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SC Gives Green Light for CA Exam in July, Agrees to Deliberate on Opt-Out Option for Students

The Supreme Court today said it favours in-person Chartered Accountant (CA) exams and refrained from passing any direction to postpone the schedule commencing on July 5.

A bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar said students with Covid should get opt-out option. The bench comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Aniruddha Bose directed Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to present a note incorporating the court’s suggestions, other deliberations and also ICAI’s stand on them. The bench said it will pass orders on the petitions connected with the CA exams after perusing the note and adjourned the matter for June 30.

The bench in principle agreed that CA exams can be held from July 5, and asked ICAI to consider its suggestions for granting chance to candidates to opt for a centre of their choice. The top court agreed to consider the plea for granting opt-out for students who will not be able to appear for the exam on account of COVID-19 restrictions.

ICAI counsel submitted before the bench that students appearing for the examinations will be given another opportunity if they face difficulties to take the exam due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Senior advocate Ramji Srinivasan, representing the ICAI, submitted the ICAI had given opt-out option to students who were down with COVID-19 and the chief medical officer can issue a certificate for the students. He emphasized that whoever faces difficulty will be given another chance.

The top court asked ICAI to come up with a policy where a competent authority can issue a certificate explaining why a COVID-19 positive student cannot appear for the upcoming CA examination.

Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, representing the petitioners, cited issues associated with obtaining RT-PCR positive test reports for students who could not write exams due to Covid.

She added that students who live in containment zones may not be able to take the RT-PCR tests and ICAI should examine these problems faced by the students. Arora submitted the July exams schedule is the last opportunity to appear as per the old syllabus.

The bench noted that persons who recover from Covid, may have long-term problems and they may not be able to appear in exams. “General policy may be adopted where an authorised agency can certify that he is not able to appear in exam,” added the bench.

The bench told ICAI counsel that they can take certificate as a valid certificate in place of RT-PCR test so that the candidate can take the next exam. “RT-PCR test is no test. Some negative persons were actually positive. Evolve a policy that one can certify why one could not appear,” added the bench.

The top court was hearing a batch of petitions in connection with the CA exams scheduled in July.

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