The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020
The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister for Corporate Affairs, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, on March 17, 2020. The Bill seeks to amend the Companies Act, 2013. Under the 2013 Act, certain provisions from the Companies Act, 1956 continue to apply to producer companies. These include provisions on their membership, conduct of meetings, and maintenance of accounts. Producer companies include companies which are engaged in the production, marketing and sale of agricultural produce, and sale of produce from cottage industries. The Bill removes these provisions and adds a new chapter in the Act with similar provisions on producer companies. The Bill makes three changes. First, it removes the penalty for certain offences. For example, it removes the penalties which apply for any change in the rights of a class of shareholders made in violation of the Act. Note that where a specific penalty is not mentioned, the Act prescribes a penalty of up to Rs 10,000 which may extend to Rs 1,000 per day for a continuing default. Second, it removes imprisonment in certain offences. For example, it removes the imprisonment of three years applicable to a company for buying back its shares without complying with the Act. Third, it reduces the amount of fine payable in certain offences. For example, it reduces the maximum fine for failure to file annual return with the Registrar of Companies from five lakh rupees to two lakh rupees.