Various Schemes launched by MCA during COVID 19 pandemic for providing much required relaxation to Companies/ LLPs from certain compliance requirements/ deadlines, are detailed here-under:
i) Companies Fresh Start Scheme (CFSS) 2020:-
MCA has notified the Companies Fresh Start Scheme (CFSS) 2020 vide General Circular No. 12/2020 dt. 30/03/2020, for providing opportunities to Companies to rectify any filing related defaults, regardless of their pendency/ duration, and to make a fresh start as a fully compliant entity.
The Scheme condoned the delay in filing the belated documents and provided immunity from penalty proceedings/ prosecutions arising out of such delayed filing of documents.
No additional fees was charged for late filing during the moratorium period from 01/04/2020 to 31/12/2020 in respect of documents, returns etc. required to be filed in MCA-21 Registry.
As per records, 4,73,131 Indian Companies & 1,065 Foreign Companies have been benefited by availing the CFSS, 2020 scheme for filing their pending documents.
ii) LLP Settlement Scheme, 2020:-
Further, MCA has notified the LLP Settlement Scheme 2020, vide Notification dt. 04/03/2020 for providing one time opportunity of relaxation/ waiver of additional fees payable by defaulting Limited Liability Partnerships (‘LLPs’) applicable for rectifying/ filing of pending documents with the ROC.
The LLP settlement scheme was initially rolled out from 16/03/2020 to 31/03/2020 for certain filings by LLPs. Further, due to the COVID 19 pandemic the said scheme was further modified and expanded from 01/04/2020 to 31/12/2020 to cover all e-forms.
As per records, 1,05,643 LLPs have been benefited by availing the LLP settlement scheme 2020 for filing their pending documents.
iii) Scheme for relaxation of time for filing forms related to creation or modification of charges under the Act:-
MCA has also introduced the Scheme for relaxation of time for filing forms related to creation or modification of charges under the Act, vide General Circular No. 23/2020 dt. 17/06/2020, where-
a) the date of creation/ modification of charge is before 01/03/2020, but the timeline for filing such form had not expired under section 77 of the Act as on 01/03/2020 and if the form is filed on or before 31/12/2020, the fees payable as on 29/02/2020 under the Fees Rules for the said form shall be charged. If the form is filed thereafter, the applicable fees shall be charged under the Fees Rules after adding the number of days beginning from 01/01/2021 and, ending on the date of filing plus the time period lapsed from the date of the creation of charge till 29/02/2020.
b) the date of creation/ modification of charge is falls on any date between 01/03/2020 to 31/12/2020 and If the form is filed before 31/12/2020, normal fees shall be payable under the Fees Rules. If the form is filed thereafter, the First day after the date of creation/ modification of charge shall be reckoned as 01/01/2021 and the number of days till the date of filing of the form shall be counted accordingly for the purposes of payment of fees under the Fees Rules.
iv) Scheme for Condonation of delay for Restored Companies by NCLT between 01/12/2020 to 31/12/2020:-
MCA has also announced a Condonation of Delay Scheme for Companies restored by NCLT under section 252 of the Act vide Circular No. 3/2021 dt. 15/01/2021, in order to provide benefit of filing overdue forms and to provide waiver of additional fees for companies restored by NCLT during 01/12/2020 to 31/12/2020.
The Scheme provides to condone delay in filing forms with the Registrar, and spares payment of additional fees. Certain other terms are stipulated and are available in the Scheme document. This Scheme is in operation from 01/02/2021 and will be available for filing of any overdue e-forms by such companies till 31/03/2021.
v) Amendments under IBC:-
MCA has also raised the default threshold u/s 4 of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) from Rs. 1 lac to Rs. 1 crore vide Notification dt. 24/03/2020.
Also, the IBC (Second Amendment) Act, 2020 was notified on 23/09/2020 giving effect from 05/06/2020 for inserting Section 10A to IBC, which has provided for temporary suspension of initiation of Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) u/s 7, 9 and 10 of the Code for a period of six months or such further period not exceeding one year from 25/03/2020. The benefit thereof is applicable to defaults of the corporate debtors that occur from 25/03/2020 and till the end of period of suspension. The said suspension has been extended vide notification dated 22/12/2020 for further period of three months from 25/12/2020. Such defaults arising between 25/03/2020 and till completion of suspension period will remain as non-est (invalid) for the purpose of initiation of CIRP under the Code as Permanent carve out.
Section 66 of IBC has also been amended to provide protection to directors from personal liability for COVID-19 period defaults.
Source: MoF, GOI Press Release dt. 08/02/2021 (1696288)