Definition of ‘Company in which the public are substantially interested’ – Income Tax

As per S.2(18) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, unless the context otherwise requires, a company is said to be a company in which the public are substantially interested:

(a) if it is a company owned by the Government or the Reserve Bank of India or in which not less than forty per cent of the shares are held (whether singly or taken together) by the Government or the Reserve Bank of India or a corporation owned by that bank; or

(aa) if it is a company which is registered under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956; or

(ab) if it is a company having no share capital and if, having regard to its objects, the nature and composition of its membership and other relevant considerations, it is declared by order of the Board to be a company in which the public are substantially interested:

Provided that such company shall be deemed to be a company in which the public are substantially interested only for such assessment year or assessment years (whether commencing before the 1st day of April, 1971, or on or after that date) as may be specified in the declaration; or

(ac) if it is a mutual benefit finance company, that is to say, a company which carries on, as its principal business, the business of acceptance of deposits from its members and which is declared by the Central Government under section 620A of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956), to be a Nidhi or Mutual Benefit Society; or

(ad) if it is a company, wherein shares (not being shares entitled to a fixed rate of dividend whether with or without a further right to participate in profits) carrying not less than fifty per cent of the voting power have been allotted unconditionally to, or acquired unconditionally by, and were throughout the relevant previous year beneficially held by, one or more co-operative societies;

(b)  if it is a company which is not a private company as defined in the Companies Act, 1956, and the conditions specified either in item (A) or in item (B) are fulfilled, namely:

(A) shares in the company (not being shares entitled to a fixed rate of dividend whether with or without a further right to participate in profits) were, as on the last day of the relevant previous year, listed in a recognised stock exchange in India in accordance with the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956 (42 of 1956), and any rules made thereunder;

(B) shares in the company (not being shares entitled to a fixed rate of dividend whether with or without a further right to participate in profits) carrying not less than fifty per cent of the voting power have been allotted unconditionally to, or acquired unconditionally by, and were throughout the relevant previous year beneficially held by:

(a) the Government, or

(b) a corporation established by a Central, State or Provincial Act, or

(c) any company to which this clause applies or any subsidiary company of such company if the whole of the share capital of such subsidiary company has been held by the parent company or by its nominees throughout the previous year.

Explanation:

In its application to an Indian company whose business consists mainly in the construction of ships or in the manufacture or processing of goods or in mining or in the generation or distribution of electricity or any other form of power, item (B) shall have effect as if for the words “not less than fifty per cent”, the words “not less than forty per cent” had been substituted.