The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday assured the lakhs of students appearing for chartered accountant (CA) exams scheduled from July 29 that because of the COVID-19 situation, if any student fails to take all the examinations, such students will be given the benefit of appearing in next cycle of tests in November 2020. The SC has ordered that the CA students who are not able to give exams in July will get a chance to attempt the exams in the Nov. attempt.
To formalize the relief, a three-judge bench that was headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar asked, the examination conducting body – Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to come out with the notification specifying the provision by Thursday. The ICAI agreed to bring forward the proposed notification to the Court following which it will be notified to all the students.
Nearly about 3.46 lakh students have registered to take CA examinations that are scheduled from July 29. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the ICAI came out with the “Opt-Out” scheme as per which the students could opt out of examinations in July & attempt the same in November this year. Students had to indicate their preference for this scheme by that of June 29 to be eligible for this relief. The ICAI proposed this scheme realizing about practical difficulties that are faced by students situated in the containment zone or the students who are not able to travel because of the lockdown restrictions.
Further, the scheme was challenged in Supreme Court by Anubha Shrivastava Sahai who alleged that the students opting for the ‘Opt-Out’ should not be left at the disadvantage because of the COVID-19 situation. The petition was argued by advocate Alakh Shrivastava sought more examination centers so that the students willing to write examinations are not forced to travel the distances.
The bench, comprising of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari & Sanjiv Khanna asked the ICAI whether it was possible to extend the opt-out scheme to even those students who did not register the choice in advance but were later unable to give examination due to the COVID-related reasons.
The Court further asked the ICAI to ensure the time to exercise the Opt-Out scheme should be extended by 1 week beyond June 29. The bench further sought the Ministry of Home Affairs Guidelines for conducting the CBSE examinations to be adopted by the ICAI. With these incorporations, ICAI is expected to submit the revised notification to Court on Thursday.