Brief Note on behalf of ICAI on the Issues raised by CA Students in their PIL
On 9th June 2021, Advocate Anubha Shrivastava Sahai filed a PIL in the Supreme Court on behalf of 987 students across 20 states and 3 UTs. The PIL was aimed at seeking 12 relief measures from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India regarding the July 2021 CA Exams.
Majorly, the students requested the Supreme Court to direct ICAI to provide an unconditional Opt Out Facility, increase in number of attempts for Old Course Students and to conduct an additional examination for students who are unable to appear for the July 2021 exams.
In the first hearing of the PIL, ICAI has given its response towards the submissions made by the CA Students via their Writ Petition. Read the official note issued on behalf of the institute below:
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
WRIT PETITION (C) NO.640/2021
ANUBHA SHRIVASTAVA SAHAI VS. UNION OF INDIA & ANR.
BRIEF NOTE ON BEHALF OF THE INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS OF INDIA ON THE ISSUES RAISED IN THE WRIT PETITION
1. ICAI has a statutory duty to hold Professional Examinations
1.1 Under Section 15(2)(b) of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, the ICAI has a statutory duty to hold the examinations. For the benefit of around 3.74 lakh candidates, the ICAI is trying to ensure that the examinations are held in July, 2021 with all mandated Covid-19 safety protocols in place.
1.2 The Chartered Accountants exams are professional examinations and ought not to be equated with CBSE or other State Board examinations for Classes X or XII. It is in the interest of the candidates aspiring to become Chartered Accountants, start their professional lives and earn livelihoods, that the examinations be held. The ICAI has no vested interest in holding or not holding the examinations. The only interest of the ICAI is to safeguard the interest of the aspiring Chartered Accountants, even while ensuring that the exams are held at the most appropriate and conducive time.
2. Most conducive time to hold examinations is now
2.1 The Covid-19 spread is now at a substantially low level, therefore this is the opportune moment to offer the aspiring Chartered Accountants to further their professional careers. As on date, the number of Covid-19 cases are comparatively low and thus it would be in the best interests of the candidates if the examinations are held as per the schedule and not cancelled or postponed.
2.2 Whenever the risk has been minimum, this Hon’ble Court has been pleased to allow examinations to be held, case in example being Class XII exams for Kerala and Bihar, which were held in April, 2021 and February, 2021.
2.3 Further, the 3rd wave of Covid-19 cases is expected only by September-October. The Institute of Company Secretaries of India and the Institute of Cost Accountants of India are scheduled to hold examinations in August-September, 2021. Many candidates appear for 2 or more of these exams, hence the three Institutes hold the exams in a manner that the same do not overlap. Therefore, since covid is dynamic in nature, the ICAI has got this very narrow window to hold the exams in July, 2021.
2.4 The CA Exams are normally scheduled in May, but owing to the high number of cases at that time, the ICAI took a considered view to postpone the same, and after evaluating all factors, has now decided to hold the exams in July, 2021 when the number of Covid-19 cases is comparatively low.