Law clarified on procedure for board meetings

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The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), New Delhi, recently resolved the ambiguity regarding the binding nature of a company director’s option to participate in a board meeting through video conferencing or other audio-visual means.

In Achintya Kumar Barua & Ors v Ranjit Barthkur & Anr, Ranjit, a director of WG Resorts Assam, moved an application before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Guwahati, to seek the facility of attending company board meetings via video conferencing. The NCLT allowed the application and directed that a video conferencing facility should be made available in accordance with section 173(2) of the Companies Act, 2013. The order was challenged by Barua and other directors before NCLAT contending that if a director participates in a meeting via video conferencing, it would not be possible for the chairman to ensure confidentiality as non-board members could observe the discussion. The Secretarial Standards on Meetings of the Board of Directors provide that the option of video conferencing or other audio-visual facilities should be utilized only “if the company provides such facility” and accordingly, it did not seem mandatory for all companies.

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The dispute digest is compiled by Bhasin & Co, Advocates, a corporate law firm based in New Delhi. The authors can be contacted at lbhasin@bhasinco.in or lbhasin@gmail.com. Readers should not act on the basis of this information without seeking professional legal advice.

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