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NEET Examination Row: Will Involved Students Be Punished Under New Anti-Paper Leak Law?

The recent developments regarding the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test-Undergraduate 2024 (NEET-UG 2024) paper leak have raised significant concerns about the integrity of competitive exams in India. Here’s a summary of the key points and implications: Confession and Arrests – Main Accused: Amit Anand, the suspected mastermind, confessed to selling the NEET-UG 2024 question paper a day before […]

NEET Examination Row: Will Involved Students Be Punished Under New Anti-Paper Leak Law?
NEET Examination Row: Will Involved Students Be Punished Under New Anti-Paper Leak Law?

The recent developments regarding the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test-Undergraduate 2024 (NEET-UG 2024) paper leak have raised significant concerns about the integrity of competitive exams in India. Here’s a summary of the key points and implications:

Confession and Arrests

Main Accused: Amit Anand, the suspected mastermind, confessed to selling the NEET-UG 2024 question paper a day before the exam for a sum between Rs 30 and 32 lakh.

Arrests: 13 individuals have been arrested in connection with the case, including Anand and others involved in the dissemination of the leaked papers.

Anti-Paper Leak Law

Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024: This law was passed to enhance transparency and credibility in public examination systems. It covers a wide range of offences related to exam malpractice, including paper leaks, tampering with computer systems, and conducting fake exams.

What Happens to the Offenders?

Offences and Penalties: Offences under the Act are cognizable, non-bailable, and non-compoundable. Offenders face imprisonment ranging from 3 to 10 years, fines up to Rs 1 crore, and additional penalties for failure to pay fines.

Organised Crime: The Act also addresses organised crime related to exam malpractice, imposing severe penalties on groups or institutions involved.

Can Students Be Punished Under This Law?

The Act excludes bona fide candidates (genuine students) from its purview, aiming to deter those who exploit exam systems for personal gain.

Committee and Security Measures: A national technical committee is mandated to enhance security in digital platforms, IT systems, and surveillance at exam centers to prevent future breaches.

Educational Impact

UGC-NET Cancellation: Following concerns over compromised integrity, the Ministry of Education cancelled the University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET) 2024, affecting approximately nine lakh aspirants.

Supreme Court Involvement: The NEET-UG 2024 case has raised parallels with ongoing legal battles over alleged irregularities in the NEET results, currently before the Supreme Court.

Government Response

Suo Motu Action: The Ministry of Education took proactive measures based on intelligence inputs to protect students’ interests, even without formal complaints.

Future Actions: Officials have assured that a new date for the UGC-NET exam will be announced soon, emphasizing the need for secure and fair conduct of examinations.

In conclusion, the NEET-UG 2024 paper leak and subsequent legislative and administrative responses highlight ongoing challenges in maintaining exam integrity in India. The enactment of stringent laws and the swift implementation of preventive measures aim to restore public confidence in the examination process while holding perpetrators of exam malpractice accountable.

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Anti Paper Leak LawNEET Examination RowStudentsTDGThe Daily Guardian