Wednesday, September 7, 2011

ICAI’s moderation criteria

In a dispute under the Right to Information Act, the Supreme Court last week ruled that the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India must disclose, if asked by acandidate in its examination, the standard criteria relating to moderation employed by it for the purpose of making revision. The court also rejected the argument of the institute that it had copyright over question papers and therefore they could not be disclosed even after the tests. It also rejected the argument of the institute on the burden cast on it by supplying information to failed candidates. Out of nearly 4 lakh candidates, only 16 per cent pass. If all of the failed candidates seek information on their answer sheets, the work of the institute will be stalled, it had argued. The court said that “Additional workload is not a defence. If there are practical insurmountable difficulties, it is open to the examining bodies to bring them to the notice of the government for consideration so that any changes to the Act can be deliberated upon. Examining bodies like ICAI should change their old mindsets and tune them to the new regime of disclosure of maximum information. Public authorities should realize that in an era of transparency, previous practices of unwarranted secrecy have no longer a place.

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