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Parliament passes Chartered Accountants, Cost and Works Accountants Bill

Parliament passes Chartered Accountants, Cost and Works Accountants and Company Secretaries (Amendment) Bill

The Parliament has passed the Chartered Accountants, the Cost and Works Accountants and the Company Secretaries (Amendment) Bill, 2022 with the Rajya Sabha approving it today. The Lok Sabha has already passed the Bill. The Bill seeks to amend the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, the Cost and Works Accountants Act, 1959 and the Company Secretaries Act, 1980.

The Bill proposes to strengthen the disciplinary mechanism under these Acts and provide for time bound disposal of cases against members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, the Institute of Cost Accountants of India and the Institute of Company Secretaries of India. The legislation also adds that firms must register with the Institutes by making an application to the respective Councils of the Institutes.

The Councils must maintain a register of firms containing details such as pendency of any actionable complaint or imposition of penalty against the firms. The Bill also empowers the three Councils to constitute multiple Boards and the Presiding Officer and one of the two members must not be a member of the institutes and will be nominated by the central government from a panel of persons provided by the Councils.

Replying to the discussion over the Bill, Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman termed these institutes three important pillars stressing that corporate governance structure needs to be robust in the country. She said the bill will bring the required level of accountability and greater transparency.

She said, the requirement for robust regulation has increased as several companies and limited liability partnership (LLP) have been incorporated due to emphasis on Stand up India and Start Up India in the last few years. Over the opposition allegations, she asserted that there is no proposal or intention to infringe upon the autonomy of these three institutions. Dispelling the doubts of opposition, the Minister said, three acts are going to continue and they will govern the functioning of three institutes.

Earlier, initiating the discussion, Dr. L. Hanumanthaiah of Congress said, the bill makes provision for non Chartered Accountant as Presiding Officer of disciplinary committee which could hamper the professional function of the committee. He alleged that the government is trying to control the autonomy of these institutes. Suresh Prabhu of BJP termed this legislation very important for the economic growth of the country. He said, there is a need to make provision for withdrawal of complaints against the professionals.

Mausam Noor of Trinamool Congress raised objections over the several provisions of the bill saying that absence of clearly defined parameters coupled with government presence within the Institutes would set dangerous precedents for obscure and intrusive functioning.

P Wilson of DMK said, the bill seems to curtail the role of professionals and elected representatives of governing councils in each of the Institutes. He raised questions over no provision for withdrawal of complaints in the bill. Sujeet Kumar of BJD said, this bill will improve the administrative and governance mechanism and also help in ease of doing business.

Ayodhya Rami Reddy of YSR Congress said, this is an attempt to interfere in the autonomy of these institutes. Dr. M. Thambidurai of AIADMK supported the Bill saying that the Chartered Accountant bodies need to be regulated to attract private investment in the country. Vishambhar Prasad Nishad of Samajwadi Party has demanded to send the bill to the Select Committee.

John Brittas of CPI(M) said, the government wants to dilute the autonomy of every organization in the country. Dr. Fauzia Khan of NCP requested the government to formulate a financial literacy programme. Binoy Viswam of CPI, K Ravindra Kumar of TDP, Arun Singh and Sushil Modi of BJP among others participated in the discussion.



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