Four weeks time frame for disposal of CA misconduct complaint unrealistic – ICAI
In a recent case, the ICAI, while opposing a writ petition seeking directions to to complete the inquiry within four weeks pleaded that there is only one Director (Discipline) in the Institute and several thousands of complaints are received making the directions sought unjustifiable.
However, this time the Hon’ble high Court concurred with the pleadings of the ICAI as the petitioner could not show any urgency in the matter.
ABCAUS Case Law Citation:
ABCAUS 1268 (2017) (05) HC
Brief Facts of the Case:
The petitioner was a private limited company who had made a complaint of professional misconduct against a chartered accountant (‘CA‘) to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ÍCAI’) and was aggrieved by the non disposal of the complaint. The petitioner approached the Hon’ble high Court and inter alia, sought a direction to the respondent ICAI to complete the inquiry on the complaint of professional misconduct made by it within a maximum period of four weeks.
It was represented on behalf of the ICAI that there is only one Director (Discipline) in the Institute of Chartered Accountant of India and several thousands of complaints are received which have to be considered by the Director (Discipline) to ascertain whether prima facie opinion exist for taking further steps in the matter.
It was submitted that the matter was under active consideration, however is likely to take some time. The Hon’ble High Court was apprised that on receipt of a complaint, prior to any action being taken, ICAI places the complaint before the Director (Discipline) for forming prima facie view. Comments are called for and thereafter a prima facie opinion is formed.
It was submitted that several complaints are received by ICAI and fixing a time frame for four weeks for disposal of the complaint is unrealistic.
Regarding the complaint, it was submitted that the petitioner had filed the complaint in September – October 2016, which is under active consideration and pleadings in the complaint have been completed in end of February, 2017.
Observations made by the High Court:
It was observed that the matter is under active consideration. There is no justification shown by the petitioner for issuance of a direction to ICAI to expedite hearing of the complaints of the petitioner. The Hon’ble High Court opined that the petitioner has to wait for its turn, as several matters are pending before the Director (Discipline). No ground for urgency had been pleaded or shown.
No orders for expediting the hearing of the complaints filed by the petitioner are called for at this stage. The writ petition was accordingly dismissed.