In a significant move to ensure fair play in competitive exams, Parliament passed a bill on Friday introducing strict penalties for malpractices. The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024, allows for a maximum jail term of 10 years and a hefty fine of up to Rs 1 crore for those found guilty of cheating or aiding in any form of irregularity. The bill sailed through the Rajya Sabha today with a voice vote, following its earlier approval by the Lok Sabha on February 6th. Notably, amendments proposed by opposition members were rejected during the Rajya Sabha discussion.
This new law sends a strong message against exam malpractices, aiming to level the playing field and ensure fair competition for all aspirants in crucial exams.
The law aims to address dishonest actions and irregularities in competitive exams by imposing strict penalties. Additionally, the bill suggests the establishment of a national technical committee on public examinations with the purpose of enhancing the security of computerized examination procedures. This committee will be responsible for providing recommendations in this regard.
Stiff Penalties: The bill prescribes a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine of up to Rs 1 crore for those found guilty of cheating or aiding in cheating.
Targets Organised Cheating: It specifically targets individuals and institutions involved in organized cheating activities, like leaking question papers or tampering with answer sheets.
Protects Meritocracy: The aim is to deter unfair practices that undermine merit-based selection in competitive exams, ensuring a level playing field for all aspirants.
Passed by both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Awaiting presidential assent.
Key points of contention:
Excluding Students: Not subjecting students and candidates to penalties raises concerns, as Union Minister Jitendra Singh informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that the proposed law to prevent malpractices in examinations will not apply to them.
Existing laws: Some argue existing laws already address these issues, and a separate bill might be redundant.
Addressing root causes: Critics emphasize the need to tackle factors like inadequate educational resources and societal pressure, instead of solely relying on punishment.