The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) will extend the opt-out option to more candidates of the July session following Supreme Court’s direction on Tuesday. Earlier, the opt-out option was available only for Covid-19 positive candidates which is now been extended to more candidates.
Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for one of the petitioners, said that candidates, who have to travel to different places to appear in the exam, may have suffered from Covid-19 earlier but may not have recovered fully, in such cases, ICAI should look into the problem faced by candidates as this would be their last opportunity to appear in the exam.
The top court gave directions to ICAI to look into all angles and consider having a competent authority to certify that a candidate of CA examinations is unable to appear due to Covid-19 related issues. It also observed that having a negative RT-PCR report may not reflect the fitness of a person as the effects of coronavirus may be felt for months.
A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar pointed out that if candidates who produce positive RT-PCR report are given the opt-out option, persons who have recovered from Covid may still be shown as positive and they may have long-term problems. The bench said that these are different situations.
Apart from the opt-out option, the apex court was also hearing pleas seeking postponement of the exam, and an increase in number of centres this year. Aspirants have been demanding that the exams be postponed amid the pandemic and even if it is held, there should be at least one examination centre is kept in each district. No more than 50 students should be allotted in one centre, the students demanded.
The apex court directed Ramji Srinivasan, appearing for the ICAI, to prepare a brief note on the issues discussed during Tuesday’s crucial hearing. The hearing also included pointers like maintenance of SOP at exam centres, examiners to get Covid test done before the exams are held and the last-minute change of exam centre.
The CA exams were postponed due to the pandemic and are scheduled to be held from July 5 to 20. About three lakh students were registered to appear for the exam.