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BSE fines 530 firms for delay in appointing women directors

The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has slapped fines on 530 listed companies for failing to meet a deadline to appoint a women director and boost gender diversity in their boardrooms, an official from the bourse said on Tuesday.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) last year imposed a quota of at least one female director on the board of every listed firm, and warned of “very serious” consequences if the thousands of companies did not comply by an April 1 deadline.

The BSE said in a statement that capital market regulator Sebi’s rules meant companies who failed to comply would face a scheduled fine. This ranges from Rs. 50,000 ($790) to Rs. 1.42 lakh ($2,240), till October 1, 2015. After this, they would pay an additional Rs. 5,000 ($78) per day until they complied.

“As per the provisions of the SEBI circular, BSE has till date (July 13) issued advisory letters to 530 companies regarding levy of fines for non-compliance with the said provision within the prescribed timelines,” said a statement.

A BSE spokesman said he could not disclose the names of the 530 firms from the 5,711 companies listed on the exchange that were being penalised.

The National Stock Exchange (NSE) said it had also sent out letters informing 260 listed firms, many of which are also listed on the BSE, of its intention to levy fines.

An NSE spokesman said Sebi could take further action against companies which had not paid up fines and appointed a woman director by September 30, 2015.

“SEBI may take any other action, against the non-compliant entities, their promoters and/or directors or issue such directions in accordance with law, as considered appropriate,” he said quoting the Sebi directive.

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