Compliance Checklist for preparation and sending of Notice of shareholders’ meeting

Introduction

Meetings have a very important role to play in the functioning of company where decisions are taken and recorded. In case of companies, whether Board meetings or shareholders’ meetings, there is an exchange of idea, proposal, problems and decision on the further of action. In case of companies, a meeting of members, directors, debenture holders, class shareholders, creditors can be called and conducted. This article is a checklist for preparation and sending of the notice of shareholders’ meeting by a private company or unlisted public company under Sections 101 and 102 of the Act read with the Rules.

  1. Applicability of Provisions.—The said provisions are applicable to annual general meeting or extraordinary general meeting of the members of private company or unlisted public company. A listed company shall also comply with the provisions of the Act and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2018.
  2. Contents of the Notice of Meeting.—Every notice of a general meeting shall specify the place, date, day and the hour of the meeting and shall contain a statement of the business to be transacted at such meeting. The statement of business includes the resolutions that are proposed for the voting of the shareholders of the company. Ordinary business (as referred to in Section 102 of the Act) means: (i) consideration of financial statements and the reports of the Board of Directors and auditors; (ii) declaration of any dividend; (iii) appointment of Directors in place of those retiring; and (iv) appointment of, and the fixing of the remuneration of, the auditors. Any other business shall be considered as “special business”. Necessary reference of type of business (ordinary or special) and type of resolution (ordinary or special) shall be given in the notice of the general meeting.
  3. Contents of the Notice of General Meeting through Videoconferencing (VC).—Ministry of Corporate Affairs has allowed companies to hold the general meeting through VC or other audio-visual means (OAVM). In addition to any other requirement provided in the Act or the Rules, the notice for the general meeting shall make disclosures with regard to the manner in which framework provided in the MCA Circular (i.e. General Circular No. 14/2020 [F. No. 2/1/2020-CL-V] dated 8-4-2020) shall be available for use by the members and also contain clear instructions on how to access and participate in the meeting. The company shall also provide a helpline number through the registrar and transfer agent, technology provider, or otherwise, for those shareholders who need assistance with using the technology before or during the meeting. A copy of the meeting notice shall also be prominently displayed on the website of the company and due intimation may be made to the exchanges in case of a listed company.
  4. Explanatory Statement.—A statement setting out the material facts concerning each item of “special business” to be transacted at a general meeting, shall be annexed to the notice calling such meeting. The statement shall set out the nature of concern or interest, financial or otherwise, if any, in respect of each item of every director, key managerial personnel, manager and their relatives. The explanatory statement shall also include information and facts that may enable members to understand the meaning, scope and implications of the items of business and to take decision thereon.
  5. Length of Notice of Meeting.—A general meeting of a company may be called by giving not less than clear 21 days’ notice. In case of private company, the articles of association may provide for a shorter period for the length of notice of general meeting. In case of companies incorporated under Section 8 of the Act, a general meeting of a company may be called by giving not less than clear 14 days’ notice.
  6. Mode of Sending Notice of General Meeting.—The notice of general meeting can be given either in writing or through electronic mode in such manner as may be prescribed.
  7. Sending of Notice through Electronic Mode.—Rule 18 of the Companies (Management and Administration) Rules, 2014 prescribes detailed procedure for sending notice in electronic mode[1]. A notice may be sent through e-mail as a text or as an attachment to e-mail or as a notification providing electronic link or uniform resource locator (URL) for accessing such notice. The e-mail shall be addressed to the person entitled to receive such e-mail as per the records of the company or as provided by the depository. The subject line in e-mail shall state the name of the company, notice of the type of meeting, place and the date on which the meeting is scheduled. If notice is sent in the form of a non-editable attachment to e-mail, such attachment shall be in. PDF or in a non-editable format together with a “link or instructions” for recipient for downloading relevant version of the software. The company should ensure that it uses a system which produces confirmation of the total number of recipients e-mailed and a record of each recipient to whom the notice has been sent and copy of such record and any notices of any failed transmissions and subsequent resending shall be retained by or on behalf of the company as “proof of sending”. The company’s obligation shall be satisfied when it transmits the e-mail and the company shall not be held responsible for a failure in transmission beyond its control. The company may send e-mail through in-house facility or its registrar and transfer agent or authorise any third-party agency providing bulk e-mail facility. The notice of the general meeting of the company shall be simultaneously placed on the website of the company, if any, and on the website as may be notified by the Central Government.
  8. Opportunity for E-mail Address Registration.—The company shall provide an advance opportunity at least once in a financial year, to the member to register his e-mail address and changes therein. Such request may be made by only those members who have not got their e-mail id recorded or to update a fresh e-mail id and not from the members whose e-mail ids are already registered. If a member entitled to receive notice fails to provide or update relevant e-mail address to the company, or to the depository participant as the case may be, the company shall not be in default for not delivering notice via e-mail.
  9. Shorter Notice Consent for Shareholders Meeting.—A general meeting may be called after giving shorter notice than clear 21 days’ notice (or any other period as mentioned in the articles of association of the company), if consent, in writing or by electronic mode, is accorded thereto:

(i) In Case of an Annual General Meeting (Company with Share Capital or without Share Capital).—By not less than 95% of the members entitled to vote thereat.

(ii) In the Case of Extraordinary General Meeting (for Company with Share Capital).—By members of the company holding majority in number of members entitled to vote and who represent not less than 95% of such part of the paid-up share capital of the company as gives a right to vote at the meeting.

(iii) In the Case of Extraordinary General Meeting (for Company without Share Capital).—By members of the company having, if the company has no share capital, not less than 95% of the total voting power exercisable at that meeting.

  1. Recipients of Notice of Shareholders’ Meeting.—The notice of every meeting of the company shall be given to: (a) every member of the company, legal representative of any deceased member or the assignee of an insolvent member; (b) auditor(s) of the company; and (c) every director of the company.
  2. Accidental Omission to Give Notice of General Meeting.—Any accidental omission to give notice to, or the non-receipt of such notice by, any member or other person who is entitled to such notice for any meeting shall not invalidate the proceedings of the meeting.

*Gaurav N Pingle, Practising Company Secretary, Pune. He can be reached at gp@csgauravpingle.com

[1] Here, “electronic mode” means any communication sent by a company through its authorised and secured computer program which is capable of producing confirmation and keeping record of such communication addressed to the person entitled to receive such communication at the last electronic mail address provided by the member.

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