LS clears Companies  (Amendment) Bill Govt periodically

BS REPORTER

New Delhi, 17 December

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday cleared the Companies (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to ease related- party transaction norms and ensure severe punishment for those raising illegal deposits from the public. The amendments also propose restricting hearings by special courts to serious offences.

The Bill, containing 14 amendments, was passed by voice vote. This followed the Congress raising objections to the Bill, demanding it be referred to a standing committee.

The demand was, however, turned down.

Replying to a debate on the Bill, Corporate Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley said the amendments spanned four types of changes — increasing the ease of doing business, correcting drafting errors, fixing oversight and changing clauses that were “ harmful to doing business”. The current Act provides for special courts taking up offences under the Companies Act. “ Are we trying to induce or scare investors,” Jaitley asked, adding henceforth, only severe offences would be tried in special courts.

He said “ oppressive provisions” had been removed from the Companies Act 2013, as it was felt “ nobody will come here to set up business if such an environment persists”. He added the United Progressive Alliance government had repealed the Prevention of Terrorism Act, brought about by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee led National Democratic Alliance, alleging its bail provisions were draconian. But these stringent provisions, Jaitley said, were included in the Companies Act, 2013.

“A terrorist can get bail, but accompany official cannot,” he said.

The Bill also amends provisions pertaining to related party transactions.

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