The Delhi High Court Monday directed the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to prepare a panel of writers to assist disabled students in appearing for the chartered accountancy examinations that it conducts.
The court has asked that the panel be constituted within six months.
Justice V.K. Jain said that for preparing the panel of scribes to assist disabled students, the institute should either itself empanel appropriate people to function as scribes, or engage the panel prepared by other universities such as Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University. Both these universities maintain a panel of scribes to assist students with disability, especially those visually impaired, in taking examinations.
The court’s order came on a PIL filed by a visually impaired chartered accountant student Reena Bhatia, who sought a direction to the institute to prepare a panel of competent scribes who could assist disabled students in taking examinations.
The ICAI had told the court that it has not maintained its own panel of scribes as it had no campus of its own and conducted examinations at as many as 377 centres spread over 96 cities across the country, as well as in four cities abroad.
On this, the court directed ICAI to prepare a panel of scribes to assist differently abled people at least in the “major cities where examinations are held by it”.
“The respondent no.1 (ICAI) shall prepare, at least in major cities, its own panel of scribes/writers, to be provided to the differently abled persons on receipt of a written request from them. For this purpose, ICAI may either itself empanel appropriate persons to function as scribes/writers or it may adopt the panel of scribes/writers, if any, prepared by other universities/institutions,” the court said in its order.
It further added that the candidates will have to arrange their own scribes at places where ICAI was not able to prepare a panel of scribes.
The court also said that ICAI will pay the fee of the scribes, whether the writer is arranged by the candidate or by the university.
“The ICAI shall prepare, within three months, a schedule of charges to be paid to the scribes/writers who assist differently abled persons in the examination conducted by it and it shall pay to the scribes/writers from the panel or reimburse the candidates, wherever candidates are permitted to engage their own writers/scribes, as per the rates approved by the ICAI in this regard,” the order stated.