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Whether a C. A. Member can join the All India Protest against Government & Tax Department? Whether participation could invite Code of Conduct Violation Rules ?
The discussion is finding a place in the social Media. The copy of the message is reproduced hereunder :
1. Whether a C. A. Member can join the All India Protest Call by WMTPA (Western Maharashtra Tax Practitioners Association) on 29th January 2021 as regards the approach of the Government regarding varous issues, of course in case he feels such a protest for the cause is appropriate.
2. Whether a Member can apart from himself joining the Protest make appeals to other C A Members to join the protest?
3. Whether ICAI have made any representation to the Government in respect of the various above mentioned issues for which the Protest is planned?
4. Whether ICAI or any of its units are joining above Protest?
Above queries were raised On 25/01/2021 with a reminder on 28/01/202.
In response to above queries, response was received by the queriest. Extracts of clarifications received by e mail from Ethical Standard Board (ESB) of ICAI was as under :
1. Please note that there is no provision or policy/precedents in Code of Ethics to address the issues of a member to join such campaign.
2. The provision of Clause (2) of part-IV of first schedule to Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 talks of disrepute as a result of action which may or may not be related to professional work.
As it is clear, the issue of a member joining a protest may be reckoned as misconduct under this clause when a complaint is filed before Disciplinary Directorate, and subsequently, Council decides such an action to be guilty of professional misconduct.
It is not the opinion of the Ethical Standards Board or any other authority, but only of the Council which will prevail, pursuant to a complaint being filed in this regard.
3. Generally speaking, it is responsibility of the member to ensure that their action should not cause disrepute the image of the profession and the institute.
4. As a member of the Institute is also a citizen of India, the fundamental right of speech and expression, and other freedoms mentioned in the Constitution of India will also apply to him, subject to the restriction mentioned therein, as also prescribed vide various decisions of Court given from time to time.
5. With respect to query at s. no 3, the same will be addressed by the concerned department copy marked in an email.
6. With respect to query at s. no 4- The Institute is a regulator of the profession of Chartered Accountancy constituted vide the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949. Therefore, no question arises on this eventuality.