impractical to collect requisitions from thousands of minority shareholders of DLF who would collectively hold 10% of shares of the company. In such a case, a group of DLF investors can approach the National Company Law Tribunal and seek order from the Tribunal calling for an EGM, under Section 186 of the Companies Act. It is important for retail investors to know that this National Company Law Tribunal is very much like a civil court and has similar powers to issue orders and pass judgments, which have to be accepted by everyone.
In this case, as per the provisions of Section 186, the Tribunal either on its own motion or on the application by any shareholder of the company can pass an order calling for an EGM. The order shall also specify the manner in which the said meeting should be held.
As this story is being written there are no evidences that the National Company Law Tribunal has taken cognizance of these issues and has suo moto demanded an inquiry. It is yet to be seen how the National Company Law Tribunal takes action, if in case minority shareholders file a petition with the Tribunal, demanding an EGM to take corrective action to safeguard their interests.
However shady and difficult this DLF-Vadra issue may be, it has the potential of setting precedents and rules on corporate governance and igniting investor empowerment and shareholder activism in the country.
(Sumeet Mehta is a chartered accountant by qualification and managing director of
Paradigm Advisors—a boutique research and advisory firm.
SKS Microfinance is on the upmove after receiving QIP funding and stabilisation of regulatory risks. However, its culturally and politically sensitive business model is still a concern for investment in the MFI sector
The share price of SKS Microfinance has increased by about 50% since last July. However, its target market (of poor women) is culturally and politically sensitive and this may be the main risk to investments in the microfinance company, says a brokerage.
In a report, Espirito Santo Investment Bank Research, said, “SKS’s share price has run up more than 50% since the QIP (qualified institutional placement) in July, as clarity has emerged on the availability of capital. We estimate loan book growth in excess of 30% for the next three years and with collection efficiency improving on the non-Andhra portfolio, we expect the company to start showing profits from third or fourth quarter of this year.”
After the Andhra crisis there were questions raised about SKS Microfinance’s survival. However over the last six months the company has not only left the Andhra crisis behind it, but also raised Rs263 crore in capital which should be enough to take care of its capital requirement for the next couple of years.
“The recent capital raising of Rs263 crore through a QIP placing in July, puts SKS among the few microfinance institutions (MFIs) in India with the capacity to expand its loan book. Hence SKS now has a fairly clear run over the next couple of years to pick and choose for its loan book and grow it at a faster pace than its peers. We expect more than 30% loan book compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) for the next three years,” said Espirito Santo.