Is it necessary for an unwilling individual to disclose his/her surname to start a company?
The Supreme Court has decided to examine the question after Nishant from Delhi challenged the validity of a March 28, 2014 circular issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs that required an applicant to disclose his/her surname for starting a company.
A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra has issued notice to the Centre seeking its response in six weeks. The SC will examine whether such a pre-condition violated the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
Nishant, who holds a post graduate diploma in Computer Application, contended that he did not use surname and held a valid PAN issued by the Income Tax Department and DIN issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Even the passport issued to him by the government does not mention his surname.
He has challenged the Delhi high court’s June 29, 2015 decision upholding the legality of the circular insisting on disclosure of his surname for registering his company’s name under Companies Act.
In his petition filed through advocate Gaurang Kant, he contended: “The High Court completely failed to consider the relevant fact that the petitioner is having all requisite qualifications, professional as well as technical, for carrying out the occupation, trade or business of his choice which is in consonance with the saving clause of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution (which guarantees fundamental right to carry on occupation, trade or business of one’s own choice).”
Kant told HT: “The high court’s order is wholly erroneous and illegal inasmuch as there is no intelligible differentia between persons having valid public documents/identity proof documents but no surname and those having surname, for the purpose of incorporating a company.”
Such a condition was illegal and unconstitutional as it amounted to violation of Article 14 (right to equality) and Article 21 (right to life and liberty) guaranteed by the Constitution, the petitioner contended.