Companies Bill: Stalled in Parliament?

Newspaper reports (here, here and here) suggest that the Companies Bill has run into some rough weather, with indications that it might be referred to the Standing Committee for further review. This is surprising as well as disconcerting, as it comes within a week of the Government presenting the Bill in Parliament.

It represents further delay in the corporate law reform process, which has been taking place in fits and starts for a decade now, with a logical conclusion still being elusive. Granted that there are areas in the Bill that may require fine-tuning, but the approach of holding back the reform process itself is not desirable. Based on the experience with the Standing Committee’s review of the Companies Bill, 2009, it is possible that there could be a significant reconsideration on fundamental issues in case it goes up for review, which could delay the process much further.

In the meanwhile, a corrigendum to the Companies Bill, 2011 has been issued that apparently contains some changes of a substantive nature as well.

In any event, we hope to continue our periodic analysis of the Bill with a touch of optimism.

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

  • This calls for INTROSPECTION, an incisive one at that, on certain IMPONDERABLE but inescapable/irreversible facts of life:
    1. No man (human being) , by any standard, can ever be truly believed , much less, said or wished to be profoundly 'PERFECT' , in a wholesome manner. Should that be so, how could any 'man made law' (as opposed to the "LAW OF NATURE") , so also a strict obedience thereto, be believed or expected to be any different or otherwise ?
    2. In the face of the undeniably subsisting / enduring total absence of 'standards of MATURE PUBLIC CONDUCT", does not the practical solution simply lie, – especially in order to make some headway and to take forward any such matter of ' public policy' (law on corporate) – in following the principle of – "OPTIMISM OF THE WILL AND PESSIMISM OF THE INTELLIGENCE" , in preference to just the reverse of it (!) ?
    On the aspect of 'Obedience to the unenforceable' , to re-quote a quote , considered worthwhile for its underlined practical wisdom :
    Sir Thomas Taylor of Aberdeen University summed up the position… beyond the sphere of duty which is legally enforceable there is a vast range of significant behaviour in which the law does not and ought not to intervene. This feeling of OBEDIENCE TO THE UNENFORCEABLE is the very opposite of the attitude that whatever is technically possible is allowable. This power of self-discipline is the very opposite of the fatal ignorance, which asserts, whether in government, …. or personal behaviour , that whatever is technically possible is licit. All through history, men have needed to preserve them from the temper which hardens the heart ad perverts the understanding.
    (borrowed from a public address by the greatest thinker of all, late N A Palkhivala in 1980)
    One keeps wondering whether there could at all be a better way of 'calling a spade a spade' ; so as to drive home the truth as to what is THE fact of life, more sincerely and intelligently than done by NAP !

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