Broadly, meetings in a company are of the following types :-
I. Meetings of Members :
These are meetings where the members / shareholders of the company meet and discuss various matters. Member’s meetings are of the following types :-
A. Statutory Meeting :
A public company limited by shares or a guarantee company having share capital is required to hold a statutory meeting. Such a statutory meeting is held only once in the lifetime of the company. Such a meeting must be held within a period of not less than one month or within a period not more than six months from the date on which it is entitled to commence business i.e. it obtains certificate of commencement of business. In a statutory meeting, the following matters only can be discussed :-
Floatation of shares / debentures by the company
Modification to contracts mentioned in the prospectus
The purpose of the meeting is to enable members to know all important matters pertaining to the formation of the company and its initial life history. The matters discussed include which shares have been taken up, what money has been received, what contracts have been entered into, what sums have been spent on preliminary expenses, etc. The members of the company present at the meeting may discuss any other matter relating to the formation of the Company or arising out of the statutory report also, even if no prior notice has been given for such other discussions but no resolution can be passed of which notice have not been given in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
A notice of at least 21 days before the meeting must be given to members unless consent is accorded to a shorter notice by members, holding not less than 95% of voting rights in the company.
A statutory meeting may be adjourned from time to time by the members present at the meeting.
The Board of Directors must prepare and send to every member a report called the “Statutory Report” at least 21 days before the day on which the meeting is to be held. But if all the members entitled to attend and vote at the meeting agree, the report could be forwarded later also. The report should be certified as correct by at least two directors, one of whom must be the managing director, where there is one, and must also be certified as correct by the auditors of the company with respect to the shares allotted by the company, the cash received in respect of such shares and the receipts and payments of the company. A certified copy of the report must be sent to the Registrar for registration immediately after copies have been sent to the members of the company.
A list of members showing their names, addresses and occupations together with the number shares held by each member must be kept in readiness and produced at the commencement of the meeting and kept open for inspection during the meeting.
If default is made in complying with the above provisions, every director or other officer of the company who is in default shall be punishable with fine upto Rs. 500. The Registrar or a contributory may file a petition for the winding up of the company if default is made in delivering the statutory report to the Registrar or in holding the statutory meeting on or after 14 days after the last date on which the statutory meeting ought to have been held.
Contents of Statutory Report must provide the following particulars:- (a)The total number of shares allotted, distinguishing those fully or partly paid-up, otherwise than in cash, the extent to which partly paid shares are paid-up, and in both cases the consideration for which they were allotted.(b) The total amount of cash received by the company in respect of all shares allotted, distinguishing as aforesaid.(c) An abstract of the receipts and payments upto a date within 7 days of the date of the report and the balance of cash and bank accounts in hand, and an account of preliminary expenses.(d) Any commission or discount paid or to be paid on the issue or sale of shares or debentures must be separately shown in the aforesaid abstract.(e) The names, addresses and occupations of directors, auditors, manager and secretary, if any, of the company and the changes which have taken place in the names, addresses and occupations of the above since the date of incorporation.(f) Particulars of any contracts to be submitted to the meeting for approval and modifications done or proposed.(g) If the company has entered into any underwriting contracts, the extent, if any, to which they have not been carried out and the reasons for the failure.(h) The arrears, if any, due on calls from every director and from the manager.(i) The particulars of any commission or brokerage paid or to be paid, in connection with the issue or sale of shares or debentures to any director or to the manager.
The auditors have to certify that all information regarding calls and allotment of shares are correct.
B. Annual General Meeting
Must be held by every type of company, public or private, limited by shares or by guarantee, with or without share capital or unlimited company, once a year. Every company must in each year hold an annual general meeting. Not more than 15 months must elapse between two annual general meetings. However, a company may hold its first annual general meeting within 18 months from the date of its incorporation. In such a case, it need not hold any annual general meeting in the year of its incorporation as well as in the following year only.
In the case there is any difficulty in holding any annual general meeting (except the first annual meeting), the Registrar may, for any special reasons shown, grant an extension of time for holding the meeting by a period not exceeding 3 months provided the application for the purpose is made before the due date of the annual general meeting. However, generally delay in the completion of the audit of the annual accounts of the company is not treated as “special reason” for granting extension of time for holding its annual general meeting. Generally, in such circumstances, an AGM is convened and held at the proper time . all matters other than the accounts are discussed. All other resolutions are passed and the meeting is adjourned to a later date for discussing the final accounts of the company. However, the adjourned meeting must be held before the last day of holding the AGM.
A notice of at least 21 days before the meeting must be given to members unless consent is accorded to a shorter notice by members, holding not less than 95% of voting rights in the company. The notice must state that the meeting is an annual general meeting. The time, date and place of the meeting must be mentioned in the notice. The notice of the meeting must be accompanied by a copy of the annual accounts of the company, director’s report on the position of the company for the year and auditor’s report on the accounts. Companies having share capital should also state in the notice that a member is entitled to attend and vote at the meeting and is also entitled to appoint proxies in his absence. A proxy need not be a member of that company. A proxy form should be enclosed with the notice. The proxy forms are required to be submitted to the company at least 48 hours before the meeting.
The AGM must be held on a working day during business hours at the registered office of the company or at some other place within the city, town or village in which the registered office of the company is situated. The Central Government may, however, exempt any class of companies from the above provisions. If any day is declared by the Central government to be a public holiday after the issue of the notice convening such meeting, such a day will be traeted as a working day.
A company may, by appropriate provisions in its its articles, fix the time for its annual general meeting and may also by a resolution passed in one annual general meeting fix the time for its subsequent annual general meetings.
Companies licensed under Section 25 are exempt from the above provisions provided that the time, date and place of each annual general meeting are decided upon beforehand by the Board of Directors having regard to the directions, if any, given in this regard by the company in general meeting.
In case of default in holding an annual general meeting, the following are the consequences :-
Any member of the company may apply to the Company Law Board. The Company Law Board may call, or direct the calling of the meeting, and give such ancillary or consequential directions as it may consider expedient in relation to the calling, holding and conducting of the meeting. The Company Law Board may direct that one member present in person or by proxy shall be deemed to constitute the meeting. A meeting held in pursuance of this order will be deemed to be an annual general meeting of the company. An application by a member of the company for this purpose must be made to the concerned Regional Bench of the Company Law Board by way of petition in Form No. 1 in Annexure II to the CLB Regulations with a fee of rupees fifty accompanied by (i) affidavit verifying the petition, (ii) bank draft for payment of application fee.
Fine which may extend to Rs. 5,000 on the company and every officer of the company who is in default may be levied and for continuing default, a further fine of Rs. 250 per day during which the default continues may be levied.
Business to be Transacted at Annual General Meeting :
At every AGM, the following matters must be discussed and decided. Since such matters are discussed at every AGM, they are known as ordinary business. All other matters and business to be discussed at the AGM are specila business.
The following matters constitute ordinary business at an AGM :-
Consideration of annual accounts, director’s report and the auditor’s report
Declaration of dividend
Appointment of directors in the place of those retiring
Appointment of and the fixing of the remuneration of the statutory auditors.
In case any other business ( special business ) has to be discussed and decided upon, an explanatory statement of the special business must also accompany the notice calling the meeting. The notice must should also give the nature and extent of the interest of the directors or manager in the special business, as also the extent of the shareholding interest in the company of every such person. In case approval of any document has to be done by the members at the meeting, the notice must also state that the document would be available for inspection at the Registered Office of the company during the specified dates and timings.
C. Extraordinary General Meeting
Every general meeting (i.e. meeting of members of the company) other than the statutory meeting and the annual general meeting or any adjournment thereof, is an extraordinary general meeting. Such meeting is usually called by the Board of Directors for some urgent business which cannot wait to be decided till the next AGM. Every business transacted at such a meeting is special business. An explanatory statement of the special business must also accompany the notice calling the meeting. The notice must should also give the nature and extent of the interest of the directors or manager in the special business, as also the extent of the shareholding interest in the company of every such person. In case approval of any document has to be done by the members at the meeting, the notice mus also state that the document would be available for inspection at the Registered Office of the company during the specified dates and timings.
The Articles of Association of a Company may contain provisions for convening an extraordinary general meeting. Eg. It may provide that “the board may, whenever it thinks fit, call an extraordinary general meeting” or it may provide that “if at any time there are not within India, directors capable of acting who are sufficient in number to form a quorum, any director or any two members of the company may call an extraordinary general meeting”.
Extraordinary General Meeting on Requisition :
The members of a company have the right to require the calling of an extraordinary general meeting by the directors. The board of directors of a company must call an extraordinary general meeting if required to do so by the following number of members :-
members of the company holding at the date of making the demand for an EGM not less than one-tenth of such of the voting rights in regard to the matter to be discussed at the meeting ; or
if the company has no share capital, the members representing not less than one-tenth of the total voting rights at that date in regard to the said matter.
The requisition must state the objects of the meetings and must be signed by the requisitioning members. The requisition must be deposited at the company’s registered office. When the requisition is deposited at the registered office of the company, the directors should within 21 days, move to call a meeting and the meeting should be actually be held within 45 days from the date of the lodgement of the requisition. If the directors fail to call and hold the meeting as aforesaid, the requisitionists or any of them meeting the requirements at (a) or (b) above, as the case may be, may themselves proceed to call meeting within 3 months from the date of the requisition, and claim the necessary expenses from the company. The company can make good this sum from the directors in default. At such an EGM, any business which is not covered by the agenda mentioned in the notice of the meeting cannot be voted upon.