New Delhi: In a big relief to chartered accountant aspirants, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to provide an “opt-out” option to a candidate in the CA exams 2021 scheduled to be held from July 5, on account of covid-related difficulties faced by the candidate or family members. A three-judge bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Aniruddha Bose asked ICAI to not insist on RT-PCR negative reports as long as the candidate gets a medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner. The top court order came on three petitions connected with CA exams, scheduled to begin from July 5.Also Read - Surpassed Laxman Rekha: Ex Judges, Bureaucrats, Armed Forces Officers Censure SC’s Remarks Against Nupur Sharma

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12:37 PM: The Supreme Court said that if any candidate who is attempting an exam gets COVID during the exam, he will be allowed to opt-out and it will not be treated as an attempt. They can give the exam in the next November cycle.

12:31 PM: “The scheme itself provides entitlement to opt-out and will not be treated as an attempt. That candidate will be permitted to appear in next exam”, the SC order read.

12:30 PM: Candidate need not produce RTPCR report if report produced by medical practitioner is placed with application for opting out, said SC.

12:29 PM: Candidates who have suffered personally or family members can be certified by medical practitioner, or for that he is disabled to appear for exam, he should be allowed to opt-out and it should not be considered as an attempt, said the Supreme Court, adding that such candidate shall be permitted to repeat old and new course in 2021 subject to conducive situations.

12:28 PM: Institute has submitted a note. In our opinion, option provided therein is not enough.

12:27 PM: We are not taking your explanation anymore and we are dictating order now, said the Bench.

12:21 PM: Adv. Bansuri Swaraj is now arguing.

12:15 PM: For opt-out option, we will confine to changing of center. If rules say that you have to appear for whole exams; then you have to appear, the three-judge Bench headed by Khanwilkar said.

12:08 PM: “What they want is now certificate by registered medical practitioner and RTPCR. I also suffered from COVID. I have my prescriptions, but I don’t have my report. Now they’re asking for both the things”, LIVE law quoted Meenakshi Arora as saying.

12:06 PM: Opt-out option is to be given to a candidate who has suffered or his family has suffered due to COVID. The note doesn’t capture it, said Meenakshi Arora referring to the ICAI note.

12:04 PM: Hearing begins in the Supreme Court. Senior Advocate Ramji Srinivasan is appearing for ICAI while Meenakshi Arora is representing of one of the Petitioners.

11:58 AM: Ahead of the hearing, petitioner Anubha Sahai tweeted, “CA Students our PIL is for safety RTPCR test apart from Alternate attempt before November and extension of the old course. For RTPCR Hon’ble SC has agreed yesterday that it’s mandatory but ICAI has not considered it. We will again raise it today.”

11:51 AM: Yesterday, the bench had said that it will take the note by ICAI on record and dispose of the matter accordingly.

11:35 AM: The Court is currently hearing Item 23. Matter is listed at Item 43.

11:30 AM: Earlier on Tuesday, hours after the SC hearing, the ICAI presented detailed SOPs before the top court and asserted the opt-out option will be provided to students in case of Covid-19. The ICAI stated that the opt-out option will also be extended to those candidates (whether under the Old or New Syllabus) who have recently suffered from COVID-19 or yet to recover from the after-effects of the COVID-19 and consequently unable to appear in the Examinations on the production of Medical Certificate issued by Registered Medical.