Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has issued an important announcement, explaining to students about the “Opt-out” option for Chartered Accountant Examinations. The notice has been published on the official website of the institute, icai.org. Accordingly, an examinee is permitted to opt-out of the examination in case he/she or his/her family member was affected by COVID-19 on or after April 15, 2021. This fact must be supported by a certified medical practitioner resulting in the student being unable to prepare for the CA examination. For such COVID-19 affected candidates, a separate session of exams will be held in November 2021, as per both the old and new exam syllabus.
In case of such examinees, the July 2021 exam shall not be considered as a separate attempt. Moreover, they are not required to produce an RTPCR report if a medical certificate of the candidate or his/her affected family member is presented while opting-out. However, this medical certificate must be issued by registered and recognised medical practitioner. This decision of ICAI came in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19 and the impact that it had on the academics and health of various students.
ICAI also specified certain other eligibility alternatives to apply for the CA exams opt-out option. Accordingly, students who shall be affected by the lockdown situation during the exam session can also apply for the opt-out option. Here again, the July 2021 exams will not be considered as an attempt for such students. They too, will be allowed to appear for the subsequent exam sessions to be held in November 2021, subjected to the prevailing COVID-19 conditions in the country.
During the CA July 2021 session, there may be some students who get affected by the virus while appearing for the exams. Due to their health compulsions, they would not be able to appear for the remaining subjects. Such students will also be permitted to apply for the opt-out option, making the July 2021 session null and void.
The ICAI, in its announcement, also clearly specified certain clauses that candidates must adhere to while applying for the opt-out option. Firstly, students who opt-out of the exam in any paper during the July 2021 cycle will not be permitted to appear for the remaining papers in the same cycle. In case a student appears for the entire first group of papers and then opts out, results only for this group will be declared. The opt-out option will be applicable only to the second group.
As of now, the COVID-19 situation is still unpredictable and erratic. Therefore, it is possible that the CA exams cannot be conducted in any exam centre, city or state due to state or central-government imposed restrictions. It is also possible that the centre may lie in a containment zone or may change at the last moment. Even under such cases, a student can apply for the opt-out option and appear for the subsequent session, as and when notified by the ICAI.