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Can’t tweak rules, or give undue relaxation in the name of Covid: SC on CA exams

The Supreme Court on Wednesday made it clear that it is not inclined to either tweak rules or give undue relaxation in the name of Covid to Chartered Accountant (CA) aspirants for the examination commencing from July 5.

A bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar told a petitioner counsel, “We will not tweak with the rules. You have to appear for the whole group, if you miss a paper, if you take a chance then you take a chance”.

Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for one of the petitioners, submitted the new syllabus came in 2018. “We are trying to get your sympathy saying we are not attempting to avoid the exam”, she added.

She argued that the opt-out option has to be given to those who suffered from Covid, or family members suffered from Covid and added that the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) note does not capture it.

The bench comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Aniruddha Bose said it is an opt-out option for candidates, and the rest all are on SOP as per authority.

The bench asked the petitioners’ counsel that there should be a complete option to students whether to opt-out or not, “and once that option is there what another argument is available to you?”

Justice Dinesh Maheshwari said so far genuine Covid issues are concerned, we are looking into it. “In the name of Covid, we can’t expand the scope so much,” he added.

Justice Maheshwari emphasized that if a candidate has to appear in the entire group, then he/she has to appear. “Covid has to be treated as an ailment. It cannot be used to tweak the rules,” he added.

ICAI has told the Supreme Court that the opt-out option in the CA Exam will be granted for those who “recently suffered” from Covid or have post-Covid health issues.

The top court, in its order, said the opt-out facility is to candidates who suffered Covid or his/her family member had suffered from the disease in the recent past and certified by a medical practitioner and result of which the candidate is unable to disable to prepare, then they will be allowed to opt-out.

“The candidate need not produce RT-PCR report if medical certificate by a registered medical practitioner for himself or family member is accompanied with a request for opting out”, said the court in the order.

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