The Council of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), on consideration of the Report of the Disciplinary Committee with respect to Shri P.Rama Krishna and another in the matter of Global Trust Bank (GTB) for the year 2000-01 decided to hold the Respondent (Shri P. Rama Krishna) guilty of professional misconduct under Second Schedule to the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 and also decided to recommend to the concerned High Court that his name be removed for the period of 5 years from the Register of Members.
Thereafter, Shri P. Rama Krishna filed a Writ Petition in the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi against the decision of the Council. The Learned Single Judge of Hon’ble High Court of Delhi upheld, inter alia, the plea of Shri P. Rama Krishna about the non-applicability of the provisions of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 (pre amended) and held that disciplinary proceedings in the instant matter against the Respondent should recommence from the stage specified by it (i.e. from formation of prima facie opinion) and would continue only under the amended provisions of the Chartered Accountants Act and not in accordance with pre-amended Section 21 of the Act.
The ICAI has filed an appeal against the aforesaid Order of the Learned Single Judge. The said appeal was heard by the Division Bench of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi and the judgement was pronounced today on 30th September, 2011. The operative part of the judgement, inter alia reads as under:
The intention of the legislation in enacting Section 21D of the CA Act, 1949 is to draw out or make a distinction between the cases pending before the Council on a complaint or on information, and ensure that the amended provisions would apply to a fresh complaint or information and the unamended Act will apply to the pending complaints or information. It is inconceivable and there is no good reason or cause why distinction should be made between information and complaint for the purpose of deciding whether the amended or unamended provision would apply. The legislation intent behind incorporating Section 21D is to make the legal position beyond doubt or cavil so that there is no dispute. Even under Section 6 of the General Clauses Act the position is the same. In these circumstances, we would prefer the interpretation placed by the appellant on the word complaint as used in Section 21D. The word complaint includes information cases which were pending before the Council on 17th November, 2006. In the facts of the present matter as discussed above, proceedings or complaint in the form of information was pending before the Council on 17th November, 2006 and accordingly the unamended provisions will apply.
In view of the aforesaid reasoning, the present appeal is allowed and it is held that the procedure prescribed by the unamended CA Act, 1949 i.e. Sections 21, 22 and 22A would be applicable to pending proceedings in information case and not the procedure prescribed after the amendment made by the Chartered Accountants (Amendment) Act, 2006.