The government of India recently constituted a committee to enhance and create more opportunities by reshaping the existing rules and regulations. This is in relation to the Company Law for which SEBI (Securities Exchange Board of India) has come up with amendments providing a phased timeline from October 1, 2018 to April 1, 2020 for most of the impediments.
Below are certain key amendments which shall become effective from April 1, 2019:
1. Divergence of related party transactions on consolidation basis
In accordance to Regulation 23 of SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosures Requirements’) (Amendment) Regulations, 2018, disclosure of related party transactions by listed entities on a consolidated basis to the stock exchange should also be published at the website of the company within a time span of 30 days from the date of publication of its standalone and consolidated financial results.
2. Criteria for determination of material subsidiary
This amendment states that unlisted material subsidiaries referred to under sub-regulation 1 of regulation 24 shall include the companies “whether established in India or not”. Thus, foreign subsidiary companies shall also be included within the spread of material subsidiaries. Antecedently, regulation 24 of listing regulations provided the material subsidiaries to include only those subsidiary companies which were incorporated in India.
3. Secretarial audit report and its material unlisted subsidiaries
Regulation 24A of the amended regulation requires appending of secretarial audit report for F.Y. 2018-19 by all listed entity and its material unlisted subsidiaries established in India.
4. Defining Independent Director
The definition of independent director shall exclude:
5. Revised quorum for Board meeting for top 1000 listed companies
The revised quorum requirement for Board Meeting of top 1000 listed companies shall be 1/3 of its total strength or 3 directors whichever is higher, including at least one Independent Director.
6. Independent women director
Companies falling in top 500 listed entities based on their market capitalization as on March 31, 2019 will be now required to appoint a woman independent director.
7. Maximum number of directorship
Eight (8) is the maximum number of directorships that can be held at any point of time in equity listed entities.
8. Minimum number of directors in board for top 1000 listed companies
Regulation 17(1) (a) of the amended regulations, the Board of directors of the top 1000 listed entities comprise of not less than 6 directors. Hence, the companies in which minimum number of directors is less than 6 shall have to appoint additional directors, subject to shareholders’ approval, whose appointment should be regularized at the ensuing AGM (Annual General Meeting).
On December 31, 2018, SEBI (Securities Exchange Board of India) notified the SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) (Amendment) Regulations, 2018, effective from April 01, 2019 dealing the follow changes:
1. To eliminate ambiguity, the ‘material events in accordance with listing agreement’ has been removed as it was noted that the material events may or may not be price sensitive information.
2. SEBI has mandated the board of directors of the listed company or intermediaries defining their own policy relating to legitimate purposes which means listed company can have freedom to decide what may or may not be the legitimate purpose of business-related needs.
3. All the listed entities must maintain an electronic record containing name of person whom UPSI (Unpublished price sensitive information) is shares and the nature of UPSI.
4. The regulations currently required a common code of conduct applicable for all the listed entities, intermediaries and other person who are required to handle UPSI during the course of business operations.
To conclude, these rules have a significant role to play in understanding the substantive provisions as compared to the previous one. The impediments were guided by a broad objective for addressing difficulties in implementation owing to undue stringency of compliance requirements.
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