TagIndependent Directors

MCA Clarifies on Legal Actions against Outside Directors

Recognizing the specific roles that different directors of a company play, section 149(12) of the Companies Act, 2013 contains a safe harbour provision that protects certain types of directors against liability. It relates to three types of directors, who are, for the sake of convenience, referred to as “outside” directors: (i) an independent director; (ii) a non-executive director who is not a...

The Foibles of a Databank and Proficiency Test for Independent Directors

There is no gainsaying that board independence has come to assume a pivotal position in corporate governance. Although it continues to receive constant criticism on account its ineffectiveness, no one musters the courage to banish it or even diminish its importance. While the concept of independent directors only gradually received the required attention and seriousness in India, it has been the...

Qualifying test requirements for Independent Directors – a hasty, slipshod & cumbersome requirement

I have written a piece for Moneylife on the new requirements of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs for independent directors that mandate existing as well as first-time independent directors to enrol in a databank as also pass certain qualifying test. The Rules, that are spread over several notifications and also an FAQ, come into force from 1st December 2019 and some transition period is also...

Recent Developments Pertaining to Independent Directors

Professor Bala N. Balasubramanian has authored the latest edition of the NSE Quarterly Briefing titled “Caution: Independent Directors – Hairpin Turns Ahead!”. The abstract/introduction is as follows: The institution of Independent Directors (D), heralded as a virtual panacea for all governance ills, nearly three decades ago in the UK’s Cadbury prescriptions, is now almost universally under...

Actions against Independent Directors for Dishonour of Cheques

The question of liability of independent directors is a sensitive one given such directors carry substantial risk without having an influence in the day-to-day management of the company. Hence, the Companies Act, 2013 introduced a specific carve out in section 149(12) by which an independent director cannot be made liable for acts pertaining to the company except in limited circumstances “which...

Age-limit Criteria for Non-Executive Directors under Amended SEBI Listing Regulations: Prospective or Retrospective?

[Gaurav Pingle is a practising Company Secretary in Pune and can be reached at [email protected]] Introduction On June 2 2017, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (‘SEBI’) constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Uday Kotak for improving the standards of corporate governance of listed companies in India. On October 5, 2017, Kotak Committee submitted its report to SEBI...

The Tata Corporate Governance Episode: The ‘India-Specific’ Issues and Concerns

[Guest post by Priya Garg, a 4th year law-student at West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (WBNUJS)] Introduction The recent turf battle within the Tata Group is likely to become a subject matter of study for various disciplines, including the subject of corporate law and governance.[1] The Tata-Mistry dispute giving rise to corporate governance issues needs to be considered...

Activism through Directors Elected by “Small Shareholders”

Recent news reports (here, here and here) have highlighted a shareholder proposal that has been initiated in preparation for the annual general meeting of Alembic Limited to be held on 28 July 2017. The shareholder in question is Unifi Capital Private Limited who is said (though not verified) to be holding 3% shares in Alembic. The proposal involves the election of a “small shareholder” director...

Minimizing the Liability of Directors: SEBI’s Order in the Zylog Case

[Guest post by Amitabh Robin Singh, who is a corporate lawyer practising in Mumbai] Liability of directors is a sensitive topic in India, particularly for foreign investors who propose to nominate directors to the boards of their Indian investee companies. That is why clauses are inserted in shareholders’ agreements to the effect that the investor’s nominee director will not be identified...

Shareholder Primacy in India: So Near and Yet So Far!

[The following guest post is contributed by Professor Bala N. Balasubramanian, who is an Adjunct Professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.][1] The scholarly debate on primacy among the shareholders, boards and the executive in corporate governance is intellectually as challenging as it is yet inconclusive, although more recent trends around the world would seem to suggest at...

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