It is a matter of great regret that The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 (CA Act) does not have a provision for re-evaluation of answer scripts. Perhaps, the drafters of the law did not envisage a situation that has now cropped up. Out of the over 300000 students who took the three examinations conducted by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) in May 2019, only about 70000 passed. That, by itself, would not have been damning for students can fail for any number of reasons. But when more than 53000 of them accessed their evaluated answer scripts through the RTI Act, they were shocked to find that the examiners had made a complete hash of the evaluation and given them much lower marks.
Since then, the CA students are on the warpath. They have been staging dharnas outside the ICAI head office in Delhi and all its regional offices spread across the country. After they were informed by ICAI that the CA Act had no provision for re-evaluation, the students have been demanding that the government amend the Act. The ICAI has, in the meantime, formed an expert committee to examine the demand for re-evaluation. The committee will include Justice Anil R Dave, a retired justice of the Supreme Court, two former presidents of ICAI, Ved Jain and Amarjit Chopra, educationist Girish Ahuja and PC Jain, a government nominee. The committee will study the system in other countries and suggest a road map to the government.
The ICAI also said that it had introduced a step-wise marking system under which answers are broken down into steps and marks were awarded for each correct step. It said that a system of re-check was possible through which an examinee could apply if the examiner had missed a step. But the students are not satisfied with that. They want complete re-evaluation as they feel that answer sheets have not been properly evaluated. Hence they are demanding an amendment to include a re-evaluation of answer sheets as a right of the examinee if mistakes are found and a reform of the evaluation system.
The government must accede to this demand as the students have proof of the incorrect evaluation of their answer sheets. Students taking up chartered accountancy have to give three or more years to rigorous studies, coaching classes and professional training. If they feel cheated by the examination system, they would obviously be agitated. Since the careers of more than 230000 students are involved, the government must act without delay. Committees are known to take months to submit their reports. In this case, the government has to provide immediate relief to the students.