According to Section 173(2) of the Companies Act 2013, directors may participate through:
- In person,
- Through Video Conferencing,
- Other Audio – visual means, as may be prescribe.
Such means must be capable of recording of proceedings and recognising the participation of directors.
The Companies (Meetings of Boards and its Powers) Rules 2014 elaborate provisions related to meeting through audio visual means.
“Video conferencing or other audio visual means” means audio- visual electronic communication facility employed which enables all the persons participating in a meeting to communicate concurrently with each other without an intermediary and to participate effectively in the meeting. [Explanation to Rule 3]
A company shall comply with the following procedure, for convening and conducting the Board meetings through video conferencing or other audio visual means.
- Every Company shall make necessary arrangements to avoid failure of video or audio visual connection.
- The Chairperson of the meeting and the company secretary, if any, shall take due and reasonablecare-
- to safeguard the integrity of the meeting by ensuring sufficient security and identification procedures;
- to ensure availability of proper video conferencing or other audio visual equipment or facilities for providing transmission of the communications for effective participation of the directors and other authorised participants at the Board meeting;
- to record proceedings and prepare the minutes of the meeting;
- to store for safekeeping and marking the tape recording(s) or other electronic recording mechanism as part of the records of the company at least before the time of completion of audit of that particular year.
- to ensure that no person other than the concerned director are attending or have access to the proceedings of the meeting through video conferencing mode or other audio visual means; and
- to ensure that participants attending the meeting through audio visual means are able to hear and see the other participants clearly during the course of the meeting. the persons, who are differently abled, may make request to the Board to allow a person to accompany him.
- The notice of the meeting shall be sent to all the directors in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (3) of section 173 of the Act.
- The notice of the meeting shall inform the directors regarding the option available to them to participate through video conferencing mode or other audio visual means, and shall provide all the necessary information to enable the directors to participate through video conferencing mode or other audio visual means.
- A director intending to participate through video conferencing or audio visual means shall communicate his intention to the Chairperson or the company secretary of the company.
- If the director intends to participate through video conferencing or other audio visual means, he shall give prior intimation to that effect sufficiently in advance so that company is able to make suitable arrangements in this behalf.
- The director, who desire, to participate may intimate his intention of participation through the electronic mode at the beginning of the calendar year and such declaration shall be valid for one calendar year.
- In the absence of any intimation under clause (c), it shall be assumed that the director shall attend the meeting in person.
- Atthe commencement of the meeting, a roll call shall be taken by the Chairperson when every director participating through video conferencing or otheraudio visual means shall state, for the record, the following namely:-
- the location from where he is participating;
- that he has received the agenda and all the relevant material for the meeting; and
- that no one other than the concerned director is attending or having access to the proceedings of the meeting at the location mentioned in clause (b);
- (a) After the roll call, the Chairperson or the Company Secretary shall inform the Board about the names of persons other than the directors who are present for the said meeting at the request or with the permission of the Chairperson and confirm that the required quorum is complete.
Explanation.- A director participating in a meeting through video conferencing or other audio visual means shall be counted for the purpose of quorum, unless he is to be excluded for any items of business under any provisions of the Act or the rules.
(b) The Chairperson shall ensure that the required quorum is present throughout the meeting.
- With respect to every meeting conducted through video conferencing or other audio visual means authorised under these rules, the scheduled venue of the meeting as set forth in the notice convening the meeting, which shall be in India, shall be deemed to be the place of the said meeting and all recordings of the proceedings at the meeting shall be deemed to be made at such place.
- The statutory registers which are required to be placed in the Board meeting as per the provisions of the Act shall be placed at the scheduled venue of the meeting and where such registers are required to be signed by the directors, the same shall be deemed to have been signed by the directors participating through electronic mode, if they have given their consent to this effect and it is so recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
- (a) Every participant shall identify himself for the record before speaking on any item of business on the agenda.
(b) If a statement of a director in the meeting through video conferencing or other audio visual means is interrupted or garbled, the Chairperson or Company Secretary shall request for a repeat or reiteration by the Director.
- If a motion is objected to and there is a need to put it to vote, the Chairperson shall call the roll and note the vote of each director who shall identify himself while casting his vote.
- From the commencement of the meeting and until the conclusion of such meeting, no person other than the Chairperson, Directors, Company Secretary and any other person whose presence is required by the Board shall be allowed access to the place where any director is attending the meeting either physically or through video conferencing without the permission of the Board.
- (a) At the end of discussion on each agenda item, the Chairperson of the meeting shall announce the summary of the decision taken on such item along with names of the directors, if any, who dissented from the decision taken by majority.
(b) The minutes shall disclose the particulars of the directors who attended the meeting through video conferencing or other audio visual means.
- (a) The draft minutes of the meeting shall be circulated among all the directors within fifteen days of the meeting either in writing or in electronic mode as may be decided by the Board.
(b) Every director who attended the meeting, whether personally or through video conferencing or other audio visual means, shall confirm or give his comments in writing, about the accuracy of recording of the proceedings of that particular meeting in the draft minutes, within seven days or some reasonable time as decided by the Board, after receipt of the draft minutes failing which his approval shall be presumed.
(c) After completion of the meeting, the minutes shall be entered in the minute book as specified under section 118 of the Act and signed by the Chairperson.
According to Rule 4 of these Rules, the following matters shall not be dealt with in any meeting held through video conferencing or other audio visual means.-
- the approval of the annual financial statements;
- the approval of the Board’s report;
- the approval of the prospectus;
- the Audit Committee Meetings for consideration of accounts; and
- the approval of the matter relating to amalgamation, merger, demerger, acquisition and takeover.
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