Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions
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Government introduces a Bill in the Lok Sabha titled "The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024” to curb paper leaks, malpractices as well as organised alpractices in recruitment examinations like UPSC, SSC etc and entrance tests such as NEET, JEE and CUET

The Bill is aimed at preventing organised gangs and institutions that are involved in unfair means for monetary gains, but it protects candidates from its provisions: Dr Jitendra Singh

“High level National Technical Committee on Public Examinations will be set up to develop protocol for developing foolproof IT security system for online and technology based exams”: Dr Jitendra Singh

Posted On: 05 FEB 2024 4:17PM by PIB Delhi

The Centre today introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha titled "The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024” to curb leaks, malpractices as well as organized malpractices in recruitment examinations like UPSC, SSC etc and entrance tests such as NEET, JEE, and CUET.

The Bill was introduced in the house by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh.

“Prevention of Unfair Means Bill, 2024” will also cover entrance examinations held by the Union Public Service Commission, the Staff Selection Commission, the Railways, banking recruitment examinations and all computer-based examinations conducted by the National Testing Agency.

The Bill proposes a punishment of a minimum of three to five years of imprisonment to curb cheating and for those involved in organised crimes of cheating will face five to 10 years of imprisonment and a minimum fine of Rs 1 crore.

The Bill is aimed at preventing organised gangs and institutions that are involved in unfair means for monetary gains, but it protects candidates from its provisions.

In the last few years, leaks of question papers and organised cheating had affected the interests of lakhs of student due to cancellation of tests and examinations, said Dr Jitendra Singh, elaborating on the need and significance of the bill.

“In the recent past, many States have had to cancel or were unable to declare results of their public examinations due to 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 of this country.  In many instances, it has been observed that organized groups and mafia elements are involved. They deploy solver gangs, impersonation methods and indulge in paper leaks.  The Bill primarily aims to deter such kind of nefarious elements,” he said.

At present, said the DoPT Minister, there is no specific substantive law at national level to deal with unfair means adopted or offences committed by persons, organized groups, or any other agency/organization that adversely impacts the conduct of Public Examinations by Central Government and its agencies.

“Therefore, it is imperative that the elements both within and outside the examination systems, that exploit these vulnerabilities are identified and effectively dealt with by way of a comprehensive Central legislation. There is a need to prevent such criminal elements from playing with lives and hopes of genuine and sincere youths who appear in these examinations,” he said.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, the objective is to bring in greater transparency, fairness and credibility to the Public Examination systems and to reassure the youths that their sincere and genuine efforts will be fairly rewarded and their futures are safe. 

“The Bill is aimed at effectively and legally deterring persons, organised groups or institutions that indulge in various unfair means and adversely impact the public examination systems for monetary or wrongful gains,” he said.

The Bill, however, clarified Dr Jitendra Singh, protects the candidates appearing in the examination from the punitive provisions and they will be governed under the provisions of the existing unfair means policy of the examination conducting authority.

“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.

In view of many examinations being conducted online and the increasing role of technology in conduct of public examinations, Dr Jitendra Singh said, it has also been decided to set up a High level National Technical Committee on Public Examinations which shall look into developing protocol for insulating digital platforms, devising ways and means for developing foolproof IT security system, ensuring comprehensive electronic surveillance of the examinations centres and  formulating national standards and service levels for both, IT and physical infrastructure, to be deployed for conduct of such examinations.

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