Which all companies received a notice or warning from their respective regional registrar of companies (RRoC) for non-compliance or for not reporting on their CSR? Many of you must have read this piece of news in a mainstream business daily as per which the Registrar of Companies (RoC) had sent notices to over 100 companies for non-compliance. That is not true, though. As Team CauseBecause was soon to learn, straight from the horse’s mouth, until the date of publication of the said news, no notice had been sent to any company by the RoC.

Taking the right to information (RTI) route, Team CB submitted a two-sentence request with the ministry of corporate affairs. To reproduce: As per a media report, RoC had sent warning notices to companies for non-disclosure or improper disclosure of their CSR. Please share the names of the companies along with their official contacts.

The request was acknowledged and forwarded to the RoC. They, in turn, forwarded the request to all regional registrar of companies (RRoC), requiring them to respond directly to CauseBecause keeping the RoC in the loop. Considering that each state typically has one registrar office or shares an office with neighbouring states and/or union territories, what followed was an interesting flow of speed posts to CauseBecause office from across India.

The majority of reverts were as crisp as could be, with a simple one-line reply stating that they had not sent any such notice. The ones who did send – three to be precise – shared the list of companies that they had sent notices to.  a) Meghalaya, one of the farthest states relative to Delhi, was the first one to respond and shared the names of the 36 companies that it had questioned. b) Tamil Nadu RRoC revealed that they had sent ‘show cause’ notices to 665 companies. c) Kerala RRoC shared names of three companies to whom it had sent a warning.

Here in the North, the reply from Delhi and Haryana RoC was unexpectedly sad. The RoC stated that the information was ‘confidential’ and could not be brought under RTI (does a different law apply to them?).

Another disappointment was from Kolkata RoC – their letter demanded to know the meaning of the word ‘warning’ and asked for clarity on our simple two-sentence question. Isn’t clarity on this very point the least one can expect from a babu at RoC?

Another vague reply was from Chhattisgarh – the public information officer there wrote back saying ‘this letter is in revert to your RTI No. … dated…’ And that was it. There was nothing beyond that – no answer to the query, no attachment, no information, and no commitment that they would send another letter with the all-important answer (seemed more like a clerical trick to fill the files saying that the reply letter had been sent, without actually revealing anything).

The Punjab and Chandigarh RoC maintained that they had not sent any notice/warning to any company. However, they also attached a copy of an appeal/case containing the update that Central Information Commission (CIC) had taken a decision to make such information available online on their website and asked us to refer to the same instead of filing an RTI. However, no information around CSR was found on their website.

Ranchi reverted stating that they were yet to become functional and hence any revert on the said RTI should be done via the central RoC office.

We could have engaged more with all of them. We could have pushed and pursued, questioned and counter-questioned. We also had the option of writing to nodal and appellate authorities, but that would have led to something else. Our purpose was mainly to check if there was any routine procedure, system, mechanism or process under which the ministry or RoC would monitor CSR reporting. In this sense, we had got our answer; reading their replies, you may get yours too.

Here are the responses, as they came, from all RRoCs:

RRoC State/UT

Letter reference no.

Revert to CB RTI

Gujarat

ROC/RTI/UDC/593/2016

‘This office
has not served any warning to the companies in the matter of CSR spending.
However, information has been called from companies by invoking Section
206(1) of the Companies Act, 2013.’

Chhattisgarh

ROC-cum-OL-CG/133/RTI/2016/974

‘I am to
refer to your RTI application… and enclose list/names of companies…’

 

As it turned out, this revert meant
nothing. They neither denied nor affirmed if they had sent any notice/warning,
nor did they attach any list as mentioned.

Goa

ROCGDD/RTI/1475

‘As per the
records maintained by this office, it has not served any warning about non-disclosure
or improper disclosure of their CSR.’

Bihar

ROC-cum-OL/PAT/RTI/62

‘No
information regarding warning about non-disclosure or improper disclosure of
CSR spending is available in the office as per record maintained by this
office.’

Chandigarh

ROC/RTI/834

‘Nil.’ 

Rajasthan

E/74a/RTI/2016-17/1124

‘There are no
such companies registered within the state of Rajasthan to whom the RoC has
served warning about non-disclosure or improper disclosure of CSR.’

Jharkhand

OL/JHR/A/23/RTI/362

To RoC: “As
RRoC Jharkhand is yet to become functional at Ranchi, you are requested to
doing the needful at your end as this is pertaining to your office.’

Odisha

ROC/RTI/2016/819

‘In this
connection, it is stated that as per the records maintained by this office,
no such warning has been served about non-disclosure or improper disclosure
of their CSR spending.’

Uttarakhand

RTI/ROC/OL/UK/2016-17/3000

‘It is
informed that no warning has been issued to any company for non-disclosure or
improper disclosure of CSR.’

Madhya Pradesh

NO-ROC-C/RTI/2016/1922

‘Based on the information received,
25 companies have been identified for issuing SCN u/s 135/134 (3) (o) of the
Companies Act, 2013, on CSR spending amount.’

 

Kerala

Est/GF.162/F.1032/2013/2016

“This office have issued show cause
notice for violation of Section 135 (1) of the Companies Act 2013 and Section
134 (3) (o) read with Companies (CSR) Rules, 2014, to the non-compliant 3
companies/directors.’ 

 

CauseBecause has the list of the
directors and the companies, but for now decided against publishing the same in
the public domain.

West Bengal

ROC/LEGAL/RTI/295

‘It is stated
that information sought for is not clear and specific. Please clarify your
query and also the word “warning” so that information (if available with this
office) may be provided by this office.’

 

This revert left Team CauseBecause
wondering as to how to further simplify a simple question…

 

 

Karnataka

F.No.06/ROCB/RTI/AUG-2016

‘RoC
Bangalore has not served any warning letter for non-disclosure or improper
disclosure of CSR spending.’

Tamil Nadu

RTI/ROC/OR-98/2016

‘Prima Facie, notices calling for
information with regard to CSR with reference to Section 135 read along with
Section 134 (3) (o) of the Companies Act 2013 were sent under Section 206 (1)
of the Companies Act 2013 to 665 companies. Out of which some replies are yet
to be received. However, the same is under examination.’

 

The names of the 665 companies have
been withheld

Maharashtra

(RoC Pune)

ROCP/CP/RTIA-2005/2016/5106

‘As per
records maintained by this office, it is informed that no such warning was
served to the companies.’

Maharashtra

(RoC Mumbai)

ROC/RTI/2016/August/2M/1806

‘I hereby
inform you that no companies have been served warning about the
non-disclosure or improper disclosure of their CSR.’

Uttar Pradesh

RTI-2016-17/2970

‘In this
connection it is informed that no warning has been issued to any company for
non-disclosure or improper disclosure of CSR.’

Puducherry

F.No.3 (140) / 2016

‘As per the
records, the warnings served to companies by this office for non-disclosure
or improper disclosure of CSR spending is nil.’

Delhi & Haryana

RTI/2016/AP/677

‘With respect to the information
sought, it has to be stated that the same cannot be given in view of
provision of Section 8 (1) of the RTI Act, 2005.’

 

Himachal Pradesh

Legal/HP/RTI/282

‘It is stated
that this office has not issued any warning to any company for non-disclosure
or improper disclosure of CSR till date.’

Meghalaya

ROC/SHI/RTI/1456

‘The show cause notices have been
issued to the 36 Companies which belong to this region as per attachment.’

 

CauseBecause is not making this
list public.