The Supreme Court on Monday deferred the hearing of three pleas seeking relief regarding Chartered Accountant exams 2021 scheduled to commence from July 6 to tomorrow.
The bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Aniruddha Bose stated that it had not read the note submitted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) counsel, which was submitted late at night.
Senior Advocate Ramji Srinivasan, who appeared for the ICAI, said that he has submitted a brief note on the stand of ICAI. To which, the bench replied that they have not received his note.
Then Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora, who was appearing for a candidate in the CA exams in one of the petition, interjected, “If I could place a few suggestions for the consideration of Srinivasan. What they have done is that they’ve unilaterally changed centres. The exam is on the 5th. If they could take instructions on that, I’d be grateful.”
Then the bench asked Srinivasan, “Have you taken note of these suggestions?” Srinivasan said that he has addressed issues raised by Arora in the note submitted by him.
The bench was considering the petitions Sathya Narayan Perumal vs Union of India(in which Senior Advocate Arora was appearing), Anubha Shrivastava Sahai vs Union of India and Amit Jain Vs. Union of India.
One of the three petitions seeks cancellation of the CA Examination 2021 in view of Covid-19. This petition was filed by 987 aspirants from 20 states and three Union Territories (UTs) through Advocate Anubha Shrivastava Sahai, the petition urged the Supreme Court to set aside the notification of ICAI dated June 5, 2021 through which the ICAI has issued the date sheet of CA Examination, scheduled to be held in the month of July 2021.
The plea, inter-alia, sought the following reliefs :-
1. Quash and set aside the Exam notification issued by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, which is not having “Opt Out” option and issue new notification providing opt out option for those willing to opt out before and during exam and carry forward all the benefits.
2. Direction to ICAI to give an extra chance/extension, Opt- Out to those students who are appearing for Intermediate and Final Course examination under old syllabus.
3. Direction to the ICAI to increase the number of Examination Centres of CA Examination, May 2021 cycle, so as to provide at least one Examination Centre in every District of India and to conduct examination in a staggered manner.
4. Direction to the ICAI to grant fresh option to choose Examination Centre to each such aspirant/ student, pursuant to increase in the number of said Examination Centre, without prejudice to the Centre already opted by him/her in lieu of the Important Announcements dated 05.06.2021 which is available from 9th July 2021 till 11th July 2021.
5. Direcrion to ICAI to provide free Transportation and Free Accommodation to the desirous students/ aspirants of the captioned CA Examination, May 2021 Cycle during the period of 6th July, 2021 to 20th July, 2021 for Intermediate and final course and 24th July, 2021 onwards for Foundation course candidates near their respective Examination Centers
6. Direction to the ICAI to issue necessary guidelines to the concerned authorities to treat the e- Admit Cards issued to the students/ aspirants of the instant Examination, as E-passes enable free movement of such students in all zones, including in containment zones, during their said Examination.
7. Direction to the ICAI to provide for at least one stand-by Examination Centre in a nearby location, for those Examination Centres, which are likely to go into containment zone during the period of 6th July, 2021 to 20th July 2021 and 24th July, 2021 onwards.
8. Direction to the ICAI to conduct mandatory free COVID-19 Tests of all the students and also of the teachers, invigilators and staff deployed at the Examination Centre and also vaccinate them and start vaccination drive.
9. Direction to MHA and MoHFW to forthwith formulate and lay down separate, exclusive guidelines for conducting the said CA Examinations.
10. Direction to ICAI to postpone the instant Chartered Accountants Examination scheduled to commence from 06th July, 2021 to any subsequent period, post normalization of COVID-19 crisis and till the completion of vaccination of the students, invigilators and other staff but the said exam of May 2021 Cycle should not be taken along with November 2021 cycle exam.