Supreme Court Stand: CA Exams to Proceed as Scheduled Despite Calls for Postponement

On Monday, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition urging the postponement of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) exams, coinciding with Lok Sabha elections in certain states. With exams scheduled from May 2 to May 17, concerns peaked over clashes with polling days, particularly on May 8 and May 14.

CJI’s Verdict

CJI DY Chandrachud’s bench concluded that changing exam dates would disrupt existing arrangements and could unfairly impact some students. They emphasized the importance of both exam scheduling and the right to vote, noting that with 591 centers and no exams on polling dates, altering plans now would prejudice over four lakh enrolled students. Additionally, the Court mentioned that any decision to postpone the exams could deter students planning to clear the exams in a single attempt.

Advocate’s Appeal

Senior Advocate Madhavi Divan, representing concerned CA aspirants, noted the difficulty rural students, like those from Kalahandi, face in attending exams on May 8th and 14th due to concurrent elections. She proposed an “opt-out” option for affected students instead of a general postponement, stressing flexibility, especially for candidates from areas like Rajouri, where election-related transportation and security issues pose challenges. 

Divan also suggested increasing exam centers to ease travel burdens, highlighting disparities faced by students from regions like the North East. She clarified that while the petitioners themselves may not be directly impacted, their plea serves the broader public interest.

ICAI’s Stand

The ICAI’s representative opposed any exam postponement, citing extensive preparations already in place and the significant number of students who have prepared for the exams. They highlighted that exam postponement during the COVID pandemic was an exceptional measure and not applicable in the current scenario. It was emphasized that exam dates were carefully scheduled to avoid clashes with election dates, with 4,36,246 students prepared across 390 centers nationwide. 

Court’s Decision

The Court acknowledged the ICAI’s position, stating that with no clashes between exam and election dates, and considering the large number of enrolled students and exam centers, there was no basis for intervention. CJI Chandrachud remarked, “This is not a case for our interference.”


Amidst ongoing discussions about students’ rights to education and civic engagement, the verdict arrives, addressing the persistent demand from CA students for a harmonious balance between academic integrity and democratic involvement. This decision represents a significant point in the ongoing conversation about the convergence of education and democracy, highlighting the complexities students encounter while reconciling their constitutional rights with academic duties.

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About the Author: Payal Singh