Of late, there is a lot more awareness amongst the public about the role
of a chartered accountant and how his profession is relevant to the society.
There is an ever-growing expectation of the society from chartered accountants
who are expected to show a high degree of civility in their behaviour and
conduct. However, it seems that the growing expectation of the society also
puts pressure on the ICAI to deal with certain conduct of a chartered
accountant and to decide whether his particular conduct is subject to its (the
ICAI’s) disciplinary supervision.
Apart from specific
instances of professional misconduct, a chartered accountant can also be
accused of committing ‘Other Misconduct’, which could encompass a wide array of
behaviour. It is the intention of this article to discuss what exactly should
be covered in ‘Other Misconduct’, particularly in the light of a decision of
the Hon’ble Delhi High Court.
KINDS OF MISCONDUCT – PROFESSIONAL AND OTHERS
A member of the
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India can be guilty of ‘Professional
Misconduct’ or ‘Other Misconduct’. These terms are explained in section 22 of
the Institute of Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 (ICAI Act) thus, ‘For the
purposes of this Act, the expression “professional or other misconduct” shall
be deemed to include any act or omission provided in any of the Schedules, but
nothing in this Section shall be construed to limit or abridge in any way the
power conferred or duty cast on the Director (Discipline) under sub-section (1)
of Section 21 to inquire into the conduct of any member of the Institute under
any other circumstances’.
Thus, the terms
‘Professional Misconduct’ and ‘Other Misconduct’ are not defined exhaustively.
They are, rather, explained in an inclusive manner to include any act or
omission mentioned in any of the schedules. However, part IV of the first
schedule that contains provisions with respect to ‘Other Misconduct’ with which
we are concerned here, reads as under: ‘A member of the Institute, whether
in practice or not, shall be deemed to be guilty of other misconduct, if he –