Supreme Court on postponement of CA exams – Read Court’s directions on Opt out option

Supreme Court on postponement of CA exams – Read Court’s Directions on Opt out option  

The Supreme Court though did not ordered postponement of upcoming CA exams, however directed that opt out option to appear in next exam shall be available to all students. It has been also directed that if any student who is attempting CA exam gets COVID during the exam, he will be allowed to opt out and it will not be treated as an attempt. Also, in case of last minute change in exam centre, opt out option to be available to all students

Yesterday, as directed, ICAI submitted the following seven specified note in respect of the facilities, relaxations and arrangements for the candidates:

Issue Submission of ICAI
Opt-out facility to the candidates

Currently Opt-out option is given in case the examinee or his family members residing in the same premises are infected with COVID-19 on or after 21.06.2021 till the completion of the Examinations on production of COVID-19 positive RTPCR Report.

In addition to the above, the Opt-out option shall also be extended to those candidates (whether under the Old or New Syllabus) who have recently suffered from COVID-19 or yet to recover from the after effects of the COVID-19 and consequently unable to appear in the Examinations on production of Medical Certificate issued by Registered Medical Practitioner that the candidate has recently suffered from COVID-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 RTPCR Report.

SOP re. Examination

ICAI submits 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.

Examination Functionaries ICAI assures that all the Invigilators, Supervisors at the Examination Venue wear the masks and maintain social distancing. Further, all the Examination functionaries shall carry ‘No Risk Status’ in Aarogya Setu App installed in their Mobile.
Last Minute change of Examination Centres
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 Groups of Papers

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

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.

Transportation facilities / Vaccination of Candidates

ICAI is not in a position to provide transportation facilities /vaccination of candidates, as prayed for by the Petitioner

However, the Hon’ble Bench opined that the arrangement provided for Opt-out facility to the candidates is inadequate. The Court directed that:

Supreme Court directions of ca exam opt out option

(i) A candidate shall be entitled to exercise the option of opting out if he/she personally, or any of his/her family member, has sufferedCOVID-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. That will not be considered as an attempt in the examination as such. Such candidate will be permitted to appear in the follow up (back up) examination, to be conducted for the old as well new syllabus, subject to conducive situation prevailing at the relevant time. We make it clear that the candidate need not produce RT-PCR report if medical certificate issued by the registered Medical Practitioner for himself/herself or his/her family member is presented along with the request for opting-out.
(ii) As regards candidates affected due to lock-down during the relevant period of examination, we are informed that the Scheme itself provides that such candidate will be entitled to opt-out and will not be treated as an attempt. That candidate would be permitted to appear in the back up examination, to be conducted by the Institute in due course.
(iii) As regards the logistical arrangements at the examination centre, both in respect of infrastructure and human resource, the Institute shall ensure that there is strict adherence to the standard operating procedure notified by the competent authority, including the Disaster Management Authority.
(iv) If any candidate is attempting examination and in the midst of that suffers from Covid-19ailment, as a result of which, is unable to appear in the remaining subjects, would be entitled to opt-out and will not be treated as an attempt. He/she can appear in the back-up examination, to be conducted by the Institute, as per the rules as noted in aforementioned response on Examination in Groups of Papers.
(v) In case of last-minute change of examination centre, we disapprove the suggestion of the Institute – that if the change is within the same city, it will not be open to the candidate to opt-out. Instead, we direct that the Institute shall permit such candidate to opt-out in case, of last-minute change of examination centre, which will not be treated as an attempt in the examination and such candidate shall be permitted to appear in the back-up examination, to be conducted by the Institute at appropriate time, when the situation is conducive in that regard

Read Supreme Court Order Click Here >>

Earlier the ICAI had announced that ICAI Intermediate, Final and other CA Post Qualification exams of May 2021 to commence from Monday, 5th July 2021.

Subsequently, the ICAI had also issued revised schedule of Chartered Accountant Examinations to be held from 5th July 2021 to 20th July, 2021. 

Aggrieved by the ICAI Exams schedule, A writ Petition was filed by the CA students before  the Hon’ble Supreme Court for postponing the CA exams and/or giving Opt out Options, extra chances and creating more Exam Centres.

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