Section 128 of Companies Act, 2013 – Books of Account, etc., to be kept by Company

  • Updated Till : November 29, 2022


[Effective from 1st April, 2014]

(1) Every company shall prepare and keep at its registered office books of account and other relevant books and papers and financial statement for every financial year which give a true and fair view of the state of the affairs of the company, including that of its branch office or offices, if any, and explain the transactions effected both at the registered office and its branches and such books shall be kept on accrual basis and according to the double entry system of accounting:

Provided that all or any of the books of account aforesaid and other relevant papers may be kept at such other place in India as the Board of Directors may decide and where such a decision is taken, the company shall, within seven days thereof, file with the Registrar a notice in writing giving the full address of that other place:

Provided further that the company may keep such books of account or other relevant papers in electronic mode in such manner as may be prescribed.

(2) Where a company has a branch office in India or outside India, it shall be deemed to have complied with the provisions of sub-section (1), if proper books of account relating to the transactions effected at the branch office are kept at that office and proper summarised returns periodically are sent by the branch office to the company at its registered office or the other place referred to in sub-section (1).

(3) The books of account and other books and papers maintained by the company within India shall be open for inspection at the registered office of the company or at such other place in India by any director during business hours, and in the case of financial information, if any, maintained outside the country, copies of such financial information shall be maintained and produced for inspection by any director subject to such conditions as may be prescribed:

Provided that the inspection in respect of any subsidiary of the company shall be done only by the person authorised in this behalf by a resolution of the Board of Directors.

(4) Where an inspection is made under sub-section (3), the officers and other employees of the company shall give to the person making such inspection all assistance in connection with the inspection which the company may reasonably be expected to give.

(5) The books of account of every company relating to a period of not less than eight financial years immediately preceding a financial year, or where the company had been in existence for a period less than eight years, in respect of all the preceding years together with the vouchers relevant to any entry in such books of account shall be kept in good order:

Provided that where an investigation has been ordered in respect of the company under Chapter XIV, the Central Government may direct that the books of account may be kept for such longer period as it may deem fit.

(6) If the managing director, the whole-time director in charge of finance, the Chief Financial Officer or any other person of a company charged by the Board with the duty of complying with the provisions of this section, contravenes such provisions, such managing director, whole-time director in charge of finance, Chief Financial officer or such other person of the company shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees but which may extend to five lakh rupees or with both.

Applicable Rules

Companies(Accounts) Amendment Rules, 2015

[Rule 2A. Notice of address at which books of account are to be maintained.—For the purposes of the first proviso to sub-section (1) of section 128, the notice regarding address at which books of account may be kept shall be in Form AOC-5][1]

Companies (Accounts) Rules, 2014

[Effective from 1st April, 2014]

Rule 2. Definitions.—(1) In these rules, unless the context otherwise requires,—

(a) “Act” means the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013);

(b) “Annexure” means the Annexure to these rules;

(c) “Fees” means the fees as specified in the Companies (Registration Offices and Fees) Rules, 2014;

(d) “Form” or ‘e-Form” means a form set forth in Annexure to these rules which shall be used for the matter to which it relates;

(e) “Schedule” means the Schedule to the Act;

(f) “section” means the section of the Act;

(2) The words and expressions used in these rules but not defined and defined in the Act or in the Companies (Specification of definitions details) Rules, 2014, shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the Act or in the said Rules.

Rule 3. Manner of books of account to be kept in electronic mode.—(1) The books of account and other relevant books and papers maintained in electronic mode shall remain accessible in India so as to be usable for subsequent reference.

(2) The books of account and other relevant books and papers referred to in sub-rule (1) shall be retained completely in the format in which they were originally generated, sent or received, or in a format which shall present accurately the information generated, sent or received and the information contained in the electronic records shall remain complete and unaltered.

(3) The information received from branch offices shall not be altered and shall be kept in a manner where it shall depict what was originally received from the branches.

(4) The information in the electronic record of the document shall be capable of being displayed in a legible form.

(5) There shall be a proper system for storage, retrieval, display or printout of the electronic records as the Audit Committee, if any, or the Board may deem appropriate and such records shall not be disposed of or rendered unusable, unless permitted by law:

Provided that the back-up of the books of account and other books and papers of the company maintained in electronic mode, including at a place outside India, if any, shall be kept in servers physically located in India on a periodic basis.

(6) The company shall intimate to the Registrar on an annual basis at the time of filing of financial statement—

(a) the name of the service provider;

(b) the internet protocol address of service provider;

(c) the location of the service provider (wherever applicable);

(d) where the books of account and other books and papers are maintained on cloud, such address as provided by the service provider.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this rule, the expression “electronic mode” includes “electronic form” as defined in clause (r) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of Information Technology Act, 2000 (21 of 2000) and also includes an electronic record as defined in clause (t) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (21 of 2000) and “books of account” shall have the meaning assigned to it under the Act.

Rule 4. Conditions regarding maintenance and inspection of certain financial information by directors.—(1) The summarised returns of the books of account of the company kept and maintained outside India shall be sent to the registered office at quarterly intervals, which shall be kept and maintained at the registered office of the company and kept open to directors for inspection.

(2) Where any other financial information maintained outside the country is required by a director, the director shall furnish a request to the company setting out the full details of the financial information sought, the period for which such information is sought.

(3) The company shall produce such financial information to the director within fifteen days of the date of receipt of the written request.

(4) The financial information required under sub-rules (2) and (3) shall be sought for by the director himself and not by or through his power of attorney holder or agent or representative.

[1] Inserted by the Companies (Accounts) Amendment Rules, 2015 vide Notification No. G.S.R.37(E) dated 16th January, 2015

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