Bare Acts


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Chapter X – AUDIT AND AUDITORS

Section 139 – Appointment of auditors
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Chapter, every company shall, at the first annual general meeting, appoint an individual or a firm as an auditor who shall hold office from the conclusion of that meeting till the conclusion of its sixth annual general meeting and thereafter till the conclusion of every sixth meeting and the manner and procedure of selection of auditors by the members of the company at such meeting shall be such as may be prescribed:

Provided that the company shall place the matter relating to such appointment for ratification by members at every annual general meeting:

Provided further that before such appointment is made, the written consent of the auditor to such appointment, and a certificate from him or it that the appointment, if made, shall be in accordance with the conditions as may be prescribed, shall be obtained from the auditor:

Provided also that the certificate shall also indicate whether the auditor satisfies the criteria provided in section 141:

Provided also that the company shall inform the auditor concerned of his or its appointment, and also file a notice of such appointment with the Registrar within fifteen days of the meeting in which the auditor is appointed.

Explanation.–For the purposes of this Chapter, “appointment” includes re-appointment.

(2) No listed company or a company belonging to such class or classes of companies as may be prescribed, shall appoint or re-appoint–

(a) an individual as auditor for more than one term of five consecutive years; and

(b) an audit firm as auditor for more than two terms of five consecutive years:

Provided that–

(i) an individual auditor who has completed his term under clause (a) shall not be eligible for re-appointment as auditor in the same company for five years from the completion of his term;

(ii) an audit firm which has completed its term under clause (b), shall not be eligible for re-appointment as auditor in the same company for five years from the completion of such term:

Provided further that as on the date of appointment no audit firm having a common partner or partners to the other audit firm, whose tenure has expired in a company immediately preceding the financial year, shall be appointed as auditor of the same company for a period of five years:

Provided also that every company, existing on or before the commencement of this Act which is required to comply with provisions of this sub-section, shall comply with the requirements of this sub-section within three years from the date of commencement of this Act:

Provided also that, nothing contained in this sub-section shall prejudice the right of the company to remove an auditor or the right of the auditor to resign from such office of the company.

(3) Subject to the provisions of this Act, members of a company may resolve to provide that–

(a) in the audit firm appointed by it, the auditing partner and his team shall be rotated at such intervals as may be resolved by members; or

(b) the audit shall be conducted by more than one auditor.

(4) The Central Government may, by rules, prescribe the manner in which the companies shall rotate their auditors in pursuance of sub-section (2).

Explanation.–For the purposes of this Chapter, the word “firm” shall include a limited liability partnership incorporated under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008 (6 of 2009).

(5) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), in the case of a Government company or any other company owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the Central Government, or by any State Government or Governments, or partly by the Central Government and partly by one or more State Governments, the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India shall, in respect of a financial year, appoint an auditor duly qualified to be appointed as an auditor of companies under this Act, within a period of one hundred and eighty days from the commencement of the financial year, who shall hold office till the conclusion of the annual general meeting.

(6) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the first auditor of a company, other than a Government company, shall be appointed by the Board of Directors within thirty days from the date of registration of the company and in the case of failure of the Board to appoint such auditor, it shall inform the members of the company, who shall within ninety days at an extraordinary general meeting appoint such auditor and such auditor shall hold office till the conclusion of the first annual general meeting.

(7) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) or sub-section (5), in the case of a Government company or any other company owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the Central Government, or by any State Government, or Governments, or partly by the Central Government and partly by one or more State Governments, the first auditor shall be appointed by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India within sixty days from the date of registration of the company and in case the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India does not appoint such auditor within the said period, the Board of Directors of the company shall appoint such auditor within the next thirty days; and in the case of failure of the Board to appoint such auditor within the next thirty days, it shall inform the members of the company who shall appoint such auditor within the sixty days at an extraordinary general meeting, who shall hold office till the conclusion of the first annual general meeting.

(8) Any casual vacancy in the office of an auditor shall–

(i) in the case of a company other than a company whose accounts are subject to audit by an auditor appointed by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, be filled by the Board of Directors within thirty days, but if such casual vacancy is as a result of the resignation of an auditor, such appointment shall also be approved by the company at a general meeting convened within three months of the recommendation of the Board and he shall hold the office till the conclusion of the next annual general meeting;

(ii) in the case of a company whose accounts are subject to audit by an auditor appointed by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, be filled by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India within thirty days:

Provided that in case the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India does not fill the vacancy within the said period, the Board of Directors shall fill the vacancy within next thirty days.

(9) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (1) and the rules made thereunder, a retiring auditor may be re-appointed at an annual general meeting, if–

(a) he is not disqualified for re-appointment;

(b) he has not given the company a notice in writing of his unwillingness to be re-appointed; and

(c) a special resolution has not been passed at that meeting appointing some other auditor or providing expressly that he shall not be re-appointed.

(10) Where at any annual general meeting, no auditor is appointed or re-appointed, the existing auditor shall continue to be the auditor of the company.

(11) Where a company is required to constitute an Audit Committee under section 177, all appointments, including the filling of a casual vacancy of an auditor under this section shall be made after taking into account the recommendations of such committee.

Section 140 – Removal, resignation of auditor and giving of special notice
(1) The auditor appointed under section 139 may be removed from his office before the expiry of his term only by a special resolution of the company, after obtaining the previous approval of the Central Government in that behalf in the prescribed manner:

Provided that before taking any action under this sub-section, the auditor concerned shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

(2) The auditor who has resigned from the company shall file within a period of thirty days from the date of resignation, a statement in the prescribed form with the company and the Registrar, and in case of companies referred to in sub-section (5) of section 139, the auditor shall also file such statement with the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, indicating the reasons and other facts as may be relevant with regard to his resignation.

(3) If the auditor does not comply with sub-section (2), he or it shall be punishable with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees but which may extend to five lakh rupees.

(4) (i) Special notice shall be required for a resolution at an annual general meeting appointing as auditor a person other than a retiring auditor, or providing expressly that a retiring auditor shall not be re-appointed, except where the retiring auditor has completed a consecutive tenure of five years or, as the case may be, ten years, as provided under sub-section (2) of section 139.

(ii) On receipt of notice of such a resolution, the company shall forthwith send a copy thereof to the retiring auditor.

(iii) Where notice is given of such a resolution and the retiring auditor makes with respect thereto representation in writing to the company (not exceeding a reasonable length) and requests its notification to members of the company, the company shall, unless the representation is received by it too late for it to do so,–

(a) in any notice of the resolution given to members of the company, state the fact of the representation having been made; and

(b) send a copy of the representation to every member of the company to whom notice of the meeting is sent, whether before or after the receipt of the representation by the company,

and if a copy of the representation is not sent as aforesaid because it was received too late or because of the company’s default, the auditor may (without prejudice to his right to be heard orally) require that the representation shall be read out at the meeting:

Provided that if a copy of representation is not sent as aforesaid, a copy thereof shall be filed with the Registrar:

Provided further that if the Tribunal is satisfied on an application either of the company or of any other aggrieved person that the rights conferred by this sub-section are being abused by the auditor, then, the copy of the representation may not be sent and the representation need not be read out at the meeting.

(5) Without prejudice to any action under the provisions of this Act or any other law for the time being in force, the Tribunal either suo motu or on an application made to it by the Central Government or by any person concerned, if it is satisfied that the auditor of a company has, whether directly or indirectly, acted in a fraudulent manner or abetted or colluded in any fraud by, or in relation to, the company or its directors or officers, it may, by order, direct the company to change its auditors:

Provided that if the application is made by the Central Government and the Tribunal is satisfied that any change of the auditor is required, it shall within fifteen days of receipt of such application, make an order that he shall not function as an auditor and the Central Government may appoint another auditor in his place:

Provided further that an auditor, whether individual or firm, against whom final order has been passed by the Tribunal under this section shall not be eligible to be appointed as an auditor of any company for a period of five years from the date of passing of the order and the auditor shall also be liable for action under section 447.

Explanation I.–It is hereby clarified that the case of a firm, the liability shall be of the firm and that of every partner or partners who acted in a fraudulent manner or abetted or colluded in any fraud by, or in relation to, the company or its director or officers.

Explanation II.–For the purposes of this Chapter the word “auditor” includes a firm of auditors.

Section 141 – Eligibility, qualifications and disqualifications of auditors
(1) A person shall be eligible for appointment as an auditor of a company only if he is a chartered accountant:

Provided that a firm whereof majority of partners practising in India are qualified for appointment as aforesaid may be appointed by its firm name to be auditor of a company.

(2) Where a firm including a limited liability partnership is appointed as an auditor of a company, only the partners who are chartered accountants shall be authorised to act and sign on behalf of the firm.

(3) The following persons shall not be eligible for appointment as an auditor of a company, namely:–

(a) a body corporate other than a limited liability partnership registered under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008 (6 of 2009);

(b) an officer or employee of the company;

(c) a person who is a partner, or who is in the employment, of an officer or employee of the company;

(d) a person who, or his relative or partner–

(i) is holding any security of or interest in the company or its subsidiary, or of its holding or associate company or a subsidiary of such holding company:

Provided that the relative may hold security or interest in the company of face value not exceeding one thousand rupees or such sum as may be prescribed;

(ii) is indebted to the company, or its subsidiary, or its holding or associate company or a subsidiary of such holding company, in excess of such amount as may be prescribed; or

(iii) has given a guarantee or provided any security in connection with the indebtedness of any third person to the company, or its subsidiary, or its holding or associate company or a subsidiary of such holding company, for such amount as may be prescribed;

(e) a person or a firm who, whether directly or indirectly, has business relationship with the company, or its subsidiary, or its holding or associate company or subsidiary of such holding company or associate company of such nature as may be prescribed;

(f) a person whose relative is a director or is in the employment of the company as a director or key managerial personnel;

(g) a person who is in full time employment elsewhere or a person or a partner of a firm holding appointment as its auditor, if such persons or partner is at the date of such appointment or reappointment holding appointment as auditor of more than twenty companies;

(h) a person who has been convicted by a court of an offence involving fraud and a period of ten years has not elapsed from the date of such conviction;

(i) any person whose subsidiary or associate company or any other form of entity, is engaged as on the date of appointment in consulting and specialised services as provided in section 144.

(4) Where a person appointed as an auditor of a company incurs any of the disqualifications mentioned in sub-section (3) after his appointment, he shall vacate his office as such auditor and such vacation shall be deemed to be a casual vacancy in the office of the auditor.

Section 142 – Remuneration of auditors
(1) The remuneration of the auditor of a company shall be fixed in its general meeting or in such manner as may be determined therein:

Provided that the Board may fix remuneration of the first auditor appointed by it.

(2) The remuneration under sub-section (1) shall, in addition to the fee payable to an auditor, include the expenses, if any, incurred by the auditor in connection with the audit of the company and any facility extended to him but does not include any remuneration paid to him for any other service rendered by him at the request of the company.

Section 143 – Powers and duties of auditors and auditing standards
(1) Every auditor of a company shall have a right of access at all times to the books of account and vouchers of the company, whether kept at the registered office of the company or at any other place and shall be entitled to require from the officers of the company such information and explanation as he may consider necessary for the performance of his duties as auditor and amongst other matters inquire into the following matters, namely:–

(a) whether loans and advances made by the company on the basis of security have been properly secured and whether the terms on which they have been made are prejudicial to the interests of the company or its members;

(b) whether transactions of the company which are represented merely by book entries are prejudicial to the interests of the company;

(c) where the company not being an investment company or a banking company, whether so much of the assets of the company as consist of shares, debentures and other securities have been sold at a price less than that at which they were purchased by the company;

(d) whether loans and advances made by the company have been shown as deposits;

(e) whether personal expenses have been charged to revenue account;

(f) where it is stated in the books and documents of the company that any shares have been allotted for cash, whether cash has actually been received in respect of such allotment, and if no cash has actually been so received, whether the position as stated in the account books and the balance sheet is correct, regular and not misleading:

Provided that the auditor of a company which is a holding company shall also have the right of access to the records of all its subsidiaries in so far as it relates to the consolidation of its financial statements with that of its subsidiaries.

(2) The auditor shall make a report to the members of the company on the accounts examined by him and on every financial statements which are required by or under this Act to be laid before the company in general meeting and the report shall after taking into account the provisions of this Act, the accounting and auditing standards and matters which are required to be included in the audit report under the provisions of this Act or any rules made thereunder or under any order made under sub-section (11) and to the best of his information and knowledge, the said accounts, financial statements give a true and fair view of the state of the company’s affairs as at the end of its financial year and profit or loss and cash flow for the year and such other matters as may be prescribed.

(3) The auditor’s report shall also state–

(a) whether he has sought and obtained all the information and explanations which to the best of his knowledge and belief were necessary for the purpose of his audit and if not, the details thereof and the effect of such information on the financial statements;

(b) whether, in his opinion, proper books of account as required by law have been kept by the company so far as appears from his examination of those books and proper returns adequate for the purposes of his audit have been received from branches not visited by him;

(c) whether the report on the accounts of any branch office of the company audited under sub-section (8) by a person other than the company’s auditor has been sent to him under the proviso to that sub-section and the manner in which he has dealt with it in preparing his report;

(d) whether the company’s balance sheet and profit and loss account dealt with in the report are in agreement with the books of account and returns;

(e) whether, in his opinion, the financial statements comply with the accounting standards;

(f) the observations or comments of the auditors on financial transactions or matters which have any adverse effect on the functioning of the company;

(g) whether any director is disqualified from being appointed as a director under sub-section (2) of section 164;

(h) any qualification, reservation or adverse remark relating to the maintenance of accounts and other matters connected therewith;

(i) whether the company has adequate internal financial controls system in place and the operating effectiveness of such controls;

(j) such other matters as may be prescribed.

(4) Where any of the matters required to be included in the audit report under this section is answered in the negative or with a qualification, the report shall state the reasons therefor.

(5) In the case of a Government company, the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India shall appoint the auditor under sub-section (5) or sub-section (7) of section 139 and direct such auditor the manner in which the accounts of the Government company are required to be audited and thereupon the auditor so appointed shall submit a copy of the audit report to the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India which, among other things, include the directions, if any, issued by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, the action taken thereon and its impact on the accounts and financial statement of the company.

(6) The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India shall within sixty days from the date of receipt of the audit report under sub-section (5) have a right to,–

(a) conduct a supplementary audit of the financial statement of the company by such person or persons as he may authorise in this behalf; and for the purposes of such audit, require information or additional information to be furnished to any person or persons, so authorised, on such matters, by such person or persons, and in such form, as the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India may direct; and

(b) comment upon or supplement such audit report:

Provided that any comments given by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India upon, or supplement to, the audit report shall be sent by the company to every person entitled to copies of audited financial statements under sub section (1) of section 136 and also be placed before the annual general meeting of the company at the same time and in the same manner as the audit report.

(7) Without prejudice to the provisions of this Chapter, the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India may, in case of any company covered under sub-section (5) or sub-section (7) of section 139, if he considers necessary, by an order, cause test audit to be conducted of the accounts of such company and the provisions of section 19A of the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971 (56 of 1971), shall apply to the report of such test audit.

(8) Where a company has a branch office, the accounts of that office shall be audited either by the auditor appointed for the company (herein referred to as the company’s auditor) under this Act or by any other person qualified for appointment as an auditor of the company under this Act and appointed as such under section 139, or where the branch office is situated in a country outside India, the accounts of the branch office shall be audited either by the company’s auditor or by an accountant or by any other person duly qualified to act as an auditor of the accounts of the branch office in accordance with the laws of that country and the duties and powers of the company’s auditor with reference to the audit of the branch and the branch auditor, if any, shall be such as may be prescribed:

Provided that the branch auditor shall prepare a report on the accounts of the branch examined by him and send it to the auditor of the company who shall deal with it in his report in such manner as he considers necessary.

(9) Every auditor shall comply with the auditing standards.

(10) The Central Government may prescribe the standards of auditing or any addendum thereto, as recommended by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, constituted under section 3 of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 (38 of 1949), in consultation with and after examination of the recommendations made by the National Financial Reporting Authority:

Provided that until any auditing standards are notified, any standard or standards of auditing specified by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India shall be deemed to be the auditing standards.

(11) The Central Government may, in consultation with the National Financial Reporting Authority, by general or special order, direct, in respect of such class or description of companies, as may be specified in the order, that the auditor’s report shall also include a statement on such matters as may be specified therein.

(12) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, if an auditor of a company, in the course of the performance of his duties as auditor, has reason to believe that an offence involving fraud is being or has been committed against the company by officers or employees of the company, he shall immediately report the matter to the Central Government within such time and in such manner as may be prescribed.

(13) No duty to which an auditor of a company may be subject to shall be regarded as having been contravened by reason of his reporting the matter referred to in sub-section (12) if it is done in good faith.

(14) The provisions of this section shall mutatis mutandis apply to–

(a) the cost accountant in practice conducting cost audit under section 148; or

(b) the company secretary in practice conducting secretarial audit under section 204.

(15) If any auditor, cost accountant or company secretary in practice do not comply with the provisions of sub-section (12), he shall be punishable with fine which shall not be less than one lakh rupees but which may extend to twenty-five lakh rupees.

Section 144 – Auditor not to render certain services
An auditor appointed under this Act shall provide to the company only such other services as are approved by the Board of Directors or the audit committee, as the case may be, but which shall not include any of the following services (whether such services are rendered directly or indirectly to the company or its holding company or subsidiary company, namely:–

(a) accounting and book keeping services;

(b) internal audit;

(c) design and implementation of any financial information system;

(d) actuarial services;

(e) investment advisory services;

(f) investment banking services;

(g) rendering of outsourced financial services; (h) management services; and

(i) any other kind of services as may be prescribed:

Provided that an auditor or audit firm who or which has been performing any non-audit services on or before the commencement of this Act shall comply with the provisions of this section before the closure of the first financial year after the date of such commencement.

Explanation.–For the purposes of this sub-section, the term “directly or indirectly” shall include rendering of services by the auditor,–

(i) in case of auditor being an individual, either himself or through his relative or any other person connected or associated with such individual or through any other entity, whatsoever, in which such individual has significant influence or control, or whose name or trade mark or brand is used by such individual;

(ii) in case of auditor being a firm, either itself or through any of its partners or through its parent, subsidiary or associate entity or through any other entity, whatsoever, in which the firm or any partner of the firm has significant influence or control, or whose name or trade mark or brand is used by the firm or any of its partners.

Section 145 – Auditor to sign audit reports, etc.
The person appointed as an auditor of the company shall sign the auditor’s report or sign or certify any other document of the company in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 141, and the qualifications, observations or comments on financial transactions or matters, which have any adverse effect on the functioning of the company mentioned in the auditor’s report shall be read before the company in general meeting and shall be open to inspection by any member of the company.

Section 146 – Auditors to attend general meeting
All notices of, and other communications relating to, any general meeting shall be forwarded to the auditor of the company, and the auditor shall, unless otherwise exempted by the company, attend either by himself or through his authorised representative, who shall also be qualified to be an auditor, any general meeting and shall have right to be heard at such meeting on any part of the business which concerns him as the auditor.

Section 147 – Punishment for contravention
(1) If any of the provisions of sections 139 to 146 (both inclusive) is contravened, the company shall be punishable with fine which shall not be less than twenty-five thousand rupees but which may extend to five lakh rupees and every officer of the company who is in default shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which shall not be less than ten thousand rupees but which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both.

(2) If an auditor of a company contravenes any of the provisions of section 139, section 143, section 144 or section 145, the auditor shall be punishable with fine which shall not be less than twenty-five thousand rupees but which may extend to five lakh rupees:

Provided that if an auditor has contravened such provisions knowingly or willfully with the intention to deceive the company or its shareholders or creditors or tax authorities, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and with fine which shall not be less than one lakh rupees but which may extend to twenty-five lakh rupees.

(3) Where an auditor has been convicted under sub-section (2), he shall be liable to–

(i) refund the remuneration received by him to the company; and

(ii) pay for damages to the company, statutory bodies or authorities or to any other persons for loss arising out of incorrect or misleading statements of particulars made in his audit report.

(4) The Central Government shall, by notification, specify any statutory body or authority or an officer for ensuring prompt payment of damages to the company or the persons under clause (ii) of sub-section (3) and such body, authority or officer shall after payment of damages to such company or persons file a report with the Central Government in respect of making such damages in such manner as may be specified in the said notification.

(5) Where, in case of audit of a company being conducted by an audit firm, it is proved that the partner or partners of the audit firm has or have acted in a fraudulent manner or abetted or colluded in any fraud by, or in relation to or by, the company or its directors or officers, the liability, whether civil or criminal as provided in this Act or in any other law for the time being in force, for such act shall be of the partner or partners concerned of the audit firm and of the firm jointly and severally.

Section 148 – Central Government to specify audit of items of cost in respect of certain companies
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Chapter, the Central Government may, by order, in respect of such class of companies engaged in the production of such goods or providing such services as may be prescribed, direct that particulars relating to the utilisation of material or labour or to other items of cost as may be prescribed shall also be included in the books of account kept by that class of companies:

Provided that the Central Government shall, before issuing such order in respect of any class of companies regulated under a special Act, consult the regulatory body constituted or established under such special Act.

(2) If the Central Government is of the opinion, that it is necessary to do so, it may, by order, direct that the audit of cost records of class of companies, which are covered under sub-section (1) and which have a net worth of such amount as may be prescribed or a turnover of such amount as may be prescribed, shall be conducted in the manner specified in the order.

(3) The audit under sub-section (2) shall be conducted by a Cost Accountant in practice who shall be appointed by the Board on such remuneration as may be determined by the members in such manner as may be prescribed:

Provided that no person appointed under section 139 as an auditor of the company shall be appointed for conducting the audit of cost records:

Provided further that the auditor conducting the cost audit shall comply with the cost auditing standards.

Explanation.–For the purposes of this sub-section, the expression “cost auditing standards” mean such standards as are issued by the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India, constituted under the Cost and Works Accountants Act, 1959 (23 of 1959), with the approval of the Central Government.

(4) An audit conducted under this section shall be in addition to the audit conducted under section 143.

(5) The qualifications, disqualifications, rights, duties and obligations applicable to auditors under this Chapter shall, so far as may be applicable, apply to a cost auditor appointed under this section and it shall be the duty of the company to give all assistance and facilities to the cost auditor appointed under this section for auditing the cost records of the company:

Provided that the report on the audit of cost records shall be submitted by the cost accountant in practice to the Board of Directors of the company.

(6) A company shall within thirty days from the date of receipt of a copy of the cost audit report prepared in pursuance of a direction under sub-section (2) furnish the Central Government with such report along with full information and explanation on every reservation or qualification contained therein.

(7) If, after considering the cost audit report referred to under this section and the information and explanation furnished by the company under sub-section (6), the Central Government is of the opinion that any further information or explanation is necessary, it may call for such further information and explanation and the company shall furnish the same within such time as may be specified by that Government.

(8) If any default is made in complying with the provisions of this section,–

(a) the company and every officer of the company who is in default shall be punishable in the manner as provided in sub-section (1) of section 147;

(b) the cost auditor of the company who is in default shall be punishable in the manner as provided in sub-sections (2) to (4) of section 147.

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