MUMBAI: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has shot off a fresh warning to listed companies to appoint, at least, one woman director on their Boards by the April 1 deadline failing which they would face regulatory action.
The market regulator was informed by the stock exchanges that close to one-third of the top 500 listed companies do not have any woman on their Boards.
A senior official confirmed news to PTI that Sebi has proactively written to more than 160 such companies to ensure compliance. Some of these companies have informed Sebi that they are taking necessary steps to meet the deadline.
Sebi has also written to the corporate affairs ministry requesting it to inform registered companies of complying with the requirement to have at least one woman director before April 1.Sebi had asked all listed companies to have, at least, one woman director on their Boards by October 1, 2014.
However, the deadline was later extended to April 1 at the request of the corporates as they had asked for more time to find suitable candidates. Sebi is of the view that giving a further extension would send the wrong signal on a crucial issue.
Sebi had earlier this year sought details from the stock exchanges about the compliance with the one-woman director norm in the top-500 companies. After it found that more than 160 of those did not have any woman director, the regulator initiated a detailed framework to ensure compliance within the given timeline.
The exchanges have been now asked to ensure adherence to the timeline by all listed companies and to initiate action against those failing to appoint at least one woman on their board by the end of this month. After Sebi’s direction last February, many companies had stepped up efforts to have woman directors on their Boards and nearly 500 female members were nominated to Boards till December 2014 although many of them happen to be family members of the promoters.