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7-February-2024-Special-Article

February 7 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm

THE PUBLIC EXAMINATIONS (PREVENTION OF UNFAIR MEANS) BILL, 2024

The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024, introduced in Lok Sabha, aims to address the rising instances of question paper leaks and malpractices in public examinations.

This bill not only seeks to bring transparency and fairness to the examination system but also serves as a model for states to adopt voluntarily.

Need for the Bill:

  • Question Paper Leaks: Widespread cases of question paper leaks in recruitment exams across the country have disrupted the hiring process for government jobs, affecting millions of applicants.
  • Malpractices and Delays: Malpractices in public examinations lead to delays and cancellations, adversely impacting the prospects of the youth. Currently, there is no specific law to address such unfair means, necessitating comprehensive central legislation.

      

Objectives of the Bill:

  • Transparency and Fairness: The primary objective is to bring transparency, fairness, and credibility to public examinations, assuring the youth that sincere efforts will be fairly rewarded.
  • Deterrence: The bill aims to deter individuals, groups, or institutions engaging in unfair means for wrongful gains and negatively impacting public examination systems.

Key Provisions:

  • Definition of Public Examination: The bill defines a public examination conducted by designated authorities such as UPSC, SSC, RRBs, IBPS, and NTA. Ministries or Departments of the Central Government for staff recruitment are also covered.
  • Punishments: Offenses under the bill are cognizable, non-bailable, and non-compoundable. Punishment includes imprisonment of three to five years and a fine up to Rs 10 lakh. Failure to pay the fine may lead to additional imprisonment.
  • Service Providers’ Liability: Service providers engaged for examination conduct may face a fine up to Rs 1 crore, and the cost of the examination may be recovered if they are involved in illegal practices.
  • Definition of Unfair Means: Actions like question paper leaks, tampering with documents, and creating fake websites are listed as unfair means.
  • Investigation and Enforcement: Offenses will be investigated by officers not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police or Assistant Commissioner of Police.
  • Model Draft for States: The bill serves as a model for states to adopt, providing a framework for preventing disruptions in state-level public examinations.
  • High-Level National Technical Committee: A committee will focus on developing protocols for securing digital platforms, formulating national standards, and ensuring IT security in examinations.

Concerns:

  • State Government Discretion: The discretion given to state governments for adoption may lead to variations in implementation, potentially weakening the law’s effectiveness.
  • Loopholes in Sanctions: Provisions related to punishments may contain exploitable loopholes, diminishing the deterrent effect, especially for service providers.
  • Clarity on Technical Committee: Lack of clarity on the composition, qualifications, and mandate of the High-Level National Technical Committee may raise concerns about its effectiveness and impartiality.
  • Potential Legal Challenges: Stringent measures on cognizability, non-bailability, and non-compoundability may face legal challenges related to proportionality and adherence to natural justice.

Conclusion:

While the bill addresses the immediate need for preventing unfair means in public examinations, comprehensive oversight mechanisms is essential for long-term effectiveness.

Balancing stringent measures with procedural fairness ensures accountability and transparency in the examination process, ultimately securing the credibility of public examinations.

Mains Question:

  1. Discuss the significance of the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024, in addressing the challenges posed by question paper leaks and malpractices in public examinations. (150 WORDS)

Details

Date:
February 7
Time:
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category: