The busy ITO crossing in Delhi has been witnessing a greater crowd since Monday as chartered accountant (CA) aspirants have taken to the streets, demanding amendments in the exam regulations to add re-checking.
"When the country can abrogate Article 370 (of the Constitution), how difficult it is to make changes in a small exam law for the benefit of the students," Vineet, one of the students protesting outside the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India at the ITO said.
Claiming that the evaluation of answer sheets was not done properly, the students have been camping out the Institute between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., saying there should be a change in the regulations to allow re-checking of the answer sheets, not just a re-evaluation.
As they sit there protesting, some are busy preparing for the next examination, while others engaged in heated discussions about their future and the lack of an alternate profession.
A 27-year-old student from Uttar Pradesh said he spent last 5-6 years preparing for the exam and rued spending long years without being able to clear the paper.
"Tell me some other exam with mass vacancy so that I can switch over. Our family says we are not serious about studies.... if re-checking was allowed, we can show that it was the fault of those who checked the copies and not us," he said.
The students have been demanding amendment of Section 39 (4) of The Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1998, which says the aspirants can only apply for re-evaluation and not re-checking.
"We are only provided information on whether our answer has been marked or not. We cannot do anything even if we feel we are marked less for some answers. There is no provision for us to do anything if we feel we are given fewer marks," Gautam, who has been giving the exam for the past eight years, told IANS.
Gautam, who hails from Bihar, said this has been happening for several years now.
On being asked why there was such a mass protest this time, he said all the students do not attend classes at the same time, so they are not organised.
"There is no Union or student group. We have been complaining about this. The protest happened as we became hopeless."
The teachers also supported the students this time, he added.
"Last month the results came and since then students have been filing RTI pleas. We came together after we got the copies through RTI," Gautam said adding the body is collecting ₹500 per copy.
He said after they started protests in Delhi, students in other states have also came out and about 12 lakh students are making this demand across the country.
On being asked why only a few thousand students are in Delhi, Gautam said while few are working part-time, others have to do internships.
"Sitting here daily between 11 (a.m.) to 5 (p.m.) is difficult for all. But we are coming here and those who are not here are extending the support on social media. Still close to 1,000 students take part in the protest daily."
Gautam said there is an impression that the paper is difficult and so it is okay if an aspirant doesn't qualify. "But we gave so many years to this. Where will we go?"
Another student from Rajasthan said: "Every year I failed by just 10-15 marks, now this has been raising questions in my mind."
"We are not against the Institute, we respect it. But this is just about that exam law," he said, requesting his name should not be used as "they could be targeted if their names were made public".
Most of the students IANS spoke with were from outside Delhi and have been preparing for the exam for past 8-9 years, a time good enough for students to clear graduation, post-graduation and the PhD as well.
The regulations are not complex to change, students said, "in almost every exam students can ask for re-checking, why only CA students don't have that option."
The students say they will not going to end the protest until the regulations are amended and re-checking is allowed.
The Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress have supported their demands.