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ICAI and Professional Judgement

Mehul Thacker 
on 08 June 2020

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Coronavirus cases in India have reached from meager 30 on March 5 to 2,26,770 as on June 5 and with the current pace, we might have close to 16,00,000 cases by the end of June. The best of the minds and billions of dollars have been deployed to find the right vaccine at the earliest. The macro situation in India is worsening day by day (cases have been hitting peak every day for the last 7 days at least).

CA Final exams were due to be held from May 1 which subsequently got delayed to 19th June and presently the date is 29th July. The difficult part was to be away from the syllabus and again get back to the study table. Break, study and repeating this was easier said than done. Honestly, it was mentally harassing.

Lets take a case of Ramesh, a CA Final student whose exams are due in July (29th July onwards). Amidst the chaos, he is trying his best to study and his preparations are going just fine. One day he gets up and finds out (say) his father had been tested for the virus and found positive. All hell breaks loose for this guy. Mental peace is down the drain and forget studying, it will be hard for this guy to even doze off for a while. The authorities decide to admit his father at a nearby hospital. Ramesh is naturally assumed to calm the family during the situation and give hope to his mother.

Simple questions and observations:

ICAI and Professional Judgement

1. For at least 14 days while Ramesh's father is at the facility he has to get up everyday just hoping that his father makes it through. Not only does he have to handle his psychological agony but also console his mother while giving her hope.

2. Hardly 60 days left for the exams and he has a crisis which could really leave him without his father. I cannot really fathom the mental and physical agony this guy must be going through. Study plan is in shambles.

3. Even if we assume that his father makes it through and comes back home all well, is Ramesh expected to get back to the study table from Day 15? (It is just impractical to assume that he is mentally all stable to get back to they study plan from the very next day.)

4. Is it not ICAI's responsibility to give every student an equal opportunity to take exams? Does ICAI have any right to deny a fair and equal chance to students like Ramesh?

 

5. Should he be punished for the virus outbreak over which he has no control ?

6. How many Ramesh's are out there with whose future ICAI is taking a chance?

7. What if the victim in question was not Ramesh's father but he himself? How agonizing would be the experience?

8. Do students not have a right to fair decision making? People on ICAI's Board are exceptional and it is but their duty to ensure fair chance in times like these.

9. Why does ICAI have to take decisions amidst so much chaos? It is understood that to know the various aspects related to the virus might take years to unravel, but one can certainly wait for more clarity to take calls when decisions are going to affect thousands.

10. Unemployment rates are highest ever. There might be thousands of exam takers whose bread earners have been left unemployed. To just survive is an everyday war, let alone study peacefully. Should they be punished for all the consequences this virus has brought to the family?

11. What if a student, after giving a paper or two finds out he has the virus?

12. Many schools have been made quarantine centers. Is there any confirmations that they will be vacated by the time exams are expected to be conducted?

 

13. Many students reside in towns and villages where ICAI might not have exam centres. What abt these folks?

14. It feels like ICAI is purely forecasting that by the end of July the situation will normalise and conditions fit to take the exams.

ICAI is a dynamic institution and I have nothing but respect for the people involved in decision making. But sirs, I earnestly request you reconsider the decision and conduct examinations at a later point in time.


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