Introduction To Companies Act 2013
The term ‘company’ implies an association of a number of persons for some common object or objects. In fact, the purposes for which people may wish to associate are multifarious. But companies act 2013 where the term ‘company’ normally refers to the associations for economic purpose i.e., to carry on a business.
In legal terminology, a company means a company incorporated or registered under ‘the Company Act, 2013’ or under any of the other Companies legislation.[i] In its legal form, the law creates an artificial entity i.e. a company. It has a separate identity independent of its members.
Hence, This artificial legal person like any other ordinary human being:
- has many rights and
- incurs many liabilities.
Basically, Companies are of various types such as:
- One Person Company (OPC)
- Private Limited Company
- Public Limited Company[ii]
- Company Without Share Capital (Charitable Company).[iii]
Aforesaid first three types of company are private in its nature. Means they are a private company while the ‘public limited company’ is not a private company.
A company is registered initially as a private company may be converted into a public company. Such conversion may be by choice, or by default or by operation of law.[iv]
However, the conversion of a company does not affect the legal identity of the company.
Meaning of Private Limited Company
As per Section 2(68) of the Companies Act, 2013, “private company” means a company having a minimum paid-up share capital of one lakh rupees or such higher paid-up share capital as may be prescribed and by its article
(a) restricts the right to transfer its share;
(b) limits the number of its members to two hundred; and
(c) prohibits any invitations to the public to subscribe for any shares in, or debentures of, the company.
However, After the 2015 amendment of Companies Act, the restriction of minimum capital requirement is waived off for all types of companies.
Let us now discuss the implications of each of these restrictions on the company i.e Private Limited Company.
Restriction on the right of members to transfer their shares
The articles of association(AoA) of a private company must specifically have a provision restricting the right of the members to transfer their shares. It means that the shares of a private company are not as freely transferable as those of the public companies. But it does not mean that the shares of a private company cannot be transferred at all. Further, the AoA generally provide that whenever a member of a private company desires to transfer his shares, he must offer them to the existing members at a price to be determined by the directors.
Restriction on the maximum number of members
A private limited company is also required to limit the maximum number of its members to two hundred. It means that the number of members in a private company can be between two and two hundred.
While counting the members, the following are not to be included:
i) persons who are in the employment of the company and by virtue of their employees happen to be members of the company, and
ii) persons, who, having been in the employment of the company, were members of the company while in that employment and have continued to be members after the employment ceased.
Where two or more persons hold one or more shares of the company jointly, they shall be treated as a single member for the purpose of counting the number.
Prohibition on the invitation to the public
This restriction implies that a private limited company must not issue a prospectus or any other public invitation, directly or indirectly to the general public so as to invite them to invest in its shares or debentures.
The public may include any section of the public whether selected as members or the debenture holders of the company or as customers of the person issuing the prospectus, or in any other manner.
In simple words, it means that a private company cannot issue an invitation to the public. It has to make its own private arrangement to raise its capital.
[i] S. 2(20) of Companies Act, 2013.
[ii] S. 3 of Companies Act, 2013.
[iii] S. 8(1) & (2) of Companies Act, 2013.
[iv] S. 14(1) of Companies Act, 2013.
[v] S. 4(1)(a) of Companies Act, 2013.