Provide opt out option to Covid-hit CA candidates, says SC

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In a major relief to aspirants, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to provide “opt out” option to a candidate in the CA exams scheduled from July 5, on account of Covid-related difficulties faced by them or their family members.

A bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Aniruddha Bose said: “A candidate shall be entitled to exercise the option of opting out if he/she personally, or any of his/her family member, has suffered Covid-19 in the recent past and the fact is so certified by a Registered Medical Practitioner, as a result of which he/she is unable to appear in the ensuing examination or, for that matter, is disabled in preparing for the examination.”

The bench added that this will not be considered as an attempt in the examination as such, and such candidate will be permitted to appear in the follow up (back up) examination, to be conducted for the old as well as new syllabus, subject to conducive situation prevailing at the relevant time.

“We make it clear that the candidate need not produce RTPCR report if medical certificate issued by the registered Medical Practitioner for himself/herself or his/her family member is presented, along with the request for opting-out,” it added.

The bench observed that for candidates affected due to lockdown during the relevant period of examination, it has been informed that the scheme itself provides that such candidate will be entitled to opt out and will not be treated as an attempt. That candidate would be permitted to appear in the back up examination, to be conducted by the Institute in due course, it added.

It also said: “In case of last-minute change of examination centre, we disapprove the suggestion of the Institute – that if the change is within the same city, it will not be open to the candidate to opt-out.”

It directed the ICAI to permit such candidate to opt-out in case, of last-minute change of examination centre, which will not be treated as an attempt in the examination and such candidate shall be permitted to appear in the back-up examination, to be conducted by the Institute at appropriate time, when the situation is conducive in that regard.

“If any candidate is attempting examination and in the midst of that suffers from Covid-19 ailment, as a result of which, is unable to appear in the remaining subjects, would be entitled to opt-out and will not be treated as an attempt,” said the court.

–IANS

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