CAalley.com

 

 

Section 227(3)(e) and (f) of the Companies Act, 1956 [Revised]1

Introduction

1. Section 227 of the Companies Act, 1956 (hereinafter referred to as the "Act") deals with the powers and duties of the auditors of companies. Section227(1A) of the Act requires the auditor to make certain specific enquiries during the course of audit. Section 227(2) of the Act requires the auditor, inter alia, to give his report to the members of company on the accounts examined by him, and on every balance sheet and profit and loss account and every document declared to be a part of or annexed to such balance sheet or profit and loss account which are laid before the company in a general meeting during the tenure of the auditor's office. Sub-section (3) of section 227 of the Act also lays down certain matters necessarily required to be reported upon by the auditor in his report. The auditor is also required to include a statement on the matters specified in the Companies (Auditor's Report) Order, 2003 (hereinafter referred to as "CARO, 2003") issued under section 227(4A) of the Act. Sub-section (3) of section 227 of Act provides as follows: 

'(3) The auditor's report shall also state -

(a) whether he has obtained all the information and explanations, which to the best of his knowledge and belief, were necessary for the purposes of his audit;
whether, in his opinion, proper books of account, as required by law, have been kept by the company so far as appears from his examination of those books, and proper returns adequate for the purposes of his audit have been received from branches not visited by him;
 
(bb) whether the report on the accounts of any branch office audited under section 228 by a person other than the company's auditor has been for warded to him as required by clause (c) of sub- section (3) of that section and how he has dealt with the same in preparing the auditor's report;
 
(c) whether the company's balance sheet and profit and loss account dealt with by the report are in agreement with the books of account and returns;
 
(d) whether, in his opinion, the profit and loss account and balance sheet comply with the accounting standards referred to in sub-section (3C) of section 211;
 
(e) in thick type or in italics the observations or comments of the auditors which have any adverse effect on the functioning of the company;
 
(f) whether any director is disqualified from being appointed as director under clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274;
 
(g) whether the cess payable under section 441A has been paid and if not, the details of the amount of cess not paid.2
  

2. In terms of reporting requirements under sub-sections (2) and (3) of section 227 of the Act, matters on which the auditor has to report upon, can be broadly divided into two categories as under:
(i) statements of fact; and
(ii) opinions.

3. The statements of fact are:

(i) whether he has obtained all the information and explanations which to the best of his knowledge and belief were necessary for the purposes of his audit; 

(ii) whether the report on the accounts of any branch office audited under section 228 by a person other than the company's auditors has been forwarded to him as required by section 228(3)(c) and how he has dealt with the same in preparing the auditor's report;

(iii) whether the company's balance sheet and profit and loss account dealt with by the report are in agreement with the books of account and returns;

(iv) whether any director is disqualified from being appointed as a director under clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274; and

(v) whether the cess payable under section 441A has been paid and if not, the details of the amount of cess not paid.

4. The opinions which the auditor is required to express are: 

(i) whether proper books of account as required bylaw have been kept by the company so far as it appears from the examination of the books and proper returns adequate for the purposes of the audit have been received from branches not visited by him;

(ii) whether the profit and loss account and balance sheet comply with the accounting standards referred to in sub-section (3C) of section 211;

(iii) whether the accounts give the information required by the Act in the manner so required; and

(iv) whether the accounts give a true and fair view, in the case of the balance sheet of the state of the com­pany's affairs, and in the case of the profit and loss account, of the profit or loss for the year.

Scope of the Guidance Note

5. This Guidance Note is intended to assist the auditors in discharging their duties in respect of clauses (e) and (f) of sub-section (3) of section 227 of the Act. Clause (e) of the said sub-section creates a requirement for the auditor to consider whether any matter leading to the modification of the auditor's report on financial state­ments is likely to have an adverse effect on the func­tioning of the company. It may be noted that the mat­ters that lead to modification in the auditor's report on financial statements are an emphasis of matter para­graph, qualification, situation giving rise to limitation on scope and disagreement with the management3. If the matter leading to the modification of the auditor's report on financial statements is likely to have an adverse effect on the functioning of the company, the auditor is required to highlight such matter in thick type or in italics. Under clause (f) of sub-section (3) of section 227 of the Act, the auditor is required to state whether any director of the company is disqualified from being appointed a director of a company in terms of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 of the Act.

Reporting under Section 227(3)(e) of the Act

6. The relevant extracts of section 227(3)(e) of the Act are reproduced below:

"3. The auditor's report shall also state -
...............
(e) in thick type or in italics, the observations or comments of the auditors, which have any adverse effect on the functioning of the company ".

7. Clause (c) requires the auditor to highlight "in thick type or in italics, the observations or comments which have any adverse effect on the functioning of the company". An auditor's report may contain matters leading to mod­ifications in the auditor's report on financial statements. Such matters may be related to issues which may have an adverse effect on the functioning of the company. The words "observations" or "comments" as appearing in clause (e) of section 227(3) are construed to have the same meaning as referring to "emphasis of matter para­graphs, qualifications, situations giving rise to limita­tion on scope, disagreements with the management leading to modification in the auditors report". Therefore, only such "observations" or "comments" which have an adverse effect on the functioning of the company are required to be stated in thick type or in italics. For the sake of clarity, it may be noted that neither the auditor's observations nor the comments made by him have any adverse effect on the functioning of a com­pany. Instead, these observations or comments made by the auditor might contain matters which might have an adverse effect on the functioning of a company.

8. The Act does not specify the meaning of the phrase 'adverse effect on the functioning of the company'. The expression may be interpreted to mean that any event affecting the functioning of the company, observed by the auditor, should be reported upon even though it does not affect the financial statements, e.g., revocation of a license to manufacture one out of the many products during the year to which the financial statements relate, etc. However, such an interpretation would not only be beyond the scope of the audit of financial statements of the company but would also not be in accordance with the objective and concept of audit stipulated under the Act. A more logical and harmonious interpretation is that the amendment does not intend to change the basic objective and the concept of audit of financial state­ments of a company, which is to examine the financial statements with a view to express an opinion thereon.

9. The scope of the audit and auditor's role remains as contemplated under the Auditing and Assurance Standards (AASs) and other relevant pronouncements issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India as well as laid down in the Act, i.e., to lend cred­ibility to the financial statements by reporting whether they reflect a true and fair view. AAS 2, "Objective and Scope of the Audit of Financial Statements" specifies, "the auditor's opinion helps determination of the true and fair view of the financial position and operat­ing results of an enterprise. The user, however, should not assume that the auditor's opinion is an assurance as to the future viability of the enterprise or the efficiency or effectiveness with which management has con­ducted the affairs of the enterprise". It also states, "the auditor's work involves exercise of judgment, for example, in deciding the extent of audit procedures and in assessing the reasonableness of the judgments and estimates made by management in preparing the financial statements. Furthermore, much of the evi­dence available to the auditor can enable him to draw only reasonable conclusions therefrom. Because of these factors, absolute certainty in auditing is rarely attainable". Further, it also clarifies that "in forming his opinion on the financial statements, the auditor fol­lows procedures designed to satisfy himself that the financial statements reflect a true and fair view of the financial position and operating results of the enter­prise. The auditor recognises that because of the test nature and other inherent limitations of an audit, together with the inherent limitations of any system of internal control, there is an unavoidable risk that some material misstatement may remain undiscovered. While in many situations the discovery of a material misstatement by management may often arise during the conduct of the audit, such discovery is not the main objective of audit nor is the auditor's programme of work specifically designed for such discovery".

10. There is no change in the objective and scope of an audit of financial statements because of inclusion of clause (c) in sub-section (3) of section 227 of the Act. The auditor expresses his opinion on the true and fair view presented by the financial statements through his report which may be modified in certain circumstances. However, the auditor would now have to evaluate sub­ject matters leading to modification of the audit report to make judgment as to which of them has an adverse effect on the functioning of the company within the overall context of audit of financial statements of the company. Only such matters, which in the opinion of the auditor, deal with matters that have an adverse effect on the functioning of the company should be given in thick type or in italics. Conversely, such qual­ifications or adverse remarks of the auditor, which do not deal with matters that have adverse effect on the functioning of the company, need not be given in thick type or in italics. Examples of qualifications or adverse comments which have an adverse effect on the func­tioning of the company include a situation where the going concern assumption is considered inappropriate or there exists any item having a significant impact on the current financial results of the company and which might also have a material effect on the future results of the entity, e.g., non-determination of obsolete stocks / bad debts, significant impairment of the assets, etc.

11. As far as inquiries under section 227(1A) are con­cerned, the auditor is not required to report on these matters unless he has any special comments to make on any of the items referred to therein. The auditor may also consider highlighting such comments in thick type or in italics which have any adverse effect on the func­tioning of the company. Another issue which arises is whether any observation or comment made by the audi­tor in respect of his statements on matters specified in CARO, 2003 issued under section 227(4A) of the Act, which has any adverse effect on the functioning of the company, should also be reported in terms of this clause. In this regard, it is noted that section 227(4A) of the Act treats the comments on the matters specified in CARO, 2003 as a part of the auditor's report. Accordingly, any observation or comment made by the auditor in his report under CARO, 2003 contain such matters, which, in his opinion, will have any adverse effect on the functioning of the company, should also be reported in thick type or italics as required by this clause. An example in this regard may be where an auditor in respect of paragraph 4(i)(c) of CARO, 2003 reports that there exists a substantial doubt that without the replacement of significant part of fixed assets sold during the year, the company would be able to continue as a going concern for the foreseeable future.

Reporting under Section 227(3)(f) of the Act

12. Clause (f) of section 227(3) of the Companies Act, 1956, is reproduced below:

"22 7(3) The auditor's report shall also state -
...................
...................
(f) whether any director is disqualified from being appointed as a director under clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274."

13. In order to report upon clause (0 of sub-section (3) of section 227 of the Act, it is essential that the auditor understands the requirements of clause (g) of sub-sec­tion (1) of section 274 of the Act. The relevant extracts of section 274(1)(g) referred to in clause (f) of section 227(3), are reproduced below:

"274(1) A person shall not be capable of being appointed director of a company, if-
.....................
.....................
(g) such person is already a director of a public company which -

(A) has notified the annual accounts and annual returns for any continuous three financial years commencing on and after the first day of April, 1999; or

(B) has failed to repay its deposit or interest thereon on due date or redeem its debentures on due date or pay dividend and such failure continues for one year or more;

Provided that such person shall not be eligible to be appointed as a director of any other public com­pany for a period of five years from the date on which such public company in which he is a direc­tor failed to file annual accounts and annual returns under sub-clause (a) or has failed to repay its deposit or interest or redeem its debentures on due date or pay dividend referred to in clause (B). "

14. On a perusal of section 227(3)(f), it is apparent that the auditor of a company, public or private, has to report on whether any of the directors of the company is disqual­ified from being appointed as a director in terms of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 of the Act. This is because while clause (f) of section 227(3) is the operating clause, clause (g) of sub-section (1) of sec­tion 274 is the defining clause. Thus, in order to be able to make a statement pursuant to clause (f) of sub-sec­tion (3) of section 227 of the Act in his report, the audi­tor would need to satisfy himself as to whether any of the directors of the company is disqualified under sec­tion 274(1)(g) from being appointed as a director in a company. It may also be noted that where none of the directors of a private company have been directors in a public company, the disqualification mentioned under section 274(1)(g) would not get attracted since the dis­qualification under the said section is defined in respect of a person who is director of a public company.

15. Disqualification of a director for being appointed as a director of a company under section 274(1)(g) should be determined with reference to a particular date only. This is so because a director can become disqualified under the said section at any point of time during the year. Further, a director can attract the disqualification if any of the defaults mentioned under section 274(1)(g) is either done by the company being audited (if the company being audited is a public company) or any other public company in which a director of the company being audited is a director or has been a direc­tor in a public company which incurred the defaults and the period of five years has not elapsed. These factors make it impracticable for an auditor to determine whether any of the directors of the company attracted the disqualification under section 274(1)(g) at any point of time during the period covered by the auditor's report. It is, therefore, practicable that whether any of the directors of the company has attracted disqualifica­tion should be considered as on a particular date, namely, at the balance sheet date.

16. The Department of Company Affairs4 ("the Department") vide its Notification numbered GSR 830(15) dated October 21, 2003, has issued "The Companies (Disqualification of Directors under sec­tion 274(1)(g) of the Companies Act, 1956) Rules, 2003 (hereinafter referred to as the "Rules") to carry out the purpose of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of sec­tion 274 of the Act. The text of the Rules is reproduced in Appendix 1 to this Guidance Note.

17. The Rules are applicable to all public limited compa­nies. However, the question regarding the applicability ­of the Rules to a company, which has been granted license under section 25 of the Act, and a private com­pany, which is a subsidiary of a body corporate incor­porated outside India, is required to be examined.

18. Section 25 of the Act only contains conditions subject to which the Central Government may dispense with the requirement to use the word "limited" or "private limited" in the name of a company. Thus, a public company, which is granted a license under section 25 of the Act, continues to be a public limited company under the Act and therefore the Rules would be applicable to such a public limited company.

19. As far as a private company, which is a subsidiary of a body corporate incorporated outside India is con­cerned, it may be noted that section 4(7) of the Act pro­vides that:

"(7) A private company, being a subsidiary of a body corporate incorporated outside India, which, if incorporated in India, would be a public company within the meaning of this Act, shall be deemed for the purposes of this Act to be a subsidiary of a pub­lic company if the entire share capital in that private company is not held by that body corporate whether alone or together with one or more other bodies corporate incorporated outside India. "

20. By virtue of section 3(iv)(c), a private company, if it is a subsidiary of a body corporate incorporated outside India, which if incorporated in India would have been a public company and some part of its share capital is held by a legal entity in India, would become a public com­pany within the meaning of the Act. Therefore, the Rules would also be applicable to such a private company.

Disqualification under Section 274(1)(g)

21. The situation for disqualification of a director, as envis­aged in sub-clause (A) of clause (g) of section 274 (1) of the Act is that the concerned public company has not filed the annual accounts and annual returns for any con­tinuous three financial years commencing on or after the first day of April 1999. Further, sub-rule (a) of Rule 3 lays down that in such a case, persons who are directors on the last due date for filing the annual accounts and the annual returns shall be disqualified from being appointed as a director of another public company. In this context, it is also necessary to understand as to what is the "last due date" as envisaged by the Rules. The last due date would mean the due date with reference to the annual accounts and annual returns of the last of the three consecutive financial years for which the annual accounts and annual returns have not been filed. The proviso to clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 provides that the period of five years would be reckoned from the date as specified in sub-clause (A), on which the public company failed to file its annual accounts and annual returns. From the above, it is clear that if the fol­lowing conditions are satisfied in respect of a person, he would become disqualified under sub-clause (A) of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 of the Act:

(a) The person is a director in a public company as on the last due date for filing the annual accounts and annual return for three continuous financial years. Thus, even if the person concerned has been appointed as a director in the public company only a few days before the last due date, the person would attract disqualification under section 274(1)(g). Further, a person who ceased to be a director of the public company as on the last due date for filing the annual accounts and annual return for three continuous financial years would not be disqualified from being appointed as a director of a public company.

(b) The public company has not filed the annual accounts and annual return for three consecutive financial years. Thus, if the said failure is not for a period of three continuous financial years, the dis­qualification would not be attracted.

(c) The public company has failed to file both, the annual accounts and annual return. Thus, if the company has filed either the annual accounts or annual return within the due dates, the disqualifi­cation would not be attracted.

(d) The period of five years has not elapsed since the date of default made by the public company. Thus, if the period of five years has elapsed since the date of the default, the person concerned shall not remain disqualified under sub-clause (A) of sec­tion 274(1)(g).

22. The situation for disqualification of a director, as envis­aged in sub-clause (B) of clause (g) of section 274 (1) of the Act is that the concerned public company has failed to repay its deposit or interest thereon on due date or redeem its debentures on due date or pay dividend and such failure continues for a period of one year or more. Further, sub-rule (b) of Rule 3 of the Rules pro­vides that if a company has failed to repay any deposit, irrespective of the enactment, rules or regulations under which the deposits have been accepted by the companies, or interest thereon, or redeem its deben­tures, or pay any dividend declared on the respective due dates, and if such failure continues for one year, as described in sub-clause (B) of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274, then the directors of that company would stand disqualified immediately on expiry of one year from the respective due dates. The proviso to the Rule further provides that all the directors who have been directors in the relevant year, from the due date to the expiry of one year after the due date, will also be dis­qualified. It may also be noted that the disqualification on account of the reasons cited under sub-rule (b) of Rule 3 of the Rules is also applicable to the reappoint­ment as a director.

23. The Explanation to Rule 3, however, clarifies that a com­pany would not be considered as having defaulted in payment of the dividend referred to in sub-clause (B) of clause (g) of section 274(1) in the following situations:

(i) The dividend in question has not been claimed; or

(ii) The dividend in question has been transferred to a separate bank account, i.e., the Unpaid Dividend Account of the company in accordance with the requirements of section 205A of the Act; or

(iii) The dividend in question has been paid into the Investor Education and Protection Fund as required under section 205C of the Act.

24. The Department has also issued certain Circulars/Notifications in respect of operation/applica­bility of clause (g) of section 274(1) of the Act. A gist of these Notifications/Circulars is as under:

(i) In respect of sub clause (B) of clause (g) of section 274(1) of the Act, the Department, vide its general circular numbered 5 of 2003 (F No. 2/5/2001­CLV) dated 14-1-2003 has clarified that default in repayment of privately placed bonds/ debentures/ debt instruments by public financial institutions will not be considered as default to disqualify directors under section 274(1)(g) of the Act.

(ii) The Department has, vide its notification numbered GSR 829(E), also clarified that the provisions of clause (g) of sub section (1) of section 274 of the Act shall not be applicable to a Government company.

(iii) Further, the Department has also clarified, vide its general circular numbered 8/2002, dated 22-3­2002, that the nominee directors appointed by the public financial institutions and companies estab­lished under the Act of Parliament having non obstante provisions over the Companies Act, 1956 like IDBI, LIC, UTI, 11131, etc., in their respective statutes shall not be liable to be disqualified under section 274(1)(g) of the Act. The Department has also clarified that the nominee directors appointed on the boards of assisted concerns or other public companies by (a) public financial institutions within the meaning of section 4A of the Act; (b) Central or State Government; and (c) banking companies are also exempt from the provisions of section 274(1)(g) of the Act.

25. The proviso to sub-section (1) of section 252 of the Act requires that a public company having a paid-up capital of rupees five crores or more; or one thousand or more small shareholders may have a director elected by such small shareholders in the manner as may be prescribed. The Department had, vide its Notification No. GSR. 168(E), dated March 9, 2001, issued the "Companies (Appointment of the Small Shareholders' Director) Rules, 2001. The said Rules define "small sharehold­ers" as "a shareholder holding shares of nominal value of twenty thousand rupees or less in a public company to which section 252 of the Act applies." The said Rules deal with the manner of election of small shareholders' director, disqualification of such directors and vacation of office by such directors. Rule 5 of the said Rules which deals with the disqualification of small share­holders' directors lists out certain conditions wherein a person shall not be capable of being appointed as a small shareholders' director of a company. The said Rule 5, however, does envisage the situations outlined in clause (g) of section 274(1) as a condition for disqualification. Thus, a logical interpretation of the situation would be that a person appointed as a small shareholders' director pursuant to the above mentioned Rules would not be subject to any disqualification arising in terms of clause (g) of section 274(1) of the Act.

26. The Companies (Disqualification of Directors under section 274(1)(g) of the Companies Act, 1956) Rules, 2003 (the "Rules") have also introduced the concepts of "Disqualifying" and "Appointing" companies. As per Rule 2, a "disqualifying" company is "the company in which the default has occurred on account of which a director stands disqualified". Further, Rule 2 also defines an "appointing" company as "the company in which an individual is seeking an appointment as a director, including reappointment as a director". However, this distinction between the "appointing company" and "disqualifying company" apparently has no significance to the auditor since he is required to state in his report on the financial statements of the company whether any of the directors of the company as on the balance sheet date is disqualified from being appointed as a director of a company under section 274(1)(g) of the Act.

27. Under Rule 9, every director in a public company regis­tered under the Companies Act, 1956, is required to file Form DD-A, as prescribed in the Rules, before he is appointed or reappointed in any company. Rule 5 also casts a duty on every company which has failed to file its annual accounts and returns and/or fails to repay any deposit, interest, dividend, or fails to redeem its deben­tures, as described in clauses (A) and (B) of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 of the Act, to immediately file a return in duplicate in Form DD-B (prescribed in the said Rules) with the Registrar of Companies.

28. Another point to note is that the provisions of clause (g) of section 274(1) of the Act do not find a place in the provisions of section 283 of the Act, which deals with vacation of office by the director(s). Therefore, a direc­tor should not be construed as having vacated his office merely because of his having incurred a disqualification under clause (g) of section 274(1) of the Act. Another question that arises in this regard is whether in case all the directors of a company are disqualified under section 274(1)(g), whether such directors can approve the financial statements of the company. As mentioned, in case a director of a company becomes disqualified from being appointed as a director in a company in terms of section 274(1)(g) of the Act, he continues to be a director of the company until the expiry of his term. Therefore, even in a case where all the directors become disqualified from being appointed as a director in a company they can approve the financial statements and continue to discharge the, duties and responsibilities assigned by the Act.

Duties of the Auditor under the Rules

29. Rule 4 of the Rules deals with the duties of the statutory auditors of both the disqualifying as well as the appointing companies. Sub-rule (a) of Rule 4 of the Rules requires that the statutory auditors of both the appointing as well as the disqualifying company to:

(i) report under section 227(3)(f) of the Act to the members of the respective companies as to whether any director is disqualified from being appointed as a director under clause (g) of section 274(1) of the Companies Act, 1956; and

(ii) furnish a certificate every year as to whether on the basis of his examination of the books and records of the company, any director of the company is dis­qualified as a director or not.

30. It is, therefore, clear that the statutory auditors of both the disqualifying as well as the appointing company would, in addition to their report in terms of section 227(3)(f) of the Act, would also have to, each financial year, furnish a certificate as required in Rule 4.

31. Sub Rule (b) of Rule 4 further casts a duty on the statu­tory auditors of the "disqualifying" company to report to the members of the company as required under sec­tion 227(3)ffi whether any director in the company has been disqualified during the year from being reap­pointed as director, or being appointed as a director in another company under clause (g) of section 274(1).

Auditor's Procedures for Compliance with Section 227(3)(f) and the Rules

32. In order to comply with the requirements of section 227(3)(f) of the Act and the Rules, the auditor should obtain a written representation as to:

(a) Names of directors of the company during the period covered by the auditor's report (including the directors at the balance sheet date), showing separately, the names of nominee directors and directors appointed in accordance with the Companies (Appointment of the Small Shareholders' Director) Rules, 2001.

(b) Particulars of appointment/reappointment, resigna­tion/retirement etc., of each of the above directors.

(c) Whether in case of directors appointed on or after the date of the Companies (Disqualification of Directors under section 274(1)(g) of the Companies Act, 1956) Rules, 2003 coming into effect, each such director has submitted Form DD­A, as required under the said Rules.

(d) That the information contained in the register of directors maintained under section 303(1) is updated to show the position as on the balance sheet date.

(e) Whether the company has committed any default as envisaged in sub-clauses (A) and/or (B) of clause (g) of section 274 (1) of the Act.

(f) In case the company has committed a default under sub-clauses (A) and/ or (B) of clause (g) of section 274(1) of the Act, whether the company has fur­nished the Form DD-13, as required by the Rules.

33. The auditor should also obtain a written representation from the directors of the company as to whether they have attracted the disqualification in terms of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 of the Act. The auditor should require the directors to submit a written representation in respect of each public company in which they are directors as to whether as on the balance sheet date the public companies of which he is a director have defaulted in terms of the section 274(1)(g). There is a practice amongst many companies that the directors obtain a legal compliance report, periodically, to ensure that the companies have complied with all the legal requirements. Such compliance reports generally also contain the information regarding filing of annual accounts and annual return and compliance with clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 can be a part of the said legal compliance report. Such a compliance report can, therefore, be submitted by the director as an evi­dence in this regard. In addition to written representation obtained from the director in respect of public com­panies of which he is a director, the auditor should also obtain written representation from the director in respect of each of those public companies in which he was a director in the past as to whether or not the direc­tor is disqualified to be appointed as a director in terms of proviso to Section 274(1)(g). The auditor should insist that written representations provided by the man­agement as well as the directors appointed prior to the issuance of Rules or the legal compliance report, as the case may be, should be taken on record by the Board of Directors of the company being audited. However, in no case, is the auditor of either the appointing company or the disqualifying company expected to make any rov­ing enquiries from such other companies in which the concerned director is also a director, as to whether or not they have committed any default in terms of sub clauses (A) and/ or (B) of clause (g) of section 274(1) of the Act.

34. The auditor should verify the information provided by the management and the directors from the information contained in the register maintained under section 303(1) of the Act. The said register contains various particulars relating to all the directors of the company including particulars in respect of the office of director, managing director, etc. The auditor can also examine the Form 32 filed by the company during the financial year under section 303(2) of the Act so as to know the changes, for example, appointment, retirement, resignation etc., of directors during the year. Form DD-A filed by the directors would also assist the auditor in assessing whether any director appointed during the year, at the time of appointment, was disqualified under section 274(1)(g) of the Act.

35. In case company being audited happens to be a public company which has not filed the annual accounts and annual returns for any continuous three financial years commencing on and after 1st April, 1999; or has failed to repay its deposit or interest thereon on due date or redeem its debentures on due date or pay dividend and such failure continues for one year or more; then the auditor must report that all the directors are disqualified from being appointed as director in terms of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 of the Act. The auditor, in such a case, should also examine the return in Form DD­B to be filed under the Rules. Form DD-B contains the particulars of directors during the relevant period.

36. Since the Rules are applicable to public limited compa­nies only, Forms DD-A and DD-B would not be avail­able to the auditor of a private company. In such cases, the auditor's employs the same procedures to comply with the requirements of section 227(3)(f) which are applied by an auditor of a public company except that the auditor is not required to examine Forms DD-A and DD­B because of their non-availability in a private company.

37. The reporting under clause (f) of sub-section (3) of sec­tion 227 of the Act may be as follows, keeping in view the situation concerned:

(a) Where all the directors of the company are able to produce the evidence as specified in paragraph 33. above that the public company/(ies) of which they are directors have not defaulted in terms of section 274(1)(g), the auditor may report as follows:

"On the basis of the written representations received from the directors, and taken on record by the Board of Directors, we report that none of the directors is disqualified as on 3 1 St March, 2XXX from being appointed as a director in terms of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 of the Companies Act, 1956".

(b) In a situation where a director is unable to produce the written representation as specified in para­graph 33 above, the auditor may report as follows:

"Mr. X, who is also a director of ABC Ltd., has not produced written representation as to whether ABC Ltd., in which Mr. X is a director as on 3 1 st March, 2XXX, had not defaulted in terms of sec­tion 274(1)(g) of the Companies Act, 1956. In the absence of this representation, we are unable to comment whether Mr. X is disqualified from being appointed as a director under clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 of the Companies Act, 1956. As far as other directors are concerned, on the basis of the written representations received from such directors, and taken on record by the Board of Directors, we report that none of the remaining directors is disqualified as on 31st March, 2XXX from being appointed as a director in terms of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 of the Companies Act, 1956."

(c) Where on the basis of the written representation received from a director, it is noted that the director was disqualified from being appointed as a director under this clause, the auditor may report as follows:

"On the basis of the written representation received from Mr. Y, who is a director of ABC Ltd., as on 3 1 St March, 2XXX, and taken on record by the Board of Directors, we report that he is dis­qualified from being appointed as a director in terms of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 of the Companies Act, 1956.

As far as other directors are concerned, on the basis of the written representations received from such directors, and taken on record by the Board of Directors, we report that none of the remaining directors is disqualified as on 3 1 St March, 2XXX from being appointed as a director in terms of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 of the Companies Act, 1956."

Certificate under the Rules

38. As mentioned, sub-rule (a) of Rule 4 of the Rules requires that it shall be the duty of the statutory auditor to furnish a certificate each year as to whether on the basis of his examination of the books and records of the company, any director of the company is disqualified for appointment as a director or not. The Rules, how­ever, are silent as to whom the said certificate would be addressed. An interpretation could be that the auditor should furnish such a certificate to the shareholders of the company. However, this does not seem to be logi­cal since the shareholders would get the same informa­tion from the auditor's statement in respect of clause (f) of sub-section (3) of section 227 of the Act. Therefore, it would be appropriate that the certificate is addressed to the Board of Directors of the company. It may also be noted that the Rules are also silent as to the format and contents of the certificate. An illustrative format of the said certificate is given in Appendix 11, which may be used by the auditors. 

Appendix 1

PUBLISHED IN THE GAZETTE OF INDIA, PART 11, SECTION 30), EXTRAORDINARY

Ministry of Finance
(Department of Company Affairs)

NOTIFICATION

New Delhi, the 2 1 st October, 2003

G.S.R. 830 (E).- In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 642 of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956), the Central Government hereby makes the following rules to carry out the purpose of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 of the said Act, namely: -

1. Short Title, Commencement and Extent

(1) These rules may be called the Companies (Disqualification of Directors under section 274(1)(g) of the Companies Act, 1956) Rules, 2003.

(2) These rules shall come into force from the date of their notification in the Official Gazette.

(3) These rules shall apply to all public limited companies registered under the Companies Act, 1956.

2. Definitions

In these Rules, unless the context otherwise requires, -

(a) "disqualifying company" is the company in which the default has occurred on account of which a director stands disqualified;

(b) "appointing company" is the company in which an individual is seeking appointment as a director, includ­ing re-appointment as director.

3. Disqualifications under clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 of the Companies Act, 1956

(a) Whenever a company fails to file the annual accounts and annual returns, as described in sub-clause (A) of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274, persons who are directors on the last due date for filing the annual accounts and the annual returns for any contin­uous three financial years commencing on and after the first day of April, 1999, shall be disqualified.

(b) If a company has failed to repay any deposit, irrespective of the enactment, rules or regulations under which the deposits have been accepted by the companies, or interest thereon, or redeem its debentures, or pay any dividend declared on the respective due dates, and if such failure continues for one year, as described in sub-clause (B) of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274, then the direc­tors of that company shall stand disqualified immediately on expiry of that one year from the respective due dates:

Provided that all the directors who have been directors in the relevant year, from the due date to the expiry of one year after the due date, will be disqualified:

Provided further that disqualification on account of the reasons cited under this Rule shall also apply to the reappointment as a director.

Explanation - For the purpose of this rule, it is clarified that non-payment of dividend referred to in sub-clause (B) of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 due to the rea­son of dividend not being claimed or kept in separate bank account as required under section 205A of Companies Act, 1956 or paid into Investors Education & Protection Fund as required under section 205C of that Act shall not be deemed to be a failure to make payment of dividend.

4. Duty of Statutory Auditor to Report on Disqualification

(a) It shall be the duty of statutory auditor of the appoint­ing company as well as disqualifying company, as required under section 227(3)(f) to report to the members of the company whether any director is dis­qualified from being appointed as director under clause (g) of sub-section (1) of section 274 and to fur­nish a certificate each year as to whether on the basis of his examination of the books and records of the company, any director of the company is disquali­fied for appointment as a director or not.

(b) It shall be the duty of the statutory auditors of the "dis­qualifying company" as required in section 227(3)(f) to report to the members of the company whether any director in the company has been disqualified during the year from being re-appointed as director, or being appointed as director in another company under clause (g)of sub-section (1) of section 274.

5. Duty of Company to Intimate Disqualification

Whenever a company fails to file the annual accounts and returns, or fails to repay any deposit, interest, divi­dend, or fails to redeem its debentures, as described in clauses (A) and (B) of clause (g) of sub-section (1) of sec­tion 274, the company shall immediately file a return in duplicate in Form 'DD-B', prescribed under these rules for this purpose, to the Registrar of Companies, furnish­ing therein the names and addresses of all the Directors of the company during the relevant financial years: 

Provided that names of such directors who have been exempted from application of Section 274(1)(g) by the Central Government, from time to time, shall be excluded. Provided further that no unusual abbreviations or short forms shall be used in filling up the Form 'DD-B', which shall give such details as may be necessary to distinguish and identify each director without any ambiguity.

6. Failure to Intimate Disqualification Shall render Director as Officer in Default

When a company fails to file the Form 'DD-B' as above within 30 days of the failure that would attract disqual­ification under Section 274(1)(g), officers of the com­pany listed in section 5 of the Companies Act, 1956 shall be officers in default.

7. (a) Upon receipt of the Form 'DD-B' in duplicate under Rule 5, the Registrar of Companies shall immediately register the document and place one copy of it in the document file for public inspection.

(b) The Registrar of Companies shall forward the other copy to the Central Government.

8. Names of the Disqualified Directors on the Website etc. 

(a) The Central Government shall place on the web site of the Department of Company Affairs the names and addresses and such other details including names and details of the companies concerned, as may be neces­sary, in respect of all the disqualified directors.

(b) The Central Government may also publicize the names of disqualified directors in such manner as it may consider appropriate.

(c) The Central Government shall take such steps as may be required to update its web-site to ensure that name of the person, in whose respect disqual­ification period has expired after 5 years, is deleted from the web-site.

9. Duty of Every Director

Every director in a public company registered under the Companies Act, 1956 shall file Forrn 'DD-A', prescribed under these Rules, before he is appointed or re-appointed.

10. If any question arises as to whether these rules are or are not applicable to a particular company, such question shall be decided by the Central Government.

11. Punishment for Contravention of the Rules

If a company or any other person contravenes any pro­vision of these rules for which no punishment is pro­vided in the Companies Act, 1956, the company and every officer of the company who is in default or such other person shall be punishable with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees and where the contra­vention is a continuing one, with a further fine which may extend to five hundred rupees for every day after the first, during which the contravention continues.

12. On the commencement of these rules, all rules, orders or directions in force in relation to any matter for which provision is made in these Rules shall stand repealed, except as respects things done or omitted to be done before such repeal.

[F. No. 1/8/2002-CL.V]

Rajiv Mehrishi,
Joint Secretary

FORM 'DD-A'

Companies (Disqualification of Directors under section 274(1)46 of the Companies Act. 1956) Rules. 2003

Intimation by Director
[Pursuant to Sedion 274(1)(g)]

Registration No. of Company ______________________________________________

Nominal Capital Rs. ___________________________________________________

Paid-up Capital Rs. ___________________________________________________

Name of Company ___________________________________________________

Address of its Registered Office ________________________________________

To

The Board of Directors 

of ______________________________


I _______________ son/daughter/wife of ___________________ resident of _________________ director/managing director/manager in the company hereby give notice that I am/was a director in the following companies during the last 3 years.
 

Name of the Company

Date of Appointment

Date of Cessation

1.........

 

 

2..........

 

 

I further confirm that I have not incurred disqualification under section 274(1)(g) of the Companies Act, 1956 in any of the above companies, in the previous financial year, and that I, at present, stand free from any disqualification from being a director.

Or


I further confirm that I have incurred disqualifications under section 274(1)(g) of the Companies Act, 1956 in the fol­lowing company(s) in the previous financial year, and that I, at present stand disqualified from being a director.
 

Company

Date of Appointment

Date of Cessation

1.........

 

 

2..........

 

 

Signature
(Full Name)

Dated this ________ day of _____________

 

FORM 'DD-B'

Report by a Public Company

[Pursuant to Section 274(1)(g) read with Rule 5 of Companies (Disqualification of Directors under section 274(1)(g) of the Companies Act, 1956) Rules, 2003]


Registration No. of Company: ___________________________________

Nominal Capital Rs. ___________________________________________

Paid-up Capital Rs. ____________________________________________

Name of Company_____________________________________________

Address of its Registered Office___________________________________

____________________________________________________________


To

The Registrar of Companies,
 

It is hereby reported under section 274(1)(g) of Companies Act, 1956, that M/s. ____________________________ have failed to (i) file the annual accounts and annual returns for the last three financial years, or (ii) repay deposits or interest thereon on due date being ________________ or redeem its debentures on due date being _____________________or pay dividend declared by the company since _____________________or both. The period of one year has expired on _____________________.


The name and address of directors at the relevant period are as under: -

(a) Director's name in full, without abbreviations

(b) Director's name as per company's records (abbre­viations may be expanded and shown)

(c) Address of the Director

(i) Permanent

(ii) Present


(d) Positions held by the director in the last 5 years, prior to disqualification

Signature

Designation*

Dated this ________ day of __________

*State whether Director, Managing Director, Manager or Secretary

Appendix II

FORMAT OF THE CERTIFICATE TO BE ISSUED UNDER RULE 4 (a) OF THE COMPANIES (DIS­QUALIFICATION OF DIRECTORS UNDER SEC­TION 274(1)(g) OF THE COMPANIES ACT, 1956) RULES, 2003

Auditor's Certificate

Rule 4 (a) of the Companies (Disqualification of Directors under section 274(1)(g) of the Companies Act, 1956) Rules, 2003

To,

The Board of Directors of ______________________________________

__________________________________________ (name of the company)


In terms of Rule 4(a) of the Companies (Disqualification of Directors under section 274(1)(g) of the Companies Act, 1956) Rules, 2003, I/we ......

.................................... (name of the chartered accountant/ firm, as the case may be), based on our examination of the books and records of the com­pany, carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Guidance Note on Section 227(3)(e) and (f) of the

Companies Act, 1956, issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, do hereby certify that none of the directors of the company, i.e. ..

............................... (name of the company) as on ________________ (date of the balance sheet) is disqualified for appointment as a director in terms of clause (g) of sub section (1) of section 274 of the Companies Act, 1956 on the said date5.


Date:

Address:
 

For XYZ & Co.,

Chartered Accountants

................

(Signature)

(Name of the Member Signing the Certificate)

(Designation6)

..................

(Membership Number)


1 Issued in August 2004. this version of the Guidance Note also incorporates the amendments to Appendix II of the Guidance Note as approved by the Council in January 2005 and also incorporates further revision as approved by the Council in July 2005.

2 Issued by the Companies (Second amendment) Act, 2002.

3 Reference may be made to paragraph 31 through 47 of Auditing and Assurance Standard (AAS) 28, "The Auditor's Report on Financial Statements."

4 Now "Ministry of Company Affairs".

5 Emphasis supplied - words added pursuant to the amendment approved by the Council in January 2005.

6 Partner or proprietor, as the case may be.

 

Go to "Guidance Notes" Listings

 

Read our disclaimer and privacy policy
In case of problems viewing CAalley, please inform us