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HC sets aside decision of ICAI to cancel result of CA student for questioning exams during covid

Regulation 41 reveals that the Examination Committee can initiate disciplinary proceedings in connection with the Examination. The language used therein is unequivocal, leaving no room for ambiguity that an action can be taken if a candidate behaves in a disorderly manner in or near an examination hall or has resorted to unfair means. (Para 57)




RISHA LODHA V. THE INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS OF INDIA & THE DEPUTY SECRETARY (EXAMINATION)

S.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 6261/2021

May 13, 2021


The Hon’ble Justice Dinesh Mehta decided the present case. The petitioner approached the court being aggrieved by action made by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. The petitioner cleared her CA Foundation and was about to appear CA Intermediate exam to be scheduled on May, 2020; the exams were postponed because of the spread of Covid – 19 to November, 2020. Due to the circumstances the exams were further re- scheduled to January, 2021. The petitioner suggests the respondent to conduct online exams for all level of CA Exams, with many emotional comments through E-mail. The petitioner appeared in the exam conducted on January.


The petitioner received an e-mail from respondent, informing her results had been put on hold, because of derogatory remarks on her e-mail. The petitioner expressed her apology for her inappropriate remarks. The petitioner result was cancelled. The petitioner sent an e-mail stating that she had not used any unfair means; she submitted that her result had perhaps been cancelled due to misunderstanding. The respondent had replied that the Examination Committee had reached a conclusion that she was guilty of making derogatory remarks in the examination and thus, her result of Exam been cancelled. The petitioner presented the writ petition before the High Court at Jodhpur.


The learned counsel for the petitioner has stated that the examination committee has no jurisdiction in cancelling the exams in accordance with the regulation 41 and 176 of the Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1988. He contended that there was hardly any offending remark against the Institute or any of its office bearers, but petitioner’s anxiety was only to request the Institute to develop online infrastructure. He has further stated that the petitioner clearly made an apology e-mail to the respondent regarding her action, even this action could be enough for the respondent to close the matter. It was the irresponsible and unprofessional approach of a professional body. The counsel concluded by stating to allow the writ petition and to impose exemplary cost to the petitioner.


The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent has stated the alternative remedy of filing a review before the Council against the decision taken by the Examination Committee, as provided in Regulation 176(3) of the Regulations, the writ petition is not maintainable. The counsel stated that the petitioner was informed about her result was cancelled and she has chosen not to assail the same; the writ petition is not maintainable and the petitioner is guilty of concealment of facts. The counsel stated that the e-mail contained about the examination, the examination committee has the jurisdiction as conferred by Regulations 41 and 176 of the Chartered Accountants Regulation, 1988.


The petitioner in her apology letter has stated that “I am truly ashamed of myself”. The petitioner was personally heard and no order was communicated to her. She came to know that her result had been cancelled by citing “adopted unfair means”. In exchange of e-mails the respondent e-mail stating her result has been cancelled can’t be taken as an order as it is only intimation. So the petitioner did not challenge the communication been made.


Regulation 41 reveals that the Examination Committee can initiate disciplinary proceedings in connection with the Examination. The language used therein is unequivocal, leaving no room for ambiguity that an action can be taken if a candidate behaves in a disorderly manner in or near an examination hall or has resorted to unfair means. (Para 57)


The Examination Committee to take action only regarding the exam and behaviour of a candidate in or near an examination hall, whereas the contentious letter was written before the exams. The court after considering the petitioners and respondents statement decided that action by the Examination Committee was without jurisdiction; proceedings were said to be arbitrary and it was against the principals of natural justice and decision on 9/10. 03. 2021 is said to be contrary to law. The cost of Rs.20, 000/- as indicated above shall be paid by the respondents by way of demand draft to the petitioner within a period of 30 days. The decision made by the Respondents was set side.


View/Download Judgment - RISHA LODHA V. THE INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS OF INDIA & THE DEPUTY SECRETARY (EXAMINATION)


Shantha Gopika R

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