17. Offences by companies.-
(1) If the person committing an offence under this Act or the Scheme is a company, every person who at the time the offence was committed was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly:
Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment, if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act or the Scheme has been committed by a company, and it is proved that the offence was committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
(3) Where any offence under this Act or the Scheme is committed by a company not registered in India and such a company has an agent in India which agent is also a company, then the provisions of this section shall apply to such agent as if the offence was committed by that agent.
Explanation.-For the purposes of this section-
(a) "company" means any body corporate and includes a firm and other association of individuals; and
(b) "director", in relation to a firm, means a partner in the firm.