Government Cracks Down on Exam Malpractice with New Laws
Government Cracks Down on Exam Malpractice with New Laws

In a bid to crack down on rampant exam malpractice, the Indian government has enacted the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024. This move comes in response to widespread paper leaks and cheating incidents that have plagued major exams like NEET and UGC-NET, affecting millions of students nationwide.

Key Features of the Act

The newly introduced law imposes stringent penalties aimed at deterring exam malpractice:

Penalties for Cheating: Individuals caught using unfair means during exams could face a minimum of three years in prison, extendable up to five years, coupled with fines as high as Rs.10 lakh. Failure to pay the fine could lead to further extension of the jail term.

Fines for Testing Agencies: Testing agencies, termed as "service providers," may be fined up to Rs.1 crore. Additionally, they could be barred from conducting any public exams for up to four years. The law also mandates these agencies to bear the proportional cost of the examination.

Senior Management Accountability: Senior executives involved in exam malpractices may face imprisonment of up to 10 years and fines up to Rs.1 crore.

Organised Cheating Penalties: Those engaged in organized cheating activities could be sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison, extendable to ten years, along with fines starting at Rs.1 crore.

Exemption Clause: The law exempts individuals who can prove that the offense occurred without their knowledge and that they took reasonable steps to prevent it.

Recent Exam Controversies

Recent incidents surrounding major exams have underscored the necessity of such stringent measures:

NEET Exam Irregularities: The NEET exam held on May 5 witnessed irregularities, with 24 lakh candidates participating. Following the declaration of results on June 4, it was revealed that the paper had been leaked in Bihar. Suspicions were raised due to an unusually high number of perfect scores from a single center.

UGC-NET Cancellation: The UGC-NET exam conducted on June 18 for nine lakh candidates was abruptly cancelled on June 19 due to a leak of the question paper. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) disclosed that the paper had been leaked 48 hours prior to the exam and was circulated on illicit online platforms.

CSIR UGC NET Postponement: Scheduled for June 25-27, the CSIR UGC NET exam was postponed by the National Testing Agency (NTA) due to unforeseen circumstances and logistical challenges. The exam is crucial for candidates aiming for Junior Research Fellowship, Lectureship, and Assistant Professorship roles.

Impact on Students and Future Exams

The series of controversies and regulatory changes have left students and exam aspirants in a state of uncertainty:

UGC NET Candidates: The cancellation of the UGC-NET exam has directly affected nine lakh candidates, while the postponement of CSIR UGC NET has added to the anxiety among those aspiring for research and teaching careers.

Advice from NTA: The NTA has urged affected candidates to regularly monitor updates on the official website,, for the latest information regarding the rescheduling of the CSIR UGC NET exam.

Overall, the government's introduction of stringent laws and regulations reflects its commitment to ensuring the integrity of public examinations and safeguarding the interests of millions of students.

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