RS passes Chartered Accountants Cost and Works Accountants and Company Secretaries

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New Delhi, April 5

The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Chartered Accountants, the Cost and Works Accountants and the Company Secretaries (Amendment) Bill, 2022 with a voice vote.

With the passing of this Bill in the Upper House, it got final approval of the Parliament as it was already passed by the Lok Sabha on March 30.

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 seeks 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.

Replying to the debate on this Bill, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that with this amendment, there will not be any change on the autonomy of these bodies, and will bring transparency in the auditing of the financial statements.

She said "this was brought after the detailed consultation of the legislative departments who advised us to bring the one amendment for these three Acts as the objects of Bill were the same".

"The Government brought this Bill after the recommendation of the Meenakshi Datta Ghosh Committee, formed in 2017 and these recommendations were studies by the Finance Ministry and in the era of self regulation model came in to question, the global best practices are saying that this model cannot actually meet up the expectation of the professional bodies and therefore, the Committee has given a lot of inputs on how to make these institution more robust," Sitharaman said.

She said that this Bill will bring the required level of accountability and greater transparency.

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 while there was 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, Congress lawmaker L. Hanumanthaiah said that this bill has made a 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 while the BJP MP Suresh Prabhu said that this legislation was very important for the economic growth of the country.

Speaking on the Bill, DMK MP P. Wilson also said that this will pave the way for bureaucratic control over these bodies and asked the government to ensure the autonomy of these bodies.

Trinamool Congress member Mausam Noor, Sujeet Kumar of Biju Janata Dal, and Communist Party of India-Marxist MP John Brittas also participated in the debate.


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