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CA students want better system of re-evaluation, ICAI names panel to fix exam process

Committee will look into the processes and regulations governing CA examinations and suggest changes wherever required.

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New Delhi: With hundreds of students protesting against the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), demanding the right to get their answer sheets revalued, a high-powered committee has been constituted to look into the matter.

ICAI chief Prafulla Chhajed told ThePrint Thursday that an independent committee comprising former presidents and educationists had been constituted.

The students have been demanding a re-evaluation of their answer sheets, urging ICAI to end its alleged practice of “moderating” the results of examinations.

The students, protesting since Monday, want an amendment of Regulation 39(4)of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949. This regulation only allows verification of “whether the candidate’s answers in any particular paper or papers have been examined and marked, and not for the re-examination of the answers”.

This also means that students can only ask ICAI to re-total their marks — leaving no scope for re-examination/revaluation of ‘wrongly-marked’ papers.

Members of the high-powered committee include P.C. Jain, who is a government nominee, Justice Anil R. Dave, the convenor of the panel, former Supreme Court judge Ved Jain, former president of ICAI Amarjit Chopra, former ICAI president Girish Ahuja, and acting secretary of ICAI Rakesh Sehgal, who will act as the panel’s secretary.

The committee will look into the processes or regulations governing CA examinations and suggest changes wherever required.

“The examination process followed by ICAI ensures multiple levels of monitoring for quality evaluation of answer sheets. Even people who check the papers undergo tests. This is a temporary post, and what benefit am I to get by indulging in any of what the students are claiming,” asked Chhajed.

He added that, perhaps, some students were “getting carried away by what coaching centre owners have been telling them”.

Addressing the media in Delhi, he also said that the institute is open to addressing any other concerns that the students might have. The president noted that the system of examination followed by ICAI is robust and there are very few chances of error. He also pointed out that the ICAI uses a “coding system” which prevents evaluators from identifying students based on their answer sheets.

Also read: 131 CAs back Modi govt on economic data, question motives of scholars who criticised it

‘Faulty evaluation system’

Mass agitations against the ICAI began on 23 September, with students thronging ICAI branch offices across cities. The agitators have alleged that years of preparation and sincere effort by them have failed to bear fruit “because of the faulty evaluation system”.

The demand for an amendment to the CA Act gained momentum after the ICAI released ‘Suggested Answers’ to its May 2019 exam earlier this month. When students compared them with their answer sheets, obtained under the Right to Information Act, many discrepancies came to light.

According to many, there are instances when correct answers were not awarded marks, and in some cases the total scores differed from those on the mark sheets. The outrage finally spread when Neeraj Arora, a CA and an educator, posted a video online asking the ICAI to reform its marking system so that deserving students get their due.

Specific demands

The protesting students have also come out with a formal charter of demands. They have sought an option of re-correcting their answer sheets, provision to penalise evaluators for making errors, a centralised evaluation process, allowing students to mark the circles on OMR sheets using a pen, handover of MCQ question booklets and disclosing correct answers.

The pan-India protests have found backing from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who Wednesday tweeted, “Across India 12 Lakh CA students are fighting for their right to have their exam papers re-evaluated by ICAI. Given the widespread reports of errors in the evaluation of answer sheets, this demand is justified & should be supported by all political parties”.

AAP leader Raghav Chadha also expressed solidarity with the students and had even joined them in the agitation.

“It is important that the issue is not politicised. I went there in my personal capacity and received a lot of support. As a CA myself, I understand that it is difficult to crack the toughest exam in the country and it is important that students’ concerns are addressed immediately,” Chadha told ThePrint.

Also read: A corner of Pune is fast turning into the Kota for CAs, with a turnover in crores


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