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Difference Between Dissolution and Winding Up of a Company

By Mayashree Acharya


Updated on: Jan 10th, 2022


7 min read

Dissolution of a company is when a company is dissolved by order of a Tribunal, i.e. National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), after the completion of its winding-up process. The company’s dissolution brings its existence to an end, and its name is struck off by the Registrar of Companies (ROC).

Both dissolution and winding up relate to the company’s end and are sometimes confused by the people. Winding up is the process where the liquidator is appointed to settle and distribute the company’s assets among the creditors and other relevant stakeholders. Dissolution takes place after the winding process is completed.

Dissolution of a Company

A company ceases to exist as a corporate entity after its dissolution. The company name is struck off from the Register of Companies, and it shall be published in the Official Gazette. Dissolution of a company can be brought about in the following two ways:

  • Through transferring the company’s undertaking to another company under a scheme of amalgamation or reconstruction. The order of NCLT will dissolve the transferor company without being wound up. 
  • Through winding up of the company by realising its assets and paying its liabilities from the proceeds. After settling the company debts, the remaining amount will be distributed to the stakeholders, and the NCLT will pass an order of dissolution.

An application to the NCLT winds up a company. Upon satisfaction of the compliances under the Companies Act, 2013 and consent of the interested parties, the NCLT passes the dissolution order. The dissolution order upon winding up of a company has the following implications:

  • The winding up procedure of the company is completed.
  • The assets and liabilities are settled and distributed among the stakeholders in the order of preference.
  • The company name is struck off from the Register of Companies. 

When the company is dissolved under the scheme of amalgamation or reconstruction, the dissolution order has the following implications:

  • The winding up procedure need not be carried out as the company is taken over under the scheme of reconstruction or amalgamation.
  • The winding up application need not be made for dissolution, and the transferor company is dissolved when it amalgamates or is reconstructed.

Winding up of a Company

The winding up procedure results in the dissolution of a company. A liquidator is appointed who takes control of the company. The liquidator realises the company assets and applies the proceeds in payment of its debts. After the satisfaction of the company debts, the balance, if any, is paid back to the members in proportion to their contribution made to the company capital. 

In between winding up and dissolution, the company exists, and it can be sued in a court of law or NCLT. After completing the winding up process, the liquidator applies to the NCLT to pass an order of dissolution. Thus, the end of the winding up process is the dissolution of the company.

Winding up of the company can be in two ways, i.e. compulsory winding up or voluntary winding up. The compulsory winding up process is initiated when the creditors or ROC or company itself files an application for winding up to the NCLT. The voluntary winding up is initiated when the company applies to the NCLT for initiating the winding up process after passing a special resolution.  

The following events lead to compulsory winding up of a company by a creditor or ROC:

  • If the company fails in payment of its debts.
  • If the company is formed in any fraudulent manner.
  • If the company acts against the interests of the integrity and sovereignty of India, the security of the State, public order, morality or decency.
  • If the tribunal is of the opinion that it is equitable and just that the company should be wound up.
  • If the company defaults in filing its annual returns or financial statements for the preceding five consecutive financial years with the ROC.
  • If the company is declared bankrupt under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

For the voluntary winding up of a company, it needs to pass a special resolution and appoint a liquidator for selling its assets and prepare liquidation reports of the company. These reports should be submitted to the ROC to remove the company name from the records and complete the winding up process.

Dissolution and Winding Up Differences

ParticularsWinding upDissolution
MeaningWinding up means appointing a liquidator to sell off the assets, divide the proceeds among creditors, and file to the NCLT for dissolution.Dissolution means to dissolve the company completely. Any further operations cannot be done in the company name.
ProcessWinding up is one of
the method through which the dissolution of a
company is carried on.
Dissolution is the end
process/result of winding up and getting the name stuck off from the Register of Companies.
Existence of CompanyThe legal entity of the company continues and exists at
the commencement and during the winding up process.
The dissolution of the company brings an end to its legal entity status.
Continuation of
A company can be
allowed to continue its
business during the winding up process if it is
required for the
beneficial winding up of
the company.
The company ceases to exist
upon its dissolution.
ModeratorLiquidator carries out the process of winding up.The NCLT passes the order of dissolution.
Activities IncludedFilling of winding up resolution or petition, the appointment of the liquidator, receiving declarations, preparation of reports, disclosures to ROC and filing for dissolution to the NCLT.Filing of resolutions, declarations and other required documents to the NCLT to pass dissolution order.

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are solely for information purposes. No attorney-client relationship is created when you access or use the site or the materials. The information presented on this site does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.

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Quick Summary

Dissolution of a company occurs through an order by a Tribunal, like NCLT, after winding up is complete. Winding up settles assets and creditors before dissolution. Winding up can be voluntary or compulsory and ends with liquidation. NCLT dissolution order signifies the end of winding up, removing the company from the Register of Companies.

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