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CA and CS students should lay emphasis even on advocacy?

Durga Rao 
on 20 February 2010

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Undoubtedly, Chartered Accountants and Company Secretaries play a very important role in the Corporate World. A Chartered Accountant can not be removed by the Company as easily as in the case of directors. A Company Secretary advises the company on compliance of corporate regulations, undertakes secretarial work, regarded as an officer in default at times and takes more responsibility while acting as a whole-time Company Secretary in a Company.

Apart from their routine functions and responsibilities, Chartered Accountants and Company Secretaries do present the case one behalf of the Company before the forums like Company Law Board and the proposed National Company Law Tribunal.

I know corporate professionals who lay so much emphasis on presenting the cases before the forums like Company Law Board rather their traditional work. The syllabus, the thorough knowledge and specialization in corporate related subjects, gives the unique opportunity to the corporate professionals like Chartered Accountants and Company Secretaries to better advocate a company dispute or matter before the Company Law Board or the proposed National Company Law Tribunal.

As everybody knows, at present, mainly, the Company Law Board and the Company Court discharges its responsibility as a Dispute Resolution Mechanism under the provisions of Companies Act, 1956. While the cases like Oppression and Mismanagement goes before the Company Law Board; cases like Amalgamations and Mergers and winding-up, are entertained by the High Court.

We are all aware of the proposed Companies Bill and the attempt to constitute National Company Law Tribunal and National Company Law Appellate Tribunal to deal with all matters under the provisions of Companies Act, 1956. At present, Company Secretaries and Chartered Accountants are not permitted to appear before the High Court, but, they can represent many company disputes under the Indian Company Law before the proposed National Company Law Tribunal.

This is a great opportunity to the Chartered Accountants and the Company Secretaries and the students pursuing CA and CS should lay special emphasis on advocacy and knowledge of basic general laws in additional to specialization in Company Law.

At present, complicated company matters like an application by the minority shareholders under section 397/398 of the Companies Act, 1956, are handled by advocates or the corporate lawyers than Company Secretaries and Chartered Accountants.

The simple applications seeking condonation of some non-compliance of corporate regulations are handled by Company Secretaries and Chartered Accountants and those applications are allowed in most cases with some fine. It is also true that some Company Secretaries and Chartered Accountants do appear in complicated matters like an application under section 397/398 of the Companies Act, 1956.

Barring the specialized corporate lawyers, Chartered Accountants and Company Secretaries accustomed to corporate regulations and they involve in incorporation of companies, corporate advisory services and compliance of corporate regulations.

The students pursuing CA and CS should lay special emphasis on the new opportunities and responsibilities before the proposed National Company Law Tribunal. Advocacy is an art and it needs to be practiced. If we observe the manner in which a corporate lawyer presents a case before the Company Law Board and the manner in which the case is presented by the Company Secretaries, we can find the glaring difference. Corporate Lawyers do the matters in a systematic manner and they will be aggressive when the situation warrants. The responsibility of corporate lawyers, in most cases, is confined to discussion with the client, drafting a brief, ensuring the filing of required papers with the forum and presenting the case before the Board pressing for the orders prayed for. But, in contra, a Company Secretary or a Chartered Accountant will discharge variety of responsibilities. But, in view of the abundant opportunities before the proposed National Company Law Tribunal, a student pursuing CS and CA should concentrate on certain things specifically like:

1. Language.

2. Drafting.

3. Legal Drafting.

4. Presenting a case before the Court or the forum.

5. A basic knowledge of established legal procedures.

Without command over language, drafting skills and the skills of advocacy, one can be a good Chartered Accountant or a Company Secretary, but, can not be a good Advocate or a professional to present a matter before forums like Company Law Board.

Company Law Board is also like a Court and I dont want deal with the issue as to whether there is any difference between the Tribunal and the Court.

With the constitution of proposed National Company Law Tribunal, a fresh Chartered Accountant and a Company Secretary, may need to appear before the Tribunal very frequently and as such, students pursuing CS and CA should anticipate the future and embrace the great opportunity while climbing their professional ladder.

Note:

My intention is to express my views on the issue of advocating a company matter before the forums like Company Law Board and the opportunities and nothing more.




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