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CA Exams Amid Election Clash: Supreme Court Denies Postponement Plea

Bench led by CJI Chandrachud upholds ICAI stance (CA Exams), citing extensive preparations and potential student prejudice

On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected a plea requesting the postponement of the Chartered Accountant exams (CA exam) organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). The exams were set to coincide with the Lok Sabha elections in certain states. Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, leading the bench, stated that altering the exam dates would disrupt the extensive arrangements already made and could lead to injustice for some students.

The court considered the importance of the right to vote but reasoned that changing exam dates at this stage, with over 4 lakh students enrolled, would cause significant prejudice. They highlighted that there were 591 exam centers, none of which overlapped with polling dates. The court also noted that providing an option to “opt-out” of some exams could disadvantage students aiming to clear all papers in one attempt.

The CA exams are scheduled from May 2 to May 17, and some students had requested postponement of exams falling on May 8 and May 14 due to elections on May 7 and May 13. Senior Advocate Madhavi Divan, representing students, suggested either postponing these exams or allowing an “opt-out” option. However, the ICAI’s counsel opposed any postponement, citing extensive preparations already made and the lack of necessity akin to the COVID pandemic.

The court ultimately sided with the ICAI, emphasizing that exam dates did not coincide with elections and that numerous students had already prepared. They declined to interfere, stating it was a matter of policy and the current arrangements were sufficient.

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