Law gives legal status to Company Secretary but not business feasibility for the appointment of a Company Secretary in employment of an organisation. Business feasibility could be measured in term of value addition to the organisation not legal addition to the organisation. The value addition may be in form of increased profitability, wealth creation or confidence building among its stakeholders. These stakeholders measure success not in financial terms but through confidence towards an organisation amongst them.
We have completed many stages; clerk, manager, general manager, decision maker, managerial personal, Key managerial personnel and next step the conscience keeper. Every height we gain always stands on a solid foundation of a concrete mix customised for individual need. So we need to look into basic foundation of our profession. The litmus test to judge strength of basic foundation of any profession is not its education, crowd of its student, number of its members, this and that legal recognition, written ethical value codes and International codifications but confidence put by its real paymaster, the stakeholders.
Presently, company secretary is a person who has mandate to analyse non-financial information and reporting it after coordinating with all financial information. When, corporate reporting is being shifted from merely financial data sheet to overall reporting by putting equal weight to non-financial reporting, it is a big responsibility. Non-financial reporting is an art of understanding all material information, their impacts, need and extends of reporting. All this depend not only on training and calibre of person handling this assignment but much upon conscience of corporate to decide why, what, when and where to report.
Conscience is an aptitude, faculty, intuition or judgment of the intellect that distinguishes right from wrong. As a practical judgment, conscience is the conclusion of a moral syllogism whose major premise is an objective norm and whose minor premise is a particular case or situation to which the norm is applied.
In light of Buddhist teaching, corporate conscience reflects in fair treatment and growth for all stakeholders and society without leaning toward profit for a particular interest group. Simply, corporate conscience is a gradually intensifying way of corporate life which guide corporate governance and lead it to do business responsibly.
As a focal point for all stakeholders of organisation, company Secretary not only guide them but also face pressure from all of them. He acquires the position of referee. A conscious referee could not be a toothless tiger. He has power within, power of love for stakeholders, the power of awaken mind, the power of truth, power to stand for his conscience and above all; power to stand for conscience of his organisation, humanity and all stakeholders. The conscience keeper is a fearless person. He can blow the whistle.
The term whistle-blower comes from the whistle a referee uses to indicate an illegal or foul play. A whistle blower is a person who tells the public or someone in authority about alleged dishonest or illegal activities (misconduct) occurring in a government department, a public or private organization, or a company.
A conscience keeper has duty to blow whistle whenever he find anything which is not as per standard of conscience. Conscience keeper simple pointed out wrong to stakeholders depending upon circumstances of the case.
This was abstract of my article of same name published in souvenir of 40th National Convention of Company Secretaries on page 137.
The link of the Souvenir is http://www.icsi.edu/docs/40nc/40%20NC-Souvenir.pdf.