In a move to improve the business climate in the country, Lok Sabha on Wednesday amended the Companies Act to remove “oppressive provisions” in the law.
This includes a Prevention of Terrorism Act-style provision that made it near impossible for company officials charged with a violation to get bail. In its new form, the law will retain such strong provisions only for the most heinous violations such as fraud that can only be tried by special courts. All other violations of the Companies Act would be tried by normal courts.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley said the 14 amendments had been proposed just a year after the Companies Act 2013 was enacted because some provisions made doing business in India extremely difficult.
“There are four kinds of changes which we are making. One is with an intention of ‘ease of doing business’; the other is, drafting errors; the third is oversight; and the fourth is some provisions which are ex-facie oppressive to an environment to do business,” Jaitley said.
He added the UPA had made it impossible for businessmen violating the law to get bail even though the government – while incorporating provisions from the now-repealed Pota – had refused to keep a similar provision in the anti-terror law.
“So a terrorist could get bail, but the businessman won’t,” Jaitley – who also holds charge as corporate affairs minister – said.