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Question

ABC Limited is a company engaged in the business of cement exports and it is also specialized in the area of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation offering their services to domestic and overseas customers.

Enforcement Directorate under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) carried out the investigation against the ABC Limited.

i) The investigation also centered around the details of the Promoters and their shareholdings;
ii) how many subsidiaries companies were formed by the appellants in India and abroad for doing business;
iii) details of the share transactions between the promoters of the Company and Non-Resident Indian(NRI) and;
iv) the details of loans raised by the ABC Limited for their business purpose etc.

The investigation carried out by Enforcement Directorate has clearly made out a case against ABC Limited of violation of Section 8 and Section 42 of Foreign Exchange Management Act as well as Foreign Exchange Management (Realization, Repatriation and Surrender of Foreign Exchange) Regulations, 2015.

A complaint has been made by the Enforcement Directorate before Special Director. Special Director allowed the complaint and held that ABC Limited has contravened the provisions of FEMA as prayed in the complaint and accordingly imposed a penalty of Rs.5 crores on the Company.

Case Study 10 - Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999

ABC Limited felt aggrieved by the aforementioned order of Special Director and contemplates to file an appeal.

As a Company Secretary of ABC Limited advise the company regarding:

(a) Adjudication and Appeal under Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.
(b) Duty of persons to realise foreign exchange due and Manner of Repatriation as well as Period for surrender of realised foreign exchange under Foreign Exchange Management (Realization, Repatriation and Surrender of Foreign Exchange) Regulations, 2015.
(c) Consequence of contravention of provisions of Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 and Rules and Regulation made thereunder by a company.

LET'S FIRST DISCUSS APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF FEMA,1999

SECTION 8

Realisation and repatriation of foreign exchange.- Save as otherwise provided in this Act, where any amount of foreign exchange is due or has accrued to any person resident in India, such person shall take all reasonable steps to realise and repatriate to India such foreign exchange within such period and in such manner as may be specified by the Reserve Bank. - Save as otherwise provided in this Act, where any amount of foreign exchange is due or has accrued to any person resident in India, such person shall take all reasonable steps to realise and repatriate to India such foreign exchange within such period and in such manner as may be specified by the Reserve Bank."

 

SECTION 13 OF FEMA,1999 DEALS WITH PENALTIES

(1) If any person contravenes any provision of this Act, or contravenes any rule, regulation, notification, direction or order issued in exercise of the powers under this Act, or contravenes any condition subject to which an authorisation is issued by the Reserve Bank, he shall, upon adjudication, be liable to a penalty up to thrice the sum involved in such contravention where such amount is quantifiable, or up to two lakh rupees where the amount is not quantifiable, and where such contravention is a continuing one, further penalty which may extend to five thousand rupees for every day after the first day during which the contravention continues.

(2) Any Adjudicating Authority adjudging any contravention under sub-section (1), may, if he thinks fit in addition to any penalty which he may impose for such contravention direct that any currency, security or any other money or property in respect of which the contravention has taken place shall be confiscated to the Central Government and further direct that the foreign exchange holdings, if any, of the persons committing the contraventions or any part thereof, shall be brought back into India or shall be retained outside India in accordance with the directions made in this behalf.

Explanation.- For the purposes of this sub-section, "property" in respect of which contravention has taken place, shall include-

(a) deposits in a bank, where the said property is converted into such deposits;
(b) Indian currency, where the said property is converted into that currency; and
(c) any other property which has resulted out of the conversion of that property.

SECTION 42- Contravention by companies

(1) Where a person committing a contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or of any rule, direction or order made thereunder is a company, every person who, at the time the contravention was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the contravention and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly:

Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to punishment if he proves that the contravention took place without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent such contravention.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where a contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or of any rule, direction or order made thereunder has been committed by a company and it is proved that the contravention has taken place with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect 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 the contravention and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

Explanation.- For the purposes of this section-

(i) "company" means any 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.

ANSWER

(a) Chapter V (Section 16 to 35) of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999(FEMA) deals with the provisions of Adjudication and Appeal as under:

Adjudicating Authority For the purpose of adjudication under Section 13 of FEMA (dealing with Penalties), the Central Government may, by an order published in the Official Gazette, appoint as many officers of the Central Government as it may think fit, as the Adjudicating Authorities for holding an inquiry in the manner prescribed after giving the person alleged to have committed contravention under Section 13, against whom a complaint has beenmade. Adjudicating Authority shall not hold an enquiry except upon a complaint in writing made by any officer authorised by a general or special order by the Central Government.

Appeal to Special Director (Appeals) Central Government shall, by notification, appoint one or more Special Directors (Appeals) to hear appeals against the orders of the Adjudicating Authorities. Every appeal shall be filed within forty-five days from the date on which the copy of the order made by the Adjudicating Authority is received by the aggrieved person and it shall be in such form, verified in such manner and be accompanied by prescribed fee.

Appeal to Appellate Tribunal Central Government or any person aggrieved by an order made by an Adjudicating Authority, or the Special Director (Appeals), may prefer an appeal to the Appellate Tribunal. Every appeal shall be filed within a period of forty-five days from the date on which a copy of the order made by the Adjudicating Authority or the Special Director (Appeals) is received by the aggrieved person or by the Central Government and it shall be in such form, verified in such manner and be accompanied by such prescribed.

Appeal to High Court Any person aggrieved by any decision or order of the Appellate Tribunal may file an appeal to the High Court within sixty days from the date of communication of the decision or order of the Appellate Tribunal to him on any question of law arising out of such order.

(b) Duty of persons to realise foreign exchange due:

A person resident in India to whom any amount of foreign exchange is due or has accrued shall, save as otherwise provided under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, or the Rules and Regulations made thereunder, or with the general or special permission of the Reserve Bank of India, take all reasonable steps to realise and repatriate to India such foreign exchange, and shall in no case do or refrain from doing anything, or take or refrain from taking any action, which has the effect of securing –

a). that the receipt by him of the whole or part of that foreign exchange is delayed; or

b). that the foreign exchange ceases in whole or in part to be receivable by him.

Manner of Repatriation

(1) On realisation of foreign exchange due, a person shall repatriate the same to India, namely bring into, or receive in, India and –

a) sell it to an authorised person in India in exchange for rupees; or
b) retain or hold it in account with an authorised dealer in India to the extent specified by the Reserve Bank; or
c) use it for discharge of a debt or liability denominated in foreign exchange to the extent and in the manner specified by the Reserve Bank.

(2) A person shall be deemed to have repatriated the realised foreign exchange to India when he receives in India payment in rupees from the account of a bank or an exchange house situated in any country outside India, maintained with an authorised dealer.

Period for surrender of realised foreign exchange: A person not being an individual resident in India shall sell the realised foreign exchange to an authorised person, within the period specified below :-

 

i) foreign exchange due or accrued as remuneration for services rendered, whether in or outside India, or in settlement of any lawful obligation, or an income on assets held outside India, or as inheritance, settlement or gift, within seven days from the date of its receipt;

ii) in all other cases within a period of ninety days from the date of its receipt.

(c) According to Section 42 of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, where a person committing a contravention of any of the provisions of the Act or of any rule, direction or order made thereunder is a company, every person who, at the time the contravention was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the contravention and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

It may be noted that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to punishment if he proves that the contravention took place without his knowledge or that he exercised due diligence to prevent such contravention.

Where a contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or of any rule, direction or order made thereunder has been committed by a company and it is proved that the contravention has taken place with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect 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 the contravention and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

DISCLAIMER: The case law presented here is only for sharing knowledge and information with readers. The views are personal. In case of necessity do consult with professionals for better understanding and clarity on subject matter.


 

Published by

FCS Deepak Pratap Singh
(Manager Compliance -SBI General Insurance Co. Ltd.)
Category Corporate Law   Report

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