SC : CA exams July 2021 can be from July 5; relaxes opt-out Option
The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday about the postponement of the Chartered Accountancy (CA) examinations, which were set to begin on July 5. A three-judge bench led by Justice AM Khanwilkar directed the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to produce a brief note on RTPCR and SOPs for examination venues during the hearing on Tuesday. It further demanded that the institute specify the circumstances under which the ‘opting-out’ mechanism can be used. In addition to the postponement, Anubha Shrivastava Sahai, a child rights activist, asked the Supreme Court to order an opt-out option, an extra attempt, and more exam centres for the ICAI CA examinations in the future session.
The ICAI had previously notified the Supreme Court that, because the number of COVID-19 cases has decreased, it is in the best interests of students for Chartered Accountant (CA) exams to be held as scheduled.
“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,” ICAI said in a brief note submitted before the top court.
Ahead of the hearing, petitioner, Anubha Sahai tweeted, “CA Students we are working on the note submitted by the ICAI in response to our PIL. Some students are sending very good points to counter. Our matter is listed tomorrow at sr no 43 before Hon’ble Justice Khanwilkar’s bench.
Students are hoping that the Supreme Court will rule in their favour. “CA Exams now trending. I don’t think Institue can conduct the exam at the proposed time. Now we’ve only one week left for starting the exams. Hoping for good news soon”, a student tweeted.
ICAI’s lawyer informed the bench yesterday during the hearing that a note had been disseminated outlining the organization’s position on the separate petitions brought by Satya Narain Perumal, Anubha Shrivastava Sahai, and a third by a group of CA aspirants. The ICAI, represented by Senior Advocate Ramji Srinivasan, stated that the body is cognizant of the severity of the situation. “We will have it tomorrow then. Please email us the note,” said the bench.
Will COVID cause CA tests to be rescheduled?
ICAI defended its choice to take tests in the midst of the pandemic, claiming that as of June 27, more than 2,82,000 candidates had downloaded their admit cards, demonstrating their “eagerness to appear in the exams.” “It is understandable that some of the candidates would have inhibitions in appearing for the exams, but that cannot be allowed to jeopardize the aspirations of a majority of the candidates,” the ICAI said in its note submitted before the top court.
In the SC, the hearing will commence. ICAI is represented by senior counsel Ramji Srinivasan, and one of the Petitioners is represented by senior lawyer Meenakshi Arora.
Referring to the ICAI note, Arora said,”We have gone through the note. I find the note does not cover any issues that we raised at all.”
Let me to submit the concerns that will develop before I take you to the note.
What are our options for dealing with such a high number of applicants? They must provide because this is their last chance. Following that, there will be a new curriculum, and they will have to redo everything and undo all of their hard work.
Hearing underway. Arora, appearing for the petitioners argued,”Centres will only be 4-5 in a State. Students will be all across the State. What about containment zones? What if they can’t travel ?”
The ICAI was told to take a broad approach by the three-judge panel. “If a certified copy from an official is given that he cannot appear for a genuine reason and can appear in the next exam. One possibility is I am infected or one possibility is that a family member is infected”, LIVE Law quoted the Bench as saying.
Take specialist advice, stated the Bench, stressing that the infectious cycle is only 14 days long. “After suffering from COVID, people are getting effects for three months. Have you taken this into consideration?”, asked the top court.
Justice Khanwilkar described his personal experience, saying that his side effects continued for three weeks after he recovered. The tiredness factor, according to Justice Maheshwari, is terrible!
COVID-related issues must be taken into consideration. The Bench told ICAI that there are numerous permutations and combinations.
Responding to the Bench, Srinivasan, appearing for ICAI said,”Your suggestion is completely welcome. Institute will keep this in mind and immediately issue a circular identifying an authority that can certify if a candidate is unable to appear.”
The ICAI will issue a notification to address these issues, and an authority will be created so that students can opt out.
Justice Khanwilkar: In the old syllabus, there is one last chance. Preparation is a time-consuming process.
Opt-out must be for a legitimate reason, according to the bench. “Someone has to certify and ultimately institute will take a call on that. Otherwise it will be an unending process”, it observed. In addition to exam deferral, the petition asked the Supreme Court to order an opt-out option, an extra attempt, and more exam centres for the next ICAI CA examinations.
The subject has been rescheduled until tomorrow by the bench. “We will take the note on record tomorrow and dispose of the case accordingly,” it said.
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