The Rajasthan High Court has directed the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to publish the exam results of a CA student.
The petitioner, a young girl-student of 21 years of age, cleared her CA Foundation Examination in the year 2018 in the very first attempt. Consequently, she became eligible to appear in CA Intermediate Examination scheduled for May, 2020. The exams were re-scheduled to be conducted between November 21st and December 14th, 2020 due to covid. Later, the petitioner opted out of the November exams as per the rules prescribed by the Institute and was thus, issued admit card to appear in the examinations held from 22.1.2021 to 7.2.2021. On 22.2.2021, as a bolt from the blue, she received an email dated 22.2.2021 from the Dy. Secretary (Examinations) – respondent no.2, informing that her result had been put on hold, because of derogatory remarks she had made in her e-mail. An explanation was simultaneously sought as to why disciplinary proceedings not be initiated against her for the same.
Subsequently, the petitioner wrote an email to the Institute expressing her unconditional apology for her inappropriate remarks. She further clearly wrote that she lost her cool because of constant delay due to Pandemic and also because of safety concerns of her and her father. It was argued by the petitioner that she was kept uninformed about the order/result of the hearing.
After going through the email, the Court observed that the same was addressed to Institute’s President and other office bearers and not to the Examination Committee.
“Hence, the Examination Committee ought not have taken cognizance of an e-mail sent to the President of the Institute, unless the President directed it to do so,” the Court said.
“That apart, in the opinion of this Court, there is hardly anything in the e-mail, for which it can be alleged/ considered as or even construed to be derogatory. May be, the petitioner could have been more calibrated in her emotional utterness and could have avoided some of the sentences, but then also, this Court is unable to countenance respondents’ stand that the contents of her mail were derogatory. The very initiation of the proceedings against the petitioner alleging that the e-mail contains derogatory remarks was uncalled for and unwarranted. On the contrary, this Court feels that action of the respondents was rather over bearing or high handed,” the Court added.
While disposing of the petition in favour of the petitioner, Justice Dinesh Mehta also directed the Institute to send original mark sheet and certificate of passing CA Intermediate Examination to the petitioner and also, to publish the result on the official portal. “While hoping that in future the Institute will not take any such action and take any criticism in positive stride, this Court hastens to add that a professional body like the respondent Institute should introspect and ensure that its overenthusiasm of attaining professional excellence and endevours of setting high standards of discipline should not silence rather stifle the speech of a student or its member in the manner that has been done in the present case,” the Court said.Subscribe Taxscan AdFree to view the Judgment
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