While the new Companies Act 2013 has strengthened the provisions relating to inspection and investigation and also provided for more severe punishment for violations and non compliance, there is a need for speedy disposal of cases relating to corporate offences. "This would ensure that perpetrators of such offences do not take undue advantage of the loopholes in law," M Rafeeque Ahmed, chairman, FICCI, Tamil Nadu State Council said.

He was speaking at a conference on Companies Act 2013 held in the city on Saturday by FICCI and the Hindustan Chamber of Commerce.

With the Companies Act, 2013 introducing a provision for the appointment of independent directors, Ahmed said the objective of this provision will be realized only if the independent directors act with the highest standards of professional ethics.

In his address, Baiju Ramachandran, chairman, ICSI (Institute of Company Secretaries of India), Southern India Regional Council said that the new legislation is a step towards bringing the Indian corporate sector in line with global trends. "The Act places India on par with the corporate laws of rest of the globe," Ramachandran said. He added that ICSI-SIRC has conducted lots of seminars and workshops on the subject.?

The introduction of secretarial audit (audit of non financial information that includes compliance with several applicable Acts) is also a milestone in the new Companies Act. "With multiplicity of regulatory oversight being the norm than exception, the Secretarial Audit Reports given by our practicing members would provide substantive insights into the way companies are governed," Ram

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