The move also comes against the backdrop of the Ministry launching the Company Law Settlement Scheme that provides immunity for thousands of entities that have defaulted on making statutory filings. The scheme, which began on August 15, would end on October 15.

Companies registered in the country have to submit their filings to the Ministry through MCA21 portal.

This Ministry is implementing the Companies Act.

In a notice, the Ministry has asked companies to "file their balance sheet and annual return early without postponing it to the last days".

According to it, this would help in avoiding last minute rush and system congestion on the MCA21 portal on account of filings under the Company Law Settlement Scheme as well as annual filings during October/November.

Under the scheme, defaulter entities can make statutory filings for a period of two months without attracting any prosecution.

The new Companies Act, whose many provisions came into force from April 1, has stringent provisions for companies defaulting in filing statutory returns, with higher additional fees and penalties.

"A specific provision for enhanced fine in case of repeated default has also been included in the form or section 451 of the Act. The provisions of section 164(2) of the Act, inter alia, providing for disqualification of directors in case a company has not filed financial statements or annual returns for any continuous period of three financial years has been extended to all companies," the Ministry had said in a circular issued in August.

At the end of July, there were 14.09 lakh registered companies in the country and out of them, only 9.81 lakh entities were active.

About 1.42 lakh companies were classified as 'dormant' as they have not filed their annual returns/balance sheets for more than three consecutive years.

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