New Companies Act likely

New Delhi, March 22 | Updated: Mar 23 2005, 06:01am hrs
Even as the ministry of company affairs is in the process of bringing in a comprehensive revision of the Companies Act 1956 to regulate corporate sector, it is simultaneously working on protecting investors and activating Investor Education and Protection Fund.

According to minister of state (independent charge) for company affairs Prem Chand Gupta, the ministry is rewriting the entire Companies Act 1956 except for retaining the name. This is not an amendment. We are changing the whole Act by removing redundant provisions in it as they are outdated. As the focus of governance has also changed, we need to adopt the best international practices with regard to this, he said.

The Companies Act had been amended 24 times till now and all the connected provisions and clauses are scattered all over the Act, he said, adding, We are consolidating the whole information.

As part of the exercise, a complaint by an investor would have to be attended within 48 hours and with utmost urgency. This will be at the top on the inspection list. Besides, we are also strengthening inspection and investigation mechanism, Mr Gupta said.

According to the minister, the Investor Education and Protection Fund under Section 205 C of the Companies Act, which was lying dormant till now, is being activated. According to this any dividend, any share money or anything of this nature which remains in the companys account unpaid for more than 7 years would get transferred to the fund.

It is not a separate fund but a consolidated fund with the government of India. For seeking funds for the education and protection of investors, we are taking help of reputed non-governmental organisations in our schemes, he said.

The ministry is also keen on bringing in e-Governance in its working. It is an extremely important for the delivery system. The new system of online lodging of complaints of investors and depositors against companies with the ministry will only provide easy and secure on-line access to the services related to registration and filing through out the country but will also improve the quality of services with minimum personal interface, Mr Gupta said.