Corporate Governance Laws and Regulations India

corporate governance laws and regulations india

What are corporate governance laws and regulations in India? Corporate governance laws and regulations in India encompass a set of legal frameworks, guidelines and standards designed to ensure accountability, fairness and transparency in the management and control of companies. These laws primarily derive from the Companies Act, 2013, which provides comprehensive rules regarding the composition and functioning of the board of directors, disclosure requirements and stakeholder protection. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) further strengthens corporate governance through the Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements (LODR) Regulations, 2015, which mandate specific governance practices for listed companies, including the appointment of independent directors, formation of audit committees, and disclosure of material events and information.

In recent years, India has witnessed significant enhancements in corporate governance norms. The introduction of the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) by SEBI in 2021 mandates the top 1,000 listed companies to disclose their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives, emphasizing sustainability and ethical business practices. Additionally, amendments to the SEBI LODR Regulations in 2023 have introduced stringent criteria for determining the materiality of events for disclosure, ensuring timely and accurate information dissemination to stakeholders. 

Corporate Governance Laws and Regulations India

Corporate governance laws and regulations in India are designed to establish a framework for responsible management and control of companies. These regulations aim to protect the interests of various stakeholders, including shareholders, employees and the public, while fostering sustainable and ethical business practices. The primary sources of corporate governance regulations in India include; The Companies Act, 2013, and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) regulations, which provide comprehensive guidelines for the governance of companies, particularly listed entities.

1. Companies Act, 2013

The Companies Act, 2013 provides a detailed legal framework for the incorporation, regulation and dissolution of companies. The Act outlines the roles and responsibilities of the board of directors, mandates specific committees such as the audit committee and the nomination and remuneration committee, and sets forth requirements for financial reporting and disclosure. The Act’s emphasis on regular board meetings and AGMs fostering shareholder engagement in corporate operations. 

Some essential provisions that govern the corporate sector:

  • The Act requires boards of directors to convene meetings at least four times a year, with a maximum gap of 120 days between consecutive meetings. Regular board meetings facilitate robust deliberations on strategic matters, financial performance and risk management.
  • Every company, except a One-Person Company, is mandated to hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) each year. AGMs provide shareholders with a forum to engage with management, raise concerns, and exercise their voting rights.
  • The Act requires certain companies to constitute an audit committee, primarily composed of independent directors. The audit committee oversees financial reporting, internal controls, and risk management processes, enhancing the integrity of financial information and promoting investor confidence.
  • Private Companies having paid up share capital of Rs. 5 crores or more are required to appoint a full-time Company Secretary within 30 days from a resolution passed in the meeting. Company secretaries play a crucial role in ensuring compliance with statutory requirements and facilitating effective communication between the board and stakeholders.
  • The Act mandates companies to establish a vigil mechanism, commonly known as a whistleblower policy, to enable directors and employees to report instances of unethical behavior, fraud, or violations of the company’s code of conduct. 

2. Securities and Exchange Board of India

SEBI, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, plays a crucial role in shaping corporate governance laws and regulations in India, particularly in the securities market. Here’s a breakdown of how SEBI’s regulations contribute to corporate governance:

  • SEBI (ICDR) Regulation, 2009: This regulation is a set of guidelines established by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to regulate the issuance of securities by companies in India. These regulations mandate disclosure requirements, listing conditions, and price discovery mechanisms for companies issuing securities to the public. They aim to ensure transparency, investor protection, and fair market practices in the Indian capital market. Additionally, the regulations prescribe promoter contribution and lock-in requirements to align the interests of promoters with public shareholders.
  • SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements), 2015: This regulation focuses on enhancing corporate governance standards among listed companies. Good corporate governance is essential for maintaining investor confidence and ensuring the long-term sustainability of companies. The LODR regulations prescribe various corporate governance norms, such as the composition of the board of directors, the appointment of independent directors, the establishment of board committees (like audit committee, nomination and remuneration committee, etc.), and the conduct of board meetings. These requirements are designed to improve transparency, accountability, and oversight within listed companies.
  • SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) Regulations, 2015: Insider trading, trading based on non-public information, is prohibited under these regulations to safeguard market integrity. These regulations aim to maintain market integrity and protect the interests of investors by prohibiting the misuse of unpublished price-sensitive information by insiders for trading purposes. The regulations outline various provisions related to insider trading, including restrictions on trading by corporate insiders, disclosure requirements, and enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance.

3. Standard Listing Agreement of Stock Exchanges

The Standard Listing Agreement of Stock Exchanges serves as a critical component of Corporate Governance laws in India, Clause 49 of the Standard Listing Agreement of Stock Exchanges is a crucial corporate governance law in India. It outlines specific provisions that listed companies must adhere to, promoting transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct in corporate operations. This clause covers various aspects such as board composition, independent directors, audit committees, and disclosure requirements.

  • Composition of Board of Directors: Clause 49 mandates that the Board should include a specific number of independent directors.
  • Audit Committee Composition: The Audit Committee must consist of at least three directors, with two-thirds being independent directors.
  • Mandatory Financial Disclosure: The requirement for periodic disclosure of financial and commercial information, including details of director remuneration, aims to ensure transparency in corporate governance.
  • CEO/CFO Certification: CEOs and CFOs must certify that financial statements have been reviewed and comply with relevant laws and regulations.

4. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)

According to Section 129 of the Companies Act, 2013, financial statements of companies must comply with the accounting standards notified under Section 133 of the Act. These standards are designed to ensure that financial statements provide a true and fair view of the company’s state of affairs. Section 133 empowers the Central government to prescribe accounting standards recommended by ICAI. These standards are essential for maintaining good corporate governance practices within companies. Some key accounting standards issued by ICAI include:

  • Disclosure of accounting policies requires companies to disclose the accounting policies followed in preparing their financial statements, enhancing transparency and clarity.
  • Companies must adhere to standards determining the values at which inventories are carried in financial statements, ensuring accurate representation of asset values.
  • Cash flow statements enable the assessment of an enterprise’s ability to generate cash, providing insights into its liquidity position and operational performance.
  • Contingencies and events occurring after the balance sheet date

Several Key Corporate Governance Reforms Aimed at Fostering Transparency and Efficiency in Business Operations.

  • The Central Processing for Accelerated Corporate Exit (C-PACE) initiative was introduced to facilitate swift approvals in voluntary closures. Operational since May 1, 2023, C-PACE aims to expedite the processing of applications submitted by companies seeking to cease operations voluntarily.
  • Amendments to the Companies (Compromises, Arrangements and Amalgamations) Rules, 2016, empowered Regional Directors (RD) to facilitate faster merger approvals. If an RD fails to file an application before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) within the specified time limit, it will be deemed as no objection, expediting the approval process.
  • Competition (Amendment) Act, 2023, introduced significant changes to antitrust regulations, including lowering the threshold for transactions requiring approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to INR 20 billion. It also reduced the timeline for the CCI to issue final orders on combination transactions to 150 days and broadened the scope of entities considered part of anti-competitive agreements.
  • The Companies (Indian Accounting Standards) Amendment Rules, 2023, introduced amendments to IndAS 1, IndAS 8, and IndAS 12, focusing on enhancing disclosure requirements. These changes aimed to provide greater transparency in financial reporting.
  • General Circular no. 09/2023 extended timelines for virtual Annual and Extraordinary General Meetings, promoting flexibility in corporate procedures and ensuring broader participation.
  • Amendments to the Companies (Incorporation) Rules, 2014, eliminated processing costs for shifting registered offices after resolution plan approval under the Bankruptcy Code, facilitating smoother insolvency resolution processes.
  • Mandating dematerialization of shares for larger private companies through the Companies (Prospectus and Allotment of Securities) Second Amendment Rules, 2023, aligned regulations with contemporary market trends and promoted a paperless securities market.

Final Thoughts

Corporate governance rules and regulations in India form a robust framework aimed at fostering transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct within corporate entities. Governed by statutes like the Companies Act and regulations from entities like SEBI, these laws ensure a level playing field and promote investor confidence in the business landscape. Adhering to these regulations is crucial for companies seeking to establish or continue their operations in India. Compliance not only fulfills legal requirements but also enhances reputation, mitigates risks, and fosters sustainable business growth.

Empower Your Business with Compliant Governance

Discovering the intricacies of corporate governance rules and regulations in India is essential for businesses aiming to thrive in this dynamic market. With Burgeon Law’s specialized expertise, navigating these laws becomes not just a requirement but a strategic advantage. Our “Setting up in India” service page offers expert guidance tailored to your business needs, ensuring compliance while positioning your company for sustainable growth. 


1. What are the fundamental corporate governance laws in India?

Fundamental corporate governance laws in India are designed to ensure transparency, and ethical conduct in business. These include:

  • Companies Act, 2013: Governs corporate affairs, emphasizing board composition, disclosure requirements, and director responsibilities.
  • SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015: Mandates transparency for listed companies, covering governance practices, board functions, and financial disclosures.
  • SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) Regulations, 2015: Prevents insider trading, ensuring fair market practices and timely disclosure of material information.
  • Accounting Standards: Governed by ICAI, ensuring accuracy and comparability in financial reporting.

2. How do corporate governance regulations impact foreign companies in India?

Corporate governance regulations in India affect foreign companies by enforcing compliance, enhancing investor trust, mitigating risks, ensuring fair competition and promoting sustainable practices. Compliance is mandatory, signaling reliability and reducing risks, while non-compliance can lead to penalties and reputational damage. These regulations create a level playing field, encourage ESG integration, and foster long-term growth opportunities for foreign companies.

3. How significant is the board’s role in corporate governance in India?

The board’s role in corporate governance is highly significant in India. Boards are responsible for setting strategic direction, overseeing management, and ensuring accountability to stakeholders. They play a crucial role in upholding ethical standards, safeguarding the interests of shareholders, and promoting transparency in decision-making. Effective board oversight helps mitigate risks, enhance performance, and foster trust among investors.

4. How do corporate governance laws in India affect shareholder rights?

Corporate governance laws in India affect shareholder rights through enhanced disclosure, voting rights at meetings, proxy voting, approval for significant transactions, access to company information and mechanisms to hold boards accountable. These regulations aim to empower shareholders, foster transparency and ensure accountability within the corporate sector.

5. How can companies improve their corporate governance practices?

Companies can enhance their corporate governance practices through several key strategies:

  • Develop comprehensive governance policies and procedures that outline roles, responsibilities, and decision-making processes within the organization.
  • Maintain transparency in financial reporting and disclose relevant information to stakeholders in a timely and accurate manner to build trust and confidence.
  • Implement robust risk management processes to identify, assess, and mitigate risks that may impact the company’s performance and reputation.
  • Stay updated on relevant laws, regulations, and governance guidelines, ensuring compliance and adherence to industry best practices.

6. What resources are available for companies to learn about corporate governance in India?

Legal advisors and law firms play a crucial role in guiding companies on corporate governance practices in India. At Burgeon Law, we have expertise in corporate law and governance matters. We provide comprehensive legal advisory services tailored to assist companies in understanding and implementing corporate governance frameworks. Our team of experienced lawyers offers insights into regulatory requirements, best practices, and emerging trends in corporate governance. 

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