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.
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.
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.
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.