ICAI asks its members not to criticise demonetisation

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CHENNAI: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has issued an advisory, asking its members not to criticise demonetisation.
The members have been strictly advised not to indulge in any nefarious act as to subvert the intentions of the government in any remote possible way.
The members have also been advised not to share or write any negative personal views by way of an article or interview on any platform on the demonetisation.
This follows some complaints to the institute about its members criticising the demonetisation. But many members TOI spoke to are against such advisory. They claim it is against free speech. In social media too CAs and others have criticised the institute for issuing such advisory.
In a announcement uploaded on the institute website, institute president Devaraja Reddy has said that recent move of Government of India to demonetize the high value denomination currency is a welcome step. “The move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a definitive boost to the economic growth and dealt a lethal blow to the parallel economy that has cast its ugly shadow on the nation’s economy for long,” he said.
He warned CAs who criticise demonetisation and said action would be taken against them as per the act. “Immediate steps have been taken to cause an investigation against such members in terms of the provisions of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 and the Chartered Accountants (Procedure of Investigations of Professional and Other Misconduct and Conduct of Cases) Rules, 2007 framed thereunder,” said the president.
“We are in full support to the government on bringing out the black money across the country and the institute can take action against those CAs who are found to have helped their clients exchange black money but at the same time it cannot stop us from giving our views,” Pune CA member Arungiri told.
All we say is that demonetisation is against the economy, it is our view. We have every right to criticise demonetisation as per the Constitution. Institute cannot be an extended arm of the Central government as it has been set up by an act of Parliament, he said.

Arungiri has written a letter to the institute on Friday evening which is available with TOI. “The advisory is a frontal assault on free speech enshrined in Constitution. In case ICAI does not withdraw this portion of the advisory which also seems to be of a threatening nature, I shall be constrained to seek appropriate legal remedies,” said Arungiri in the letter.
Many chartered accountants are asking the institute to take action against members if they are found to be helping clients. “I am ready to give a complaint against a CA if he is found helping people to exchange black money. But I will definitely give my views on demonetisation as it has good and bad issue for the economy,” said a senior CA in Chennai.