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ICAI tells members, students to use caution while on social media

An advisory, published on ICAI’s website on February 11 and signed by acting secretary Rakesh Sehgal, states the institute has come across “certain instances” where members and students have expressed professional or academic grievances on social media without first approaching the regulator.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
February 17, 2021 6:27:02 am
The advisory cited rules to state that a member of the institution, “whether practicing or not”, would be deemed to be guilty of misconduct, if the person brought “disrepute to the profession or the institute, as a result of his action whether or not related to professional work”.(Express photo by Abhinav Saha/ Representational)

The Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAI) has issued an advisory to chartered accounts and students registered with it asking them to refrain from airing their grievances on social media “without first taking up the issues with the institute”. It has also urged them not to put up objectionable posts on social media that can create social or communal disharmony. The institute has warned of disciplinary action against those found guilty of such posts.

An advisory, published on ICAI’s website on February 11 and signed by acting secretary Rakesh Sehgal, states the institute has come across “certain instances” where members and students have expressed professional or academic grievances on social media without first approaching the regulator. Some have also written to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and other higher forums, it adds.

“Some of the posts are highly objectionable, which have the potential to create social and communal disharmony, threatening peace, tranquillity and may disrupt the security of the nation, public order and friendly relations with other nations. In certain cases, material posted on social media was seen to be false and misleading, tarnishing the image of the profession in the eyes of the public and printing disrepute to the profession,” the advisory reads.

The advisory cited rules to state that a member of the institution, “whether practicing or not”, would be deemed to be guilty of misconduct, if the person brought “disrepute to the profession or the institute, as a result of his action whether or not related to professional work”.

“As far as students are concerned, any such action will be liable for appropriate action, including cancellation of their registration. Members and students are, therefore, advised in their own interest, to exercise caution while posting/ sharing/ forwarding any message, video, audio and photographs and comments in other material,” it adds.

Reacting to the directives, Mangesh Kinare, former president of ICAI, said, “The directives in no way violate the fundamental rights of CAs or students. One should express on social media by taking full information and responsibility, which will not lead to misunderstanding about the institute or profession among the citizens. Any issue, which is not in our jurisdiction, should be best avoided. Similarly, if we have to express our view on any issue, it should be with facts and after proper verification.”

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