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2019 (8) TMI 475

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..... ints against various Chartered Accountants was considered by this Court in the decision rendered today in WHOLESALE TRADING SERVICES P LTD. VERSUS THE INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS OF INDIA AND ORS. [2019 (8) TMI 413 - DELHI HIGH COURT]. This Court rejected the contention that the activity of the petitioner in pursuing complaints against various Chartered Accountants was otherwise permitted under its Memorandum of Association. This Court also observed that the use of a corporate façade of the petitioner by its directors/promoters for pursuing complaints against various Chartered Accountants, unconnected with its business, cannot be countenanced. In the present case, JMG had clearly stated in his response that he had retired from the firm of Chartered Accountants that was appointed to conduct the audit in view of disputes inter se the partners of the firm. He had also pointed out that the complaint had been made beyond the period of seven years and the Chartered Accountants were not required to maintain audit records for more than seven years - This Court finds no infirmity with the said opinion. Plainly, no interference with the opinion of the Board of Discipline is cal .....

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..... JMG was a partner of the said firm. 3. The petitioner claims that it became aware of the alleged irregularities in the audit reports and the financial accounts of the said companies in the year 2015. 4. On 11th May, 2015, the petitioner caused its advocates to send a legal notice to M/s Raiji & Company as well as JMG, calling upon them to respond to the alleged violations, omissions and false statements, in the audit reports of the seven companies for the years 2005-06 to 2008-09. The petitioner did not receive any response to the said notice and on 24th October, 2016 the petitioner filed a complaint with ICAI raising several allegations regarding the conduct of respondent no. 3 with reference to the audit report and accounts of the seven companies. 5. Since the petitioner s complaints were not taken up, the petitioner filed a writ petition before this Court, being W.P. (C) 4873/2017, which was dismissed by a Coordinate Bench of this Court by an order dated 29th May, 2017. Aggrieved by the same, the petitioner preferred an appeal (LPA No. 440/2017), which was disposed of by the Division Bench of this Court by an order dated 24th August, 2017. The Division Bench issued direction .....

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..... esaid, the Director (Discipline) formed a prima facie opinion that JMG was not guilty of professional misconduct as alleged and forwarded the opinion to the Board of Discipline. As noted above, the Board of Discipline accepted the same and concurred with the said opinion. Reasons and Conclusion 9. It is relevant to note at the outset that the petitioner has no relation whatsoever with JMG or any of the seven companies in respect of which the complaint was made by the petitioner. All the seven companies are closely held private companies. It is not disputed that the said companies also do not have any outside borrowings. It is, thus, apparent that the allegations made by the petitioner do not involve any element of public interest. The petitioner had not dealt with the said companies and no person who had dealt with the said companies, has raised any complaint or any allegation with regard to the accounts not being true and fair or of any mis-statement in the auditor s report. 10. The learned counsel appearing for the petitioner contended that the petitioner had filed the complaint for the general benefit of the profession and society at large. This Court noted that despite the peti .....

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..... e to entertain a complaint or information in respect of any misconduct made more than seven years after the same was alleged to have been committed and submit the same to the Board of Discipline for taking decision on it under subsection (4) of section 21 A of the Act. 15. A plain reading of the aforesaid Rule indicates that there are several grounds on which the Director (Discipline) would refrain from entertaining any complaint made more than seven years after the same is alleged to have been committed. The Director (Discipline) would reject the complaint if he is satisfied that it would be difficult for securing proper evidence of the alleged misconduct. The second ground for doing so is if the member, against whom such allegation is made, would find it difficult to lead evidence to defend himself. And, the third is on account of changes, rendering the inquiry to be procedurally inconvenient or difficult. 16. In the present case, JMG had clearly stated in his response that he had retired from the firm of Chartered Accountants that was appointed to conduct the audit in view of disputes inter se the partners of the firm. He had also pointed out that the complaint had been made bey .....

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..... t in the matter. As noticed above, the petitioner has no connection or dealing with the Chartered Accountants or the companies in respect of which complaints have been made. An earlier petition filed by the petitioner (being W.P. (C) 10536/2017) was also dismissed with costs quantified at ₹10,000/-, however, the imposition of costs has not discouraged the petitioner from pursuing such petitions. 21. This Court is of the view that the present petition is a frivolous one and the filing of such petitions ought to be discouraged, as it takes up considerable judicial time at the cost of bona fide litigants who are in urgent need of relief. Another petition decided earlier today (W.P. (C) 8071/2019) was also dismissed with costs quantified at ₹1,00,000/-. Notwithstanding the same, the petitioner has chosen to press this petition as well. In the circumstances, this Court is of the view that the present petition should also be dismissed with costs. 22. Accordingly, in view of the above, the present petition is dismissed with costs quantified at ₹1,00,000/- (One Lakh Only). The cost shall be deposited with the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee within a period of tw .....

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