Monday, January 24, 2022

ICAI to frame policy mandating Chartered Accountants to disclose criminal cases against them -Delhi High Court

Read Judgment

“ICAI shall accordingly frame a policy and a mechanism, if not already in existence, for disclosure by members both at the inception as also on a periodic basis thereafter, of any criminal cases or convictions so that the spirit and intent of the statute is given effect to and the ICAI is not in the dark about the same until it is notified by some information or complaint,” the single-judge ruled.

The Court was dealing with a petition filed by a chartered accountant (CA), Mohit Bansal, challenging the show-cause notice issued to him under Section 8(v) of the Chartered Accountants Act, regarding his conviction for assaulting a woman in 2001.

Section 8(v) deals with offences involving ‘moral turpitude’ and stipulates that if a person is convicted of such an act, their name can be barred from being entered or borne in the register of the ICAI.

It was argued that though he was first convicted of gang-rape but, in February 2010, the High Court had reduced it to assault.

However, this fact was kept hidden from the ICAI for all these years and a show-cause notice was only issued in June 2018, allowing him to keep his practice for over a decade.

Justice Singh held that there are certain professions and services which require a very high standard of integrity and are considered ‘noble', and being a CA falls in that category.

The Court, therefore, upheld the show-cause notice, observing that the petitioner's case is covered under Section 8(v) of the CA Act.

“The Petitioner, in this case, having been convicted for offences under Section 354 and 506-II of IPC, is clearly attracted by the disability under Section 8(v) of the Act. He has already practised for almost 12 years by the time the notice was issued by ICAI. Ideally, ICAI ought to have had adequate checks at the time of registration itself. However, the fact that the conviction of the Petitioner may have not come to the attention of the ICAI for more than 10 years would not, in any manner, bar ICAI from taking action, especially, when the offence involved is one of such a grave and serious nature,” the Court said.

No comments:

Post a Comment