Law Explainer: What is Anti-Paper Leak Law?

Law Explainer: What is Anti-Paper Leak Law?

Ever since there has been uproar around the NEET exams, and NTA has been in question, this has led to highlight the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, a law that targets malpractices in exams.

The Need For This Law

Union Minister Jitendra Singh emphasized the necessity of the bill, citing widespread disruptions caused by question paper leaks and organized cheating in recent years, which significantly impacted the interests of lakhs of students, leading to test and examination cancellations. Minister Jitendra Singh clarified that the law is not meant to exploit the youth. Instead, the law excludes bona fide candidates, including job aspirants and students. The intention is not to target the youth but to deter those who jeopardize their own and the nation’s future.

This law  aims to curb unfair practices in public examinations conducted by various authorities, including the Union Public Service Commission, Staff Selection Commission, Railway Recruitment Board, NTA, Institute of Banking Personnel Selection, and Union government departments. The legislation addresses offenses such as unauthorized access or leakage of question papers or answer keys, as well as providing assistance to candidates during public examinations.

Provisions Under This Law

The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, takes a stringent stance against individuals or groups who undermine the integrity of exams through malpractices. Key provisions of the act include:

1. Punishments for Unfair Means:
– Offenses such as unauthorized access or leakage of question papers or answer keys are punishable by imprisonment for three to five years.
– A fine of up to ₹10 lakh may also be imposed.

2. Organized Crime Involving Examination Authorities:
– If a person, group, or institution commits organized crime related to examinations (involving examination authorities, service providers, or other institutions), they face imprisonment of five to ten years.
– A minimum fine of ₹1 crore is mandated for such offenses.

3. Forfeiture of Properties:
– The law empowers agencies to attach and forfeit properties of institutions involved in organized crimes related to examinations.
– This is aimed at recovering costs proportionately from those responsible.

4. Investigation Responsibility:
– Complaints under the Act will be investigated by an officer of at least the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police or Assistant Commissioner of Police.
– This ensures thorough and appropriate investigation of reported offenses.

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About the Author: Hemansh Tandon