The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it cannot hold the upcoming CA exam online as suggested by some of the candidates, in view of COVID-19, as it tests the analytical capabilities of the examinees. The ICAI said its 3-hour exam is of a different pattern altogether, which have descriptive answers and not tick marks.
A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna asked the ICAI to publish on its website the steps taken for students welfare with regard to COVID-19 and disposed of the petition seeking a detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the examinees in the upcoming CA exams.
The Chartered Accountant exams are scheduled to be held on November 21 to December 14. During the hearing, senior advocate Ramji Srinivasan, appearing for the ICAI, said that they don't have any isolation room as examination centres and don't have the facilities for doctors.
He said that as directed by the top court in its last hearing, they have examined all the suggestions given by advocate Bansuri Swaraj, representing the petitioners. "There was suggestion that can we hold an online exams. Ours exams has different pattern and therefore we cannot hold the online examination", he said, adding that they test the analytical capabilities of examinees.
The bench then told Swaraj that petitioners need to be reasonable in their demands and it was not satisfied with their responses. Srinivasan further said that transport and accommodation was also sought by the petitioner but that is not possible. He submitted that ICAI may request Ministry of Home Affairs to allow e-admit cards to book hotels. The bench said that it is a state specific issue as earlier when such suggestions were made, the state governments have agreed to do so.
It told Swaraj that how can online exams be allowed when the answers are required to be descriptive. "How can this be allowed? Just because courts are allowing many things, you cannot keep on asking what you want. Be reasonable in your demands," the bench told the petitioner's counsel.
It asked ICAI to put all the information on the grievances raised by the Petitioners on the website and disposed of the plea saying if there is any lapse it will be addressed but exams in the past have been handled well.
The petitioners have contended that despite less than a month left for the commencement of examination, no steps have been taken by the authorities with respect to safety of examinees. They have claimed that no safety guidelines have been issued by ICAI on how the examinations will be held amid COVID-19 pandemic.
The plea alleged that the examination will be in violation of central government guidelines which prohibits congregations of more than 100 persons at an academic institution.
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