Companies Act, 1956
Sec 209 - Books of account to be kept by company.
(1) Every company shall keep at its registered office proper books of account with respect to:
(a) all sums of money received and expended by the company and the matters in respect of which the receipt and expenditure take place ;
(b) all sales and purchases of goods by the company ;
(c) the assets and liabilities of the company ; and
(d) in the case of a company pertaining to any class of companies engaged in production, processing, manufacturing or mining activities, such particulars relating to utilization of material or labor or to other items of cost as may be prescribed, if such class of companies is required by the Central Government to include such particulars in the books of account :
Provided that all or any of the books of account aforesaid may be kept at such other place in India as the Board of directors may decide and when the Board of directors so decides, the company shall, within seven days of the decision, file with the Registrar a notice in writing giving the full address of that other place.
(2) Where a company has a branch office, whether in or outside India, the company 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 summarized returns, made up to dates at intervals of not more than three months, are sent by the branch office to the company at its registered office or the other place referred to in sub-section (1).
(3) For the purposes of sub-sections (1) and (2), proper books of account shall not be deemed to be kept with respect to the matters specified therein,
(a) if there are not kept such books as are necessary to give a true and fair view of the state of the affairs of the company or branch office, as the case may be, and to explain its transactions ; and
(b) if such books are not kept on accrual basis and according to the double entry system of accounting.
(4) The books of account and other books and papers shall be open to inspection by any director during business hours.
(4A) The books of account of every company relating to a period of not less than eight years immediately preceding the current year together with the vouchers relevant to any entry in such books of account shall be preserved in good order :
Provided that in the case of a company incorporated less than eight years before the current year, the books of account for the entire period preceding the current year together with the vouchers relevant to any entry in such books of account shall be so preserved.
(5) If any of the persons referred to in sub-section (6) fails to take all reasonable steps to secure compliance by the company with the requirements of this section, or has by his own willful act been the cause of any default by the company thereunder, he shall, in respect of each offence, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both :
Provided that in any proceedings against a person in respect of an offence under this section consisting of a failure to take reasonable steps to secure compliance by the company with the requirements of this section, it shall be a defense to prove that a competent and reliable person was charged with the duty of seeing that those requirements were complied with and was in a position to discharge that duty:
Provided further that no person shall be sentenced to imprisonment for any such offence unless it was committed willfully.
(6) The persons referred to in sub-section (5) are the following, namely :
(a) where the company has a managing director or manager, such managing director or manager and all officers and other employees of the company; and;
(d) where the company has neither a managing director nor manager, every director of the company.
(7) If any person, not being a person referred to in sub-section (6), having been charged by the managing director, manager or Board of directors, as the case may be, with the duty of seeing that the requirements of this section are complied with, makes a default in doing so, he shall, in respect of each offence, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both.