Around 12 lac CA students on protest against the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India to demand justice by an amendment in regulation 39(4) as it is in violation of their fundamental rights.
As the Lawyers are the guardians of Law, similarly Chartered Accountants are the preservers of the Economy. Several CA students are on protest as we speak. A CA has various objectives. He is responsible for the compliance of various acts (laws enacted by the government) and keeping a moral check on the corporates through audits. Be it a pampered rich class entrepreneur or a person belonging to the bourgeoisie, everyone goes to a CA for filing their tax returns or for assistance with financial planning.
Hardships of a CA Student
For a person to become a Chartered Accountant, he is supposed to undergo vigorously extensive studies for the sake of successfully coming through one of the toughest examinations in the country – CA Final. Chartered Accountancy is divided into three levels – CA Foundation, CA IPCC, and finally after clearing the first two levels a student reaches CA Final. According to numerous students who have excelled in this examination accounted for 16-18 hours of robust studies every day for several years.
Obstacles on the Road
The authority which governs Chartered Accountancy in India, ICAI has reserved a right to pass only a fixed number of students irrespective of their efforts and answers given in the exam through regulations which goes like this –
“The Council may, in its discretion, revise the marks by all candidates or a section of candidates in any particular paper or papers or in the aggregate in such manner as may be considered necessary, for maintaining the standards of pass percentage provided in these regulations”.
This regulation is the result that students have to reappear in exams multiple times without any fair system of judgment.
CA Students Protest – #DearIcaiPleaseChange
Since the past 3 days, around 12 lac students in the country are protesting at 200 branches of Icai to seek justice. The protest is also highly active on social media with the use of following hashtags – #DearIcaiPleaseChnage & #dearICAIamend39_4.
Exclusive Insight from the Protestors
We reached out to CA Neeraj Arora, a renowned faculty of Tax in the country, and one of the major protestors who came to support students in their strike against ICAI.
DKODING: Students are protesting about discrepancies in checking of answer sheets by ICAI. How many students have been affected by it?
Neeraj Arora: ” Every year a lot of students appear for CA exams at different levels. And most of them are the ones appearing for the second or third time. Earlier, ICAI used to provide answer sheets through revaluation but due to high fees involved, most students use to not apply for revaluation. Recently, after a petition, ICAI started providing answer sheets through RTI for 10rs. Because of which more and more students are now exercising their right to revaluation, and that’s why the negligence in checking is coming forward now”.
Continued, “In May-Jun 2019 Exams 550 cases of error were reported. But these are the errors which came to notice, there are thousand other cases which get unnoticed. The cases that have come forward are pretty strong to point out the grave shortcomings in the checking and evaluation of student’s answer sheets by ICAI”.
DKODING: What kind of impact do the students have to face through these errors?
Neeraj Arora: “What happens in revaluation is that the institute just tallies the total and checks if marks for all the questions are allotted or not. There is no mechanism for students to get their copies rechecked. For instance, the correct answer of an MCQ is ‘a’ and the student has answered ‘a’ but still the answer is marked as incorrect, or even when the answer of the student is similar to the suggested answers provided by the institute the students still don’t get the marks, and there’s no remedy for the student to get it rechecked and get the marks they deserved. Because of such checking, many students fail in the exam. Whatever efforts and hard work they had put in preparation go to waste. Afterward, students are left with only two options either to study the same thing again for the next 6 months or give up. This puts the students through a great ordeal. Many students lose hope, get depressed and even get suicidal thoughts. The students who put their everything for clearing an examination should not fall prey to the negligence of copy checkers”.
DKODING: Please tell us a bit about regulation 39(4).
Neeraj Arora: Regulation 39(4) is as follows: (Read point ii.)
(i) Information as to whether a candidate’s answers in any particular paper or papers of any examination have been examined and marked shall be supplied to the candidate on his submitting within a month of the declaration of the result of the said examination, an application, accompanied by a fee of twenty rupees per paper subject to maximum of fifty rupees.
(ii) The fee shall be only for verifying whether the candidates’ answers in any particulars paper or papers have been examined and marked, and not for the reexamination of the answers.
(iii) The marks obtained by a candidate in individual questions or in sections of a paper shall not be supplied.
(iv) If as a result of such verification, it is discovered that there has been either an omission to examine or mark any answer or answers or there has been a mistake in the totaling of the marks, the fee for verification shall be refunded in full to the candidate.
“Even if students file for reevaluation, it only prompts for re-totaling of the marks and not for re-checking of answers”.
DKODING: You are a renowned faculty throughout India. What prompted you and CA Parveen Sharma to come out and support CA students in this protest?
Neeraj Arora: I officially started teaching in 2012. And since then I’ve taught a lot of students. After exams, students come to me with their answer sheets and the suggested answers and ask that ‘Sir, my answer was same as the suggested answers, I mentioned the same points provided by the institute, why have I still not got the marks that I deserved?’ To this I become speechless and there’s nothing more I can tell them except to stay motivated, study, work hard and follow ICAI’s material”.
Continued, “But till when? When the student has studied well, worked so hard and even followed the institute’s material, how long can I give them false hope and motivation? We are not left with any answer then. This is what had triggered this movement. The students have already suffered a lot and wasted their precious years and mental health to this shortcoming of the institute. This is what had led us to fight for students and their rights. Students are scared of what if the institute takes some actions against them as they have their registration numbers. The students are afraid of the actions that might be taken against their attempts or enrolments. This is why we have to come together and raise our voices”.
DKODING: What are your demands through this protest?
Neeraj Arora: “Our demand is very small. Through this protest we want the students to get their right of rechecking. They do have the right of re-evaluation but the right of Rechecking is what we seek through this protest. If the students have answered correctly and still hasn’t got the marks, they must have the right to get their answers rechecked and not just revalued. We just want the students to get the marks they deserve. We don’t want the students to suffer anymore.