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NEET-UG Row: Public Examinations Bill Aims To Curtail Unfair Practices In Exams

In India, academic marks and degrees significantly influence an individual’s future. However, recent controversies surrounding national-level exams raise concerns about the integrity of the testing systems and the impact on candidates who invest significant time, money, and effort in preparation. NEET Controversy The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) recently faced controversy, with issues such as unusually […]

In India, academic marks and degrees significantly influence an individual’s future. However, recent controversies surrounding national-level exams raise concerns about the integrity of the testing systems and the impact on candidates who invest significant time, money, and effort in preparation.

NEET Controversy

The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) recently faced controversy, with issues such as unusually high perfect scores and allegations of paper leaks. Nearly 1,500 candidates received “grace marks” due to exam disruptions, further adding to the scrutiny.

UGC-NET June 2024 Exam Cancellation

Similarly, the cancellation of the UGC-NET June 2024 exams has intensified discussions on the need for a fair and authentic examination system.

The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024

To address such challenges, the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024, was enacted in February. This legislation aims to ensure fairness and credibility in public examinations across various authorities.

Key Provisions of the Bill

The Bill encompasses 19 sections divided into six chapters, comprehensively addressing issues related to unfair means in public examinations. It defines public exams and lists five public examination authorities, including the UPSC, SSC, RRBs, IBPS, and NTA.

Punishments Under the Bill

The Bill imposes strict punishments, including imprisonment for three to five years and fines up to Rs 10 lakh for individuals resorting to unfair means. Service providers assisting in unfair practices face imprisonment of three to ten years and fines up to Rs 1 crore, along with a four-year ban from conducting public examinations.

Focus on Organized Crime and Paper Leaks

The Bill specifically targets organized paper leaks, defining “organised crime” and prescribing imprisonment for a term not less than five years and fines not less than Rs 1 crore for such offenses.

Need for the Bill

The need for such legislation is underscored by the frequency of paper leaks and malpractices in public examinations, affecting the lives of millions of youth. The Bill seeks to identify and address vulnerabilities in the examination system through comprehensive legislation.

Previous Instances of Paper Leaks in India

AIPMT (Now NEET) Leak, 2011

The All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT), now known as NEET, faced a significant paper leak in 2011 in Haryana. Reports emerged that candidates were using electronic devices, like mobile phones and Bluetooth devices, to receive answers during the exam. The widespread malpractice led to the cancellation of the exam, affecting thousands of aspiring medical students.

IIT-JEE Paper Leak, 1997

In 1997, the question papers for the Indian Institutes of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE) were leaked in Lucknow. Reports indicated that the papers were circulated through various channels, giving some candidates an unfair advantage. Consequently, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), responsible for conducting the exam at the time, canceled it and conducted a re-examination later that year. In 2021, the IIT-JEE paper was leaked again, involving a few foreign nationals.

SSC CGL Exam Irregularities, 2018

The Staff Selection Commission (SSC) Combined Graduate Level (CGL) examination faced allegations of irregularities in 2018. Candidates reported discrepancies in the conduct of the examination, including technical glitches and question paper leaks, leading to widespread protests and demands for a fair re-examination process.

AIIMS Nursing Officer Exam Leak, 2023

In 2023, question papers for the recruitment of 3,055 nursing officers through AIIMS exams were leaked on social media. On the day of the exam, screenshots of the question papers circulated on social media platforms, sparking suspicions of a paper leak. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) intervened and arrested those responsible for the leak.

Vyapam Scam, 2013

The Vyapam scam, centered around the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), came to light in 2013. Vyapam was responsible for conducting various entrance exams for professional courses and recruitment exams for government jobs in the state. The scam involved irregularities such as impersonation, tampering with answer sheets, and leaking question papers. The scam impacted the lives of many applicants, and a CBI court in 2019 convicted 31 people in connection with the case.

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NEET UG 2024 Answer Key ReleasedNEET UG RowPublic Examinations BillTDGThe Daily GuardianUnfair Practices In Exams