ICAI CA exam 2020: In a setback for CA aspirants, the Supreme Court on Monday directed ICAI to extend the opt-cut option and changing the exam centers. The apex court has asked ICAI to come up with fresh notification incorporating the suggestions put forward by the bench today. The court has asked ICAI to follow MHA guidelines for conducting the exam. The matter will be next considered by the bench on July 2.
A three-judge virtual Bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari & Sanjiv Khanna asked said: "ICAI counsel may take instructions and file the modified draft notification setting out the changes". The court also stressed that the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) should be flexible with the 'opt-out' scheme for the CA examinations.
Hearing the matter, the apex court suggested ICAI that a student who has been unable to appear for the exam will be considered an "opt-out case" even if they don't choose the opt-out option. "The situation is continuously changing. Even if a candidate has not chosen opt-out option if they suddenly come under a containment zone what will you do? You should treat candidates who don't appear as opt-out cases," the apex court told ICAI.
The bench was hearing the petition filed by the India Wide Parents Association challenging the "opt-out scheme" for CA exam scheduled for the May cycle exam between July 29 and August 16. The PIL had also sort also sought more examination centres for the conduct of July CA Exam 2020.
The ICAI's scheme allows students to opt-out of the exam. Their exam would be deemed to be cancelled. They would lose their chance. Meanwhile, The ICAI had on Friday sought time from the apex court to file an affidavit in response to the PIL.
The petition said the scheme discriminates against students living in remote areas or containment zones as due to the restrictions, they would be forced to opt-out unlike their counterparts living in urban areas.
Calling 'opt-Out' scheme as a 'violation of fundamental rights of students, the plea filed by Alakh Alok Srivastava on behalf of ‘India Wide Parents Association’, said that ICAI announced it will conduct the May 2020 cycle Chartered Accountants examination between July 29 to August 16.
“Now it has notified a highly discriminatory and arbitrary ‘opt-out’ option...,” adding the ICAI has notified that for the students who choose this option, their attempt (May 2020) will be treated as cancelled or not counted.
“The ‘opt-out’ option discriminates between those underprivileged group of CA students/ aspirants, who are living in remote areas of the country or living in the containment zones and thus are slated to lose one precious ‘examination attempt’ by choosing ‘opt-out’ option amidst ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as compared to that privileged group of students/ aspirants, who are living in big cities/ green zones and thus they have no problem in appearing in the said examination,” it said.