The voting for the elections of the twenty-fifth council for thirty-two seats from five regions and twenty-fourth regional councils from five regional constituency of The Institute of Chartered accountants of India will be held on 3rd and 4th December in cities having 1000 or more members and on 4th December 2021 in other cities/towns.

Yaesasuptesu Jagriti! Immortal words are from the Kathopanishad which is the motto of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), the premier accounting body of the country. The meaning is that person who is awake among those who sleep. Increasingly, as the functioning of the ICAI comes under greater public scrutiny today, it is found — more often than not — that as an apex regulatory body in the country the ICAI is unable to meet the high expectations from Government, its members and public at large.

Decoding ICAI Elections 2021

Elections at ICAI are the backbone of the profession. The council we pick has broad powers to carry out laws, issue regulations, adjudicate complaints, and open for new professional opportunities. Further, it also oversees the process of campaigning, voting and counting. The honest and impartial operation of these bodies is crucial to successful choice administration and to building and maintaining members’ confidence in the election process. An attempt is made here to clarify many issues related to the said elections.

A. Simultaneous Elections: The elections to the Central Council and the Regional Council will be held simultaneously. Each region has its own separate seats and different candidates for the above two elections. The procedure for both the elections is almost the same. Each voter will get two ballot papers, one for the Central Council choice and the other for his regional council. The ballot papers carry the name of the candidates, ballot numbers, photographs etc. By marking your vote separately on the ballot papers, you have to put it separately in the two prescribed boxes. This time there may be a third box for the votes of other regions as notified for these elections and defined here point no 3.

B. Voting is done by a secret ballot system: Voting does not take place in any kind of online mode or electronic method; it is only through physical method through ballot paper. The polling station is already fixed for each voter. He has to vote only by going to the designated polling station. The members mentioned in the records of the polling station institute.  The facility of postal ballot is also provided in some cases where members strength is below twenty-five and their places can’t be attached to any polling station.

C. A new facility for shifting of polling stations: A facility has been provided for the election of December 2021, according to which the voter can change the polling station determined by his professional address by applying online and get the facility to vote at any other polling station.  The new polling station can be taken either within his own region or in any other region outside his region. By changing the polling station, the professional address of the member in the records of the institute will remain the same.  The link for online ask for change of polling station is as follows – https://changebooth.icai.org/. Now a physical form has also notified, the member can fill it and send it to institute dedicated mail.

D. Central Region: Among regions, there is one Central Region. This region has twelve Regional Council members to be elected in Central India Regional Council and six members are to be elected out of total 32 members of Central Council from this region. Total eighteen contestants are in fray for Central Council from Central Region and twenty-six contestants are for Central India Regional Council. Voters of 7 states (Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Bihar) will vote for the above 12 Regional and 6 Central Council seats in the Central Region. The other regions also the same set of seats based on the strength of members of that region. The other regions also have the same set of seats based on the strength of members of that region. Overall, 32 Council seats and 64 regional council seats are there.

E. Eligible Voter: Only those members whose name is in the voter list are eligible to vote. Generally, all those who have been members of the institute on 1st April 2021 are eligible to vote in this election in the region. Only the membership of the institute is necessary for the eligibility to vote. It is not mandatory for the member to have a COP. All the eligible members who are employed and practicing can vote. Knowing the eligibility to vote, the medium of vote and the designated polling station.  Link to know, https://appforms.icai.org/elections/knowyourbooth2021.html

F. Election of Office Bearers: The winning candidates later choose the office bearers i.e. President & Vice president for Council and Chairman, Vice Chairman, secretary, Treasurer & CASA chairman for regional councils from within themselves.

G. Branch Elections: After the elections of the Central and Regional Councils are over, the members of the committees of the branches established in different cities of the Institute are elected.

H. Single Transferable Voting System: The other name Preferential Voting System is adopted for voting. Under this, the first, second, third, etc. preference is given by the voter to the candidates according to their choice. For example, the hypothetical candidate K is given the first preference, Imaginary candidate S second preference, imaginary candidate D third preference etc. For this, there is a designated space in front of each candidate’s name in the ballot paper where ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’ etc. have to be written in the prescribed manner.

I. Invalid Ballot Paper: A ballot paper may be invalid by any means other than as prescribed or by any mistake. For example, ‘1’, ‘1’, ‘2’ – here the same preference may be given to two different persons.  is given. ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘4’ – here the preference is not given in sequence and the first preference is also not given.

J. Two ballot papers to one voter: Each voter gets only 1-1 ballot paper for both the elections. One or more of the above preferences have to be given in this ballot paper. The voter has to give separate ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3′ etc. Preference has to be given. According to this preference, the votes of the lost (eliminated) candidate and the surplus votes of the winning candidate with more votes are transferred to other candidates.

K. Only One Vote: Each voter has only one vote in both the above elections. The candidate whom the voter originally wants to vote has to mark the first preference. First preference is the most important. Thereafter he can also give Second, Third, etc. Preferences are not a separate vote, but through these, the voter only tells that his vote (in the case of a losing candidate or a candidate who won by a surplus vote) be transferred to other candidates in his order of preference.   Let’s say if you want to vote for K originally in the fictional candidate K, S, D, then he has to mark the first preference in the form of K and 2 & 3 in front of S & D. The voter can mark any number of preferences of his choice.

L. First Count: Candidate will be declared elected getting more than the required quota of 2000 votes. If there are 2500 votes over and above 2000, those 500 votes shall be declared Surplus votes. The surplus of votes will be transferred to other candidates. For this purpose, the value of surplus votes will be worked out and distributed to candidates who have been marked for a second preference. If only 2000 out of 2500 voters have exercised their second preference, the value of each surplus vote will work out to ¼ (500/2000). It may be noted that since only 2000 out of 2500 voters have exercised second preference votes, 500 votes out of that packet have gone waste. In common language, if the candidate with first preference wins, then the vote of the voter is normally consumed for the candidate with first preference. But if the candidate with first preference does not win the election, then the vote is transferred to another candidate.  If the second preference candidate wins, the vote will be consumed by the second preference candidate. But if the second preference candidate also does not win, then that vote will be transferred to the third preference candidate.  It will happen. Similarly, the next sequence will also go on. This happened for the losing candidate.

M. Declared victorious:  Now talking about the winning candidate, a certain number of votes are taken out to win any candidate, it is called ‘quota’.  The candidate who achieves the ‘quota’ is considered to be victorious.

N. Quota: If total candidates are 12 for 6 seats in one particular region. Total votes of the region are 30000 and 14000 have cast their votes. First, a quota shall be ascertained for the winning candidate. The casted votes shall be divided by 7 i.e. 6+1. Hence in simple language 2000 first preference votes shall be the quota for a declaration of a winner. Anyone who shall achieve 2000 marks shall be declared elected.

O. Surplus Votes: The votes of the losing candidate are transferred to other candidates in the same way in the order of preference, since the winning candidate’s surplus votes are transferred to other candidates by taking the new value from a certain formula.

P. Elimination process: After exhausting surpluses with the other candidates, the candidate who has the lowest number of first preference votes will be eliminated first. The candidates, to whom second preference or later preferences are marked, will get an advantage on the distribution of the value of these votes However the second preferences given to the already declared candidates will have to be ignored. Therefore, the second preferences received by candidates will be added to their packets at full value. So far as third preference votes received by them are concerned, each such vote will have 100% value as they are transferred from packets of elected candidates. The process goes on until the balanced candidates become equal to the contesting seats.

Q. It may so happen that a candidate who gets good first preference votes in the first count, may not succeed in the election if he does not get support from other voters in the form of second or next preferences. It is often seen that the value of the winning candidate’s surplus vote remains low, whereas the value of the first preference vote of the eliminated candidate, which is transferred, is 100% full. The transfer received by the winning candidate’s surplus vote does not normally benefit other candidates as much as the vote received from the losing candidate.

R. Hypothetical situation: Now let’s talk about how votes are counted, how votes are transferred between candidates and how candidates win or lose.  A certain number of votes required for the election is drawn, which is called a ‘quota’. For example, hypothetically suppose that a region has a total of 26000 valid votes and a total of 12 seats are to be elected and there are 26 candidates in total.  In such a situation, the quota will come to {26000 (12 seats + 1)} = 2000 votes. In the first phase of counting, the first preference votes of all the candidates are counted.  A candidate secures more votes than ‘quota’ declared victorious, then his surplus votes are transferred to other candidates at the new calculated value.   If a candidate’s original votes + transferred votes together exceed the ‘quota’ Then again, his surplus votes are transferred to other candidates as mentioned above. There are several rounds of such rounds till the candidates keep achieving ‘quota’ and their surplus votes are transferred. When this situation is over and if all the seats are not filled, then the elimination round is started. Under this, the candidate whose total original votes + transfer votes etc. is lowest at the time of this round is eliminated and according to his vote preference.  are transferred to other candidates. Then again it is seen whether a candidate has achieved the ‘quota’, then he is declared as the winner.  The votes are transferred to the other candidates as mentioned above. Then there are several rounds in which the candidates keep on securing the ‘quota’, their surplus votes are transferred to the other candidates at the new value and the candidate with the lowest number of votes keeps getting eliminated. This happens until a total of 12 candidates become victorious.  It is not necessary that every candidate who is victorious has achieved a quota. Candidates who are victorious in the end by avoiding elimination often do not achieve ‘quota’.  One of the main reasons is that the votes are not transferred due to lack of second preference etc. or the value of votes gets reduced during the transfer. That is, more important than getting the quota for the candidate to win, it is more important to count the votes from the nearest candidate to stay up in every round.

S. Complicated Process:  The procedure for counting the votes and for distribution of the proportionate value of various preferences to different candidates is somewhat complicated. The above process is complicated and its working is time-consuming. The in-depth analysis shows its strength but a fair representation cannot be assured as members usually mark their votes for the city wise or state wise candidates.

T. Unfair Representation: The last election of 2018 is a brilliant example for such a so-called mindset as Jaipur is a populist city in the Central Region as far as members are concerned. The four candidates from the city ran for central council and out of the three joined the council with flying colours. This is simply a number game which lacks fair representation across the region. The states like Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand& Bihar are the most affected states because of the lower number of members. A reform on this front is the need of hour. Regional councils are at the pleasure of the council. The regional council should have representation of at least one seat from each state & then based on the strength of the states.

Author Bio

Qualification: CA in Practice
Company: N/A
Location: Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India
Member Since: 17 Jun 2018 | Total Posts: 131
Author was Member of ICAI- Capacity Building Committee 2010-11 and ICAI- Committee for Direct Taxes 2011-12 and can be reached at email [email protected] or on phone Phone: 0 1 2 1-2 6 6 1 9 4 6. Cell: 9 8 3 7 5 1 5 4 3 2 having office at 1 1 5, Chappel Street, Meerut Cantt, UP, INDIA) View Full Profile

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