Institute of Cost Accountants of India
June 25, 2020
Shri Rajesh Verma, IAS
Secretary to the Government of India
Ministry of Corporate Affairs
Sub : Use of acronym ICAI by The Institute of Cost Accountants of India.
Ref : Letter No. 01/3/2019-PI dated 17th June 2020
We refer to the Letter Ref No. 01/3/2019-PI dated 17th June 2020 issued by Mr. Sanjay Yadav, Joint Director, MCA regarding the use of acronym ICAI by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India. In this regards, we would like to submit as under –
1. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has claimed violation of Section 24A of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949. This is a completely false claim. The Section 24A as mentioned here reads as under –
24A. Penalty for using name of the Council, awarding degree of chartered accountancy, etc.
(1) Save as otherwise provided in this Act, no person shall−
(i) use a name or the common seal which is identical with the name or the common seal of the Institute or so nearly resembles it as to deceive or as is likely to deceive the public
(ii) award any degree, diploma or certificate or bestow any designation which indicates or purports to indicate the position or attainment of any qualification or competence similar to that of a member of the Institute; or
(iii) seek to regulate in any manner whatsoever the profession of chartered accountants.
(2) Any person contravening the provisions of subsection (1) shall, without prejudice to any other proceedings which may be taken against him, be punishable with fine which may extend on first conviction to one thousand rupees, and on any subsequent conviction with imprisonment which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both
Thus, this section in no way refers to the Acronym ICAI. The Institute of Cost Accountants of India in no way has used a Name or Common Seal which is identical with the name or the common seal of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. Thus, the alleged violation is completely wrong.
2. The Institute of Cost Accountants of India is a Statutory Body established by an Act of Parliament. The Parliament of India which is the highest Law Making Body has changed the name of the Institute to its present name i.e. The Institute of Cost Accountants of India. Earlier the name of the Institute was The Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India.
Thus the acronym of the name as given by the Indian Parliament has changed from ICWAI to ICAI.
It should be noted that the Institute has since long demanding a change in the name of the Institute to The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of India. This is in line with the Global Practice as well. If the name of the Institute is changed as per the request of the Institute, then there will be no confusion and conflict, as then the Institute can simply use acronym as ICMAI.
It is humbly submitted that the request of the Institute to change of name to The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of India should be looked into on priority and till such time the Institute should be allowed to use the acronym of its name as given by Act of Parliament.
3. The letter also mentions that The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India is continuously using the acronym of its name “ICAI”. It is logical that All the Institutes have a right to use the acronyms of their own names, the question of duration of usage has no relation.
Cambridge Dictionary defines the word Acronym as „an abbreviation consisting of the first letters of each word in the name of something, pronounced as a word‟. Thus the acronym strictly means abbreviation consisting of First Letters only.
The Institute of Cost Accountants of India is also using the acronym of its own name since the name is changed by the Parliament of India. Any other suggestion or reference like ICoAI is not at all an Acronym and hence cannot not be used by the Institute.
The name of the Institute is decided by the Parliament of the Country and thus Acronym of the Name is beyond control of the Institute. The Institute has to use the Acronym of its name and no one shall object to the same.
The issue can only be resolved if as per our long standing demand our name is changed to The Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of India, we will start using acronym ICMAI which will not conflict with any other National Professional Institute in India.
4. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India is formed to regulate the profession of Financial Accounting in India and to carry out the relevant examinations for the aspiring candidates. The Name of the Institute in no way depicts its True Purpose. The name Chartered Accountant is completely misleading and arbitrary.
It is worth noting that there is no system of issuing Charters in name of any person or Institute under Constitution of India. Issuing of Charters was a practice followed by the British Empire. The name of a National Institute is thus following a practice of the British Raj and is detrimental to the Pride of a Sovereign Nation like ours which is governed by our Constitution and has no place for Charters in its Legal Framework.
We strongly object to the term Chartered Accountants as its representative of the erstwhile British Raj and is also completely misleading as to the functioning and purpose of a National Institute.
The correct approach to resolve this issue is to rename The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India as The Institute of Financial Accountants of India which will be appropriate and correct representation of the function of an Institute formed by Act of Parliament.
5. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has referred to the Trademark “ICAI” registered by them. We would like to submit that the Trademark was registered prior to the change of Name of our Institute to The Institute of Cost Accountants of India. Thus it is absolutely unjust and inappropriate for The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India to continue to hold the trademark, which depicts the Acronym of the name of a National Institute, formed by Act of Parliament, namely The Institute of Cost Accountants of India. Hence we request that the Trademark be immediately cancelled by the Government of India.
6. We strongly feel that The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India is mis-representing themselves by using acronym which is similar to that of our Institute‟s acronym. This issue can be resolved by directing the two institutes to use appropriate acronyms. The Institute of Cost Accountants of India can use ICAI-CMA and The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India can use ICAI-FA (which stands for financial accountants). Thus, the acronyms will depict the real functions of the two National Institutes.
We once again strongly suggest that the permanent solution to the problem can be achieved by changing the names of both the Institutes as under –
|The Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI)
|The Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of India (ICMAI)
|The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)
|The Institute of Financial Accountants of India (IFAI)
7. It is pertinent to mention that a writ petition (V. Venkata Siva Kumar v/s The Institute of Cost Accountants of India, Union of India, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Indian and CA Welfare Association, W.P.No.30203 of 2016 and WMP No.26198 of 2016) on use of acronym “ICAI” was dismissed by the High Court of Judicature at Madras on the ground of maintainability. The Hon’ble Court granted liberty to approach the appropriate forum by filing appropriate application under the Trade Marks Act.
Subsequently, the petitioner filed a WRIT APPEAL bearing no. 696 of 2018.
The Writ Appeal is still pending in the High Court of Judicature at Madras and the matter, as such, is sub-judice.
Sir, we are surprised to receive the letter from MCA regarding the issue of Acronym ICAI. We would also like to point out that the name of our Institute was changed to The Institute of Cost Accountants of India vide the Cost and Works Accountants (Amendment) Act, 2011 w.e.f. 01.02.2012. This issue was never raised with MCA in last 8 years. We are not sure why this issue has cropped up at this point in time. We would also like to reinforce that over the 8 long years the acronym ICAI has become more popular for The Institute of Cost Accountants of India in the Industry, Corporate world, Public Sector Undertakings, Industry Associations, Government Departments, Regulators, Global forums, Student fraternity and Public at large.
Sir, this is our initial response to the letter on the subject matter received from your good office. Since this issue relates to Name of the Institute and acronym of its name, it needs detailed deliberations with all stakeholders. The issue raised by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India is already sub-judice. In view of above, this immediate reply is being submitted and we reserve our right to submit a detailed reply at a later date. We humbly request that till such time the status quo be maintained and both the Institutes be allowed to use Acronyms of their names as set out by the Parliament of India.
We also request you to give us an opportunity to meet you and the Hon. Minister of Corporate Affairs for a detailed discussion in the matter.
Awaiting your positive response.
CMA Balwinder Singh
The Institute of Cost Accountants of India
1. Shri Narendra Modi, Hon‟ble Prime Minister of India, GOI
2. Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Hon‟ble Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, GOI
3. Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Hon‟ble Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, GOI
4. Smt. Anjali Bhawra, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, GOI
5. Shri Devender Kumar, Advisor Cost, Cost Audit Branch, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, GOI
6. Shri Sanjay Yadav, Joint Director, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, GOI