India: Corporate Governance Framework In India

Last Updated: 8 January 2016
Article by Vaish Associates Advocates

 Ever since India's biggest-ever corporate fraud and governance failure unearthed at Satyam Computer Services Limited, the concerns about good Corporate Governance have increased phenomenally.

Internationally, there has been a great deal of debate going on for quite some time. The famous Cadbury Committee defined "Corporate Governance" in its Report (Financial Aspects of Corporate Governance, published in 1992) as "the system by which companies are directed and controlled".

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which, in 1999, published its Principles of Corporate Governance gives a very comprehensive definition of corporate governance, as under:

"a set of relationships between a company's management, its board, its shareholders and other stakeholders. Corporate governance also provides the structure through which the objectives of the company are set, and the means of attaining those objectives and monitoring performance are determined. Good corporate governance should provide proper incentives for the board and management to pursue objectives that are in the interests of the company and shareholders, and should facilitate effective monitoring, thereby encouraging firms to use recourses more efficiently."

Generally, Corporate Governance refers to practices by which organisations are controlled, directed and governed. The fundamental concern of Corporate Governance is to ensure the conditions whereby organisation's directors and managers act in the interest of the organisation and its stakeholders and to ensure the means by which managers are held accountable to capital providers for the use of assets. To achieve the objectives of ensuring fair corporate governance, the Government of India has put in place a statutory framework.

Regulatory framework on corporate governance

The Indian statutory framework has, by and large, been in consonance with the international best practices of corporate governance. Broadly speaking, the corporate governance mechanism for companies in India is enumerated in the following enactments/ regulations/ guidelines/ listing agreement:

1. The Companies Act, 2013 inter alia contains provisions relating to board constitution, board meetings, board processes, independent directors, general meetings, audit committees, related party transactions, disclosure requirements in financial statements, etc.

2. Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Guidelines: SEBI is a regulatory authority having jurisdiction over listed companies and which issues regulations, rules and guidelines to companies to ensure protection of investors.

3. Standard Listing Agreement of Stock Exchanges: For companies whose shares are listed on the stock exchanges.

4. Accounting Standards issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI): ICAI is an autonomous body, which issues accounting standards providing guidelines for disclosures of financial information. Section 129 of the New Companies Act inter alia provides that the financial statements shall give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the company or companies, comply with the accounting standards notified under s 133 of the New Companies Act. It is further provided that items contained in such financial statements shall be in accordance with the accounting standards.

5. Secretarial Standards issued by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI): ICSI is an autonomous body, which issues secretarial standards in terms of the provisions of the New Companies Act. So far, the ICSI has issued Secretarial Standard on "Meetings of the Board of Directors" (SS-1) and Secretarial Standards on "General Meetings" (SS-2). These Secretarial Standards have come into force w.e.f. July 1, 2015. Section 118(10) of the New Companies Act provide that every company (other than one person company) shall observe Secretarial Standards specified as such by the ICSI with respect to general and board meetings.

Key legal framework for corporate governance in India

The Companies Act, 2013

The Government of India has recently notified Companies Act, 2013 ("New Companies Act"), which replaces the erstwhile Companies Act, 1956. The New Act has greater emphasis on corporate governance through the board and board processes. The New Act covers corporate governance through its following provisions:

  • New Companies Act introduces significant changes to the composition of the boards of directors.
  • Every company is required to appoint 1 (one) resident director on its board.
  • Nominee directors shall no longer be treated as independent directors.
  • Listed companies and specified classes of public companies are required to appoint independent directors and women directors on their boards.
  • New Companies Act for the first time codifies the duties of directors.
  • Listed companies and certain other public companies shall be required to appoint at least 1 (one) woman director on its board.
  • New Companies Act mandates following committees to be constituted by the board for prescribed class of companies:

    • Audit committee
    • Nomination and remuneration committee
    • Stakeholders relationship committee
    • Corporate social responsibility committee

Listing agreement – Applicable to the listed companies

SEBI has amended the Listing Agreement with effect from October 1, 2014 to align it with New Companies Act.

Clause 49 of the Listing Agreement can be said to be a bold initiative towards strengthening corporate governance amongst the listed companies. This Clause intends to put a check over the activities of companies in order to save the interest of the shareholders. Broadly, cl 49 provides for the following:

1. Board of Directors

The Board of Directors shall comprise of such number of minimum independent directors, as prescribed. In case where the Chairman of the Board is a non-executive director, at least one-third of the Board shall comprise of independent directors and where the Chairman of the Board is an executive director, at least half of the Board shall comprise of independent directors. A relative of a promoter or an executive director shall not be regarded as an independent director.

2. Audit Committee

The Audit Committee to be set up shall comprise of minimum three directors as members, two-thirds of which shall be independent.

3. Disclosure Requirements

Periodical disclosures relating to the financial and commercial transactions, remuneration of directors, etc, to ensure transparency.

4. CEO/ CFO Certification

To certify to the Board that they have reviewed the financial statements and the same are fair and in compliance with the laws/ regulations and accept responsibility for internal control systems.

5. Report and Compliance

A separate section in the annual report on compliance with Corporate Governance, quarterly compliance report to stock exchange signed by the compliance officer or CEO, company to disclose compliance with non-mandatory requirements in annual reports.

The compliance requirements prescribed under cl 49 of the Listing Agreement have been elaborated in Annexure attaches to this chapter.

To view this article in full, please click here.

© 2015, Vaish Associates Advocates,
All rights reserved
Advocates, 1st & 11th Floors, Mohan Dev Building 13, Tolstoy Marg New Delhi-110001 (India).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist professional advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. The views expressed in this article are solely of the authors of this article.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Vaish Associates Advocates
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Global Jurix, Advocates & Solicitors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Global Jurix, Advocates & Solicitors
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions