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The Companies Act, 1956

Title : The Companies Act, 1956

Year : 1956



Any process, notice, or other document required to be served on a foreign company shall be deemed to be sufficiently served, if addressed to any person whose name has been delivered to the Registrar under the foregoing provisions of this Part and left at, or sent by post to, the address which has been so delivered:

Provided
that-

(a) Where any such company makes default in delivering to the Registrar the name and address of a person resident in India who is authorised to accept on behalf of the company service of process, notices or other documents; or

(b) If at any time all the persons whose names and addresses have been so delivered are dead or have ceased so to reside, or refuse to accept service on behalf of the company, or for any reason, cannot be served,a document may be served on the company by leaving it at, or sending it by post to, any place of business established by the company in India.



(1) Any document which any foreign company is required to deliver to the Registrar shall be delivered to the Registrar having jurisdiction over New Delhi, and references to the Registrar in this Part [except in sub-section (2)] shall be construed accordingly.

(2) Any such document as is referred to in sub-section (1) shall also be delivered to the Registrar of the State in which the principal place of business of the company is situate.

(3) If any foreign company ceases to have a place of business in India, it shall forthwith give notice of the fact to the Registrar, and as from the date on which notice is so given, the obligation of the company to deliver any document to the Registrar shall cease, provided it has no other place of business in India.



If any foreign company fails to comply with any of the foregoing provisions of this Part, the company, and every officer or agent of the company who is in default, shall be punishable with fine which may extend to1*[ten thousand rupees], and in the case of a continuing offence, with an additional fine which may extend to2*[one thousand rupees] for every day during which the default continues.

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1. Substituted by Act 53 of 2000, Section 215, for "one thousand rupees" (w.e.f. 13-12-2000).

2. Substituted by Act 53 of 2000, Section 215, for "one hundred rupees" (w.e.f. 13-12-2000).

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Any failure by a foreign company to comply with any of the foregoing provisions of this Part shall not affect the validity of any contract, dealing or transaction entered into by the company or its liability to be sued in respect thereof; but the company shall not be entitled to bring any suit, claim any set-off, make any counter-claim or institute any legal proceeding in respect of any such contract, dealing or transaction, until it has complied with the provisions of this Part.



(1) The provisions of Part V (sections 124 to 145); shall apply mutatis mutandis to-

(a) Charges on properties in India which are created by a foreign company after the 15th day of January, 1937; and

(b) Charges on property in India which is acquired by any foreign company after the day aforesaid:-

Provided that where a charge is created, or the completion of the acquisition of the property takes place, outside India, sub-section (5) of section 125 and the proviso to sub-section (1) of section 127 shall have effect as if the property, wherever situated, were situated outside India.

(2) The provisions of section 118 shall apply mutatis mutandis to a foreign company.

(3) 1*[(a)] The provisions of section 209 shall apply to a foreign company to the extent of requiring it to keep at its principal place of business in India the books of account referred to in that section, with respect to moneys received and expended, sales and purchases made, and assets and liabilities, in the course of of in relation to its business in India.

2*[(b) On and from the commencement of the Companies (Amendment) Act, 1974,-

(i) The provisions of section 159 shall, subject to such modifications or adaptations as may be made therein by the rules made under this Act, apply to a foreign company having an established place of business in India, as they apply to a company incorporated in India;

(ii) The provisions of sections 209, 209A 233A and 233B and sections 234 to 246 (both inclusive) shall, so far as may be, apply only to the Indian business of a foreign company having an established place of business in India, as they apply to a company incorporated in India.]

(4) In applying the sections referred to in sub-sections (1), (2) and (3) to a foreign company as aforesaid, references in those sections to the Registrar shall be deemed to be references to the Registrar having jurisdiction over New Delhi, and references to the registered office of the foreign company shall be deemed to be references to its principal place of business in India.

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1. Sub-section (3) re-lettered as clause (a) thereof by Act 41 of 1974, Section 33 (w.e.f. 1-2-1975).

2. Inserted by Act 41 of 1974, Section 33 (w.e.f. 1-2-1975).

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There shall be paid to the Registrar for registering any document required by the foregoing provisions of this Part to be registered by him, such fees as may be prescribed.



For the purposes of the foregoing provisions of this Part-

(a) The expression "certified" means certified in the prescribed manner to be a true copy or a correct translation;

(b) The expression "director", in relation to a company, includes any person in accordance with whose directions or instructions the Board of directors of the company is accustomed to act;

(c) The expression "place of business" includes a share transfer or share registration office;

(d) The expression "prospectus" has the same meaning as when used in relation to a company incorporated under this Act; and

(e) The expression "secretary" includes any person occupying the position of secretary, by whatever name called.



(1) No person shall issue, circulate or distribute in India any prospectus offering for subscription shares in or debentures of a company incorporated or to be incorporated outside India, whether the company has or has not established, or when formed will or will not establish, a place of business in India, unless the prospectus is dated; and

(a) Contains particulars with respect to the following matters:-

(i) The instrument constituting or defining the constitution of the company;

(ii) The enactments or provisions having the force of enactments, by or under which the incorporation of the company was effected;

(iii) An address in India where the said instrument, enactments, or provision, or copies thereof, and if the same are not in English, a translation thereof certified in the prescribed manner, can be inspected;

(iv) The date on which and the country in which the company was incorporated;

(v) Whether the company has established a place of business in India, and, if so, the address of its principal office in India; and

(b) Subject to the provisions of this section, states the matters specified in Part I of Schedule II and sets out the reports specified in Part II of that Schedule, subject always to the provisions contained in Part III of that Schedule:-

Provided that sub-clauses (i), (ii) and (iii) of clause (a) shall not apply in the case of a prospectus issued more than two years after the date at which the company is entitled to commence business; and in the application of Part I of Schedule II for the purposes of this sub-section, clause 2 thereof shall have effect with the substitution, for references to the articles, of references to the constitution of a company.

(2) Any condition requiring or binding an applicant for shares or debentures to waive compliance with any requirement imposed by virtue of clause (a) or (b) of sub¬section (1), or purporting to affect him with notice of any contract, document or matter not specifically referred to in the prospectus, shall be void.

(3) No person shall issue to any person in India a form of application for shares in or debentures of such a company or intended company as is mentioned in sub-section (I), unless the form is issued with a prospectus which complies with the provisions of this Part and the issue whereof in India does not contravene the provisions of section 604:-

Provided
that this sub-section shall not apply if it is shown that the form of application was issued in connection with a bona fide invitation to a person to enter into an underwriting agreement with respect to the shares or debentures.

(4) In the event of non-compliance with or contravention of any of the requirements imposed by clauses (a) and (b) of sub-section (1), a director or other person responsible for the prospectus shall not incur any liability by reason of the non-compliance or contravention, if-

(a) As regards any matter not disclosed, he proves that he had no knowledge thereof; or

(b) He proves that the non-compliance or contravention arose from an honest mistake of fact on his part; or

(c) The non-compliance or contravention was in respect of matters which, in the opinion of the court dealing with the case, were immaterial, or was otherwise such as ought in the opinion of that court, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, reasonably to be excused:-

Provided
that, in the event of failure to include in a prospectus a statement with respect to the matters contained in clauses 18 of Schedule II, no director or other person shall incur any liability in respect to the failure, unless it be proved that he had knowledge of the matters not disclosed.

(5) This section-

(a) Shall not apply to the issue to existing members or debenture holders of a company of a prospectus or form of application relating to shares in or debentures of the company, whether an applicant for shares or debentures will or will not have the right to renounce, in favour of other persons; and

(b) Except in so far as it requires a prospectus to be dated, shall not apply to the issue of a prospectus relating to shares or debentures which are or are to be in all respects uniform with shares or debentures previously issued and for the time being dealt in or quoted on a recognised stock exchange,but, subject as aforesaid, this section shall apply to a prospectus or form, of application whether issued on or with reference to the formation of a company or subsequently.

(6) Nothing in this section shall limit or diminish any liability which any person may incur under the general law or under this Act apart from this section.



(1) No person shall issue, circulate or distribute in India any prospectus offering for subscription shares in or debentures of a company incorporated or to be incorporated outside India, whether the company has or has not established, or when formed will or will not establish, a place of business in India-

(a) If, where the prospectus includes a statement purporting to be made by an expert, he has not given, or has before delivery of the prospectus for registration withdrawn, his written consent to the issue of the prospectus with the statement included in the form and context in which it is included, or there does not appear in the prospectus a statement that he has given and has not withdrawn his consent as aforesaid; or

(b) If the prospectus does not have the effect, where an application is made in pursuance thereof, of rendering all persons concerned bound by all the provisions (other than penal provisions) of sections 72, 73, and 74, so far as applicable.

(2) In this section, the expression "expert" includes an engineer, a valuer, an accountant and any other person whose profession gives authority to a statement made by him; and for the purposes of this section a statement shall be deemed to be included in a prospectus if it is contained in any report or memorandum appearing on the face thereof or by reference incorporated therein or issued therewith.



1*[(1)] No person shall issue, circulate or distribute in India any prospectus offering for subscription shares in or debentures of a company incorporated or to be incorporated outside India, whether the company has or has not established, or when formed will or will not establish, a place of business in India, unless before the issue, circulation or distribution of the prospectus in India, a copy thereof certified by the chairman and two other directors of the company as having been approved by resolution of the managing body has been delivered for registration to the Registrar and the prospectus states on the face of it that a copy has been so delivered, and there is endorsed on or attached to the copy-

(a) Any consent to the issue of the prospectus required by section 604;

(b) A copy of any contract required by clause 16 of Schedule II to be stated in the prospectus or, in the case of a contract not reduced into writing, a memorandum giving full particulars thereof; and

(c) Where the persons making any report required by Part II of Schedule II have made therein, or have, without giving the reasons, indicated therein, any such adjustments as are mentioned in clause 32 of that Schedule, a written statement signed by those persons setting our the adjustments and giving the reasons therefore.

(2) The references in clause (b) of sub-section (1) to the copy of a 2*[contract] required thereby to be endorsed on or attached to a copy of the prospectus shall, in the case of a contract wholly or partly in a language other than English, be taken as references to a copy of a translation of the contract in English or a copy embodying a translation in English of the parts which are not in English, as the case may be, being a translation certified in the prescribed manner to be a correct translation.

605A - 3* Offer of Indian Depository Receipts

Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the Central Government may make rules applicable for-

(a) The offer of Indian Depository Receipts;

(b) The requirement of disclosures in prospectus or letter of offer issued in connection with Indian Depository Receipts;

(c) The manner in which the Indian Depository Receipts shall be dealt in a depository mode and by custodian and underwriters;

(d) The manner of sale, transfer or transmission of Indian Depository Receipts,by a company incorporated, or to be incorporated outside India, whether the company has or has not been established or, will or will not establish any place of business in India.]

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1. Inserted by Act 36 of 1957, Section 3 and Schedule II (w.e.f. 17-9-1957).

2. Substituted by Act 36 of 1957, Section 3 and Schedule II, for "contractor (w.e.f. 17-9-1957).

3. Inserted by Act 53 of 2000, Section 216 (w.e.f. 13-12-2000).

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Any person who is knowingly responsible-

(a) For the issue, circulation or distribution of a prospectus; or

(b) For the issue of a form of1*[application for shares, debentures; or Indian Depository Receipts],in contravention of any of the provisions of sections 603 , 604 2*[, 605 and 605 A], shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to 3*[fifty thousand rupees], or with both.

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1. Substituted by Act 53 of 2000, Section 217, for "application for shares or debentures" (w.e.f. 13-12-2000) .

2. Substituted by Act 53 of 2000, Section 217, for "and 605" (w.e.f. 13-12-2000) .

3. Substituted by Act 53 of 2000, Section 217, for "five thousand rupees" (w.e.f. 13-12-2000) .

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Section 62 shall extend to every prospectus offering for subscription shares in or debentures of a company incorporated or to be incorporated outside India, whether the company has or has not established, or when formed will or will not establish, a place of business in India, with the substitution for references, in section 62 to section 60 of this Act, of references to section 604 thereof.



(1) Where any document by which any shares in, or debentures of, a company incorporated outside India are offered for sale to the public, would, if the company concerned had been a company within the meaning of this Act, have been deemed by virtue of section 64, to be a prospectus issued by the company, that document shall be deemed, for the purposes of this Part, to be a prospectus issued by the company offering such shares or debentures for subscription.

(2) An offer of shares or debentures for subscription or sale to any person whose ordinary business it is to buy or sell shares or debentures, whether as principal or as agent, shall not be deemed to be an offer to the public for the purposes of this Part.

(3) In this Part, the expressions "prospectus", "shares" and "debentures" have the same meanings as when used in relation to a company incorporated under this Act.



(1) For the purposes of the registration of companies under this Act, there shall be offices at such places as the Central Government thinks fit.

(2) The Central Government may appoint such Registrars, and such Additional, Joint, Deputy and Assistant Registrars as it thinks necessary for the registration of companies under this Act, and may make regulations with respect to their duties.

(3) The salaries of the persons appointed under this section shall be fixed by the Central Government.

(4) The Central Government may direct a seal or seals to be prepared for the authentication of documents required for, or connected with, the registration of companies.

(5) Whenever any act is by this Act directed to be done to or by the Registrar, it shall, until the Central Government otherwise directs, be done to or by the existing Registrar of companies or joint stock companies, or in his absence, to or by such person as the Central Government may for the time being authorise:-

Provided that in the event of the Central Government altering the constitution of the existing registry offices or any of them, any such act shall be done to or by such officer and at such place, with reference to the local situation of the registered offices of the companies concerned, as the Central Government may appoint.



(1) 1*[Save as otherwise provided elsewhere in this Act, any person may]-

(a) Inspect any documents kept by the Registrar 2*[in accordance with the rules made under the Destruction of Records Act, 1917 (5 of 1917)] being documents filed or registered by him in pursuance of this Act, or making a record of any fact required or authorised to be recorded or registered in pursuance of this Act, on payment for each inspection, of 3*[such fee as may be prescribed];

(b) require a certificate of the incorporation of any company, or a copy or extract of any other document or any part of any other document to be certified by the Registrar, 4*[on payment in advance of 5*[such fees as may be prescribed]:

Provided that the rights conferred by this sub-section shall be exercisable-

(i) In relation to documents delivered to the Registrar with a prospectus in pursuance of sub-clause (i) of clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 60, only during the fourteen days beginning with the date of publication of the prospectus; and at other times, only with the permission of the Central Government; and

(ii) In relation to documents so delivered in pursuance of clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 605, only during the fourteen days beginning with the date of the prospectus; and at other times, only with the permission of the Central Government.

(2) No process for compelling the production of any document kept by the Registrar shall issue from any court 6*[or the 7*[Tribunal]] except with the leave of that court 6*[or the 7*[Tribunal]]; and any such process, if issued, shall bear thereon a statement that it is issued with the leave of the court 6*[or the 7*[Tribunal]].

(3) A copy of, or extract from, any document kept and registered at any of the offices for the registration of companies under this Act, certified to be a true copy under the hand of the Registrar (whose official position it shall not be necessary to prove), shall, in all legal proceedings, be admissible in evidence as of equal validity with the original document.

8 [***]

610A - 9* Admissibility of micro films, facsimile copies of documents, computer printouts and documents on computer media as documents and as evidence

(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, -

(a) A, micro film of a document or the reproduction of the image or images embodied in such micro film (whether enlarged or not); or

(b) A facsimile copy of a document; or

(c) A statement contained in a document and included in a printed material produced by a computer (hereinafter referred to as a "computer printout"), if the conditions mentioned in sub-section (2) are satisfied,shall be deemed to be also a document for the purposes of this Act and the rules made there under and shall be admissible in any proceedings there under, without further proof or production of the original, as evidence of any contents of the original or of any fact stated therein of which direct evidence should be admissible.

(2) The conditions referred to in sub-section (1) in respect of a computer printout shall be the following, namely:-

(a) The information contained in the statement reproduces or is derived from returns and document filed by the company on paper or on computer network, floppy, diskette, magnetic cartridge tape, CD-ROM or any other computer readable media;

(b) While receiving returns or documents on computer media, necessary checks by scanning the documents filed on computer media will be carried out and media will be duly authenticated by the Registrar; and

(c) The Registrar shall also take due care to preserve the computer media by duplicating, transferring, mastering or storage without loss of data.]

610B -10* Provisions relating to filing of applications, documents, inspection, etc., through electronic form

(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, and without prejudice to the provisions contained in section 6 of the Information Technology Act, 2000(21 of 2000), the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules so as to require from such date as may be specified in the rules, that-

(a) Such applications, balance-sheet, prospectus, return, declaration, memorandum of association, articles of association, particulars of charges, or any other particulars or document as may be required to be filed or delivered under this Act or rules made there under, shall be filed through the electronic form and authenticated in such manner as may be specified in the rules;

(b) Such document, notice, any communication or intimation, required to be served or delivered under this Act, shall be served or delivered under this Act through the electronic form and authenticated in such manner as may be specified in the rules;

(c) Such applications, balance-sheet, prospectus, return, register, memorandum of association, articles of association, particulars of charges, or any other document and return filed under this Act or rules made there under shall be maintained by the Registrar in the electronic form and registered or authenticated, as the case may be, in such manner as may be specified in the rules;

(d) Such inspections of the memorandum of association, articles of association, register, index, balance-sheet, return or any other document maintained in the electronic form, which is otherwise available for such inspection under this Act or rules made there under, may be made by any person through the electronic form as may be specified in the rules;

(e) Such fees, charges or other sums payable under this Act or rules made there under shall be paid through the electronic form and in such manner as may be specified in the rules;

(f) The Registrar shall, register change of registered office, alteration of memorandum of association or articles of association, prospectus, issue certificate of incorporation or certificate of commencement of business, register such document, issue such certificate, record notice, receive such communication as may be required to be registered or issued or recorded or received, as the case may be, under this Act or rules made there under or perform duties or discharge functions or exercise powers under this Act or rules made there under or do any act which is by this Act directed to be performed or discharged or exercised or done by the Registrar, by the electronic form, in such manner as may be specified in the rules.

(2) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, frame a scheme to carry out the provisions specified under sub-section (1) through the electronic form:-

Provided
that the Central Government may appoint different dates in respect of different Registrar of Companies or Regional Directors from which such scheme shall come into force.

610C - 10* Power to modify Act in relation to electronic records (including the manner and form in which electronic records shall be filed)

(1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, direct that any of the provisions of this Act, so far as it is required for the purpose of electronic record specified under section 610B in the electronic form,-

(a) Shall not apply, in relation to the matters specified under clauses (a) to (f) of sub-section (1) of section 610B, as may be specified in the notification; or

(b) Shall apply, in relation to the matters specified under clauses (a) to (f) of sub-section (1) of section 610B only with such consequential exceptions, modifications or adoptions as may be specified in the notification:-

Provided
that no such notification which relates to imposition of fines or other pecuniary penalties or demand or payment of fees or contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or offence shall be issued under this sub-section.

(2) A copy of every notification proposed to be issued under sub-section (1), shall be laid in draft before each House of Parliament, while it is in session, for a total period of thirty days which may be comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if, before the expiry of the session immediately following the session or the successive sessions aforesaid, both Houses agree in disapproving the issue of the notification or both Houses agree in making any modification in the notification, the notification shall not be issued or, as the case may be, shall be issued only in such modified form as may be agreed upon by both the Houses.

610D -10* Providing of value added services through electronic form

The Central Government may provide such value added services through the electronic form and levy such fees as may be prescribed.

610E - 10* Application of provision of Act 21 of 2000

All the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000 relating to the electronic records (including the manner and format in which the electronic records shall be filed), in so far as they are not inconsistent with this Act, shall apply, or in relation, to the records in electronic form under section 610B.".

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1. Substituted by Act 65 of 1960, Section 194, for "Any person may" (w.e.f. 28-12-1960).

2. Inserted by Act 65 of 1960, Section 194 (w.e.f. 28-12-1960).

3. Substituted by Act 31 of 1988, Section 57, for "a fee of one rupee" (w.e.f. 15-7-1988).

4. Substituted by Act 65 of 1960, Section 194, for certain words (w.e.f. 28-12-1960).

5. Substituted by Act 31 of 1988, Section 57, for certain words (w.e.f. 15-7-1988).

6. Inserted by Act 31 of 1988, Section 57 (w.e.f. 31-5-1991).

7. Substituted by Act 11 of 2003, Section 117 for "Company Law Board".

8. Sub-section (4) omitted by Act 65 of 1960, Section 194 (w.e.f. 28-12-1960).

9. Inserted by Act 5 of 1997, Section 10 w.e.f. 1-3-1997.

10. Inserted by Companies (Amendment) Act, 2006.

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1*[(1)] In respect of the several matters mentioned in Schedule X, there shall, subject to the limitations imposed by that Schedule, be paid to the Registrar the several fees therein specified:-

Provided
that no fees shall be charged in respect of the registration in pursuance of Part IX of a company, if it is not registered as a limited company, or if, before its registration as a limited company, the liability of the shareholders was limited by some other Act of Parliament or any other Indian law or by an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom, Royal Charter or Letters Patent in force in India:

2*[Provided further that in the case of resolutions to which section 192 applies, not more than one fee shall be required for the filing of more resolutions than one passed in the same meeting if such resolutions are filed with the Registrar at the same time.]

2*[(2) Any document required or authorised by this Act to be filed or registered, or any fact required or authorised by this Act to be registered, with the Registrar on payment of the fee specified therefore in Schedule X, may, without prejudice to any other liability, be filed or registered after the time, if any, specified in this Act for its filing or registration on payment of such additional fee not exceeding ten times the amount of the fee so specified as the Registrar may determine.]

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1. Section 611 re-numbered as sub-section (1) of that section by Act 65 of 1960, Section 195 (w.e.f. 28-12-1960).

2. Inserted by Act 65 of 1960, Section 195 (w.e.f. 28-12-1960).

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All fees, charges, and other sums paid to any Registrar, any Additional, Joint, Deputy, or Assistant Registrar, or any other officer of the Central Government in pursuance of this Act shall be paid into the public account of India in the Reserve Bank of India.
Last updated on September, 2016

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