CAs Told Not to Criticise Note Ban, ICAI Says ‘Inadvertent Error’
The advisory cautioned members to “watch the national interest as the uppermost while advising their clients.”
After facing flak on social media regarding an advisory asking member accountants to stay away from criticising the government’s demonetisation plan, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) pulled down the notice from its website on Saturday.
M Devaraja Reddy, president of ICAI, told BloombergQuint that parts of the advisory which may have been seen as a restriction on freedom of speech were an “inadvertent error”.
The advisory, which was released on Friday by Reddy, said that the organisation’s members should not “share/write any negative personal views by way of an article or interview on any platform regarding demonetisation.”
Adding that the government’s move to withdraw currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 will give a “definite boost” to the economy, the advisory cautioned members to “watch the national interest as the uppermost while advising their clients.”
The advisory was criticised on social media by chartered accountants as well as the general public, who saw this as an attempt to curtail the freedom of expression of members of the organisation.
By Saturday afternoon, the advisory was no longer available on the ICAI website. Reddy told BloombergQuint over the phone that there was an “inadvertent error” in drafting the advisory.
The advisory went up on the site without proper diligence from the junior level officials and secretaries. We realised that there was an inadvertent error because it overlooked the freedom of speech of members which we didn’t want to happen.M Devaraja Reddy, President, ICAI
Reddy said that he read through the advisory before it went up on the site with his signature but he overlooked the “specific sentence”.
“We are rectifying the mistake and issuing a new advisory in a few hours,” he said. “In my cursory reading, I overlooked a sentence which became a cause of concern. We made an error and we are fixing it.”
The original advisory also stated that members should be “more cautious and careful” while advising clients and work towards the “true spirit” of the principle of ICAI – ‘Partner in Nation Building’.
(This article was originally published on BloombergQuint.)
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