By Venkatesh Nayak*
I am sharing with you a copy of the representation I have recently submitted along with renowned academic and public intellectual – Prof. Jagdeep Chhokar, to The Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India with cc to The Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, urging the initiation of appropriate action against M/s. Sudarshan TV Channel (UIN: U92112PN2003PTC018392) under the Companies Act, 2013 (click HERE to see the representation).
You may recall, in its order dated 15th September, 2020, in the matter of Firoz Iqbal v. Union of India, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 856/2020, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India found the contents of the programme Bindaas Bol telecast between the 11th and the14th of September, 2020 by Sudarshan TV Channel, objectionable. The Court reasoned that the publication of patently false information in the guise of news coupled with a deliberate design to persecute a minority which is constitutionally entitled to dignity and equal regard which is afforded to all Indians was “not just palpably erroneous but [which] have been made in wanton disregard of the truth.”
So, a representation has been made to the competent authorities in the Government of India to initiate proceedings before the jurisdictional National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for winding up M/s. Sudarshan TV Channel- a company registered under the Companies Act, 2013- in accordance with Sections 271(b) read with Section 272(1)(f) of that Act. The relevant provisions of the Companies Act are reproduced below:
“271. Circumstances in which company may be wound up by Tribunal.— A company may, on a petition under Section 272, be wound up by the Tribunal,—
(a) if the company has, by special resolution, resolved that the company be wound up by the Tribunal;
(b) if the company has acted against the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality;
(c) if on an application made by the Registrar or any other person authorised by the Central Government by notification under this Act, the Tribunal is of the opinion that the affairs of the company have been conducted in a fraudulent manner or the company was formed for fraudulent and unlawful purpose or the persons concerned in the formation or management of its affairs have been guilty of fraud, misfeasance or misconduct in connection therewith and that it is proper
that the company be wound up;
(d) if the company has made a default in filing with the Registrar its financial statements or annual returns for immediately preceding five consecutive financial years; or
(e) if the Tribunal is of the opinion that it is just and equitable that the company should be wound up.”
“272. Petition for winding up.— (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a petition to the Tribunal for the winding up of a company shall be presented by—
(a) the company;
(b) any contributory or contributories;
(c) all or any of the persons specified in clauses (a) and (b);
(d) the Registrar;
(e) any person authorised by the Central Government in that behalf; or
(f ) in a case falling under clause (b) of Section 271, by the Central Government or a State Government.
(2) A contributory shall be entitled to present a petition for the winding up of a company, notwithstanding that he may be the holder of fully paid-up shares, or that the company may have no assets at all or may have no surplus assets left for distribution among the shareholders after the satisfaction of its liabilities, and shares in respect of which he is a contributory or some of them were either originally allotted to him or have been held by him, and registered in his name, for at least six months during the eighteen months immediately before the commencement of the winding up or have devolved on him through the death of a former holder.
(3) The Registrar shall be entitled to present a petition for winding up under Section 271, except on the grounds specified in clause (a) of that section:
Provided that the Registrar shall obtain the previous sanction of the Central Government to the presentation of a petition:
Provided further that the Central Government shall not accord its sanction unless the company has been given a reasonable opportunity of making representations.
(4) A petition presented by the company for winding up before the Tribunal shall be admitted only if accompanied by a statement of affairs in such form and in such manner as may be prescribed.
(5) A copy of the petition made under this section shall also be filed with the Registrar and the Registrar shall, without prejudice to any other provisions, submit his views to the Tribunal within sixty days of receipt of such petition.”
The aforementioned provisions of the Companies Act, 2013 came into force on 15/12/2016.
The Central Government has been urged to duly consider the attached representation and to initiate proceedings for winding up in the jurisdictional National Company Law Tribunal, of the Company, M/s Sudarshan TV Channel Limited, under the aforementioned provisions of the Companies Act, 2013 for its commission of acts prejudicial to public order, constitutional morality and indeed to the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India. I have filed this representation in my individual capacity as a concerned citizen.
*Senior Right to Information activist