CA & CS May-June 20 Exams cancelled : Cost Accountancy body denies cancellation

1. Cost Accountancy June20 exams to be held from 1st September

 Ref. No.: G/128/07/2020

16th July, 2020

NOTIFICATION

It has come to the knowledge of the Institute that some miscreants have issued a fake Notification bearing Ref. No. G/132/6/2020 dated 16th July, 2020 in the name of the Secretary of the Institute mentioning that “due to outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country, it has been decided to further cancel the examinations of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India for June, 2020 term. The Foundation, Intermediate and Final examinations”.

This is for clarification of all concerned that no such decision has been taken by the Council of the Institute and the examinations of the Institute are going to take place as per schedule already notified.

The Institute is also investigating about the miscreants who have spread this false notification thereby creating confusion of all concerned.

Ref. No. G/128/6/2020

21st June, 2020

NOTIFICATION

Sub: Postponement of CMA Examinations for June, 2020 Term
Due to outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country, it has been decided to further postpone the examinations of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India for June, 2020 term. The Foundation, Intermediate and Final examinations that were scheduled from 20th – 28th July, 2020 will now commence from 1st September, 2020.
The revised schedule of the examinations in details is being announced separately.

2. ICSI Decision to Cancel June 2020 exams and merger with Dec. 2020 exams [dated 16-7-2020]

Icsi Announcement 160720

3. ICAI Decision to Cancel May20 exams [dated 3-7-2020]

Examination Department
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
3rd July, 2020
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

1. The students are aware that vide Announcement dated 15th June 2020, the Institute, after taking in account the academic interests and health safeguards of students intending to appear in May 2020 Examinations, had enabled them to change their centre for appearance in May/ July 2020 Examination and/or to decide, at their free will, to “Opt Out” of the May/ July 2020 Examinations with carryover of all benefits including fee paid and exemptions. The Announcement also stated that Institute will review the situation of pandemic (COVID cases, MHA guidelines, Centre and State Government directions) in first week of July 2020 and the conduct of examinations commencing from 29th July 2020 was to be strictly dependent upon prevailing Government’s advisories for the area in which a particular Centre is situated and, in any eventuality, the students were to be accommodated to November 2020 Examination cycle.

2. Further Announcement dated 17th June 2020 provided for FAQ’s relating to conduct of May/ July 2020 Examinations, change in centre and operation and procedure for Opt Out to address the queries raised by the students. Announcements dated 20th June 2020 and 26th June 2020 extended the availability of facility to “opt out” to allow the students to make their decision which facility is available to the students even as on date.

Further Developments:

  • A. With Unlock1, the severity of COVID 19 Pandemic was expected to subside from the later part of June 2020, but has rather become more severe and, therefore a Review as per announcement dated 15 June 2020 has become necessary.
  • B. Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India vide its Guidelines dated 29th June 2020 has extended the closure of all schools & academic Institutions and academic congregations till 31st July 2020. Select State Governments have put extended prohibitions in their respective States. Post the said Notification dated 29th June 2020, many Schools/ Academic Institutions have expressed their inability to provide their premises to conduct the Examinations.

On a review of above developments and in order to ensure the interest of its students and their well-being, the Institute has decided to cancel May 2020 Examinations and merge the May 2020 attempt with November 2020 Examinations, with due carryover of all benefits already available to students including fee paid and exemptions. The students who have made application for May 2020 Examinations will have an option to change the group(s) of their appearance and centre of Examinations at the time of making a fresh application for November 2020 Examinations, which, subject to conditions prevailing at relevant time, will start from 1st November 2020. It is again clarified that in this schema, the students will be free to exercise the options afresh for the groups that they intend to appear in the November 2020 examinations.

The students are advised to stay in touch with the Institute’s website www.icai.org for further announcements relating to November 2020 Examinations and in case of any queries can write at may2020exam@icai.in.

(S. K. Garg)
Additional Secretary (Exams)

Source : https://www.icai.org/post/important-announcement-for-may-2020-examinations

Proceedings before Supreme Court in PIL

In this matter, a PIL was filed with the cause title Anubha Shrivastava Sahai [for India Wide Parents Association] v. ICAI/MHA/Health-Ministry/MCA [W.P.(C) No. 601/2020, first listed on 26-6-2020]

Hearing on 29-June – ICAI expressed ability to hold exams :

On June 15, the ICAI notified that the students can avail an ‘opt-out’ option, as per which their attempt will be treated as cancelled, and will be carried forward to the exams scheduled in November. The deadline for opt-out option was set as June 30. This was challenged as highly discriminatory and arbitrary by the petitioner.

On June 29, the Court had urged that the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) should be flexible with the ‘opt-out’ scheme, considering the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

The bench also suggested the ICAI to keep open the option for change in examination until the last week and not to freeze it, as the situation is constantly changing.

A bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari & Sanjiv Khanna had then asked the ICAI to come out with a fresh notification in this regard and adjourned the hearing till July 2.

The bench had said that the situation due to pandemic was not ‘static’ and was ‘dynamic’. So, the option for opt-out must be kept open till last exam.

The ICAI had told the bench that the limited window of choosing to opt-out was kept to have a sense of certainty as regards the number of students taking the exam. Senior Advocate Ramji Srinivasan, ICAI’s counsel, said that 53,000 students have already opted out from taking the CAexam to be held in July-August.

But the bench pointed out the pandemic situation was constantly changing, and containment zones were always shifting.

‘Those who have not opted out and are unable to take exam due to any exigency, let those students have the same benefit as someone who has opted out’, Justice Khanwilar suggested.

‘If someone does not appear for the CA exam, treat them as opted out. As simple as that. Assume that it is COVID-19 related’, the judge added.

‘You have to make a provision then that if a student passes the exam in November, you have to say that it means they have passed the exam in July’, the bench said.

The bench made two suggestions :

Opting out shall remain active till last paper.Guidelines issued by MHA for conduct of CBSE exams should be adopted.

‘Don’t make taking of any CA exam difficult for students. Don’t make this semester-based opting out. You (ICAI) are a professional body. Take care of your students’, the bench told Senior Advocate Ramji Srinivasan, counsel for ICAI.

‘Once the option of opting out is kept open till last paper, no other logistic concern would be relevant’, the bench remarked.

The bench also said that the the option to change CA exam centre needs to be open till the last week before examination date.

‘The change of centre should be open for all till the end. Till the last week, you need to be flexible, you cannot be rigid’, the bench said.

Srinivasan told the bench that a modified notification will be issued addressing the concerns raised by the bench.

The bench however was not appreciative of the petitioner’s plea for free transportation facilities to exam centres.

‘Do you expect a bus to go to every aspirant’s residence to pick them up?’, the bench asked Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, petitioner’s counsel.

Hearing on 2nd-July – ICAI expressed inability to hold exams :

In what may be called an unexpected somersault, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India on Thursday told the Supreme Court that there were operational difficulties in holding the CA Exams – scheduled to start from July 29 – on pan India level on account of the spike in COVID-19 cases in several states such as Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Senior Advocate Ramji Srinivasan, appearing for the ICAI, sought time to contact the exam centres to assess the ground situation, and sought adjournment of the hearing of the petition challenging the ‘opt-out scheme’ till July 10. Accordingly, the bench granted the adjournment, reminding the ICAI that the ground situation was not ‘static’ and was ‘dynamic’.

 

Relief(s) Sought :

  1. Quash/Stay ‘Opt-out Scheme’ of ICAI for July-2020 exams as it is discriminatory
  2. Increase in Exam Centres
  3. Issue of e-admit cards, which would be valid as e-passes for movement in red/containment zones
  4. Stand-by exam centers
  5. Guidelines by MHA for free treatment of students should they contract the disease
  6. Free COVID-19 tests of students and teachers/staff deployed at exam centers
  7. Option to change exam-center pursuant to new exam centers, if any allowed

Alternative Prayer : If aforesaid relief cannot be granted, postpone the exams.

Brief Grounds :

  1. Opt-out scheme discriminates against remote-area/containment-zone/underprivileged Students, as they will have to opt-out and will, therefore, be deprived of the May 2020 attempt without their fault, as compared to other group of privileged/green-zone students who go in for ‘opt-in’ option
  2. Transportation of students located in villages/remote-areas to exam centers (exam centers are located only in 30% of the districts) would put their life in danger

Law Invoked : Article 14 (Equality) and Article 21 (Life and Liberty) of Constitution of India

EDITORIAL NOTES : No one can be punished without his fault. Further, two persons (similarly placed) cannot be treated differently for reasons beyond control of said persons. This is the brief ground for challenge against opt-out scheme, as it denies examination attempt to containment zone students, without their fault.

COPY OF PROCEEDINGS/ORDER DATED 26-6-2020 :

Students V ICAI Opt Out 601 2020 26 06 2020

DETAILED NEWS ITEM

A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking multiplicity of centre’s for partaking CA examinations to be held on June 15 as well as a stay on the opt-out scheme enunciated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAI) amid the ongoing pandemic situation. The petition avers that the the notification issued by the ICAI on June 15 violates the fundamental rights of 4.67 students who are slated to take the examinations and places them in a precarious position.

‘Writ Petition has been preferred before this Hon’ble Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, inter-alia seeking urgent kind indulgence of this Hon’ble Court towards the blatant violation of fundamental Right of Equality under Article 14 and Right to Life under Article 21 of about 4.67 Lakh students, who are slated to appear in various Chartered Accountants Examinations during 29th July, 2020 to 16th August, 2020, amidst the exponential surge of deadly COVID-19 pandemic’

The ICAI announced that it will conduct the May 2020 cycle CA examination between the aforementioned dates this year and has now come out with a ‘highly discriminatory’ and ‘arbitrary’ option which deprives students students who of the May 2020 attempt, the petition reads.

Filed by the President of India Wide Parents Association, the plea states that said ‘Opt-Out’ option discriminates against students on account of the fact that some students who are living in remote areas of the country or are currently in containment zones are bound to choose the ‘opt-out’ option and are thus slated to lose one ‘one precious examination attempt’ of taking the said examination.

In order to ensure that there is at least one Examination Centre in every district of India so that maximum students can take the exams, the plea prays for increasing the number of Examination Centres. as there are only 259 centres in India and 5 Centres overseas, whereas there are 739 districts in India.

‘….it is apparent from the above that the Respondent No.1 ICAI is only conducting the aforesaid Examinations in about 30% districts in India. Meaning thereby that the students/ aspirants living in other 70% districts of India, would be required to travel from their homes for long distances, to other districts, in order to appear in the aforesaid Examinations, which will put their lives in immense threat of deadly pandemic of COVID-19’ – Excerpt of Plea

This, the plea states would ensure that that the risk of contracting infection is minimised as students would not have to travel long distances to partake the examinations.

Additionally, the petitioner prays for free transportation and free accommodation for those students who are not in close proximity to their respective Examination Centres in order to protect them from ‘unnecessary harassment’ and for ‘e-Admit Cards to be issued to the captioned students, as E-passes for free movement of such students in containment/ red zones during examinations’.

Moreover, the petitioner is praying for stand-by Examination centre for those centres which are ‘likely to go into containment zones’;

‘formulation and implementation of specific MHA guidelines for free medical treatment of those students who may get infected with COVID19 during the examination’

‘free COVID-19 Tests of all the students/ aspirants and also of the teachers and staff deployed at the Examination Centres’

and

‘granting fresh option to choose Examination Centre to each such aspirant/ student, pursuant to increase in the number of said Examination Centres, without prejudice to the Centre already opted by him/her in lieu of the Important Announcements dated 15.06.2020/20.06.2020’

Lastly, the plea seeks an alternative prayer,

‘As an alternate prayer, the humble Petitioner is further praying that if adherence to the aforesaid COVID-19 safety measures, is not possible by the Respondents for the aforesaid Examiation, then the Respondent No.1 ICAI should be directed to postpone the instant Examination to any subsequent period, post normalisation of COVID-19 crisis’

The petition is likely to be taken up in the coming days.

Source : https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/covid19-ca-examination-pil-in-sc-seeks-stay-on-opt-out-scheme-bats-for-increasing-centres-across-india-read-petition-158865