SC seeks ICAI response to PIL challenging opt-out option

The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) on a petition challenging its notification giving an “opt-out” option to aspirants in the backdrop of the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.

A bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari sought a response on the matter by Monday. The PIL filed by the President of the India Wide Parents Association sought quashing of the notification issued by the ICAI allowing chartered accountant (CA) aspirants to op-out of the exams this year. The counsel for ICAI contended before the bench that the notification does not lead to prejudice against any student, and the petitioner is occupied with false assumptions.

The May CA exam cycle has been re-scheduled between July 29 and August 16, and a notification was issued with the opt-out option on June 15 and June 20. The petitioner termed this a discriminatory move. The ICAI has sought time to file an affidavit in the matter.

After a brief hearing, the apex court listed the matter for further hearing on Monday. “Respondent No.1 ICAI has notified that for the students who choose the OPT-OUT option, this attempt (May 2020) will be treated as cancelled/not counted. Thus, such students will be deprived of the May, 2020, attempt, as compared to other groups of students, who choose OPT-IN option, “, said the plea filed through Alakh Alok Srivastava.

The petitioner urged the apex court to quash the notification with the opt-out option on the grounds that it violates the fundamental rights under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.