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A person who willfully misrepresents facts or omits material facts in the balance sheet or while filing any return or while furnishing any other document, or presents such facts which is known to be false by the concerned person, is liable for imprisonment of up to three years or with fine which may extend to one crore rupees. [1]

What is willful came up for consideration before Supreme Court in S. Sundaram Pillai’s [2] case wherein it was held that in order to be willful the act must be intentional, deliberate, calculated and conscious, with full knowledge of legal consequences flowing therefrom.

If a person fails to furnish documents, books, accounts or any statement which he is liable to produce under Section 35 or if he fails to answer any question which he was asked to by any inspection officer, he shall be punished with fine extending up to twenty lakh rupees per offence and if he refuses to follow the procedure fine may extend to fifty thousand rupees per day during which the offence continues.[3]

If a banking company receives any deposit which is in contravention of any order under Section 35(4)(a) of the Banking Regulation Act, all officers and directors will be deemed guilty and shall be punishable with a fine which may extend to twice the amount of the deposits so received unless the person proves that he was unaware of the contravention or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the occurrence of the contravention. Further, a person will be punishable with fine which may extend to one crore rupees or double the amount of default or contravention along with an additional charge which may extend to one lakh rupees per day will continue until the contravention or default ends,

  • if the person does not comply with the orders, direction or any rule made or imposed
  • any default has been made in carrying out the terms or obligations given under Section 45(7).

Where a company has defaulted any terms or order, every person employed by the company or responsible to the company or was in charge of the company at the time of occurrence of the contravention shall be punished. [4]

A provision similar to Section 46 (5) of the Banking Regulation Act is contained in Section 141 of Negotiable Instruments Act where it has been laid down by the Supreme Court that when a liability under Section 141 N.I. Act is sought to be fastened vicariously on a person connected with the company, the principal accused being company itself, a clear case should be spelt out in the complaint against the person sought to be made liable and it has to be shown that the said person was in fact in charge of and was responsible to the company for the conduct of the business of the company at the time of the alleged contravention or commission of offence.[5]

Further, Section 46A of the Banking Regulation Act states that every chairman who is appointed on a whole-time basis, managing director, director, auditor, liquidator, manager and any other employee of a banking company shall be deemed to be a public servant for the purposes of Chapter IX of the IPC. Chapter IX of IPC deals with offences by or relating to public servants.

Section 46A of the Banking Regulation Act, provides for officers of a bank to be deemed as public servants for the purposes of Chapter IX of the IPC.  Supreme Court considered whether officers of private banks should come within the ambit of Prevention of Corruption Act. When Prevention of Corruption Act was enacted, Sections 161-165A contained in Chapter IX of the IPC were repealed and the said offences were embodied in the substantive sections (Sections 7-12) of the PCA. The Court reasoned that the objectives of the PCA clearly specified that the statute was to make the anti-corruption law more effective and widen its coverage. The Bank Regulation Act deemed officers of banks to be public servants and thus, the pith and substance of Section 46A would not be defeated merely because the PCA repealed Section 161-165A (Offences in relation to public servants) of the IPC and engrafted the same in PCA, and an express provision to this effect was not made in Section 46A of the BR Act. After conjointly reading the provisions of PCA and BR Act, the court interpreted that officers of a private banking company would fall under the definition of a “public servant” as defined in the PCA.[6]


[1] Section 46 (1) Banking  Regulation Act 1949

[2] AIR 1985 SC 582

[3] Section 46 (2)

[4] Section 46 (5)

[5] In S.M.S. Pharmaceuticals Ltd. v. Neeta Bhalla (2007) 4 SCC 70, Ashok Chaturvedi and Ors. v. Shitul H. Chanchani and Anr (1998) 7 SCC 698, National Small Industries v. Harmeet Singh Paintal and Anr. (2010) 3 SCC 330

[6] Central Bureau of Investigation, Bank Securities and Fraud Cell and Ors. vs. Ramesh Gelli  AIR2016SC1063

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