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Thursday, February 26, 2015


Course Code: ASP -01
Course Title: Secretarial Practice
Assignment Code: ASP - 01/TMA/2015-16
Coverage: All Blocks
Maximum Marks: 100
Dear Students,
As explained in the Programme Guide, you have to do one Tutor Marked Assignment in this Course.
Assignment is given 30% weightage in the final assessment. To be eligible to appear in the Term-end examination, it is compulsory for you to submit the assignment as per the schedule. Before attempting the assignments, you should carefully read the instructions given in the Programme Guide.
This assignment is valid for two admission cycles (July 2015 and January 2016.) The validity is given below:
1. Those who are enrolled in July 2015, it is valid upto June 2016.
2. Those who are enrolled in January 2016, it is valid upto December 2016.
You have to submit the assignment of all the courses to The Coordinator of your Study Centre. For appearing in June Term-end Examination, you must submit assignment to the Coordinator of your study centre latest by 15th March Similarly for appearing in December Term-end Examination, you must submit assignments to the Coordinator of your study centre latest by 15th September

Attempt all the questions

1. “The nature and functions of a Secretary differ with each individual institution to which he is attached.” Elaborate.  (20)
2. Explain section 2(2) of the Companies Secretaries Act, 1980 defining the company secretary and his specified areas of practice. What are the provisions under Companies (amendment) Act, 1988?                    (10+10)
3. Describe briefly the powers and duties of the chairman.                                         (10+10)
4. Explain briefly the basic principles that must be followed while writing a business letter.                      (20)
5. Write short notes on the following:                   (4×5)
(a) Postal services
(b) Minutes
(c) Agenda
(d) Reports

1. “The nature and functions of a Secretary differ with each individual institution to which he is attached.” Elaborate.   (20)
In modern times, the secretary occupies a very important position in industry, commerce, social institutions, clubs, and government offices and even in the case of individuals like statesmen, physicians, lawyers and Members of Parliament. His duties and functions include conducting of correspondence, keeping of records and accounts, writing of minutes and reports as well as acting as public relations officer and representative of the employer.
The nature and functions of a secretary differ with each individual institution to which he is attached. Mostly, he works behind the scene but in no way does it reduce the importance of his office. A secretary, nowadays, is an indispensable part of any organization, be it commercial, social or political. In certain cases he enjoys a legal status as, for example, a company secretary, or a Secretary of a Government Department, while in other situations he is employed to assist the employer to perform certain routine duties leaving him free to concentrate on more important matters. But, in every situation, the secretary is the most trustworthy person of the institution or the employer whom he/she works for.
The nature of a secretary's role can be explained only by reference to his position in relation to his employer and the functions he is required to perform. Depending on the terms of his employment, the secretary may hold a very responsible position in the organization he serves, or his role may be that of a confidential assistant or one engaged in performing only routine clerical work. Basically, it is the nature and importance of his function that determine the secretary's role. It depends in turn on such factors as the nature of the organization, its size, the employer's willingness to delegate work carrying responsibility, as well as his own ability and willingness to undertake responsible work. The secretary's role may also be determined by the rights duties and responsibilities under law, as in the case of a company. However, in modern organization, the secretary is generally requires to perform the role of one or more of the following positions:
• Office executive
• Liaison officer
• Adviser to management
In this position the secretary is required to discharge the responsibility of organizing and managing day-to-day work of the office. This involves planning, supervising, coordinating and controlling secretarial and routine clerical work, e.g. correspondence, record-keeping accounts, etc. The secretarial work to be supervised and co-ordinated may include convening meetings by issuing notice, making necessary arrangements for the meetings to be held, keeping record of the proceedings at the meeting etc. Being the administrative head of the office, a secretary is required to attend to all matters relating to the office staff, involving recruitment and selection, allocation of duties, monitoring performance and maintaining discipline in the office.
REFERENCE: Robert, Henry Metal. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th ed.).

2. Explain section 2(2) of the Companies Secretaries Act, 1980 defining the company secretary and his specified areas of practice. What are the provisions under Companies (amendment) Act, 1988?  (10+10)
Ans: Section 2(2) of the Company Secretaries Act, 1980 provides that a member of the Institute shall be “deemed to be in practice” when, individually or in partnership with one or more members of the Institute in practice or in partnership with members of such other recognized professions as may be prescribed, he, in consideration of remuneration received or to be received,-
(a) engages himself in the practice of the profession of Company Secretaries to, or in relation to, any company or
(b) offers to perform or performs services in relation to the promotion, forming, incorporation, amalgamation, reconstruction, reorganization or winding up of companies; or
(c) offers to perform or performs such services as may be performed by –
(i) an authorized representative of a company with respect to filing, registering, presenting, attesting or verifying any documents (including forms, applications and returns) by or on behalf of the company,
(ii) a share transfer agent,
(iii) an issue house,
(iv) a share and stock broker,
(v) a secretarial auditor or consultant,
(vi) an adviser to a company on management, including any legal or procedural matter falling under the Capital Issues(Control) Act,1947 (29 of 1947), the Industries (Development & Regulation) Act,1951(65 of 1951), the Companies Act, the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act,1956 (42 of 1956), any of the rules or bye laws made by a recognized stock exchange, the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act,1969(54 of 1969), the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act,1973 (46 of 1973), or under any other law for the time being in force,
(vii) Issuing certificates on behalf of, or for the purposes of, a company; or
(d) holds himself out to the public as a Company Secretary in practice; or
(e) renders professional services or assistance with respect to matters of principle or detail relating to the practice of the profession of Company Secretaries; or
(f) renders such other services as, in the opinion of the Council, are or may be rendered by a Company Secretary in practice; and the words “to be in practice” with their grammatical variations and cognate expressions, shall be construed accordingly.
Provisions of Companies Amendment Act, 1988:
1)      As soon as may be after the commencement of the Companies (Amendment) Act, 1988 , the Central Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute a Board to be called the Board of Company Law Administration.
2)      The Company Law Board shall exercise and discharge such powers and functions as may be conferred on it, by or under this Act or any other law, and shall also exercise and discharge such other powers and functions of the Central Government under this Act or any other law as may be conferred on it by the Central Government, by notification in the Official Gazette under the provisions of this Act or that other law.
3)      The members of the Company Law Board shall possess such qualifications and experience as may be prescribed.
4)      One of the members shall be appointed by the Central Government to be the chairman of the Company Law Board.
5)      No act done by the Company Law Board shall be called in question on the ground only of any defect in the constitution of, or the existence of any vacancy in, the Company Law Board.
6)      Every deposit accepted by a company after the commencement of the Companies (Amendment) Act, 1988 , shall, unless renewed in accordance with the rules made under subsection (1), be repaid in accordance with the terms and conditions of such deposit.
7)      Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, no company limited by shares shall, after the commencement of the Companies (Amendment) Act, 1988 , issue any preference share which is irredeemable or is redeemable after the expiry of a period of ten years from the date of its issue
8)      Initially the additional liability on account of foreign exchange fluctuations was being recognised on cash basis. With the amendment of s. 209 of the Companies Act by the Companies (Amendment) Act, 1988, w.e.f. 15th June, 1988, making it mandatory for companies to maintain accounts on accrual basis, the company changed the method of accounting for foreign exchange fluctuations from cash to accrual basis during the relevant previous year. As a result of the change in the method, the company provided for an aggregate amount of Rs. 152.78 lacs as loss on account of foreign exchange fluctuations, out of which Rs. 110.87 lacs related to earlier years.
3. Describe briefly the powers and duties of the chairman.                     (10+10)
Ans: The chairman of a general meeting is responsible for conducting the business at the meeting successfully. He has prima facie authority to decide all incidental questions which arise at the meeting and require immediate decision. The chairman is not merely a dummy head but has a discretion with regard to general conduct of the meet­ing (Wall vs Exchange Investment Corporation).
Powers of chairman: His main powers are as follows:
1. To regulate the course of the proceedings at the meeting.
2. To decide who shall first address the meeting when simultane­ously two or more persons, rise to speak.
3. To decide points of order submitted to him.
4. To stop the speaker when his allotted time is over.
5. To get disorderly persons removed from the meeting.
6. To check irrelevant and personal reference during the course of debate.
7. To declare result of voting by show of hands which shall be conclusive evidence of the fact, unless a poll is demanded (Sec. 178).
8. To have a recount if he is uncertain who had voted for or against the motion.
9. To order and take a ‘poll’ (Sec. 179).
10. To regulate the manner in which poll shall be taken (Sec. 185).
11 . To appoint scrutinizer for checking the votes on a poll,
12. To remove a scrutinizer any time before the result of the poll is declared and to fill the vacancy so caused.
13. To decide the fact of the motion by the exercise of casting vote, if the articles permit, in cases where the members are equally divided.
14. To exclude certain matters from the minutes of the proceeding of the meeting if he is of the opinion that the matter (i) is defamatory of any person, or (ii) is irrelevant, or (iii) is detrimental to the interests of the company.
Duties of Chairman: The Chairman is responsible for conducting the proceedings of the meeting in a regular manner, expeditiously and properly. His main duties are:
1. To see that the meeting is properly convened and constituted. In other words he must find out that a proper notice has been issued, that his own appointment is valid and that the required quorum is present.
2. To take care that the requirements of the Act and Articles of Association are duly complied with.
3. To preserve order at the meeting.
4. To see that the items of business are taken in the order set out in the Agenda paper, unless the order is altered with the consent of the meeting.
5. To see that every motion is property proposed and duly seconded.
6. To decide questions of procedure requiring decision.
7. To act impartially in the general interests of those present at the meeting. All members entitled to speak must be given proper oppor­tunity to express their views.
8. To ensure that the sense of the meeting is properly ascertained with regard to any question before the meeting.
9. To accede to a proper and valid demand for ‘poll’ and also to direct the manner in which the poll is to be taken.
10. To declare result of voting, by show of hands and by poll.
11. To declare the meeting closed when all the business has been transacted.
12. To see that proper and correct minutes are entered in the Minutes Book and of sign them.

4. Explain briefly the basic principles that must be followed while writing a business letter.              (20)
Ans: Principles of a Business Letter
Business letters are an important part of any business or profession. They are written to different persons with different motives. Letter writing is basically an art. The writer can cultivate a good style of writing various business letters by a constant and regular practice. Below are mentioned some of the important principles which should be closely followed by a letter writer:
1.      Clarity: A letter must have clarity. The purpose of communication should be made clear. Whether it is to inform, invite, reiterate, emphasize, remind, announce, seek participation or clarity and correct the earlier message, the purpose should clearly be stated. Lack of clarity affects the intended purpose of the letter. A letter writer should be conscious and exercise due care.
2.      Impact: The letter should create the necessary impact. Behind every letter there is an objective and the letter should have a clear purpose. The purpose of writing a letter is not just to reach out to the customer. Every letter has an intended impact which must be felt.
3.      To create the desired impact, it is often necessary to lay emphasis. Emphasis can be laid in many ways. It can be done by proper positioning—placing them in an important position. It can be done by repetition.
4.      Relevant Information: The letter should provide the relevant details forming part of the message. Facts, figures, illustrations and other such information, which are accurate and reliable, as well as relevant to the context of the communication, should be incorporated in the letter.
5.      Brevity: Any good communication—oral or written—should necessarily incorporate this essential feature. Brevity is a very important attribute for any business letter. For everyone connected with business, time is of essence.
6.      The time that one can allot for reading business letters is certainly limited. The receiver does not have unlimited time to spare towards reading and re-reading the letter and drawing out the message in its entirety.
7.      Simplicity: Simplicity is the hallmark of any good communication. Simplicity refers to the ease of understanding. Simple writing is the opposite of complex and involved writing. The art of simple writing is mastered through conscious effort and practice. A letter written in a simple, easy, informal style using easily understood words catches the attention, and makes an impact.
8.      Timeliness: Business letters, to be effective, should have proper timing. Letters should be written and dispatched on time. Some messages have a sense of urgency. They call for action, which is ‘immediate’ or ‘urgent’, or within a given time frame. Letters which carry such messages should reflect the associated urgency.
9.      Language: Language is an extremely important facet of business communication. First and foremost, it is necessary to ensure that the language used is appropriate, i.e., the language with which the reader is at ease. Apart from English and Hindi, various regional languages are in common use in businesses in different parts of the country. Public sector organizations such as banks follow the three-language formula.
10.  Appeal: A good letter should appeal to the reader’s sensibilities. It should go beyond the message it conveys and make a good impression. It should have elegance, which means taste, beauty and decency.
11.  Style: Style refers to the manner of writing. It constitutes the collective characteristics of the writing or impression or way of presenting things. Each person has an individual style. The writing style, to create an impact, again needs conscious effort, on an ongoing basis.
12.  Positive Approach: A good business letter, in the ultimate analysis, is that which has a positive approach. It creates a friendly atmosphere. It avoids negative feelings. One must be in a proper frame of mind to write a really good letter.

5. Write short notes on the following:          (4x5 = 20)
(a) Postal services
Ans: Ans: A postal services is a facility forming part of a postal system for the posting, receipt, sorting, handling, transmission or delivery of mail. Post offices offer mail-related services such as postal services boxes, postage and packaging supplies. In addition, some post offices offer non-postal services such as passport applications and other government forms, car tax purchase, money orders, and banking services. A postal services may have a main customer service and point of sale area and many offices were directly assigned[clarification needed] to Postal code, ZIP code.
In a "sorting office" or "delivery office", mail is sorted or processed for delivery. Large open spaces for sorting mail are also sometimes known as a sorting hall or postal hall. Over time, sophisticated mail sorting and delivery equipment has been developed, including Mail Rail.
(b) Minutes
Ans: ‘Minutes’ have been defined as the written record of the business done at a meeting. The minutes comprise the official record of the proceedings and decisions of a meeting. They constitute a clear, concise, accurate and permanent record of the decisions and actions of a constituted body. Once approved and signed by the chairman, they are acceptable as evidence of the proceedings in a court of law.
Provisions of the Companies Act regarding Minutes
Section 193 of the Companies Act makes it obligatory for every company to maintain minutes of the proceedings of every general meeting and meetings of the Board of Directors and its Committee. It has also been laid down that minutes of company meetings kept in accordance with the provisions of this section will be recognized as evidence of the proceedings recorded therein. Entries must be made in the minute’s book within thirty days of the conclusion of such meetings and the pages of the minute’s book must be consecutively numbered.
The minutes of each meeting must contain a fair and correct summary of the proceedings. In the case of Board meeting, the names of the directors present and those dissenting in any resolution must also be mentioned in the minutes.
The minutes need not include any matter which, in the opinion of the chairman, is or may be considered to be defamatory or irrelevant or immaterial or is detrimental to the interests of the company. The chairman will have absolute discretion in deciding whether any matter should or should not be included on the above grounds. Each page of every minute’s book must be initialed or signed and the last page of the book must be dated and signed by the Chairman of the same meeting.
Any default in complying with these provisions will make the company, and every officer of the company in default, liable to fine as per the provisions of the Act. Sec.196 of the Companies Act provides that the minutes of the proceedings of every general meeting of the company must be kept at the registered office of the company and must remain open for inspection by any member, free of charge, subject to any reasonable restrictions that the company may impose by its Articles or in general meeting.
(c) Agenda
Ans: Agenda of Meetings: The word ‘agenda’ literally means ‘things to be done’. It refers to the programme of business to be transacted at a meeting. Agenda is essential for the systematic transaction of the business of a meeting in the proper order of importance. It is customary for all organisations to send an agenda along with the notice of a meeting to all members. The business of the meeting must be conducted in the same order in which the items are placed in the agenda and the order can be varied only with the consent of the meeting.
(d) Reports
Ans: Definition: The report is a document issued to a company's shareholders, creditors, and regulatory organizations following the end of its fiscal year. The report typically contains at least an income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flows, and accompanying footnotes. It may also contain management comments, an audit report, and various supporting schedules that may be required by regulatory organizations.
Annual reports measure a corporation's financial health. They focus on past and present financial performance, and make predictions about future prospects. By law, any corporation that holds an annual meeting for stock holders or Security holders is required to issue an annual report. Regulations set down by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) specify in detail what information the report must include about the corporation's finances, markets, and management. The rules are strict: the SEC can levy stiff penalties if  corporations  fail to comply. Traditionally a rather dry and factual document,  the annual report has acquired a  larger  audience in recent year  as co poration’s increasingly treat it as not merely a legal obligation but also a public relations opportunity. Yet, even as annual reports take  on the appearance of glossy magazines, promote corporate public relations, and make political   arguments, they remain bound by  legal concerns about completeness and accuracy, and sometimes expose corporations  to lawsuits when they fall short.