Difference Between Winding Up And Striking Off a Company in India

  • Setindiabiz Team
  • January 8, 2024
Difference Between Winding Up And Striking Off a Company in India

Imagine this! You've poured your heart and soul into building a company, but things didn't work out for some reason. Your company either failed to kickstart operations in the first place or is facing huge losses in the market. Would you still want to run a company that is costing more than it's worth to you? Believably not! You would immediately want to close it off, and based on the status of your company, there are two ways you can do so - Strike-off and Winding Up. Let’s understand these two processes in detail. Also, we will draw a sharp comparison highlighting the difference between winding up and strike off for a clearer and more comprehensive understanding.

BRIEF SUMMARY
Striking off is a process that simply removes a company’s name from the ROC’s Register of Incorporated Companies. It’s a simpler approach, perfect for companies with past inactivity, less complicated financial status, minimal revenues, and zero assets or liabilities. On the other hand, winding up is a more extensive process and suitable for shutting down an actively operational company with revenues, assets, and accumulated liabilities. It requires liquidation by Insolvency Professionals appointed by the NCLT. Hence, the major difference between winding up and strike off lies in their applicability to companies. Other parameters of difference which we will explore further, are based on this very distinction.

What is Striking off a Company?

Well Striking-off, as the name suggests is the process by which the name of your company gets struck-off or removed from the register containing the names of incorporated companies in India. The effect is that it loses its “incorporated” status and hence carries no further legal existence to conduct any operations or activities in its name. The process is mentioned in Section 248 of the Companies Act and can only be undertaken if the company meets the following criteria:
What is Striking off a Company?
  • Inactivity: The company should have been inactive for a continuous period of at least two years from the date of application for striking off or for a period of one year from the date of incorporation. Inactivity implies the absence of any business transactions, operations, or significant accounting entries during this period.
  • No Capital Deposited: A company is also eligible for being struck-off if its shareholders have not deposited any capital for 6 months from the date of company incorporation.
  • Current Bank Account Closed: The company must not have any bank balance or outstanding liabilities. All dues, including statutory liabilities, such as tax obligations and outstanding loans, should be settled before the period of inactivity. Finally, after clearing the dues, the bank account must be closed off.
  • No Legal Proceedings: The company should not be involved in any legal proceedings, such as pending disputes or litigations. It should not be subject to any investigation or prosecution by regulatory authorities.
  • No Property or Assets: The company should not possess any immovable property or assets in its name. If there are any assets, they should be disposed of and the proceeds distributed before the period of inactivity.
As far as the process of striking off is concerned, it involves several key steps. Firstly, a consent from at least 75% of the company’s shareholders is obtained in writing or a special resolution. Registrations, licenses and identity documents of the company, if active and valid, are surrendered and the company’s bank account is closed. Financial statements showing nil assets and liabilities are prepared by a practicing Chartered Accountant (CA). All directors sign an indemnity bond, affidavit, and pass a board resolution to strike off the company. Next, an application in Form STK-2 is filed to the ROC and if approved, your company is struck-off.

What is Winding Up a Company?

Winding up, also known as liquidation, is the legal process of bringing a company’s existence to an end. It involves the selling off of the company’s assets, settling its liabilities, distributing the remaining funds, if any, to the stakeholders, and finally closing off the company forever. Winding up can be initiated voluntarily by the company or compulsorily by an order from the court.

There are two types of winding up:

  1. Voluntary Winding Up: This occurs when the company passes a resolution to wind up voluntarily. This can happen under two circumstances.
    1. Members’ Voluntary Winding Up: Applicable when the company is solvent and can pay its debts in full within a period of twelve months from the commencement of winding up. The decision to wind up must be approved by a special resolution passed by the shareholders, and a liquidator is appointed to oversee the process.
    2. Creditors’ Voluntary Winding Up: Applicable when the company is insolvent and unable to pay its debts in full. In this case, a meeting of the company’s creditors is held, where they nominate a liquidator to manage the winding-up process.
  2. Compulsory Winding Up: This occurs when the court orders the winding up of the company. It is usually initiated by creditors, shareholders, or regulatory authorities due to the company’s inability to meet its financial obligations or other legal non-compliances. The court appoints an official liquidator to handle the process.
There is only one eligibility criteria a company must meet to get wound up, viz, it must be actively conducting its business operations. A dormant or inactive company cannot be wound up. As far as the reasons for winding up goes, they may be manifold. The common ones include insolvency, inability to pay debts, financial distress, business failure, irreconcilable disputes among shareholders, regulatory violations, and other just and equitable grounds as determined by the court.
The process of winding up a company involves appointing a liquidator to oversee the winding-up process, assessing and settling the company’s debts and obligations, selling off its assets to repay outstanding liabilities, distributing any remaining funds to shareholders after settling all debts, and finally obtaining the necessary approvals to dissolve the company.

Key Difference Between Strike Off and Winding Up a Company

When it comes to closing a company in India, two commonly considered options are strike off and winding up. While both methods involve the termination of a company’s existence, there are significant differences in their procedures, eligibility criteria, and legal implications. Understanding the difference between strike off and winding up is essential for business owners and stakeholders to make informed decisions about a company’s closure, whether it is unprecedented or static.

Table of Difference between Strike Off and Winding Up a Company

Parameters Striking Off Winding Up
Definition
The process of removing a defunct company from the register of Incorporated companies.
The legal process of bringing a company's existence to an end.
Authority
Registrar of Companies (ROC)
National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT)
Initiated By
Company or ROC
Shareholders, Creditors or NCLT
Company Status
Companies must be inactive, have no assets, or liabilities.
Companies must be active, have assets and liabilities
Approval Required
Approval from Registrar of Companies (RoC) required.
Shareholders' or court approval required.
Liquidator Appointed
Not applicable.
Appointed to manage the winding-up process.
Settlement of Debts
Not required as there are no liabilities.
Mandatory
Asset Distribution
Not Required as there are no assets.
Mandatory, if assets remain after settling the dues
Timeframe
Relatively quicker process.
Can be a lengthy process.
Legal Consequences
Company's name struck off from the Register of Incorporated Companies
Company is formally dissolved
Complexity
Less complex compared to winding up.
More complex due to legal obligations and procedures.
Legal Proceedings
No court involvement required.
Court involvement may be required in certain cases.
Restoration
Can be restored by making an application to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) within a specified period.
Cannot be Restored

When faced with the decision to close a company in India, it is crucial to carefully evaluate the difference between winding up and strike off. A thorough understanding of these differences play a vital role in determining the most suitable approach for company closure. Key considerations include the company’s financial standing, liabilities, regulatory compliance, employee and creditor claims, future business prospects, tax implications, and the desired level of formality. By taking these factors into account, stakeholders can make informed decisions and navigate the complexities of both strike off and winding up a company.

Conclusion

FAQs

Q1: What is the primary difference between winding up and strike off?

The fundamental difference between winding up and strike off lies in their applicability to companies. Strike off is applicable to inactive companies with no assets or liabilities, while winding up is for actively operational companies with assets, liabilities, and a need for formal closure.

Q2: Who is responsible for strike off and winding up a company in India?

Strike off is initiated and approved by the Registrar of Companies (RoC), whereas winding up requires approval from shareholders, creditors, liquidator and the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), making it a more exhaustive process.

Q3: What role does a liquidator play in winding up a company?

In winding up, a liquidator is appointed to manage the process, assess and settle debts, and distribute assets. In striking off, no liquidator is appointed as there are no assets or liabilities involved.
Legal proceedings are minimal in strike off and the process is completed only by filing suitable application and documents to the ROC. On the other hand, Winding Up requires extensive legal proceedings by the NCLT and the liquidator appointed to settle the company’s assets and liabilities.

Q5: Can a company be restored after strike off and winding up?

A struck-off company can be restored by applying to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) within a specified period. In winding up, restoration is not possible once the company is formally dissolved.

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