The Supreme Court today while hearing a petition challenging Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) “opt out” option for CA exams, said that option for change of centre should be there in case the area becomes a containment zone.
The bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Sanjeev Khanna was hearing a petition filed by the President of the “India Wide Parents Association”, Anubha Shrivastatva Sahai seeking quashing of the notification that allowed the CA aspirants to “opt out” of the CA exams this year due to COVID 19 which according to the petitioner is in violation of the fundamental rights under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
Today while hearing the matter, the bench told the ICAI that Option of change of centres should be made available to the candidates so that extensive travel can be avoided.
The Counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted that there should be one center per district.
The bench however said that the suggestion is being disputed by the ICAI. If there is low requirement then there was no need of more centers.
The ICAI further submitted that there are 567 test centers identified and sanitized properly and there cannot be changes in the centers now.
The bench however said that the candidiates shold be allowed to change their centers in case the area becomes a containment zone.
The bench further directed the ICAI to be specific on the option to change centers and the option must be kept open till last week.
“The situation is not static. It’s dynamic. You have to change according to the situation of the area and the concerns of the students of the area.” Said the bench.
Advocate Ramji Shrinivasan appearing for ICAI submitted that SOP has been created so as to ensure that authorities will shift the center in case there is a containment zone.
The bench said that if candidate in a containment zone is forced to appear in an exam only in November, they should be counted as appearing in July.
On this Shrinivasan submitted that no disqualification will be attached if a student opts to take exam in November instead of July. They should practically be able to go ahead.
Bench suggests to ICAI that a student who has been unable to appear for the exam will be considered an “opt out case” even if they don’t choose the opt out option.