The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has ruled out any postponement or cancellation of the July-scheduled examinations. Informing the Supreme Court, the institute has said that "a majority of students are eager to appear" in the upcoming exams.
A bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Aniruddha Bose was hearing three petitions filed by students seeking certain reliefs with regard to CA exams, which are scheduled to begin July 5 onward. Senior Advocate Ramji Srinivasan, appearing for the ICAI, submitted before the court that it had submitted a brief note on its stand last night. The bench, however, said that the note has not reached it, following which the matter was adjourned till June 29, Tuesday.
SEVEN MAJOR RESPONSES BY ICAI
'DUTY TO HOLD EXAMS'
The ICAI said it has a statutory duty to hold the exams for the benefit of around 3.74 lakh candidates, adding that the institute is trying to ensure that the exams are held in July, 2021, with all mandated Covid-19 safety protocols in place.
"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," it further stated.
'MOST CONDUCIVE TIME TO HOLD EXAMS IS NOW'
In its brief note submitted before the top court late Sunday night, the ICAI stated that the most conducive time to hold examinations is now.
"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," the institute said.
"STUDENTS EAGER TO APPEAR"
Backing its decision, the institute said that more than 2,82,000 candidates out of 3,74,230 have downloaded their admit cards as on June 27, "showing 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 mentioned.
"NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT ICAI WILL NOT TAKE ADEQUATE PRECAUTIONS"
Further, the institute said that there was no reason to believe that a responsible institute like the ICAI would not take all possible safety precautions for conduct of the examinations.
"After meticulous planning, the ICAI has decided to hold the exams, notifying the Covid-19 appropriate Guidelines for Examination Centres, Examination Functionaries and Candidates, which are in conformity with the Government of India guidelines. There is no reason to believe that a responsible Institute like the ICAI would not take all possible safety precautions for conduct of the examinations," it said.
"DO NOT EQUATE CA EXAMS WITH BOARDS"
'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 said in its response.
"AVERAGE NUMBER OF EXAMINEES IN A ROOM IS 12"
The ICAI said that an average number of examinees in an examination room is 12, and in any case not more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the room.
"OPT-OUT OPTION ROLLED OUT FOR COVID-INFECTED'
Responding to a query about the rolling out of an opt-out option, the institute said it has been given in case the examinee or his/her family members residing in the same premises are infected with Covid-19 on or after June 21, 2021. "The option can be exercised on production of COVID-19 positive RTPCR report. Such examinee would be shifted to November, 2021 examination cycle," it said.
"It is pertinent to mention that in December, 2020, when the Institute of Company Secretaries of India held the examinations, the Opt Out option was given to only those candidates who produced Covid-19 positive test report of either self or any immediate relative," the institute further said.
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