How The New Law Targets Question Paper Leaks in Public Exams


The government has introduced a strict law to curb paper leaks and cheating in public examinations amid a massive controversy over the NEET and UGC-NET exams.

The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024 was notified Friday evening by the Ministry Of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.

Here are five important provisions in the law:

  1. The law has provisions for at least three years imprisonment for those caught using unfair means during exams. It may be extended to five years and up to ₹ 10 lakh fine may also be imposed on them. The jail term may be extended further if one fails to pay the fine.
  2. The “service provider” – or testing agency – will face a fine of up to a crore and a proportionate cost of examination shall also be recovered from them. They may also be barred from holding any public exam for four years, the law states.
  3. The law also provides for a jail term of three years, which may be extended up to 10 years, if anyone from the senior management is found involved. A fine of ₹ 1 crore may also be imposed on them.
  4. The provisions of the law will not be applicable to a person who is able to prove that the offence was committed without his knowledge and that he tried his best to prevent it.
  5. Whoever – be it a person or a “service provider” – commits an organised crime will face imprisonment of at least five years, which may be extended to 10 years, along with a fine of at least ₹ 1 crore, the law states.

The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) and University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET), two top public examinations that are taken by lakhs of Indians for careers in medical and academic courses, are in the middle of a huge controversy that has seen students hitting the streets in the past week.

A total of 24 lakh aspirants had taken the NEET exam on May 5 for admission into medical colleges across India, but several irregularities surfaced when the results were declared on June 4. At least four men have confessed to paper leaks ahead of the NEET exam in Bihar.

UGC-NET was cancelled on June 19, a day after it was conducted, with the Education ministry stating exam integrity was compromised. The question paper for the exam was leaked 48 hours earlier and sold on the dark web and encrypted social media platforms, CBI sources told NDTV.

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