Meaning of Compounding of Contraventions under FEMA, 1999

What is meant by contravention and compounding of contravention?

Contravention is a breach of the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999 and rules/ regulations/ notification/ orders/ directions/ circulars issued there under. Compounding refers to the process of voluntarily admitting the contravention, pleading guilty and seeking redressal. The Reserve Bank is empowered to compound any contraventions as defined under section 131 of FEMA, 1999 except the contravention under section 3(a)2 ibid, for a specified sum after offering an opportunity of personal hearing to the contravener. It is a voluntary process in which an Indian citizen or a corporate seeks compounding of an admitted contravention. It provides comfort to any person who contravenes any provisions of FEMA, 1999 [except section 3(a) of the Act] by minimizing transaction costs. Willful, malafide and fraudulent transactions are, however, viewed seriously, which will not be compounded by the Reserve Bank.

Who can apply for compounding?

Any person who contravenes any provision of the FEMA, 1999 [except section 3(a)] or contravenes any rule, regulation, notification, direction or order issued in exercise of the powers under this Act or contravenes any condition subject to which an authorization is issued by the Reserve Bank, can apply for compounding to the Reserve Bank. Applications seeking compounding of contraventions under section 3(a) of FEMA, 1999 may be submitted to the Directorate of Enforcement.

When should one apply for compounding?

When a person is made aware of the contravention of the provisions of FEMA, 1999 by the Reserve Bank or the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) or any other statutory authority or the auditors or by any other means, she/he may apply for compounding. One can also make an application for compounding, suo moto, on becoming aware of the contravention.

Source: RBI