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Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill 2024: Will Cease Cheating or Not?

Written by:- Geetanjali

Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill 2024: Will Cease Cheating or Not?

Parliament unveiled a landmark judgement to restrict malpractices like paper leaks, fake candidacies in entrance exams conducted by NTA (National Testing Agency) like, CUET, NEET, JEE, and recruitment examinations like, UPSC, SSC, Railways, NTPC, Banking etc.

Recently, on February 9, 2024 Rajya Sabha (Upper House) passed the long awaited Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill through a voice-vote, earlier the bill got passed by Lok Sabha (Lower House) on February 6, 2024.

Before Parliament cleared the Anti-cheating bill. Five states which include Uttarakhand, Gujrat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh have already implemented anti-cheating laws. Among these Uttarakhand and Gujarat have the most stringent laws.

Union Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh while presenting the bill mentioned in his speech that amid political differences there’s been no difference in opinion regarding the anti-cheating bill among the parliament members. Everyone has come together to safeguard the hard work of our youth.

Read the article till last to know key provisions of the Bill.

Key highlights of this Bill are:

# Exams included in the bill

Recruitment exams conducted by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission), SSC (Staff Selection Service), RRB (Railway Recruitment Board), IBPS (Institute of Banking Personnel Selection) except SBI and rural banks recruitment. And all computer based exams conducted by NTA which includes, NEET (National Eligibility Entrance Test), JEE (Joint Entrance Examination), CUET (Common University Entrance Test), UGC-NET.

# Chargeable Offence

  • Leaking of answer key or question paper before commencement of examination.
  • Cheating by sharing answers prior to the exam.
  • Tempering with results and merit list.
  • Violating examination rules intentionally.
  • Altering answer sheet without authority.
  • Tampering with candidates documents that decides their selection.
  • Cheating by breaking exam rules or by intimidating exam authorities.
  • Tempering computer systems or networks.
  • Manipulating seating arrangements.
  • Creating fake sites for cheating or monetary frauds.
  • Organise fake examinations, issuing fake admit cards and offer letters for personal gains.

# Proposed punishment for the offences

  • As mentioned in the Bill if any individual is found guilty of any offence will get a minimum of three years and maximus of five years of jail time for example: offences like paper leak or trying to cheat in exam.
  • For individuals involved in organised offence, a jail time of five to ten years with a fine of minimum Rs.1 crore has to be carried out.
  • Service provider firms for public examination, if found guilty can be fined up to Rs.1 crore, will also be required to pay recovery proportionate cost of examination. And will be barred from conducting public exams for next four years.
  • As per the Bill all the Offences covered under the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024 are non-compoundable (involved parties are not allowed to compromise), non-bailable (means offender cannot plea for bail), and cognizable (under cognizable offence Police can arrest individuals without a warrant).

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