The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has constituted a 10-member committee to review the penal provisions in the Companies Act, 2013, and examine the need to decriminalise certain offences.
As per an official release, the Committee will be submitting its recommendations within thirty days, and will comprise of:

  1. Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs
  2. K. Vishwanathan, Former Secretary General Lok Sabha and Chairman, BLRC
  3. Uday Kotak, MD, Kotak Mahindra Bank
  4. Shardul S Shroff, Executive  Chairman, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.
  5. Ajay Bahl, Founder Managing Partner, AZB & Partners
  6. Amarjit Chopra, Senior Partner, GSA Associate
  7. Arghya Sengupta, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy
  8. Sidharth Birla, Former President, FICCI
  9. Preeti Malhotra, Partner and Executive Director of Smart Group
  10. Joint Secretary (Policy), Ministry of Corporate Affairs

Further, the matters to be examined by the Committee are:

  • To examine the nature of all ‘acts’ categorised as compoundable offences viz. offences punishable with fine only or punishable with fine or imprisonment or both under the Act, and recommend if any of such ‘acts’ may be re-categorised as ‘acts’ which attract civil liabilities wherein the company and its ‘officers in default’ are liable for penalty;
  • To review the provisions relating to non-compoundable offences and recommend whether any such provisions need to be re-categorised as compoundable offence;
  • To examine the existing mechanism of levy of penalty under the Act and suggest any improvements thereon;
  • To lay down the broad contours of an in-house adjudicatory mechanism where penalty may be levied in a MCA21 system driven manner so that discretion is minimised;
  • To take necessary steps in formulation of draft changes in the law;
  • Any other matter which may be relevant in this regard.