Section 14 in The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 2013

Title: Duties, powers and functions of Authority.

Description: (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act and any other law for the time being in force, the Authority shall have the duty, to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of the National Pension System and pension schemes to which this Act applies and to protect the interests of subscribers of such System and schemes. (2) Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions contained in sub-section (1), the powers and functions of the Authority shall include— (a) regulating the National Pension System and the pension schemes to which this Act applies; (b) approving the schemes, the terms and conditions thereof and laying down norms for the management of the corpus of the pension funds, including investment guidelines under such schemes; (c) registering and regulating intermediaries; (d) issuing to an intermediary, on application, a certificate of registration and renewing, modifying, withdrawing, suspending or cancelling such registration; (e) protecting the interests of subscribers by— (i) ensuring safety of the contribution of subscribers to various schemes of pension funds to which this Act applies; (ii) ensuring that the intermediation and other operational costs under the National Pension System are economical and reasonable; (f) establishing mechanism for redressal of grievances of subscribers to be determined by regulations; (g) promoting professional or organisations connected with the pension system; (h) adjudication of disputes between intermediaries and between intermediaries and subscribers; (i) collecting data and requiring the intermediaries to collect such data and undertaking and commissioning studies, research and projects; (j) undertaking steps for educating subscribers and the general public on issues relating to pension, retirement savings and related issues and training of intermediaries; (k) standardising dissemination of information about performance of pension funds and performance benchmarks; (l) regulating the regulated assets; (m) levying fees or other charges for carrying out the purposes of this Act; (n) specifying by regulations the form and manner in which books of account shall be maintained and statement of accounts shall be rendered by intermediaries; (o) calling for information from, undertaking inspection of, conducting inquiries and investigations including audit of, intermediaries and other entities or organisations connected with pension funds; (p) exercising such other powers and functions as may be prescribed. (3) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, while exercising the powers under clause (o) of sub-section (2), the Authority shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) while trying a suit, in respect of the following matters, namely:-- (i) the discovery and production of books of account and other documents, at such place and at such time as may be specified by the Authority; (ii) summoning and enforcing the attendance of persons and examining them on oath; (iii) inspection of any book, register and other document of any person or intermediary referred to in section 26, at any place; (iv) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents; (v) any other matter which may be prescribed. (4) Without prejudice to the provisions contained in sub-sections (1), (2) and (3) and section 16, the Authority may, by order, for reasons to be recorded in writing, in the interest of subscribers, take any of the following measures, pending investigation or inquiry, namely:-- (i) restrain persons from participating in any scheme; (ii) restrain any office bearer of an intermediary from acting as such; (iii) impound and retain the proceeds under the scheme in respect of any activity which is under investigation; (iv) attach, after passing an order, on an application made for approval, by the Judicial Magistrate of first class having jurisdiction, for a period not exceeding one month, one or more bank account or accounts of any intermediary or any person associated with the scheme in any manner involved in violation of any of the provisions of this Act or the rules or the regulations made thereunder: Provided that only the bank account or accounts or any transaction entered therein, relating to the proceeds actually involved in the violation of any of the provisions of this Act or the rules or the regulations made thereunder shall be allowed to be attached; (v) direct any intermediary or any person associated with the scheme in any manner not to dispose of or alienate an asset forming part of any activity which is under investigation: Provided that the Authority shall, either before or after, passing such orders, under this section, give to such intermediaries or persons concerned an opportunity of being heard.

Title: Power to issue directions.

Description: Save as otherwise provided in section 14, if after making, or causing to be made, an inquiry, the Authority is satisfied that it is necessary— (i) in the interests of subscribers or orderly development of National Pension System or a pension scheme to which this Act applies; or (ii) to prevent the affairs of any intermediary or other persons or entities referred to in section 27 being conducted in a manner detrimental to the interests of subscribers; or (iii) to secure the proper management of any such intermediary or person or entity, it may issue such directions to such intermediaries or entities or to any person or class of persons referred to in section 27, or associated with the pension fund, as it may deem fit: Provided that the Authority shall, either before or after passing such orders, give an opportunity of being heard to such intermediaries, entities or persons concerned.

Title: Power of investigation.

Description: (1) Where the Authority has a reasonable ground to believe that— (a) the activities of the pension fund are being conducted in a manner detrimental to the interest of the subscriber; or (b) any intermediary or any person associated with the schemes of the pension fund has violated any of the provisions of this Act or the rules or the regulations made or directions issued by the Authority thereunder, it may, at any time, by order in writing, direct any person (hereafter in this section referred to as the Investigating Authority) specified in the order to investigate the affairs of such intermediary or persons associated with the pension fund and to report thereon to the Authority. (2) Without prejudice to the provisions contained in sections 235 to 241 of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956), it shall be the duty of every manager, managing director, officer and other employee of the company, in case of a company and every intermediary or persons or entity referred to in section 27 or every person associated with the pension fund to preserve and to produce to the Investigating Authority or any person authorised by him in this behalf, all the books, registers, other documents and record of, or relating to, the company or, as the case may be, of or relating to, the intermediary or such person, which are in their custody or power. (3) The Investigating Authority may require any intermediary or any person or entity associated with the pension fund in any manner to furnish such information to, or produce such books, or other documents, or record before him or any person authorised by him in this behalf as he may consider necessary if the furnishing of such information or the production of such books, or register, or other documents, or record is relevant or necessary for the purposes of its investigation. (4) The Investigating Authority may keep in its custody any books, registers, other documents and record produced under sub-section (2) or sub-section (3) for six months and thereafter shall return the same to any intermediary or any person associated or entity with the pension fund by whom or on whose behalf the books, registers, other documents and record are produced: Provided that the Investigating Authority may call for any book, register, other documents and record if they are required again: Provided further that if the person on whose behalf the books, registers, other documents and record are produced requires certified copies of the books, registers, other documents or record produced before the Investigating Authority, it shall give certified copies of such books, registers, other documents or, as the case may be, record to such person or on whose behalf the books, registers, other documents and record were produced. (5) Any person, directed to make an investigation under sub-section (1), may examine on oath any intermediary or any person associated with the pension fund in any manner, in relation to the affairs of his business and may administer an oath accordingly and for that purpose may require any of those persons to appear before him personally. (6) Notes of any examination under sub-section (5) shall be taken down in writing and shall be read over to, or by, and signed by, the person examined, and may thereafter be used in evidence against him. (7) If any person fails without reasonable cause or refuses— (a) to produce to an Investigating Authority or any person authorised by him in this behalf any book, register, other document or record which it is his duty under sub-section (2) or sub-section (3) to furnish; or (b) to furnish any information which it is his duty under sub-section (3) to furnish; or (c) to appear before the Investigating Authority personally when required to do so under sub-section (5) or to answer any question which is put to him by the Investigating Authority in pursuance of that sub-section; or (d) to sign the notes of any examination referred to in sub-section (6), he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, which may extend to twenty-five crore rupees, or with both, and also with a further fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees for every day after the first day during which the failure or refusal continues.

Title: Search and seizure.

Description: (1) Where the Authority, in consequence of information in its possession, has reason to believe that— (a) any person who has been required under sub-section (3) of section 16 to produce, or cause to be produced, any books, accounts or other documents in his custody or power has omitted or failed to produce, or cause to be produced, such books, accounts or other documents; or (b) any person to whom a requisition to produce any books, accounts or other documents as aforesaid has been or might be issued will not, or would not, produce or cause to be produced, any books, accounts or other documents which will be useful for, or relevant to, an investigation under sub-section (1) of section 16; or (c) a contravention of any provision of this Act has been committed or is likely to be committed by an intermediary; or (d) any claim which is due to be settled by the intermediary, has been or is likely to be rejected or settled at a figure higher than a reasonable amount; or (e) any claim which is due to be settled by an intermediary, has been or is likely to be rejected or settled at a figure lower than a reasonable amount; or (f) any illegal fees and charges have been transacted or are likely to be transacted by an intermediary; or (g) any books, accounts, papers, receipts, vouchers, survey reports or other documents, belonging to an intermediary are likely to be tampered with, falsified or manufactured, it may authorise any officer of the Authority, not below the rank equivalent to that of a Gazetted Officer of the Government (hereafter referred to as the authorised officer), to— (i) enter and search any building or place where he has reason to suspect that such books, accounts or other documents, or any books or papers relating to any claim, rebate or commission or any receipts, vouchers, reports or other documents are kept; (ii) break open the lock of any box, locker, safe, almirah or other receptacle for exercising the powers conferred by clause (i) where the keys thereof are not available; (iii) seize all or any such books, accounts or other documents, found as a result of such search; (iv) place marks of identification on such books, accounts or other documents or make or cause to be made extracts or copies there from. (2) The authorised officer may requisition the services of any police officer or of any officer of the Central Government, or of both, to assist him for all or any of the purposes specified in sub-section (1) and it shall be the duty of every such police officer or officer to comply with such requisition. (3) The authorised officer may, where it is not practicable to seize any such book, account or other document, specified in sub-section (1), serve an order on the person who is in immediate possession or control thereof that he shall not remove, part with or otherwise deal with it except with the previous permission of such officer and such officer may take such steps as may be necessary for ensuring compliance with this sub-section. (4) The authorised officer may, during the course of the search or seizure, examine on oath any person who is found to be in possession or control of any books, accounts or other documents, and any statement made by such person during such examination may thereafter be used in evidence in any proceeding under this Act. (5) The books, accounts, papers, receipts, vouchers, reports, or other documents seized under sub-section (1) shall not be retained by the authorised officer for a period exceeding one hundred and eighty days from the date of the seizure unless the reasons for retaining the same are recorded by him in writing and the approval of the Authority for such retention is obtained: Provided that the Authority shall not authorise the retention of the books, accounts, papers, receipts, vouchers, reports, or other documents for a period exceeding thirty days after all the proceedings under this Act, for which the books, accounts, papers, receipts, vouchers, reports, or other documents are relevant, are completed. (6) The person from whose custody the books, accounts, papers, receipts, vouchers, reports, or other documents are seized under sub-section (1) may make copies thereof, or take extracts there from, in the presence of the authorised officer or any other person empowered by him in this behalf at such place and time as the authorised officer may appoint in this behalf. (7) If a person legally entitled to the books, accounts, papers, receipts, vouchers, reports or other documents seized under sub-section (1) objects for any reason to the approval given by the Authority under sub-section (5), he may make an application to the Central Government stating therein the reason for such objection and requesting for the return of the books, accounts, papers, receipts, vouchers, report or other documents. (8) On receipt of the application under sub-section (7), the Central Government may, after giving the applicant an opportunity of being heard, pass such order as it thinks fit. (9) The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) relating to searches and seizures shall apply, so far as may be, to every search and seizure made under sub-section (1). (10) The Central Government may, by notification, make rules in relation to any search or seizure under this section and in particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for the procedure to be followed by the authorised officer,-- (i) for obtaining ingress into such building or place to be searched where free ingress thereto is not available; (ii) for ensuring safe custody of any books, accounts, papers, receipts, vouchers, reports, or other documents seized under this section.

Title: Power of Authority to ensure compliance.

Description: If the Authority finds, after causing an inquiry to be made, that any person has violated, or is likely to violate, any provisions of this Act, or any rule or regulation made thereunder, the Authority may pass an order requiring such person to cease and desist from committing or causing such violation.