cpc

sec 297 of the ca, 1956

Corporate Laws and Indirect Taxation Laws Practitioner.

 Friends,

i would like to know the procedure and detailed paper work/formalities for obtaining the prior approval of Central Govt (Regional Director) for the purpose of Sec 297 of the Companies Act, 1956. 

 
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n/a

The provisions enacted in Section 297 of the Companies Act are founded on the principle that the director is precluded from dealing on behalf of the company as himself and from entering into engagements in which he has a personal interest conflicting or which may possibly conflict with the interest of those with whom he is bound by fiduciary duty.  A director occupies a fiduciary position in relation to a company and he must act bona fide in the interests of the company. If a director makes a contract with the company and does not disclose his interest, he will be committing breach of trust. (1) 

Section 297 embodies the principle of good faith and fiduciary relationship of a director and enjoins upon him certain statutory obligations.

Applicability of the Section

This section applies to :

1.      all companies, public and private.(2)

2.      contract for sale, purchase or supply of any goods, materials or services in which a director or any person connected with a director in any of the ways mentioned in sub-section (1) of section 297 is interested,

3.      contract for underwriting subscription of any shares in or debentures of the company,

4.      oral contract, if it can be proved by circumstantial evidence. Under the Indian Contract act, a contract need not be in writing, and an oral contract is also valid in law. The provisions of Section 297 will accordingly also apply in respect of an oral contract.

 This section does not apply to :

1.      contracts between two public companies

2.      transaction in immovable properties [Letter No. 9/4190-CL-X, dated 27th March, 1990],

3.      contract of employment of a director or managing or whole-time director [Circular No. 8/11/75-CL-V, dated 5th June, 1975],

4.      contract entered into by the company with a dealer on a principal to principal basis [Circular No. FM 8/297/56-PR, dated 2nd August, 1956],

5.      professional services of the nature given by firms of solicitors and advocates, etc. [Circular No. 8/11/75-CL-V, dated 5th June, 1975],

6.      indirect interest of a director as provided in section 299. unlike Section 299 this Section does not deal with indirect interest of a director, even though it may be substantial or real.(3)

7.      a government company in respect of contracts entered into by it with another Government company [Notification GSR No. 233, dated 31st January, 1978].

8.      A company and a body corporate or a co-operative society in which a director or relative is a member or diretor.(4)

Applicability of the Section is to be determined at the time of entering into the contract. If no permission under this section is required at the time of entering into the contract, subsequent permission is not necessary even though there may be a change of circumstances which would require permission to be taken for a fresh contract.

Scope of the Section

The Section requires the consent of the Board of Directors for all contracts [except those exempted under sub-section (2)] with the company by a director or a relative or a firm in which the director or relative of his, is a partner or any other partner of such firm or a private company in which such a director is a partner or a member.

This section does not apply to contracts between two public companies and also is not attracted to a transaction of loan made by a director to the company because it is not a sale or purchase of goods or a contract to render services.

For instance, if ‘X’ is a director of A Ltd and also a director/member of B Pvt. Ltd., then Section 297(1) will apply to contracts between these two companies, subject to the exceptions provided therein. However, if only the relatives of X are director/members of B Pvt Ltd. (and not X himself) the section will not apply.

It may be noted that all contracts, whatever their value, with the directors and other persons mentioned in the section require the previous approval of the Central Government. Contracts will include service contracts such as appointment to offices. Advertisement Services have been held to be covered by this section.(5)

“goods” – definition

In the absence of any definition of ”goods” in the Act, reference may be made to the definition given under the Sale of Goods Act, 1930 according to which “goods” means every kind of moveable property. Thus, for the purpose of the Section, sale or purchase as also lease of immoveable property is outside the scope of the Section. However, if the machinery is not permanently attached to the earth, it may fall in the category of goods within the meaning of this section.

Object of the Section

The object of the Section is that the Board of Directors should have knowledge about the extent of interest of a director in any contractual dealings with the company, or of any person connected with the director in any of the ways mentioned in sub-section (1), and accord their consent to such dealings.

Specific consent of the Board

 It is the specific consent of the Board of directors which is required for entering into contracts of the kinds specified in section 297. Such consent must be accorded by a resolution passed at a meeting of the Board and not by means of a resolution passed by circulation.

The consent contemplated is not a general consent but a consent referable to each particular or specific contract or contracts. Consent requires knowledge of the specific facts and materials which leads to the consent and cannot be given in a general or abstract manner.(6)

However, sub-section (3) lays down that in case of urgent necessity, a contract may be entered into without obtaining the consent of the Board, even if the value of such goods or cost of such services exceeds Rs. 5000 in the aggregate in any year, provided consent of the Board is obtained within 3 months of the date on which the contract was entered into. It must be noted that this sub-section does not dispense with the necessity of obtaining previous approval of the Central Government, though it is possible that the Government may, by general order or notification, give general approval for certain classes or kinds of contracts.

The applicability of section 297 of the Act is to be examined at the time of entering into the contract and the consent should be obtained within three months of entering into the contract. If a director becomes interested after the contract is entered into, there is no need to get Board’s consent. The term `director’ includes alternate director for the purpose of section 297 of the Act

Procedure

The Company Law Board in the case of Yashovardhan Saboo v Groz-Beckert Saboo Ltd.(7) has observed that Section 297, 299 and 300 of the Companies Act are founded on the principle that a director occupies a fiduciary position in relation to a company. The are related provisions and have a combined effect. Thus the procedure for carrying out contracts in which any of the Company’s director is interested or concerned combines the provisions of Section 297, 299 and 300 and applies to all companies, public and private but not to contracts between two public companies.

1.      A Board meeting shall be convened to consider the terms of the contract. Board’s consent must be accorded by a resolution passed at a meeting of the Board and not by circulation.

2.      Directors interested or concerned shall disclose the nature of their interest or concern at the meeting of Board of directors in Form No. 24AA of Companies General Rules and Forms as required under section 299(3).

It may be noted that so far as section 299 is concerned, instead of disclosing interest or concern every time, a general notice may be given annually in the last month of the financial year. Thus, the validity of such notice given by the director is for one financial year and it has to be renewed every year.

Such general notice should be placed before the Board meeting for its recording by means of a resolution.

3.      If the paid-up capital of the company is Rs. One Crore or more, an application shall be made to the Regional Director in Form No. 24A of Companies General Rules and Forms for its prior approval.

      The Section requires such an application to be made to the Central Government but the Central Government has delegated to the Regional Directors at Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and Kanpur the powers and functions under the Section vide Notification No. GSR 563 (E), dated 19-8-1993.

4.      In case the Board cannot have requisite quorum of disinterested directors, then the contract shall be approved by shareholders by convening a general meeting.

5.      Necessary entries shall be made in the register of contracts maintained under section 301, within 7 days of the Board meeting, and it shall be signed by all the directors present in the next Board meeting.

6.      Except for some of the cases mentioned in section 300(2), an interested director shall not take part in the proceedings of Board meeting or voting in respect of a contract or arrangement in which he is interested or concerned. Such an interested or concerned director will not be counted for the purposes of quorum. Where the number of such interested directors exceeds or is equal to two-thirds of the total strength of the Board, then two disinterested directors present in the meeting will be deemed to be proper quorum.(8)

Exceptions

Sub-section (2) lays down three exceptions to the rule under sub-section (1). They are as follows :

a)      When the transaction for sale or purchase of goods and material is on cash basis at prevailing market prices the consent of the Board is not required. A cheque is considered equivalent to cash for the purpose of this section.(9)

b)       Where a party to the contract as specified in sub-section (2)(b), regularly trades or does business, provided that the aggregate value of transactions over a calendar year do not exceed Rs. 5000.

c)      In the case of banking or insurance company, any transaction with any director, etc., in the ordinary course of its business.

Such transactions will neither require the consent of the Board nor the previous approval of the Central Government.

Non-compliance

The only consequence of not obtaining the consent of the Board is that in such case the Board is given the option to avoid the contract. If the Board chooses to condone the defect and pass a resolution not to avoid the contract or gives ex post facto consent, there is an end of the matter. The company in general meeting cannot interfere unless the Board’s act amounts to a breach of trust, resulting in loss to the company.

Apart from consent of the Board, previous approval of the Central Government is also required where the paid – capital of the company is Rupees One Crore or more. In the absence of approval of the Central Government where necessary the contract shall be void.

Thus, it appears that, where contracts entered into by companies when their paid – capital was less than Rupees One Crore, and raised upwards subsequently, approval of the Central Government would not be necessary until the expiry of the contract.(10)

Offence, Penalty and Compoundability

Section 297 does not provide any penalty for non – compliance. The penalty therefore will be as per the provision of Section 629A.Entering into certain contracts with the company in which particular directors are interested without Board’s sanction and where paid-up share capital is not less than Rs. One Crore, without the previous approval of the Central Government (now Regional Director) the company and every officer in default shall be punishable with fine upto Rs. 5000 and further fine upto Rs. 500 for each day of default [sub-section (1)]. The offence punishable is compoundable under section 621A read with section 629A.

Conclusion

A fruitful source of misuse of power by directors is that which is exemplified by contracts entered into with the company of which they are directors by themselves or through their relatives or firms or companies in which they are interested for the sale, purchase or supply of goods, materials or services, as the case may be. Section 297 and its subsequent amendments strive to safeguard the interest of the company especially when directors are in a position to take advantage of inside information for personal gain. It provides for a two fold measure of ensuring that the interest of the company is not affected by a breach of trust by the directors.


1. Yashovardhan Saboo v Groz-Beckert Saboo Ltd., (1995) 83 Com Cases 371 at 413 (CLB)

2. Subhash Chand Agarwal v Associated Limestone Ltd., (1998) 92 Com Cases 525 at 553 (CLB-PB)

3. Ramaiya ,sixteenth edition 2004 at pg. 2967

4. Ramaiya, sixteenth edition 2004 at pg. 2968

5. First Leasing Company of India Ltd. v Addl. ROC (1997) 89 Com Cases 635 (Mad)

6. Walchandnagar Industries Ltd. v Ratanchand Khimchand Motishaw (1953) 23 Com Cases 343

7. (1995) 83 Com Cases 371 at 413 (CLB)

8. Proviso to Section 287 (2)

9. Letter No. 8/2 (Misc)/75-CL-V, dated 6th June, 1975

10. Ramaiya, sixteenth edition 2004 at pg. 2968 


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Advocate & Consultant

  APPROVAL UNDER SECTION 297

 To be file Form 24A- accompanied with following attachments:

Copy of Board resolution

Copy of Agreement 

Detailed Application under section 297(1)

·        Details of Existing Capital Structure 

·        Management Structure- List of Directors with details of their directorship held in other Companies and Particulars of Company Secretary. 

·        Turnover and Net Profit (for each of the last three financial years) 

·        Proposal for which central government approval sought and the reasons thereof 

·        Particulars of contract to be entered into; like tenure and value of contract 

·        Whether terms of contract confirm to prevailing market rate   

·        Whether the company has entered into any contract with any other person in respect of sale, purchase or supply of the same kinds of goods, materials or services and whether the terms of such contract are similar to the terms of proposed contract(s) , reasons for variation in rates if any should be included.

 thanks.....

 

 
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service

Pls clarify the following points w.r.t. sec 297 discussed above.

1.What is the meaning of  contract entered into by the company with a dealer on a principal to principal basis.

2. Suppose there are two companies A and B having entered into a contract of supply under which A will sell goods to B. A is   a ltd co and B is pvt. ltd. co. Director of A co is director and member in B co. SO sec 297 is attarcted to co A. But what abt company B.  sec 297  talks abt contract with a pvt co. not ltd co. Does it mean that a pvt co, is not required to comply sec  297 if it enters into a contract with a ltd co.

 

regards

 

P.C. Joshi

 
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Company secretary

Form of application

The application shall be made electronically in e-Form 24A prescribed by the Notification No. GSR 58(E) dated 10th Feb., 2006 alongwith the fee prescribed in Companies (Fees on Applications) Rules, 1999.

 

Delegation of power to Regional Director

The power under the said proviso is delegated to the Regional Directors at Mumbai, Kolkata, Kanpur and Chennai for providing approval by the Offices of Regional Directors located in their Regions.

 

Secretarial checklist

Check whether exempting provisions contained in section 297(2) of the Companies Act, 1956 were not applicable? If not, check that:—

1. Consent of the Board of directors was obtained by a resolution passed at a meeting for entering into contracts in which directors were interested.

2. Prior approval of the Central Government (Regional Director) has been obtained, if the paid up share capital of the company is not less than Rs. One Crore.

3. The particulars of the contract were entered in the Register of contracts, in accordance with the provisions of section 301.

4. The requisite resolutions were recorded in the minutes of Board meetings.

 

Enclosures required to be submitted with the application

E-Form 24A has to be submitted with following enclosures:

(1) Copy of agreement containing particulars of contract.

(2) Copy of board resolution and proceedings of meeting.

(3) Detailed application should be filed as an optional attachment containing details relating to the following;

(a) Whether the terms of the contract conform to the prevailing market rates.

(b) Whether the company has entered into any contract with any other person in respect of sale, purchase or supply of the same kind of goods, materials or services and whether the terms of such contract are similar to the terms of the proposed contract(s). Reasons for variation in rates, if any should be indicated

(4) Certified copy of the latest amended Memorandum and Articles of Association;

(5) Certified copy of the audited Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss Account for a last three years;

(6) Certified copy of the Minutes of the General Meeting at which the proposal was approved, if in case of the non availability of the quorum of disinterested director in a public company.

 
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Dear Professionals,


Please provide me the notification mentioned in your forgoing article, if possible,


Notification No. 563(E) dated 19th August, 1993, issued by the Govt of India, erstwhile Depart. of Company Affaris.

I need of this notification, your little attention will be greatly appreciated.


Looking forward to your valuable reply.....

 

Regards,

Harvinder

 
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Dear All,

 

We are a Private Limited Company (Paid-up Capital more than 1 Cr.) doing infrastructure business.

 

The flow of activities is as follows:

 

1.      Our Company has got one “excavation of canal project” from one of the EPC contractor.

2.      Our Company is giving this project to a partnership firm for execution on sub-contract basis on back-to-back basis and entering into a sub-contract agreement.

3.      The partnership Firm shall execute the project and arrange all the recourses at its own cost and will receive a pre-fixed amount from our company as Contract Value.

4.      A Director of our Company is a Partner in the Partnership Firm.

 

In the aforesaid case whether Section 297 will be applicable ?

 

Looking forward to your prompt reply…

 

Regards

Gaurav

 
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Dear sirs, re-appointment of MD is covered under section 299 or not ?

 

because a director is deemed to be interested in his own re-appointment contract/agreement 

 

Thank you

 
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Corporate Lawyer

@ Gaurav,

Central Government approval would be necessary in your case. It would be best for the Director to resign from Directorship if he understands best. 

The reason being, project costs of such assignments can vary from what is estimated rand teh minute the actual exceeds the estimate, CG will need to revew the status before continuing the project

This can also delay the execution of the project, moreover, availing counter tenders in this regard is difficult as the company will unnecessarily expose the secrecy of the assignment, if any, and obtaining counter tenders from other unrelated market players in writing is mandatory.

Sec 297 will be applicable in this.


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Corporate Lawyer

@ Yogesh,

In case of PVT company, no problem, cuz Pvt Ltd Co. is exempted from Sec. 269

In other cases, Sec. 299 is not applicable in case of director/MD slaray


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