Companies Bill, 2011

The Companies Bill, 2011 was introduced in the Lok Sabha today. A copy is available through the PRS Legislative Research website.

A cursory review of the Bill suggests that there are a number of changes from the Companies Bill, 2009, which was expected considering the level of detailed examination undertaken by the Parliamentary Standing Committee last year. We will have the opportunity to analyse some of the specific provisions of the Bill over the next few days.

About the author

Umakanth Varottil

Umakanth Varottil is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore. He specializes in corporate law and governance, mergers and acquisitions and cross-border investments. Prior to his foray into academia, Umakanth was a partner at a pre-eminent law firm in India.

1 comment

  • Reaction >
    As one quickly goes through the older posts referred to, the first impression is that the past deliberations/ discussions, including in non-government circles, have been mainly concerned on one point,- whether or not any one or more of the proposed changes in the company law need to be made mandatory, so as to achieve the objectives behind.
    2. Generally speaking, one needs to be focused on these:
    (a) What precisely are the objectives behind such legislations?
    The inquiry should be, – is the emphasis laid solely on protecting the rights and interests of stakeholders; or on the aspect of social welfare or common good, not being confined to stakeholders; or a mixture of the two?
    (b) Should not, – in making the choice, as far as feasible, a balance be struck between the two; and any final decision / consensus be after giving proper weightage to either, also in totality.
    3. Mention of the infamous ‘Satyam episode’ brings back to one’s mind an intriguing doubt that has been haunting for long: Would the debacle at all have come to light, at the point in time it happened, but for the ‘confessions’ that its architect himself came out with. In other words, but for his opening up the Pandora’s box himself, would he not have gone on merrily/been continued to carry on in the same vein for some more time; albeit one knows not for how long.
    When coming to think of the very concept of ‘mandate by law’, one cannot afford to turn a blind eye or deaf ear to the historical realities. The poser for a sincere scrutiny is, – how far those mandates, any number of them thus far on the statute book are found to have been abided by the people in general, the so called ‘vested interests’ in particular ! To what extent, in any case, any of them have been taken too seriously even by the authorities themselves, entrusted with the responsibility for implementing, or enforcing, without fear or favour or like extraneous but unwarranted/unjustified considerations.
    In this context, in one’s conviction, any attempt to sidetrack or to forget one of the important messages from a great thinker of our times will not be short of perpetrating a sin against the Nation:
    “The tone of public life has reached an all time low. We have democracy without meritocracy. Ignorance, incompetence and dishonesty are no disqualifications for high public office, either in the ministerial ranks or elsewhere. If the charges against various politicians in and out of power are to be investigated, India will need to have Ombudsmen the way Australia has rabbits.”
    This is what late N A Palkhivala wrote in his article published in 1974 in the Illustrated weekly of India, titled ”The mess we are in” .
    It is left to anyone to see and judge for self, -going by the endless media reports making for daily news, whether to say, -history repeats itself; or history continues to be written, with no respite, forever.

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