On Tuesday, a bill to amend the Companies Act, which seeks to decriminalise certain compoundable offences and improve ease of doing business was passed in the Upper House.
The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was passed by a voice vote in Rajya Sabha, in the background of several opposition MPs (Members of the Parliament) boycotting the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha to protest the suspension of eight members.
The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on 19 September.
The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020 when made into law, will decriminalise various penal provisions, permit the direct overseas listing of Indian corporates and introduce a new chapter related to producer organisations in the legislation.
Reduction in penalties for certain offences as well as in timeline for rights issues, relaxation in CSR compliance requirements and creation of separate benches at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) are also among the proposed changes.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, after a brief discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the bill, said that the government keeps returning to amend the Companies Act 2013 as it still has issues.
Around 48 sections of the Companies Act, 2013 have been amended to decriminalise various offences.
Sitharaman said there are currently around 124 penal provisions compared to 134 in 2013 under the Act, but stressed engaged in fraud, deceit and injuries to public interest, will be dealt with firmly.