The Burmah Oil Company [Acquisition of Shares of Oil India Limited and of the Undertakings in India of Assam Oil Company Limited and the Burmah Oil Company (India Trading) Limited] Act, 1981

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An Act being one of Central Government was enacted as ‘The Burmah Oil Company [Acquisition of Shares of Oil India Limited and of the Undertakings in India of Assam Oil Company Limited and the Burmah Oil Company (India Trading) Limited] Act, 1981’ (Act no. 41 of 1981). The purpose for which it is provided is for making of provisions as to acquiring the shares of the ‘Oil India Limited’ in the interest of public, which was held by the ‘Burma Oil Company Limited’ also the acquiring and transferring of the right, title, etc. of the ‘Assam Oil Company Limited’ and also of the ‘Burmah Oil Company (India Trading) Limited’  relating to their India based Undertakings so as to securing the ownership and control of the India based Undertaking of the Assam Oil Company Limited’s produced crude oil, gas and petroleum products. And provisions also provided for the said Undertaking’s marketed and distributed petroleum products in India of the Burmah Oil Company (India Trading) Limited. It was earlier observed that the shares of the ‘Oil India Limited’ which is held by the ‘Burmah Oil Company Limited’ and ‘Burma Oil Company (India Trading) Limited’, were to be acquired in the interest of Public and also for giving the effect to the State’s policy contemplated under Article 39 of the Constitution of India. As such, the present enactment was effected and passed. The present Act was enacted by the Indian Parliament in the 32 year of the republic of India and was assented by the President of India on 28th day of September, 1981.

The Act under its first chapter make preliminary provisions where certain terms were sought to define along with short titling of the Act. However, the most relevant provisions are contained under second chapter of the Act so far as the purpose and object of the Act relating to the acquisition of the Shares as aforesaid is concerned. It is specified wherein that all the shares in the capital of Oil India Limited which were held by the Burmah Oil Company limited, are to be transferred and vested in the Central Government, without any encumbrances, obligations, etc. And it is also made clear that if any dividend for any shares is payable by the Oil India Limited, from the date 1st January, 1977, the same to be paid to the Central Government. And for the enabling the Oil India for function as the Government Company, it is required from the Central Government to bring changes and modification in the Articles of Association- AOA and Memorandum of Association- MOA of that company by way of amending them and also such Government can provide for other necessary provisions, irrespective of whatever contained in the Companies Act, 1956.

Similar important provisions provided under chapter III of the Act, where it is given that the rights, titles, etc. of the two foreign companies namely Assam Oil Company Limited and Burmah Oil Company (India Trading) Limited, in relation to their undertakings situated in India, to be treated as transferred and vested in the Central Government under this Act. And such transfer and vesting is also required to include the transferring and vesting of all assets, rights, powers, privileges, etc. of those companies relating to their undertakings in India. It is further made clear that all the deeds, agreements, bonds, grants, etc. relating to those undertakings to be treated to have full force and effect after such transfer and vesting. Also any legal actions pending in relation to those Undertakings are also to be continued by the Central Government.

It is specially provided that any rights interest in the Properties in India held by that company earlier to such transfer, should be treated after such transfer and vesting, as that are held by the Central Government with similar terms and conditions. The provisions of section 9 is also important as, the same is dealing with the Central Government’s power to issue directions to the effect that the right, title, etc. and also liabilities of those two companies relating to those undertakings in India after such transfer and vesting with the Central Government, to be vest in the one or more Government Companies.

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For such acquisition and vesting of the shares and undertakings as aforesaid, the Central Government is required under, chapter IV of the Act, to pay to all those relevant companies an aggregate amount of 21.56 Crores of rupees, which should be free of taxes.

Similarly, the Act sought to acquired and transfer the services of the employees of the companies who were appointed in relation to those acquired undertakings in India. Such transfer is not required to change in their conditions of services, rights, privileges, etc. And also if any fund as to superannuation or welfare, etc. of such employees was established by those specified companies in relation to acquired undertakings in India, to also be transferred and vested with the Central Government or that vesting Government Company, as the case may be.

The miscellaneous provisions are contained under last chapter of the Act, where it is specified that the provisions of this act are required to have effect irrespective of whatever inconsistent contained in any other provisions of any laws, or even in any decree, or order of the any Court or other authority. Besides, all other relevant provisions under this chapter, the penal provisions are also given under this Act, where wrongfully withholding of any relevant property under the possession custody or control thereof, wrongfully obtaining possession of or retaining such properties, intentionally withholding and failing to furnish required books, documents, etc. and all other acts which are treated offensive under this Act are entailing liability to be punished with the imprisonment extending to 2 years or there can be fine up to 10,000 rupees or both. Further, offences by the companies are defined under this Act and also specified the persons who should be taken as liable against such offences. The Central Government, such aforesaid Government Company and their officers, employees are protected against legal actions for anything or actions done in good faith or intended to be done under the provisions of this Act. For taking cognizance under this Act, the written complaints from the Central Government or any authorized officers thereof is necessary. The Central Government in the subsequent provisions of section 21 empowered to make an order in case where any difficulties arise while giving effects to the provisions of this Act. And the Central Government is again empowered in the last provision of this Act where, the power is given to it for making rules under this Act.

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Download: The Burmah Oil Company [Acquisition of Shares of Oil India Limited and of the Undertakings in India of Assam Oil Company Limited and the Burmah Oil Company (India Trading) Limited] Act, 1981

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