Directors play a critical role in corporate governance, compliance with regulations, and safeguarding stakeholder interests. The Companies Act, 2013, enacted in India, introduced various provisions aimed at enhancing transparency, accountability, and corporate responsibility. Among these, Section 164 of the Companies Act holds considerable importance as it addresses the disqualification of directors.
Section 164 primarily focuses on the circumstances under which a person may be disqualified from holding the position of a director in any company. Its objective is to maintain the integrity of corporate governance by preventing individuals involved in malpractices or non-compliance from continuing to serve as directors.
Section 164 of the Companies Act, 2013, contains provisions regarding the disqualification of directors. According to the Act, this section applies to the disqualification of directors of a company. Under Section 164(2) (a), individuals who have been directors of a corporation without financial statements or annual returns for three consecutive financial years will face disqualification.
The grounds for director disqualification may include the failure of a company to pay interest on deposits or return deposited funds, failure to repay bonds, non-payment of declared dividends for over a year, applying for a declaration of insolvency, previous disqualification by the court, non-disclosure of interests in any company, conviction of a criminal offense resulting in a prison sentence of over six months, court-determined mental illness, and guilt under section 188 of the Penal Code for related party transactions within the past five years.
A disqualified individual is prohibited from being appointed or reappointed as a director in any company for a period of five years from the date of disqualification. Moreover, all existing directorships held by the disqualified individual become vacant, necessitating their departure.
Disqualification can have significant repercussions for the company as well, affecting decision-making processes, smooth operations, and reputation. It can lead to a loss of investor confidence and potential legal consequences.
If an individual wishes to challenge their disqualification, they have the option to file an appeal with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) within a specified timeframe. The NCLT possesses the authority to grant relief and reinstate the disqualified director if appropriate.
Section 164 of the Companies Act, 2013, plays a pivotal role in upholding corporate integrity and accountability. By imposing disqualification on directors involved in non-compliance or malpractices, this provision promotes responsible corporate behavior and safeguards the interests of stakeholders. Both directors and companies must comprehend the implications of Section 164 and ensure compliance to avoid disqualification and its associated consequences.