Govt Cracks Down on Paper Leaks and Cheating; Up To 10 Years In Jail, ₹ 1 Crore Fine


New Delhi: The Central government introduced a bill in Lok Sabha on Monday aimed at curbing paper leaks and malpractices in recruitment examinations and entrance tests like UPSC, SSC, NEET, JEE, and CUET. The Bill titled “The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024” was presented by Union minister Dr Jitendra Singh.

The proposed legislation suggests a minimum of three to five years of imprisonment for cheating, while those involved in organised cheating will face five to 10 years of imprisonment and a minimum fine of ₹ 1 crore. Dr Singh emphasised that the bill targets organised gangs and institutions engaging in unfair practices for financial gains while safeguarding candidates from its provisions.

He highlighted the necessity of the bill by citing instances where question paper leaks and organised cheating have adversely affected a large number of students. 

“In the recent past, many States have had to cancel or were unable to declare results of their public examinations due to the adverse impact of unfair practices and means adopted by antisocial, criminal elements. These unfair practices if not effectively prevented and deterred will continue to jeopardize the future and careers of millions of aspiring youths in this country. In many instances, it has been observed that organised groups and mafia elements are involved. They deploy solver gangs, impersonation methods, and indulge in paper leaks. The Bill primarily aims to deter such kinds of nefarious elements,” the minister said.

Currently, there is no specific substantive national law addressing unfair means in public examinations. The objective of the bill, according to Dr Jitendra Singh, is to enhance transparency, fairness, and credibility in public examination systems, ensuring that the genuine efforts of youths are rewarded and their futures secured.

He clarified that candidates appearing in examinations will not be subject to punitive provisions but will be governed by the existing unfair means policy of examination authorities.

“Candidates shall not be liable for action within the purview of the Bill and shall continue to be covered under the extant administrative provisions of the concerned public examination authority,” he said.

Given the increasing role of technology in examinations, the minister announced the formation of a High-Level National Technical Committee on Public Examinations. This committee will focus on developing protocols for securing digital platforms, enhancing IT security systems, ensuring electronic surveillance of examination centres, and formulating national standards for infrastructure deployment.

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