10-yr jail, Rs 1 cr fine in new law to curtail competitive exam frauds

CBI registered a case on Thursday to investigate the leak of the exam conducted by the National Testing Agency NTA

New Delhi: The Centre has operationalised a stringent new law to curb malpractices and irregularities in competitive examinations, introducing penalties that include up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to Rs 1 crore for offenders.

Nearly four months after President Droupadi Murmu gave assent to The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, the Personnel Ministry issued a notification late on Friday night, declaring that the provisions of the law will come into force from June 21.

This move is particularly significant amid a controversy over the UGC-NET 2024 exam's question paper leak. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case on Thursday to investigate the leak of the exam conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA). Additionally, Opposition parties have alleged irregularities in the medical entrance exam NEET-UG, whose results were announced by the NTA on June 4.

The notification reads, "In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 1 of the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024 (1 of 2024), the Central Government hereby appoints the 21st day of June, 2024, as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force."

The law's notification follows a query posed to Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan about its implementation, to which he responded that the law ministry was framing the rules.

The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on February 9 and by the Lok Sabha on February 6.

President Murmu gave her approval to the bill on February 12, turning it into law.

The Act targets the prevention of unfair practices in public examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Staff Selection Commission (SSC), railways, banking recruitment exams, and the National Testing Agency (NTA) among others. It imposes a minimum of three to five years of imprisonment for cheating, with those involved in organised cheating facing five to 10 years of imprisonment and a minimum fine of Rs 1 crore.

Before this legislation, there was no specific substantive law to address the unfair means or offenses committed by various entities involved in the conduct of public examinations by the central government and its agencies.
Union minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh stated that the Act aims to prevent organised gangs and institutions from engaging in unfair practices for monetary gain and to protect candidates from its provisions.

Next Story