Sec 137 – Offences by companies

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Sec 137 – Offences by companies 2017-04-14T02:47:11+00:00

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  • Miloni ShahMiloni Shah
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    #1130 |

    (1) Where an offence committed by a person under this Act is a company, every person who, at the time the offence was committed was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
    (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any negligence on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
    (3) Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a taxable person being a partnership firm or a Limited Liability Partnership or a Hindu Undivided Family or a trust, the partner or karta or managing trustee shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly and the provisions of sub-section (2) shall, mutatis mutandis, apply to such persons.
    (4) Nothing contained in this section shall render any such person liable to any punishment provided in this Act, if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he had exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.
    Explanation.–For the purposes of this section,–
    (i) “company” means a body corporate and includes a firm or other association of individuals; and
    (ii) “director”, in relation to a firm, means a partner in the firm.

    Priya MadrechaPriya Madrecha
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    137.1    Introduction
    This section lowers down heavily on the persons who take shelter on the principle of separate legal status of artificial judicial persons and back out of their responsibility of payment of dues of the Government.
    137.2    Analysis
    This section states that where an offence is committed by companies, every person/director/ manager/secretary or any other officer who at the time of commitment of the offence, was in charge of and was responsible to the company for the conduct of business of the company, as well as the company shall be deemed to be guilty of such offence and proceeded against and punished accordingly.
    Where such offences are committed by the person being Partnership Firm, LLP, HUF or trust, AOP or BOI then the partner or Karta or Managing Trustee (as the case may be) shall be deemed to be guilty and liable to be proceeded against and punished.
    Further if the accused person proves that he was in no way related to the offence being committed or he had exercised all possible measures to prevent commission of such offences, then he is not punishable under this section.
    137.3    Comparative Review
    These provisions are comparable to section 9AA of the Central Excise Act, 1944 as well as several State level VAT legislations with few exemptions to persons who can be prosecuted. The provision as regards LLP, HUF, Trust are new developments.

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