Parliament approves accountancy bill

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New Delhi: Parliament on Tuesday approved a bill to revamp the functioning of the institutes of chartered accountants, cost accountants and company secretaries, with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman asserting that the changes will not impact the autonomy of these bodies.

Rajya Sabha passed the Chartered Accountants, the Cost and Works Accountants and the Company Secretaries (Amendment) Bill, 2022 with a voice vote after negating all amendments moved by the Opposition.

Lok Sabha had cleared the bill on March 30, 2022.

The legislation seeks to appoint non-Chartered Accountant (CA), non-cost accountant and non-company secretary as the presiding officer of the disciplinary committees of the respective institutes.

The Congress, TMC, DMK and YSRCP opposed the bill, citing “infirmities” and alleging that it was a blatant attack on professional autonomy.

The three institutes are the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Institute of Cost Accountants of India (formerly known as ICWAI), and Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI).

The bill amends the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, the Cost and Works Accountants Act, 1959, and the Company Secretaries Act, 1980.

Among other things, the bill provides for the setting up of a coordination committee headed by the Secretary of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. It will have representations from the three institutes.

The bill also provides for registration of firms with the institutes and it will help in paving the way for Indian accountancy firms to grow big, she said.

It also proposes to enhance the quantum of fines for partners and firms found guilty of misconduct.