New Delhi [India], June 29 (ANI): Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will not pass any directions to postpone the Chartered Accountantcy (CA) examinations scheduled to commence in July and asked the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to mention under which circumstances an 'opting out' scheme can be granted to aspirants.
A Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar agreed to consider the plea for granting an 'opt out' for students who won't be able to appear for the exam on account of COVID-19 restrictions.
"We are not stopping the exam. We are going to consider how opting out can be granted. In the midst of exams, out of five papers, if a student appears for three papers, he should be appearing in two papers only next time," the Bench observed.
The Bench posted for tomorrow the hearing of the plea seeking directions for an "opt-out" option to candidates going to appear in the upcoming CA exams, for those willing to opt out before and during the exam.
Senior advocate Ramji Srinivasan appearing for the ICAI told the Court that "We had given opt out option to students who were down with COVID-19."
The apex court asked the ICAI to give by tomorrow an elaborate note of assurance with details on standard operating protocols that shall be maintained in the examination halls.
Srinivasan said it is the most conducive time to hold the exams.
"We have given in this cycle an opt out scheme. We have suggestions which we will put to the institute. The opt out facility will be available to people who are affected by COVID in one form or the other," said Srinivasan.
In a note yesterday, ICAI had submitted that it is in best interest of students that exams are held as scheduled in July instead of postponing it for later. It pointed out that the exams were scheduled for May this year but it had to postpone it to July, 2021 due to increase in COVID cases.
ICAI also submitted that since the COVID third wave will peak in September-October, it has this narrow window of July, 2021 to conduct the CA examinations.
There are three pleas pending before the top court seeking relief in CA exams due to COVID.
One of the pleas sought direction to give extra chance/ extension, opt out to those students appearing for intermediate and final exams of CA under old syllabus.
It also sought more exam centres for CA exams so as to ensure that at least one examination centre is kept in every District of India and not more than 50 students are allotted one centre. It also asked for the postponement of the exam if adherence to COVID protocols is not possible.
The plea has sought direction to quash ICAI June 5, 2021 notification for CA exam of May 2021 cycle since it does not have an "opt out" option. The plea sought direction for issuance of new notification with an option to opt out for those willing to opt out before and during exams.
This PIL has been filed on behalf of 986 CA aspirants from 20 states and three Union Territory seeking various relief for upcoming exams from July onwards for May 2021 Cycle.
"Grant fresh option to choose examination centre to each such aspirants/ students, pursuant to increase in the number of said centres, without prejudice to the centre already opted by him/her in lieu of important announcement dated June 5, 2021 which is available from July 9 till July 11, 2021," the plea stated.
Among others, it also asked to provide free transportation and accommodation to the aspirants and free COVID-19 test of all students, teachers, invigilators, staff deployed at the examination centres. (ANI)