ICAI to Respond to PIL in Supreme Court Challenging “Opt-Out” Option in the ICAI Notification

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The Supreme Court received a Writ Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. The Petition opposed the notification issued by Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

On 15th June 2020 ICAI issued a notification. This allowed CA aspirants to “opt-out” of CA exams due to COVID-19.

Petitioner’s Submission

The President of India Wide Parents Association filed the Petition. The Petitioner submitted that the option to “opt-out” is discriminatory. Hence he sought for quashing of the Petition. He stated some students are residing in remote areas or in contaminated zones. They have no other option but to “opt-out”. In this case, these students are bound to lose one precious examination attempt. Further, it is violative of the Fundamental Rights of 4.67 lakh students.

These are the students who have to “opt-out” of the examination. “Writ Petition has been preferred before this Hon’ble Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, inter-alia seeking the urgent kind indulgence of this Hon’ble Court towards the blatant violation of fundamental Right of Equality under Article 14 and Right to Life under Article 21 of about 4.67 Lakh students, who are slated to appear in various Chartered Accountants Examinations during ‪29th July 2020 to 16th August 2020, amidst the exponential surge of deadly COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Petitioner also seeks to increase the number of Examination Centres. He prays for one centre in every District.

The Plea says that students are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 if they travel to their Centres that are far away. The Petitioner also prays for free accommodation. He further seeks free transport for students who live far away from the exam centre. Also, MHA must give free medical treatment to students infected during the examination. An alternative Prayer seeks to postpone the exams. The exam should take place when the situation is normal.

Court’s Observation

A Bench comprising of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari was set up. They heard the matter on 26th June 2020. The Hon’ble Court observed that the matter requires urgency. This was due to the deadline to exercise the “opt-out” option. The Bench stated that- “If we decide rights in your favour, we can issue directions.”

Further, the Bench demanded a response from ICAI on the plea. 29th June 2020 is the listing date of the case for further consideration.


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