Companies Act, 2013 came into effect that requires all listed companies to have
at least one woman director. As we had previously discussed, companies scrambled
to comply with the requirement as of April 1, 2015, the effective date.
However, a recent news
report in the Business Standard indicates that 57 companies listed on the
NSE are yet to comply with this requirement. More importantly, at least a third
of the violators are public sector companies (PSCs). This represents yet
another instance whereby, instead of taking the lead in ensuring compliance
with enhanced corporate governance norms, PSCs have been in breach.
ago when several PSCs failed to comply with the requirement of appointing a
minimum number of independent directors, and SEBI initiated action against them
However, those actions had to be dropped because the PSCs argued that despite
their repeated efforts, the appointments of independent directors could not be
implemented due to the lack of approval from the President of India for such
appointments (as required under the articles of association of such companies).
PSCs are staring at a similar bottleneck even regarding the appointment of
India if even the letter of the law cannot be complied with, and where the
perpetrators of non-compliance are government-owned companies. As I had observed elsewhere in connection
with the earlier episode involving the appointment of independent directors:
have deleterious consequences on corporate governance reforms in India. Compliance
or otherwise of corporate governance norms by government companies has an
important signaling effect. Strict adherence to these norms by government
companies may persuade others to follow as well. But, when government companies
violate the norms with impunity, it is bound to trigger negative consequences
in the market-place thereby making implementation of corporate governance norms
a more arduous task. …
involving women directors. Despite giant strides having been taken in
strengthening substantive corporate governance norms in India, much less
progress is made with compliance and enforcement.