Give students opt-out option from CA exams: SC tells ICAI

Legal Correspondent New Delhi | Updated on June 30, 2021

Doctor certificate of Covid infection of candidate or family member enough

Spelling relief to lakhs of Chartered Accountancy aspirants, the Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed them to opt out if they or their family members suffered from Covid-19.

The court directed the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to allow candidates to opt out of the exams scheduled in July if candidates can produce a certificate from a registered medical practitioner showing that either they or any of their family members were suffering from Covid or its after-effects and thus unable to prepare for the exam.

“A candidate shall be entitled to exercise the option of opting out if he/she personally, or any of his/her family member, has suffered Covid-19 in the recent past and the fact is so certified by a registered medical practitioner, as a result of which he/she is unable to appear in the ensuing examination or, for that matter, is disabled in preparing for the examination,” the court order said.

No RT-PCR needed

An RT-PCR test result is not necessary if the candidate has a doctor’s certificate.

The court further directed that candidates should be given the option to opt out even if the exam centre has been changed to another location within the same city.

“If you are changing the exam centre at the last minute because of your own logistical problem, you should leave it to the candidate to decide whether he or she wants to opt out. You have to give the candidate the choice and respect the choice,” Justice AM Khanwilkar, leading a three-judge Bench, addressed the ICAI, represented by senior advocate Ramji Srinivasan.

The court said candidates who opted out due to Covid-related problems and exam centre changes should be allowed to appear in the back-up exam whenever it is conducted.

The court said the ICAI scheme already allows candidates affected by lockdowns to opt out and appear for the back-up examination to be conducted by the institute in due course.

Allowing the ICAI to go ahead with its exams in July, the apex court directed the ICAI to strictly adhere to the standard operating procedure issued by the competent authority under the law, including the Disaster Management Act.

On Tuesday, the court had pointed out to the ICAI that the opt-out option should be made available not only for candidates who are Covid positive at the time of exam but those who could not prepare for their exams due to post-Covid complications, if certified by an expert.

The Bench was hearing pleas to postpone the CA exam due to the pandemic.

July, the right time: ICAI

The ICAI had said July was the apt time to conduct the exam with all safety protocols in place, and considering the dip in Covid cases. The third wave may hit in September-October.

The ICAI had said the candidates were eager to take the exams. “Out of 3,74,230 candidates, as on June 27, more than 2,82,000 have downloaded their admit cards, thus showing their eagerness to appear in the examinations,” it had argued.




Published on June 30, 2021

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