The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Amendment to CA Act takes centre stage

New Delhi, Jan. 18: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) wants the Chartered Accountants Act to be amended in line with a set of proposals it had made, but baulks at the idea of having an outsider to head the peer review board that is due to be formed.

The next round of meeting between the Department of Company Affairs (DCA) and the ICAI on the issue of amending the CA Act is likely to take place soon, sources at ICAI said.

The amendment to the CA Act has once again come to the centre stage after the Naresh Chandra committee’s recommendations on tightening auditing and corporate governance rules which, if implemented, will require certain amendments to the CA Act.

The Naresh Chandra committee recommendations, which were released about three weeks ago, has clearly mentioned that the chairman of the peer review board has to be someone outside the Council of the ICAI though he can be a chartered accountant. But this requires an amendment to the Chartered Accountants Act.

The recommendation has sparked digruntlement within the ICAI on the issue of a non-ICAI council member becoming the chairman of the reformed peer review board, which has been renamed as the Qualitative Review Board (QRB) by the Naresh Chandra Committee.

However, ICAI’s reluctance to go on record about their dissatisfaction is more to do with the fact that the process of implementation of the Naresh Chandra committee report has not yet commenced.

Sources in ICAI pointed out that this apex profession regulating body of chartered accountants, which had submitted its set of recommendations to the Department of Company Affairs (DCA) for amendment to the CA Act more than five months ago, has so far had two rounds of discussion with its administrative ministry—the DCA—with the latest one held towards the end of last month.

ICAI sources said the apex body was keen to push for amendments in the CA Act in tune with its set of proposals. The institute will take a stand on the peer review board composition only when its implementation is announced.

ICAI’s own recommendations to amend the CA act includes the provision for the council of ICAI to consider the report of the disciplinary committee and award punishment simultaneously, which is not the case now.

Other recommendations include proposals to arm ICAI with the power to seek the help of investigating agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). It wants the non-submission of required documents to be treated as a separate offence. It also seeks powers to process cases at every stage within a time frame to be prescribed.

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