CA Misconduct-Claiming AC First Class fare but travelling in lower class. It was an act of casualness and not an act with intention to cheat-High Court
ABCAUS Case Law Citation:
ABCAUS 1113 (2017) (01) HC
Brief Facts of the Case:
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had made a complaint to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) alleging that for the year 2000-01 the Joint Statutory Auditors of a corporation had committed misconduct while performing duties as the auditors of the Corporation. The matter was referred to the Disciplinary Committee (DC) for inquiry.
In its report, the DC though absolved the respondent, who was in charge of the audit, of the first and the second misconduct alleged, held him guilty of the third misconduct, which was of claiming AC First Class fare for rail travel, and as a matter of fact travelling in a lower class during the return journey. The DC recommended removal of the name of the guilty chartered accountant (CA) from the Register of Members for one month. Accordingly the Reference was made to High Court with the proposed penalty.
The High Court observed that as per the DC, the CA was entitled to AC First Class fare. He had travelled by AC Second Class due to seat in the AC First Class not being available for the return journey. The Disciplinary Committee itself had noted that it was a case of casualness and not an act done with an intention to cheat. The Disciplinary Committee had noted that the travel was at a short notice and in a rush season.
The Hon’ble High Court opined that the proposed penalty of removing members name for one month would be disproportionate to the gravity of the wrong and especially keeping in view that there was no evidence that the respondent was paid for travel by AC First Class. The evidence was only to the effect that he travelled by AC Second Class but raised a bill for travel by AC First Class.
The Hon’ble Court stated that though it might be a case where penalty of reprimand would suffice, but keeping in mind that the DC proceedings were dragged on for fourteen years keeping the chartered accountant in continuous distress, it would refrain from imposing any penalty.
The Hon’ble High Court Warned the CA to be more careful in future and dropped the proceedings against the CA without imposing any penalty.