ASIA LAW OFFICES
Our Response to COVID-19
The functioning of the Judicial System
- The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, High Courts, Subordinate Courts and all other Tribunals across India Country have suspended their normal functioning till 15th April 2020. Only cases related to extreme urgency are being taken up for hearings, either through video-conferencing or other alternative electronic modes.
- All matters and cases listed during the lockdown period are to be adjourned and the next date of hearing shall be provided by the respective courts/tribunals.
- All interim orders, injunctions and stay orders passed by the various Courts and Tribunals stand extended vide specific notifications and circulars of these Courts and Tribunals. Therefore, there is no requirement to approach the Courts seeking an extension of such orders.
- The limitation period with respect to all filings including Appeals, Petitions, Applications etc. before all Courts and Tribunals across India have been extended by the Hon’ble Supreme Court w.e.f. 15th March 2020 till further orders.
The NCLT and the NCLAT
- Only NCLT Chennai will be open and urgent matters, upon making an application directly to the Registrar, will be heard using videoconferencing and that no one should physically approach the NCLT Chennai.
- The NCLAT has passed a Suo-moto order clarifying that the period of the lockdown will be excluded for purpose of counting the period for CIRP as per Section 12 of IBC and any interim order/stay order passed in any Appeal shall continue until further orders. Therefore, the period of lockdown will be excluded from all the mandatory timelines provided under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (‘IBC’).
Ministry of Corporate Affairs (‘MCA’)
- The minimum threshold to determine default under the IBC has been raised from Rs. 1 Lakh to Rs. 1 Crore under Section 4 of the IBC.
- No additional fees/penalty is payable for delay in filing with the Registrar of Company during the period of 1st April 2020 to 30th September 2020.
- Relaxation in the mandatory requirements prescribed under Section 173 of the Companies Act, 2013 which provides for holding the first meeting of the Board of Directors within 30 days of the date of incorporation and thereafter holding a minimum of four meetings every year. The period for holding Board Meetings has been extended by 60 days till next two quarters i.e. till 30th September 2020. Further, the physical presence of Directors in Board Meeting has been relaxed till 30th June 2020 and the meetings may be held through video conferencing or other audio-visual means by duly ensuring compliance of the applicable rules.
- A form titled as “Companies Affirmation of Readiness towards COVID-19” to be filed by all Companies and Limited Liability Partnerships (‘LLP’) (Indian and Foreign) to ensure compliance with the measures taken to stall the progress of this pandemic.
- The Companies (Auditor’s Report) Order, 2020 shall be made applicable from the F.Y. 2020-2021 instead of being applicable from the F.Y. 2019-2020.
- Non-holding of even a single meeting of the Independent Directors with members of management shall not be construed as a violation for the F.Y. 2019-2020.
- Extension of up to 30th June 2020 for complying with the requirement of creating Deposit Repayment Reserve of 20% of the deposits maturing in the F.Y. 2020-2021 and for investing or depositing at least 15% of the number of debentures maturing in specific methods of investments or deposits.
- Additional period of 180 days has been allowed to newly incorporated companies to file declaration for Commencement of Business under Section 10A of the Companies Act, 2013.
- Non-compliance of minimum residency in India for a period of at least 182 days by at least one director of every company, under Section 149 of the Companies Act, 2013 not to be treated as a non-compliance for the F.Y. 2019-2020.
- Introduction of new Scheme called ‘Companies Fresh Start Scheme, 2020’. This scheme aims at condoning the delay and providing an opportunity to the companies to file belated documents with the Registrar of Companies while granting immunity from prosecution or imposition of penalty for the delay in filing of the documents.
- Introduction of ‘LLP Settlement Scheme, 2020’ by MCA wherein the defaulting LLPs have been permitted to file belated documents till 31st August 2020 while granting protection from prosecution with respect to delayed filing.
- Contributions made to PM CARES Fund shall qualify as CSR expenditure under the Companies Act, 2013.
- Extension of 30 days for making annual and semi-annual disclosures by Credit Rating Agencies (‘CRA’) on its websites for the period ended March 2020.
Securities and Exchange Board of India (‘SEBI’)
- Relaxation to Credit Rating Agencies in recognising delayed repayment or rescheduling of debt obligation as default event by SEBI.
- Extension in timelines by a reasonable period for press release and disclosures on the website of SEBI.
- Temporary relaxation to Foreign Portfolio Investors (‘FPI’) for registration/ continuance/KYC/KYC review and any other material change by sending scanned version of signed documents (instead of originals). Designated Depository Participants (‘DDP’) and other intermediaries have been asked to rely and process documents on the basis of these documents.
- Extension of two months for Portfolio Managers for compliance with certain requirements including monthly reporting to SEBI for the periods ending 31st March 2020 and 30th April 2020.
- Extension of regulatory filing deadlines for Alternate Investment Funds (‘AIF’) and Venture Capital Funds (‘VCF’) for periods ending 31st March 2020 and 30th April 2020 by 2 (two) months.
Taxation: Direct tax
- Extension of Aadhaar-PAN linking date to 30th June 2020.
- The date for making various investment/payment for claiming deduction under Chapter-VIA-B of IT Act which includes Section 80C (LIC, PPF, NSC etc.), 80D (Mediclaim), 80G (Donations) etc. has been extended to 30th June 2020. Hence the investment/payment can be made up to 30th June 2020 for claiming the deduction under these sections for FY 2019-20.
- The date for making investment/construction/purchase for claiming roll over benefit/deduction in respect of capital gains under sections 54 to 54GB of the IT Act has also been extended to 30th June 2020. Therefore, the investment/ construction/ purchase made up to 30th June 2020 shall be eligible for claiming deduction from capital gains arising during FY 2019-20.
- The date for commencement of operation for the SEZ units for claiming deduction under 10AA of the IT Act has also been extended to 30th June 2020 for the units which received necessary approval by 31st March 2020.
- The date for passing of order or issuance of notice by the authorities under various direct taxes & Benami Law has also been extended to 30the June 2020.
- Reduced rate of interest of 9% shall be charged for non-payment of Income-tax (e.g. advance tax, TDS, TCS) Equalization Levy, Securities Transaction Tax (STT), Commodities Transaction Tax (CTT) which are due for payment from 20th March 2020 to 29th June 2020 if they are paid by 30th June 2020. Further, no penalty/ prosecution shall be initiated for these non-payments.
- Under Vivad se Vishwas Scheme, the date has also been extended up to 30th June 2020. Hence, declaration and payment under the Scheme can be made up to 30th June 2020 without additional payment.
Taxation: InDirect tax
- Extension of the last date of filing of original as well as revised income-tax returns for the F.Y. 2018-19 (A.Y. 2019-20) as well as the last date for furnishing the Central Excise returns due in March 2020 has been extended to 30th June 2020.
- Last date of furnishing the Central Excise returns which are due in March, April and May 2020 has been extended to 30th June 2020.
- Wherever the last date for filing of appeal, refund applications etc., under the Central Excise Act, 1944 and rules made thereunder is from 20th March 2020 to 29th June 2020, the same has been extended to 30th June 2020.
- Wherever the last date for filing of appeal, refund applications etc., under the Customs Act, 1962 and rules made thereunder is from 20th March 2020 to 29th June 2020, the same has been extended to 30th June 2020.
- Wherever the last date for filing of appeal etc., relating to Service Tax is from 20th March 2020 to 29th June 2020, the same has been extended to 30th June 2020.
- The date for making payment to avail of the benefit under Sabka Vishwas Legal Dispute Resolution Scheme 2019 has been extended to 30th June 2020 thus giving more time to taxpayers to get their disputes resolved.
- In addition to the extension of time limits under the Taxation and Benami Acts as above, an enabling section has been inserted in the CGST Act, 2017 empowering the Government to extend due dates for various compliances inter-alia including the statement of outward supplies, filing refund claims, filing appeals, etc. specified, prescribed or notified under the Act, on recommendations of the GST Council.