New Delhi, Jun 16 (ILNS) A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court, seeking directions to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for granting an additional attempt to any candidate who fails to appear in the July, 2021 Chartered Accountant (CA) examinations, in view of the COVID-19 epidemic.
The petition, moved through Advocates Hardik Gautam and Divyansh Tiwari, further sought directions to the Centre and the ICAI to formulate revised Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to be adopted in the examination centres across India for the candidates appearing in the CA Examination July 2021.
The plea alleged that ICAI failed to address the grievances of the petitioners and other similarly situated candidates on various accounts, such as providing an option of alternate attempt, extension of and/or providing further attempt for CA candidates appearing in CA Integrated Course (IPC) & Final Course with old syllabus.
It is highlighted in the Petition that there should be a reasonable plan of action to restrain the sudden flow in infection cases as the infection of such magnitude can have disastrous consequences.
According to the plea, ICAI has not provided any scheme related to the option for providing alternate attempts to any candidate who fails to appear in the July, 2021 because of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Petitioners, sought the following directions to the ICAI:-
- To provide an option or alternate attempt to any candidate who fails to appear in the July, 2021 examinations on account of any impediment, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- To extend the attempt for CA candidates appearing in CA Integrated Course (IPC) & Final Course with old syllabus.
- Waive off the articleship period for one (1) year under present exceptional circumstances, in order to safeguard the fundamental rights of the CA candidates.
- Revised guidelines may be notified and published for rendering the online facility for opening the correction window including change in centres within a city, till last week of June, 2021, so as to ensure that the candidates appearing for the July, 2021 examinations have the liberty to change their exam centre.
- An Independent Authority be appointed to keep a check on the compliance of Covid-19 protocols at examination centres and submit reports on a daily basis with photographs and other evidence concerning proper sanitization of the examination centres.
- To withdraw the Advisory dated 11.02.2021 issued to the members & the students about social media posting for grievances and not to take any coercive action including withholding results of the CA candidates.
- Notified and published Guidelines formulated by ICAI may be duly and efficiently implemented by ICAI’s Council at each examination centre.
- That appropriate or alternate measures may be devised and formally declared to overcome the additional considerations and challenges as mentioned in the present Writ Petition that hinder the protection of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of Constitution of India to candidates appearing in the scheduled physical examination to be held in July, 2021. ILNS/SHV/RJ
The Plea further seeks direction to the Respondents that the SOP formulated for the conduct of the physical examinations scheduled July, 2021, pan India is uniformly adopted by all the States/ UTs in order to ensure that the health and safety of the candidates appearing for the upcoming examinations is not compromised due to Covid-19 Pandemic.