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Companies Act, 1956

Sec 478 - Power to order public examination of promoters, directors, etc.

(1) When an order has been made for winding up a company by the Court, and the Official Liquidator has made a report to the Court under this Act, stating that in his opinion a fraud has been committed by any person in the promotion or formation of the company, or by any officer of the company in relation to the company since its formation, the Court may, after considering the report, direct that that person or officer shall attend before the Court on a day appointed by it for that purpose, and be publicly examined as to the promotion or formation or the conduct of the business of the company, or as to his conduct and dealings as an officer thereof.

(2) The Official Liquidator shall take part in the examination, and for that purpose may, if specially authorized by the Court in that behalf, employ such legal assistance as may be sanctioned by the Court.

(3) Any creditor or contributory may also take part in the examination either personally or by any advocate, attorney or pleader entitled to appear before the Court.

(4) The Court may put such questions to the person examined as it thinks fit.

(5) The person examined shall be examined on oath, and shall answer all such questions as the Court may put, or allow to be put, to him.

(6) A person ordered to be examined under this section--

(a) shall, before his examination, be furnished at his own cost with a copy of the Official Liquidator's report ; and

(b) may at his own cost employ, an advocate, attorney or pleader entitled to appear before the Court, who shall be at liberty to put to him such questions as the Court may deem just for the purpose of enabling him to explain or qualify any answers given by him.


(a) If any such person applies to the Court to be exculpated from any charges made or suggested against him, it shall be the duty of the Official Liquidator to appear on the hearing of the application and call the attention of the Court to any matters which appear to the Official Liquidator to be relevant.

(b) If the Court, after hearing any evidence given or witnesses called by the Official Liquidator, grants the application, the Court may allow the applicant such costs as it may think fit.

(8) Notes of the examination shall be taken down in writing, and shall be read over to or by, and signed by, the person examined ; and may thereafter be used in evidence against him, and shall be open to the inspection of any creditor or contributory at all reasonable times.

(9) The Court may, if it thinks fit, adjourn the examination from time to time.

(10) An examination under this section may, if the Court so directs and subject to any rules made in this behalf, be held before any District Judge, or before any officer of the High Court, being an Official Referee, Master, Registrar or Deputy Registrar.

(11) The powers of the Court under this section as to the conduct of the examination, but not as to costs, may be exercised by the Judge or officer before whom the examination is held in pursuance of sub-section (10).

Companies Act, 1956 Back

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