Right of Reply: On ICAI & Chartered Accountancy Profession in India

We have received the following reply from the ICAI, India which has cited the column written by N.S.Venkataraman published in one of our previous editions. 

by V. Sagar

( January 11, 2017, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) At the outset, we would like to mention that the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (hereinafter referred to as “ICAI”) has been set up by an Act of Parliament namely ‘The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949’ to regulate the profession of Chartered Accountants . ICAI works under the administrative control of Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India.

May please refer to the article published in the Sri Lanka Guardian on December 25, 2016. The article appears to lament the declining standards of ethical and professional misconduct by members of CA profession and also talks of delays in the disciplinary proceedings conducted by the ICAI. The ICAI takes a strong exception to the contents of the article which seem to project the disciplinary mechanism of the Institute in a manner which is belittling the profession as a whole.

The above referred article portrays a completely distorted and wrong impression about the role of Chartered Accountants amongst the readers. The sweeping generalization in respect of the Chartered Accountants being allegedly involved in the process of converting black money into white money has been made, which, by any stretch of imagination, is not correct.

We would like to bring to your notice that ICAI has always been supportive & contributing towards bold initiatives taken by the Government in strengthening the economic growth of our country.

The Government, in recent times, has taken measures to curb black money and bring back the national resources to mainstream. As a partner in nation building, ICAI has supported & promoted Income Declaration scheme, 2016 through its large network of 5 Regional Councils and 161 Branches across the Country.

ICAI jointly with the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Commerce & Industry had organized programmes at more than 470 places across the Country on “Citizen & Member Awareness Programs on the Income Declaration Scheme, 2016”. These programmes were attended by more than 42,000 persons including Chartered Accountants, Company Secretaries, Advocates, Members from Trade and Industry. ICAI’s contribution to the scheme of Income Declaration Scheme, 2016 was acknowledged by none other than Hon’ble Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley.

Since the announcement of Demonetization Scheme by Hon’ble Prime Minister, the entire CA fraternity of over 2.50 lakh members equipped with the incisive knowledge in the area of accounting and finance have been guiding their clients and the public at large so as to make the scheme successful. Thus, CA fraternity is contributing towards curbing the parallel economy.

Though certain news reports/video clippings have come in the public eye allegedly depicting few Chartered Accountants indulging in some acts of illegality, however, such stray incidents, if at all found correct, should not be considered as the reflection of the conduct of entire CA profession as a whole.

ICAI has a strong disciplinary mechanism with a well-defined procedure based on principles of natural justice while ensuring that the guilty are never spared. ICAI is committed to ensuring justice in disciplinary matters thereby upholding the ethical values that form the hallmark of the profession. The intent of ICAI is not to defer or delay any pending enquiry and each case is dealt on individual merits. Needless to mention, ICAI has spared no efforts to discipline its members found erring. Immediate steps have been taken to cause an investigation against such members.

However, the contents of the said article published on your web portal are misleading and undermine the contribution being made by ICAI and Chartered Accountants in taking forward this noble initiative of Government to eliminate black money. The article has certainly maligned the reputation of Chartered Accountants in the eyes of public at large and has thus lowered the image and credentials of CA profession. It is quite unfortunate that such a story has been published in a manner which has caused irreparable damage to the credentials of CA profession which is not appreciable.

In view of above, we request you to take appropriate remedial measures by publishing suitable corrigendum / clarification on your web portal at the earliest so as to clear the doubts in the minds of readers & all stakeholders regarding the misconception being made for all Chartered Accountants.

 ( V. Sagar is the Secretary of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, New Delhi )

Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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