Two Writ petitions (one against those SIRC members seeking elections to Central Council and another against those SIRC members seeking re-election to SIRC) have been filed by a Chennai based senior Chartered Accountant Mr P S Prabhakar, with a prayer that the validity of the nominations of such members, all of whom are collectively responsible for the non-conduct of SIRC’s Annual General Meeting (AGM )for three years in a row, in complete defiance of CA Regulations and also an earlier order of Madras High Court, should be quashed.
The Writ Petitions also have cited the Secretary of ICAI and the ICAI Council as First and Second respondents, as the Petitioner has alleged that these have failed to take action against such Regional Council (RC) members for their willful default in not conducting the 62nd, 63rd and 64th Annual General Meetings.
The Petitioner has stated that the inaction of ICAI in not proceeding with the disciplinary action against the RC members cited as respondents herein is the individual and collective failure of the members of the 22nd Council of the ICAI. The Petitioner further states that 19 out of the 32 members of the 22nd Council seek re-election to the 23rd Council of the ICAI from all constituencies including that of Southern Regional Constituency. If they are also elected along with the RC members cited as respondents, the institution will only be administered by persons who cannot uphold institutional integrity.
The Petitioner has alleged that the Secretary (also the Returning Officer) failed to note that the institutional integrity and institutional independence are key pillars for a robust healthy regulatory functioning. The institutional integrity is secured by ensuring that only members with utmost integrity are vested with the administration of the Institution. The Respondents were party to the gross violation of the Regulations and that of the order of the Hon’ble High Court of Madras (in an earlier WP by another CA), by willfully not holding the annual general meetings for 3 consecutive years during their term as members of the 21st Regional Council. Such violation shakes the integrity of the institution and the belief of the members and even that of a common man on the very financial system of which ICAI has an all-important role. The Secretary’s failure to note that assuring electoral integrity is the first decisive step in achieving institutional integrity of ICAI and such failure to address the alarming issue brought to his attention by the Petitioner have devastating consequences on not just the functioning of ICAI but on the entire financial world, according to the Petition.
The Petitioner has averred that the Secretary ought to have appreciated the concern expressed that if the Respondents and alike are allowed to contest and participate in the electoral proceedings, it would only endanger the system of the administration of ICAI, which includes disciplining its own members, regulating the profession, laying down ethical, accounting and auditing standards etc.
Hon’ble Judge, on hearing the arguments of the Counsel for the Petitioner on 6th Nov, 2015, that the elections were due on 4th and 5th December, was pleased to order a short notice and posted the case for 19th November, 2015.