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300 fail Chartered Accountant final exam, but pass after retotalling
May, 16th 2012

Students and lecturers have complained that there were many errors in totalling and that past questions were repeated in the final exams conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India last November.

Around 300 final-year students from all over the country cleared either a group or both groups in the final exams after they applied for retotalling. A student who got 7% in a subject cleared the test after his paper was retotalled, with at least 33 marks added when the paper was checked again by evaluators.

Acknowledging the fact that there were bloomers in the valuation of papers, ICAI president Jaydeep N Shah said, "The issue is under the consideration of a committee and should be resolved before the valuation of the May 2012 papers. We have also given instructions to examiners to be doubly careful and check twice or thrice while correcting answersheets."

A student is allowed to apply for a copy of his answersheet and then apply for retotalling. A student has to get a minimum of 40% in each subject and an aggregate of 50% in all the subjects to clear a group. More than 1 lakh students from across the country take the final exams in May and November every year. Of these only 15% clear either a single group or both groups to qualify as a chartered accountant.

Last week a public interest litigation on the valuation of CA papers was dismissed by the Madras high court as the petition was filed by a lecturer and not a student. The PIL was filed by Venkata Sivakumar, a chartered accountant and lecturer in costing and finance management.

"The Supreme Court in a judgment six months ago allowed students to get a copy of their marksheets on payment of a fee," Sivakumar said. "It is only after this that errors in valuation and totalling came to light. The institute's journal has published a list of candidates who have cleared a group or both the groups after retotalling. I plan to approach the Supreme Court. A group of students will file a petition in the high court after vacation."

"Errors may creep in as examiners have other work to do besides correcting the papers," an examiner said. "Though this should not happen, that is the only reason I can see for such mistakes. Usually there is no pressure while correcting papers as we get ample time."

"The errors may be due to oversight. For example, five marks awarded for a particular answer could be read as three. A student may fail in a subject because of this," said R Sivakumar, another chartered accountant and a lecturer at ICAI.


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