Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) on Friday i.e., 26th June 2020 told the apex court about its decision to submit an affidavit on the plea hearing the ‘opt-out’ option that was provided for the Chartered Accountant (CA) exams, considering the present Covid-19 conditions. On June 15, the ICAI had made an announcement that for the CA exams to be held from July 29 to August 16, the candidates are provided with an option to ‘opt-out’ of the current exam.
A plea was filed against this announcement stating that there was an arbitrary discrimination between candidates in this regard. It had also sought to increase the number of examination centres for the 4.67 lakh candidates. The hearing was conducted via video conferencing when the ICAI’s counsel told the two member bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justices A. N. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari that there are no instances of discrimination against any candidate in its latest announcement.
The bench has posted the hearing on June 29. But the current deadline to apply for ‘opt-out’ is June 27, as pointed out by Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, the counsel for the petitioner. President of ‘India Wide Parents Association, the petitioner, has stated that with the opt-out option ICAI would transfer the opted out candidates from May examination cycle to November examination cycle and subsequently would mark their candidature as ‘cancelled’ or ‘not counted’.
The petitioner claimed that the opted candidate would be deprived of one exam attempt when compared with the other students thus discriminating the students who might be either underprivileged and/or living in remote areas or coming from containment zones because of their inability to reach the exam centers.
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The plea has also asked for increasing the number of examination centres from the current 259 centres to at least an exam centre for every district in the country for the 4.67 lakh candidates all over India. The petition also requested for free transportation and accommodation for the candidates near their respective exam centres and also mandatory free COVID test for the students, teachers and staff.