The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) on Tuesday announced that it would extend the opt-out option to more candidates with regard to the July-scheduled examinations. The decision comes hours after the Supreme Court directed the ICAI to look into “all angles” and consider having a competent authority to certify that a candidate of CA examinations scheduled in July is unable to appear due to COVID-19 related issues.
So far, the opt-out option was available only in case an examinee or his family members residing in the same premises are infected with COVID-19 on or after June 21, 2021, till the completion of the examinations on production of COVID-19 positive RT-PCR report. However, it has now been extended to more candidates.
The apex court directed Ramji Srinivasan, appearing for the ICAI, to prepare a brief note on the issues discussed during Tuesday's crucial hearing -- including on RT-PCR, maintenance of SOP at exam centres, examiners who are going to conduct exams should have RT-PCR test done prior to exam, last minute change of exam centre -- and file it by evening.
7 MAJOR DECISIONS
OPT-OUT OPTION EXTENDED
According to the latest announcement by ICAI, the opt-out option shall also be extended to those candidates, both Old and New syllabus, who recently suffered from COVID-19 or are yet to recover from the after effects of the virus and consequently unable to appear in the exam. The institute said such students will be allowed to avail the opt-out option on production of a medical certificate issued by a registered medical practitioner, mentioning that the candidate recently suffered from COVIR-19 and is yet to recover. The certificate should bear the registered number of the practitioner. The Certificate may be issued by District Medical Officer, Primary Health Centres, Government General Hospitals, Private Hospitals and Registered Medical Practitioners. Such medical certificate will be in addition to the relevant RT PCR Report.
SOPs TO BE FOLLOWED
ICAI further submitted that all the examination centres shall follow government guidelines relating to Covid-19 strictly to ensure health and safety of the examinees. Seating areas shall be adequately sanitized and disinfected. Adequate gap between the candidates shall be maintained. Hand sanitizer would be made available at the Examination venues. Only schools, colleges and other academic institutions have been chosen to be Examination Centres. Marriage Halls, Banquet Halls etc., have not been hired for the purpose of the exam, it said.
ICAI said that all the invigilators, supervisors at the examination venues will wear their masks and maintain social distancing. Further, all the examination functionaries shall carry ‘No Risk Status’ in Aarogya Setu App installed in their mobile.
EXAM CENTRE CHANGES
In case there are any last minute changes in the examination centres due to operational or logistical reasons, the candidates would be given an option to opt-out of the examination only in case of inter-city change. No opt-out option will be given where the change does not involve change of city.
EXAMINATION IN GROUP OF PAPERS
According to the ICAI, the scheme of the examination envisages that a candidate has to appear and qualify in two sets of subject groups both in Inter and Final. "If the Opt-out option is exercised while the Examinations are in progress, the candidate has to re-appear in all the papers that constitute a Group as per the requirements of the Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1988. However, if the candidate has appeared in all the Papers that constitute a Group, there is no need to appear in the said Group once again if he/she passes that Group," the institute said.
WAIVER OF ARTICLESHIP PERIOD
"Articleship is a way of on-the-job training to equip the students with the skills required in the practical aspects of the profession. It is a statutory requirement as per the Regulation. There is flexibility of completion of articleship as per the discretion of the Principal professional under whom the student is undergoing training. Therefore, it is not possible for complete waiver of the articleship," the institute said.
TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES/VACCINATION OF STUDENTS
ICAI said it is not in a position to provide transportation facilities/vaccination of candidates, as prayed for by the petitioner.