karnataka high court

Karnataka High Court: While considering the instant petition challenging the impugned order communicated by Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) denying membership to the petitioner to practice as a Chartered Accountant and thus sought a consequential direction to the ICAI to register the petitioner as a Member; the Bench of M. Nagaprasanna, J., quashed the impugned order and issued the writ of Mandamus to ICAI to consider the membership of the petitioner in view of the Court’s observations. Expressing its surprise, the Court had observed that it was perplexing that the ICAI wanted to stifle the career of a student, who has pursued multiple courses and gained such acumen to practice as a Chartered Accountant. The Court further observed that it would be helpful to the ICAI and the Society, if a student has extra acumen, rather than just chartered accountantship. The Court thus “bent the arc of justice” for the petitioner (student) and directed the ICAI to grant the membership.

Background: The petitioner in the month of May 2017 joined B.Com course at ASC Evening Degree College. Simultaneously, she enrolled herself for a course in CMA Foundation. After joining B. Com degree course, the petitioner completed CMA Foundation course and intermediate course as well in June 2018 and had pursued her CS-Executive Course which was also completed in June 2018. During this period, the petitioner was still pursuing her B. Com.

In August 2018, the petitioner joined Chartered Accountant Articleship training and then sought permission to continue her B. Com by submitting necessary application (Form no. 112) under the Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1988. The permission was granted, and the petitioner completed her B. Com degree in September 2020.

After completion of B.Com. degree, petitioner sought permission to write CMA final exam and she was permitted. The petitioner in December 2020 completed her CMA final exam and after its completion, the petitioner on 30-03-2021 sought permission to pursue additional course – CS professional again seeking permission by submitting application (Form No. 112) and the permission was granted.

On completion of all the courses and Articleship, the petitioner then filed application seeking enrolment as Member of ICAI to become a Chartered Accountant. Various clarifications were sought from the petitioner as to her pursuing of multiple courses seeking permission via Form 112. However, she was informed that she would not be permitted to enrol as a Chartered Accountant for two years and would be imposed a fine of Rs.10,000 for having pursued multiple courses without permission (as communicated by ICAI).

The counsel for the respondent contended that petitioner had applied for final courses and not the foundation or intermediate course; thus, the petitioner has violated Regulation 65 of the 1988 Regulations that bars multiple courses being pursued by a student, who has enrolled for Articleship with ICAI.

Per contra, the petitioner argued that permission was taken and granted at every step of her pursuing the afore-stated courses.

Court’s Assessment: Perusing the facts and contentions raised by the parties and the series of communications between the petitioner and ICAI regarding their enquiries on multiple courses, the Court noted that, the student on every occasion, had diligently sought permission from the ICAI to pursue the course and on every occasion, the student had been permitted to pursue the course. “Now, when time came to register her as a Member of the Council to practice as a Chartered Accountant, the ICAI wants to put the clock back by four years tinkering with the permissions that are already granted from time to time”.

The Court further stated that the scenario could have been different had the student been not diligent to seek permission; however, that is not the case in the instant matter. “The mighty respondent now wants to jeopardize the career of a student on the score that it had not properly accorded permission or permission was not properly sought by the student. This act of the 2nd respondent (ICAI) sans countenance”.

“This Court is dealing with the fervent cry of the student who sought to pursue multiple courses to develop such acumen and she has completed all those courses with the permission of the ICAI. A student will not know the implications of law. A student knows only to study and ponder over the study material. She has studied and completed the courses”.

The Court stated that act of ICAI against the petitioner who has only studied and done nothing else and that too with all the necessary permission, does not befit an authority coming within the meaning of Art. 12 of the Constitution.

With the afore-stated assessment, the Court thus allowed the petition and directed the ICAI to grant membership to the petitioner.

[Nikkitha K.J. v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine Kar 76, decided on 07-12-2023]

*Order by Justice M. Nagaprasanna

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Somashekharaiah R.P. appearing for the petitioner,

Vaibhav Malimath, appearing for respondent No.1

Shriraja S., appearing for respondent Nos.2 to 4.

Buy Constitution of India  HERE

Constitution of India

Must Watch

maintenance to second wife

bail in false pretext of marriage

right to procreate of convict

Criminology, Penology and Victimology book release

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.