New Anti-Paper Leak Law in India: Up to 10 Years Imprisonment, ₹1 Crore Fine for Offenders

The Public Examination (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, has been implemented in India. Announced by the central government on June 21, this law aims to prevent fraud and malpractices in recruitment exams. 

Under the law, leaking exam papers or tampering with answer sheets can result in a minimum of three years in prison, extendable to five years with fines up to ₹10 lakh. Service providers found guilty can be fined up to ₹1 crore and be responsible for exam costs if involved in illegal activities. 

This law is a significant step to address malpractices in exams like NEET and UGC-NET, for which there were previously no specific regulations.

The central government issued a notification on the anti-paper leak law on Friday-Saturday (June 21-22) night.

President Murmu Approves Anti-Paper Leak Law

President Droupadi Murmu approved the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act on February 12. The law was passed by the Lok Sabha on February 6 and the Rajya Sabha on February 9. 

This legislation covers exams conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Staff Selection Commission (SSC), Railways, banking recruitment exams, and all computer-based tests administered by the National Testing Agency (NTA).

Offenses Under the Anti-Paper Leak Law

The following actions will be considered crimes under the new law:

  1. Leaking exam question papers or answer keys.
  2. Being involved in leaking question papers or answer keys.
  3. Possessing question papers or OMR sheets without authorization.
  4. Assisting someone with answers during an exam.
  5. Helping candidates directly or indirectly during an exam.
  6. Tampering with exam answer sheets or OMR sheets.
  7. Unauthorized alterations during the evaluation of answer sheets.
  8. Violating established exam standards by government agencies.
  9. Tampering with merit-related documents.
  10. Violating security standards set for public exams.
  11. Tampering with exam computer systems or networks.
  12. Altering candidate seating arrangements, exam dates, or shifts.
  13. Threatening or obstructing any examination authority.
  14. Creating fake websites related to exams or examination authorities.
  15. Issuing fake admit cards or conducting fake exams.
Protests followed complaints of malpractice in exams like NEET and UGC-NET.

Examination Centers to Face Four-Year Suspension for Malpractice

If an examination center is found involved in any malpractice, it will be suspended for four years. This means the center will be barred from conducting any government exams for the next four years.

Restricted Access to Examination Centers

The law targets organized gangs, mafias, and individuals involved in such activities, including government officials if found complicit. Unauthorized persons not assigned to public exams or related tasks will be prohibited from entering examination centers.

Urgency Behind the Government’s Notification

The government issued the notification urgently due to controversies surrounding the NEET exam for medical college admissions. Conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on May 5, the results were announced on June 4. 

Notably, 67 students scored 100% marks, a significant increase from just two students in 2023. Allegations of paper leaks and granting grace marks to 1,563 students surfaced, leading to Supreme Court involvement. 

Consequently, the scores of these students were annulled, and they were required to retake the exam on June 23. The Supreme Court will hear related petitions on July 8.

NTA Cancels or Postpones Three Major Exams in Nine Days

The National Testing Agency (NTA), responsible for 15 national-level exams like NEET, has faced scrutiny after canceling or postponing three major exams within nine days:

  1. National Common Entrance Test: Canceled on June 12 due to technical issues affecting 29,000 students. New date not announced.
  2. UGC-NET: Canceled on June 19 after a leaked form matched the original. 908,580 students affected.
  3. CSIR-UGC-NET: Postponed from June 25 to an unspecified date due to logistical issues affecting over 200,000 students.

Niyati Rao

Niyati Rao is a seasoned writer and avid consumer who specializes in crafting informative and engaging articles and product reviews. With a passion for research and a knack for finding the best deals, Niyati enjoys helping readers make informed decisions about their purchases.