In this article we're going to look at what information is publicly available for companies that are registered in India.
Types of Companies
The main types of companies, partnerships and business entities (which we refer collectively to as companies) in India are:
- Public Limited Companies
- Private Limited Companies
- Joint-Venture Companies
- Partnership Firms
- Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP)
- One Person Companies
- Sole Proprietorships
- Branch Offices
- Non-Government Organizations
For more information on the specifics of each company type visit this link.
Information on companies is maintained nationally in a database (also called the MCA Portal, see below) as well as at the registrar of companies in the state or union territory in which the company is registered.
Foreign companies can register a subsidiary or branch office through the applicable registrar of companies office for the state or union territory in which they wish to register. More information is available here.
National Database of Company Information - Ministry of Corporate Affairs
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs of the central government of India maintains a national database (MCA Portal) on all Indian and foreign companies registered in India. This database is available at the following link.
The database can be searched using the name of the company or its registration number. Each company is allocated a unique 21 alphanumeric character name upon registration, for example the "Corporate Identity Number" - CIN, "Foreign Company Registration Number"- FCRN, "Limited Liability Partnership Identification Number" - LLPIN, "Foreign Limited Liability Partnership Identification Number" - FLLPIN.
The following information in the database is available free of charge:
- Corporate Identity Number
- Company Name
- Registrar of Companies (ROC) Code
- Company Registration Number
- Company Category (e.g. company limited by shares)
- Class of Company (e.g. private, public)
- Authorized Capital (Indian rupees)
- Date of Incorporation
- Registered Address
- Directors/ Signatories Details
The following documentation is available upon payment of a fee:
- Certificates (e.g. incorporation, commencement of business)
- Change in Directors
- Incorporation Documents
- Charge Documents
- Annual Returns and Balance Sheets eForms
- LLP Forms (Conversion of company to LLP)
- Other eForms and Documents
In order to access the paid services you must log into the database (MCA Portal) and pay the prescribed fee. Anyone from India or abroad can do so by registering an account with the MCA Portal and providing a valid credit card. The prescribed fee for each document is specified here, at the 'Fee and Payment Services' tab. The documents you order will be made available to you on the portal at the 'Request for Scanned Documents' here.
Registrar of Companies
The registrar of companies is a governmental body under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, which is tasked with registering and administrating companies in the states and union territories of India. There are individual company registrars in the 25 major Indian states and union territories. Large Indian states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, have more than one registrar. A company is most likely to be registered with the registrar in the state or union territory it which it carries out its main business activity.
A company requires the approval of the applicable individual registrar of companies (also referred to as ROCs) in the state or union territory of India in which it wishes to incorporate to come into existence. The registrar issues an incorporation certificate which is conclusive evidence of the existence of a company. Registered companies are required to file their annual returns and financial statements, periodic reports and resolutions of their shareholders and directors with the registrar.
Company information can be obtained directly from the individual registrar in the applicable state or union territory. Each registrar maintains a registry of records of companies that are registered with them and allows the general public to access this information in physical copies on payment of the prescribed fee. Currently, there are no separate internet links to obtain company information directly from registrars and instead you must physically visit the individual office, make an application and pay the prescribed fee to receive physical copies of the requested information. All registrars' phone numbers and addresses are available at the following link.
As a reminder, all information physically held by registrars can be obtained from the national database (MCA Portal) maintained by the Ministry of Commerce (see above).
Certified True Copies
At times certified true copies of company documents filed with registrars (ROCs) are required to be submitted before an Indian judicial authority or court as part of legal proceedings or ongoing disputes. You can order certified true copies of company documents (without stamp duty and court fee) on the MCA Portal.
In order to be able to submit certified true copies before an Indian judicial authority or court the applicable stamp duty and court fees must have been paid. The amount of stamp duty and court fees varies in each state and union territory. Payment can be made on the MCA Portal for the applicable document under the tab "Fee and Payment Services" at the above link (however you must have first registered an account and then log into it). Once paid the applicable registrar will send you the certified true copies within 15 days. More information about stamp duty and court fee payments is available here.
Alternatively, you can also visit the applicable registrar's office and pay applicable stamp duty and court fees to obtain certified true copies of documents.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.