Govt mulls regulating corporate lobbying

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 15:12

Chennai: Amid the raging storm over the
Niira Radia tapes, Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid
today said his ministry would hold discussions with other
ministries to regulate corporate lobbying.

"There is no law on this now. Today we do not have
anything in the draft that is before Parliament. But we may
have to find some other way of regulating it," Khurshid told
reporters here when asked if there is a move to ban or
regulate corporate lobbying.

When asked about Radia tapes, the minister said, he will
have to take all the ministers for a view before moving
forward.

Following the leakage of conversations of corporate
lobbyist Niira Radia with politicians, corporates and media
persons, which have stirred a hornets` nest, Tata Group
Chairman Ratan Tata has moved the Supreme Court against the
leakage of tapes involving him and corporate lobbyist Niira
Radia and further publication of the same.

HDFC Chairman Deepak Parikh had also commented on
telephone tapping and leakage of `private conversations`
saying that the
morale of the industry has been hurt by such
incidents.

Lobbying is a legitimate business in countries like the
US. However it is not recognised in India in statutory or
non-statutory form.

On the other hand, Diljeet Titus, senior partner of law
firm Titus & Co, said, "Lobbying, which basically means
influencing government decisions externally, could invite
Prevention of Corruption Act and may also go against the
service rules for bureaucrats".

Lalit Bhasin, managing partner Bhasin & Co, said, "In the
US lobbying is not only for corporates, but also for
appointing judges. It is a flourishing industry there, a
recognised mode of canvassing... In India, it is a developing
phenomena like the Public Relations."

He added that lobbying, which is an act of trying to
influence government leaders, is not seen as good corporate
practice in India.

When asked about Chennai-based Green House Promoters, a
real estate company, owned by family of Sadiq Basha, a close
aide of former Telecom Minister A Raja who was questioned by
CBI regarding the 2G spectrum issue, Khurshid said the
ministry has not yet received any complaint. "Somebody has to
complain to us."

On the Subhiksha Trading Services fiasco in which the
Chennai-based retailer was forced to shut all its stores early
last year after a cash crunch, Khurshid said they faced some
legal complications on the issue.

"There are some legal complications and therefore we have
to be guided by what the Court has said. Obviously we have a
role and we will do that," he said.

To a query on setting up of a National Company Law
Tribunal, he said, "It is coming after the budget session".
The National Company Law Tribunal was proposed in the
2002 amendment to the Companies Act.

Khurshid was here to participate in a seminar `Corporate
Sustainability: The Driver of Innovation` organised by
industry body FICCI.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 15:12

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