Tag Archives: Annual General Meeting

GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO ATTEND AN AGM


Corona is good for corporate governance. The government, without any known intention to do so, adopted an inclusive approach for the benefit of members and shareholder of companies in India. If you are a shareholder in any company in India, this is the best time for you to attend a General Meeting of your company. Of course, you will be part of their decision-making process in all practical manner. Read More to avail best out of this opportunity and share a lot for benefit of lakhs of individual investors and improvement of corporate Governance.

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ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING IN YEAR 2020


Annual General Meeting during the year 2020 is not an ordinary affair. This is now recognized by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Now, bigger companies are required to facilitate members to present in their Annual General Meeting through Video Conference or other audiovisual means even when holding AGM physically, others have the facility to use hold AGM through VA and OAVM. Circular 20/2020 dated 5th May 2020 extends facility provided by Circulars 14/2020 and 17/2020to hold General Meetings through VA and OAVM to Annual General Meetings.

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Serious Penal Consequence of late Annual Filing – landmine ahead


[The law stated in this post is effective from the 7th day of May 2018]

There is a perception that filing of financial statements and other documents with additional fee absolve the company from consequences under section 92, section 137 and conditional exemption given to certain companies by certain notifications issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

This is also a general view of the companies that any extension granted for the filing of the financial statements and other documents without additional fee grant immunity to the companies from its liabilities under mentioned provisions.

I beg to differ, conditionally.

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Shareholders in General Meeting


To be legally correct I will say, all Members of a company may attend a General Meeting including the Annual General Meeting of a company. I will discuss, related aspects in brief.

Member

In legal terminology Section 2(55) of the Companies Act, 2013 defines the term member:

“member”, in relation to a company, means—

(i) the subscriber to the memorandum of the company who shall be deemed to have agreed to become a member of the company, and on its registration, shall be entered as a member in its register of members;

(ii) every other person who agrees in writing to become a member of the company and whose name is entered in the register of members of the company;

(iii) every person holding shares of the company and whose name is entered as a beneficial owner in the records of a depository.”

Members are those shareholders who got shares registered in their name.

A shareholder, who has recently purchased, inherited or received a gift of shares of a company may not become shareholders unless shares are registered in its name. Likewise, a member who has recently sold, died or given a gift of shares may continue as members til such shares are registered in the name of another person.

Please note in case of de-materialised shares, such registration happened immediately.

Notice of (Annual) General Meeting

According to Section 101(3)(a) of the Act, the notice of every meeting of the company shall be given to every member of the company, legal representative of any deceased member or the assignee of an insolvent member.

Quorum

Normally the quorum of a general meeting:

(a) in case of a public company,—

(i) five members personally present if the number of members as on the date of the meeting is not more than one thousand;

(ii) fifteen members personally present if the number of members as on the date of the meeting is more than one thousand but up to five thousand;

(iii) thirty members personally present if the number of members as on the date of the meeting exceeds five thousand;

(b) in the case of a private company, two members personally present shall be the quorum for a meeting of the company.

There is no discrimination among member, who may present. Every member person who received the notice of a general meeting may attend it.

Voting

In normal circumstances, only members who are equity shareholder may vote as per defined voting rights. According to Section 47(1)(a) of the Act, every member of a company limited by shares and holding equity share capital therein, shall have a right to vote on every resolution placed before the company. Presently, it is possible to have different classes of equity shareholders with differential voting rights.

Members, who are preference shareholders may vote in certain circumstances only. Every member of a company limited by shares and holding any preference share capital therein shall, in respect of such capital, have a right to vote only on resolutions placed before the company which directly affect the rights attached to his preference shares and, any resolution for the winding up of the company or for the repayment or reduction of its equity or preference share capital and his voting right on a poll shall be in proportion to his share in the paid-up preference share capital of the company. Where the dividend in respect of a class of preference shares has not been paid for a period of two years or more, such class of preference shareholders shall have a right to vote on all the resolutions placed before the company.

Emeritus Chairman vs Chairman


In India, most companies have designation of Chairman but there is no legally recognised office of chairman of company under the Companies Act, 2013. In Indian law, chairman or chairperson is not legal position but a momentary position in meetings.

Chairman under the company law is person appointed/elected as chairman of the Meeting of Board of Directors or meetings of members (general meetings). To avoid time to appoint/select/elect chairman in each such meeting, usually board of directors names a person as its chairman once. Chairman of the Board of Directors may act as chairman of the company (means chairman of its general meetings). However, this position usually treated as permanent designation for a person.

Section 104 of the Companies Act, 2013, talk about chairman of meetings. In some later sections term chairperson is also used in same meaning.

Indian Secretarial Standards bring some legal definition for the position of chairman.

For Indian Secretarial Standards SS – 1 dealing with meetings of Board of Directors, Chairman means the Chairman of the Board or its Committee, as the case may be, or the chairman appointed or elected for a meeting.

For Indian Secretarial Standards SS – 2 dealing with general meetings, Chairman means Chairman of the Board or the Chairman appointed or elected for a Meeting.

These definitions given in Indian Secretarial Standards give some legal backing for permanently appointed chairman of the board.

Chairman Emeritus is more ceremonial position. Chairman Emeritus is an honorary position usually given to people who have retired from the position. It is just a respect to person named so. Chairman Emeritus is like a head of family who lost all powers to younger generation but have high regards at least in society (if not in the family). More often than not, Chairman Emeritus conducts meetings just by presence and all legal responsibilities rest on named chairman.

Basic responsibility of chairman is to conduct a meeting and certify as correct the proceeding when noted down as minutes of meeting. Thus, legally chairman is higher and actual position.

In listed companies, Chairman is preferably a non – executive position and sometime independent directors need to be elected as chairman. Chairman of most committees of Board should legally be an independent director. In private companies and closely held companies managing director act as chairman. In family owned head of family acts as chairman.

This post was earlier written as Quora answer here.

 

Notification of Sections Relevant for NCLT


Yesterday late evening, I posted here about press release issued by Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Soon thereafter, two files uploaded on Official Gazette website with two notifications in each. In earlier post here today, we discussed establishment and jurisdiction of various NCLT benches.

In this post, we will have a bird’s eye view on Sections notified on 1st June 2016 related to NCLT.

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City in Companies Act, 2013


Companies Act, 2013 uses city 3 times (without taking subordinate legislations into account):

  • In section 12(5)(a) with reference to registered office;
  • In Section 27(1) for advertisement in news paper in the city of registered office;
  • In Section 96(2) for place of Annual General Meeting in city of registered office.

The Companies Act, 1956 also used this term in similar reference.

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REPORT ON ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING


This is new feature of Indian Corporate Law. Section 121 of the companies Act 2013 simply says that every listed public company shall prepare a report on each annual general meeting including the confirmation to the effect that the meeting was convened, held and conducted as per the provisions of this Act and the rules made there under. The company shall file with the Registrar a copy of the report within thirty days of the conclusion of the annual general meeting.

Rule 31 of the Companies (Management and Administration) Rules 2014 goes into details.

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POSSIBILITY OF PROXY


[This is my write up published in July 2014 edition of eMagazine of Mysore Chapter of Institute of Company Secretaries of India
Download here: 126 ICSI Mysore eMagazine July 2014]

Section 105(2) of the Companies Act, 2013 says in every notice calling a meeting of a company, there shall appear with reasonable prominence a statement that member entitled to appoint a proxy and a proxy need not be a member. Prominent question on ‘proxy’ is where the institution of proxies stands under new corporate law regime.

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Scrutiny of Poll Process


Section 109 of the Companies Act 2013 deals with provisions related to demand for Poll in a general meeting.

Where a poll is to be taken, the chairman of the meeting shall appoint necessary number of person to scrutinise the poll process and vote given on the poll and to report thereon. [Section 109(5)]

Rule 21 of the Companies (Management and Administration) Rules 2014 deals with “manner in which the Chairman of meeting shall get the poll process scrutinised and report thereon”.

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VOTING THROUGH ELECTRONIC MEANS


The Central Government got freehand under Section 108 of the Companies Act, 2013 which simply reads, “The Central Government may prescribe the class or classes of companies and manner in which a member may exercise his right to vote by the electronic means.”

The Rule 20 of the Companies (Management and Administration) Rules 2014 has all power to administer voting through electronic means.

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PROXIES


Section 105 of the Companies Act 2013 frames law regarding proxies. We have Rule 19 of the Companies (Management and Administration) Rules 2014 to supplement provisions relating to proxies.

Any member of a company entitled to attend and vote at a meeting of the company shall be entitled to appoint another person as a proxy to attend and vote at the meeting on his behalf. [Section 105(1)]

A member of a company registered under section 8 shall not be entitled to appoint any other person as his proxy unless such other person is also a member of such company. [Rule 19(1)]

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NOTICE OF THE MEETING


According to Section 101 of the Companies Act, 2013 a General meeting of a company may be called by giving not less than clear twenty – one days’ notice either in writing (i.e. in paper form) or through electronic mode.

If consent is given in writing or by electronic mode by not less than ninety – five percent of members entitled to vote at such meeting, a general meeting may be called after giving a notice of a shorter period, which is called shorter notice (not short in contents but time period). [Section 101(1)]

Rule 18 of the Companies (Management and Administration) Rules 2014 explains provisions related to notice through electronic mode.

A company may give notice through electronic mode. The expression ‘‘electronic mode’’ shall mean any communication sent by a company through its authorized and secured computer programme which is capable of producing confirmation and keeping record of such communication addressed to the person entitled to receive such communication at the last electronic mail address provided by the member. [Rule 18(1)]

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BOOKS OF ACCOUNTS


The Financial Statements of a company is most important document until recent past, when non – financial reporting started to gain its momentum. This is a reporting of growth in business in monetary units.

BOOK OF ACCOUNTS (SECTION 128):

Every company shall prepare and keep at its registered office books of accounts and other relevant books and papers and financial statement for every financial year. These books must give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the company and its branch offices. These books must explain the transactions effected both at the registered office and its branches.  These books shall be kept on actual basis and double entry system of accounting.

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RESOLUTION, MINUTES AND REPORT


Recently we have discussed “General Meetings”, “Preparing General Meetings” and “Proxies, Voting and Polling”. The provision contains here also applicable to all company meetings unless context restrict them to General Meeting.

RESOLUTION (SECTIONS 114):

The Companies Act, 2013 does not define resolution. Resolution is a formal statement of a decision or expression of opinion put before or adopted by an assembly. This may be ordinary resolution or special resolution.

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PROXIES, VOTES AND POLLING


Recently we have discussed “General Meetings” and “Preparing General Meetings”. In this post we will discuss things during meetings like Proxies, voting, poll and related matters.

Proxies are one of the beauties of corporate legislations. Proxies have their important in corporate decision making through voting and polls.

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PREPARING GENERAL MEETING


In last post “General Meetings”, we discussed what may be possible dates for general meeting and the place where it may be held. How we manage the event is depend upon our own choice. But there are some other legal formalities to comply with. These may be –

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GENERAL MEETINGS


A company may have many kinds of meetings; general meetings are one among them. In very simple terms, a meeting of general body may be called general meeting. General meeting comprises of all general members of an organisation that is company in our case.

A general meeting may be Annual General Meeting (AGM) or Extra – ordinary General Meeting (EGM).

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