Chartered accountants, company secretaries and cost accountants facing disciplinary action from their professional regulators can now appeal to a specialised appellate tribunal instead of a high court.

The appeals will be heard by professionals who have regulatory experience and can deliver speedy decisions, an official in the ministry of corporate affairs said. The delay at the heavily-burdened high courts often hurts the careers of many professionals who seek a review of the disciplinary action.

An appeal against the decision of the appellate authority will be admissible in the Supreme Court.

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The tribunal has been set up under the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) Act, which envisages an authority to hear appeals against regulatory decisions on alleged professional misconduct. The nine-member appellate authority appointed on Monday is being chaired by Andhra Pradesh High Court Justice CY Somayajulu, says a government notification.

The ministry of corporate affairs also appointed ICAI former secretary Ashok Haldia, ICAI former presidents Kamlesh S Vikramsey and TN Manoharan as well as members of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) and the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) as members.

The decision to set up the appellate tribunal is significant as ICAI—the regulating body that deals with matters relating to professional or other misconduct of its members—has initiated disciplinary proceedings against prominent chartered accountants.

Chartered accountants of audit firm Price Waterhouse are facing disciplinary proceedings for their alleged professional negligence in auditing the books of Global Trust Bank. Besides, some professionals of the same auditor are facing disciplinary action for their alleged role in the Satyam Computer Services scandal.

The tribunal will only deal with the decisions taken by the professional regulators and not of any other law enforcement agency.

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