Companies, which have failed to comply with the Sebi norm of appointing at least one woman director on their board will have to pay a fine of at least Rs 50,000 which could go progressively higher depending on the period of non-compliance.
The circular issued on Wednesday said that all companies which have not yet complied with the norm but manage to do so by June 2015 will be levied a fine of Rs 50,000. Companies, which comply between July and September 2015, will be charged Rs 50,000 and an additional fine of Rs 1,000 per day till the date of compliance.
“For any non-compliance beyond September 30, 2015, SEBI may take any other action, against the non-compliant entities, their promoters and/or directors or issue such directions in accordance with law, as considered appropriate,” said the Sebi circular issued by deputy general manager, Harini Balaji.
In February 2014, Sebi had issued a guideline asking listed companies to appoint at least one woman director on their board by October 1, 2014. This deadline was later relaxed to April 1, 2015.
According to data from Prime database, capital market data tracker, as many as 180 companies on the NSE had not complied with the norms as of April 1, 2015 when the deadline drew to a close. Of the 180, 32 were state-owned firms like GAIL, ONGC, Punjab National Bank, NTPC and SAIL, among others.
Sebi chairman Sinha had last month warned corporates against non-compliance and hinted at possible penalties being levied on such companies.
“Having at least one women director in the board is a Sebi requirement and also the Companies Act requirement...I suspect that there are still a number of companies who have not found competent women to be in their board. Such attitude should be contained. What messages are we giving to the outside world on a small matter like this?” he had said at a capital market summit organised by CII last month.