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33 pc independent directors on co boards Govt studying Irani panel proposal

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The consultation process on the draft Companies Bill would end on Saturday, and the Ministry would then concentrate on giving final touches to the Bill to ensure that it is passed in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament.

Mr J.J. Irani, Director, Tata Sons Ltd, flanked by Mr Anil K. Agarwal (left), Alternate President, Assocham, and Mr Jitesh Khosla, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Company Affairs, at a conference in the Capital on Saturday. Kamal Narang
Mr J.J. Irani, Director, Tata Sons Ltd, flanked by Mr Anil K. Agarwal (left), Alternate President, Assocham, and Mr Jitesh Khosla, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Company Affairs, at a conference in the Capital on Saturday. Kamal Narang

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Oct. 8

THE Ministry of Company Affairs is yet to firm up its views on the J.J. Irani Committee recommendations on the issue of board composition for listed companies.

Mr Jitesh Khosla, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Company Affairs, speaking at a conference organised by Assocham on `Going Global with Mergers and Acquisitions' here on Saturday, said the Government is considering the Irani Committee suggestion of one-third (33 per cent) independent directors on the boards of listed companies. While the Irani Committee had recommended 33 per cent representation of independent directors on the board of listed companies, the Securities and Exchange Board of India's (SEBI) revised Clause 49 of the Listing Agreement stipulates that listed companies, with an executive chairman, should have 50 per cent independent directors. Mr Khosla added that if listed companies want to have 50 per cent independent directors on their boards, they were welcome to do so.

The Irani Committee, while prescribing the minimum number of independent directors on a company's board, has left it up to the sector regulator to decide the maximum limit.

Mr Khosla said the consultation process on the draft Companies Bill would end on Saturday, and the Ministry would then concentrate on giving final touches to the Bill to ensure that it is passed in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament.

Simultaneously, the Government was working on the amendments to the Competition Act, so that commercial and business interests of Indian companies are protected to the extent that no legal implications arise, when such entities acquire cross-border mergers, he said.

Earlier at the inaugural session, Dr J.J. Irani, Director, Tata Sons, said the report on new company law tried to simplify the existing norms to make them more investor-friendly.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 9, 2005)
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