Chartered Accountant (CA), I believe everyone in the country must be aware of these two words and the roles and responsibilities attached to it. Especially after the PM Modi Speech last year on GST Inauguration-cum-CA DAY on 1st July 2017. I still very clearly remember that day when our CA Institute (ICAI) has managed everything and spent big fat amount on this one day, obviously because it was not a usual CA Day Celebration but our beloved PM Modi was to arrive and it was supposed to be a historic moment as the GST Law was also to be introduced. Almost every CA and the ICAI itself would have expected words of praises and flattery (as politicians do) on the event. But this time a whole lot of game was totally different. PM Modi criticizes CAs more and more rather than praising them or appreciating their contribution toward the nation. There were also the words of praises but those were so constipated that it feels more like sympathy rather than praise. (Almost) All the CAs were thinking like What the Hell..?? But one message was very clear through the speech of PM Modi that; "Be Prepared, There is a lot to come!"
There is no question about it that our PM is one of the finest and most sincere PM that we could have ever. But my question is WHY ONLY CAs'? Why only we are responsible for every ups and downs with the economy? Why only we are responsible for Big Scams and bank frauds? Why only we need to be corrected? Let's try to find it out but before that some more points need to discuss which really escalates the restrictions on the profession.
1. Introduction of NFRA:
The introduction of NFRA is also much of a step which has limited the role and power of ICAI to a certain extent. It was although already mentioned in the Companies Act, 2013 itself about the creation of such body. But, limiting the power of ICAI only to small businesses was something really unexpected. Although, We are not against the introduction of NFRA but the main question is; "Is it not affecting the Professional Independence?" which was the very purpose behind creating the separate act for establishing the ICAI. Also, NFRA itself will definitely be affected by the political pressures if not now then at later stages but it is for sure.
2. Recent Supreme Court order:
The CA professionals were already trying to adjust with news of NFRA and various compliances under that. A few days after that a Supreme Court order came out which ruled out as Any act by a chartered accountant that BRING DISREPUTE to the profession, whether or not in the professional domain, is open to disciplinary scrutiny and action. Like Seriously..!!!
Which means a CA is expected to be accountable and responsible 24x7. Be it personal life or professional life, it just doesn't matter.
Okay. fine..! We are ready to take this too. But again the question is Why ONLY CAs? Why not any such order for Doctors, Lawyers or other professions?
3. Let's try to establish the Reason!
After reading all this, when I really try to console myself and try to establish some reasoning then the very first reason which comes in my mind is that: "We are a good Scapegoat" and be anyone responsible, we are the first one to make accountable for all such acts.
The second possible reason is that "There is no unity in our Profession" and perhaps that's why we are quite Vulnerable and we have no other option except to take what is coming. But suppose if that would be the case of Law Professionals or even any other professional, then the rules of the game are totally different.
And it only then comes the third reason and that is; to some extent, ICAI has also been responsible for not proactively taking up the genuine cases involving misconducts against their member and take the required action against them. And it had become the common thinking of members as well that if anything goes wrong the CA won't get trapped and if trapped the mother like ICAI would take care of that. But as I said; This reason comes only after the above two.
I am not against the implementation of NFRA, I am not against the SC order. I am also not blaming the Govt. for posting us as the Main Villain.! But my concern is; WHY ONLY CA? and after so much of reasoning with myself I am not able to satisfy this one small question. I would also like to mention one of the cases of the Medical profession when a young man aged around 24-25 years was operated the wrong leg instead of the wounded leg and this case has happened in one the biggest hospital i.e. Fortis. And this is just an example of a professional misconduct of other professions which was settled out in just a few days and everything was fine. Still, Why there is no such strong restrictions on them also?
Also, take the case of recent PNB Fraud which gives the immense pressure for the introduction of NFRA. In that case; Were ONLY Auditors Involved? There was no responsibility of RBI? There was no responsibility of Bank itself? or the Govt?
My whole point is that if something needs to be corrected as big as the whole economy of a big nation then instead of imposing all liability on any single element; a co-operation among all the factors is needed. And instead of Crushing the independence of a renowned and reputed professional body; Why not amend the act itself which governs the ICAI? Also, after seeing the current situation of independent bodies in the country which has somehow have political interferences e.g. especially RBI, it's very hard to say now whether NFRA would be able to fulfill the very purpose of its creation.
CA has always been a very reputed and respected profession and it can't be denied that it has served the whole nation from the very inception of itself. Although, there might be some cases of misconducts or even involving frauds still that does not mean to interrupt the independence of professional body through the political diktat.
At the end; I believe one thing can't be denied by anyone that CAs had always served and always ready to serve the nation with full integrity and their all professional skills.
The author can also be reached at Taxeffects.blogspot.com and reach me at email@example.com
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