Anti Cheating Bill Lok Sabha – Context and Objective, What’s New in it?

The Lok Sabha enacted an ‘Anti Cheating, Bill Lok Sabha’ law on Tuesday to prevent government recruitment test fraud including paper leaks. Collaborating with authorities to leak test papers or tamper with answer sheets may result in a 10-year prison sentence and a ₹ 1 crore fine.

Anti Cheating Bill Lok Sabha

A new bill to stop unfair tactics in public exams was adopted by the Anti Cheating Bill Lok Sabha on Monday. These acts include but are not limited to, administering phony tests, tampering with computers or question papers, leaking question papers or helping candidates do so, and breaching security protocols.

These malpractices are now considered non-bailable offenses under the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a fine of Rs. 1 crore for offenders.

The Rajya Sabha will now hear the Bill’s presentation. The Bill will go to the President for final approval if it passes the Upper House. Additionally, unfair examination practices will have become a crime by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 1944.

Objective and Context of the Anti Cheating Bill

To improve the public examination systems’ openness, equity, and credibility while assuring young people that their future is secure and that their honest and sincere efforts would be duly rewarded.

A law that aims to punish anomalies and malpractices in government recruitment exams harshly was approved by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. It includes provisions for a maximum 10-year prison sentence and a fine of up to Rs 1 crore.

According to the government, the Piloting the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024, is intended to protect the interests of deserving applicants and students.

What’s the New in the Anti-Cheating Bill to Stop Cheating in exams?

According to the central government, the purpose of the Bill is to “reassure the youth that their sincere and genuine efforts will be fairly rewarded” and to “bring greater transparency,credibility, and equity in public testing programs. 

Legitimately deterring persons, organized groups, or institutions that engage in unfair practices and “adversely impact the public examination systems for monetary or wrongful gains” is the stated goal of the bill.

Additionally, according to the administration, cheating during open exams causes delays or cancellations, which “adversely impacts the prospects of millions of youth.”

Additionally, it said that there is now “no specific substantive law” to address unethical practices used or offenses committed by different organizations engaged in the central government and its agencies’ public inspections. State governments may thereafter introduce their measures based on national law, according to the center.

What constitutes cheating or unfair practice?

The unfair methods that are subject to punishment have been established by the recently passed anti-cheating bill. Among them are:

  • Question papers and answer keys that are leaked
  • being a member of a gang that releases answer keys or question sheets
  • gaining unauthorized access to the answer sheets or question papers
  • Giving responses to the questions asked during exams
  • helping any candidate—directly or indirectly—without permission
  • tampering with the response papers
  • changing the assessment unless it’s to fix an error that authorities have authorized
  • breaking the rules and regulations of the public examination
  • tampering with any records required to create a final merit list or shortlist applicants
  • intentional breach of security protocols to facilitate unethical exam-related behavior
  • interfering with the computer system or network
  • manipulation of seat assignments, shift assignments, and seating arrangements to support unethical behavior
  • threatening, stifling, or interfering with the public examination authority or the exams
  • Making fraudulent websites to deceive or profit
  • using fictitious test results, admit cards, or offer letters to deceive or profit

What are the punishments if individuals or groups are found cheating?

If someone is found guilty of any of the above-mentioned unfair practices, they would be charged with a non-bailable offense, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a fine of Rs. 10 lakh. The jail term may be prolonged if the offender refuses to pay the fine.

The service provider, which is often computer centers that administer online tests, faces fines of up to Rs 1 crore, and the “proportionate cost of examination shall be recovered from such service provider” if they are found to have assisted in cheating. They will also be prohibited for four years from administering any kind of public examination.

If an examination authority employee is found guilty of conspiring to commit the crime, they would face a minimum fine of Rs 1 crore and a maximum five-year jail sentence, with the possibility of a 10-year extension.

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