Nikkitha K.J Vs The Union of India and others.
Writ Petition 10759 of 2023 decided on 7 December 2023.
Justice M. Nagaprasanna
The petitioner is before this Court calling in question an order/communication dated 1-05-2023 issued by the 3rd respondent declining to accede to the request of the petitioner for membership to practice as a Chartered Accountant and has sought a consequential direction to register the petitioner as a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
3. Facts adumbrated are as follows:-
The petitioner is a student. In the month of May 2017, she joins B.Com degree at ASC Evening Degree College. Simultaneously, she enrolled herself for a course in CMA Foundation. After joining B.Com degree course, the petitioner completes CMA Foundation course and intermediate course as well in the month of June, 2018 and had pursued her CS-Executive Course which also gets completed in June 2018. Therefore, the petitioner had enrolled herself to several courses and completed all of them except B.Com. degree course which she is pursuing.
4. On 27-08-2018, the petitioner joins Chartered Accountant Articleship training. She then seeks permission to continue her B.Com. degree course by submitting necessary application in Form No.112 under the Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1988 (‘the Regulations’ for short) for grant of permission to pursue additional courses. The permission was granted. The petitioner completes her B.Com degree in September, 2020. After completion of B.Com. degree, she seeks permission to write CMA final exam and the respondent permitted additional course also to be taken. The petitioner in December, 2020 completes her CMA final exam as well. After its completion, the petitioner on 30-03-2021 seeks permission to pursue additional course - CS professional again seeking permission by submitting application in Form No.112. Permission is granted. On completion of all the courses and Articleship, the petitioner then files application seeking enrollment as Member of the 2nd respondent to become a Chartered Accountant. Certain clarifications were sought from the hands of the petitioner as to how she pursued multiple courses by submitting Form No.112 and later it was informed that the decision is that the petitioner would not be permitted to enroll as a Chartered Accountant for two years and would be imposed a fine of Rs.10,000/- for having pursued multiple courses on every occasion which the 2nd respondent says it was without permission. Correspondences between the petitioner and the respondents galore, clarifications are sought and replies were given by the petitioner. On 01-05-2023, the membership is categorically denied to the petitioner. It is challenging that action the student is before this Court in the subject petition.
13. What would unmistakably emerge from the aforequoted communications and the act of the student is that on every occasion, the student has diligently sought permission from the 2nd respondent to pursue the course and on every occasion, the student has 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 2 nd respondent wants to put the clock back by four years tinkering with the permissions that are already granted from time to time. It would have been an altogether different circumstance, if the student was not diligent in seeking permissions from time to time to pursue extra courses. It is not the allegation that forms the issue in the lis. The petitioner/student has been diligent in securing permissions. 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 sans countenance.
14. 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 2nd respondent. 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. It is rather surprising that the 2nd respondent wants to stifle the career of a student, who has pursued multiple courses and gained such acumen to practice as a Chartered Accountant. It would be helpful to the Institute of Chartered Accountants, and the Society, if a student has extra acumen, than the chartered accountantship alone. Such acts of the 2nd respondent against a student who has only studied and done nothing else, that too after seeking permission would not behove the 2nd respondent to be a State under Article 12 of the Constitution of India. Whatever defence that the council for the 2 nd respondent seeks to project, by invoking Regulation 65 of the Regulations by contending that the permission that was granted was for final courses and not foundation courses that precedes those final courses is a contention skating on thin ice, as the foundation courses gets subsumed in the final courses, and permission is granted for pursuing final courses. Therefore, this Court repels those submissions of the learned counsel for 2 nd respondent, for the praedictus reasons, I deem it appropriate to bend the arc of justice for a student and direct grant of Membership of the petitioner to the Institute without brooking any further delay.
(i) The petition is allowed.