NEW DELHI : The ministry of corporate affairs will take a leaf out of the Income Tax department’s book to offer faceless adjudication of specified company law offences to enable social distancing as well as eliminate bureaucratic discretion.
The ministry will upgrade its online services to companies offered through its MCA21 portal so that certain breaches under the Companies Act can be adjudicated remotely through electronic means, said two people familiar with the development. These are the offences that the administrative machinery of the ministry is authorised to adjudicate on, so that businesses can settle them and pay the fine or penalty where needed without having to go to a court.
The Companies Act was amended last year to reclassify 16 offences as civil defaults and to let adjudicating officers appointed by the government to levy penalties instead of having to go to a court to decide on the matter. These offences include matters related to issuance of shares at a discount and default in filing annual returns. The idea now is to adjudicate such matters without company executives having a physical interface with government officials. Besides improving ease of doing business, the move is expected to help address the governance challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, using technology.