UGC NET exam cancelled: What is the new ‘anti-paper leak’ law? What are the punishments under it? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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UGC NET exam cancelled: What is the new ‘anti-paper leak’ law? What are the punishments under it?

By | Edited by Aniruddha Dhar
Jun 20, 2024 03:13 PM IST

UGC-NET 2024: In February, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha passed an anti-cheating bill to prevent fraudulent practices—such as paper leaks—in recruitment exams.

UGC-NET 2024 Cancelled News: Amid the ongoing controversy over alleged irregularities during the medical entrance exam NEET, the Union education ministry on Wednesday, June 19, ordered the cancellation of the UGC-NET 2024 following inputs that the exam's integrity may have been compromised. It also handed over the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation for a probe.

Students holding placards protest against the alleged irregularities in the NEET examination in New Delhi. (ANI file)
Students holding placards protest against the alleged irregularities in the NEET examination in New Delhi. (ANI file)

The education ministry also sought a report from the Bihar Police's Economic Offences Unit regarding alleged irregularities in the conduct of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET-UG) 2024 in Patna, and said further action would be taken based on the report.

Also Read | UGC-NET 2024: Why did Centre cancel the exam? How is it conducted? Explained

In a shift from earlier practice, the National Eligibility Test (NET) was conducted in pen-and-paper mode, this time on a single day – June 18 – with a record 11 lakh students registering for the examination.

UGC-NET is a test to determine the eligibility of Indian nationals for the award of junior research fellowships, appointment as assistant professors, and admission to PhD in Indian universities and colleges.

The reports of alleged exam irregularities came months after the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha passed an 'anti-cheating' bill to check fraudulent practices - such as leaking of exam papers - in government recruitment exams.

Also Read | UGC-NET 2024 cancelled: Mallikarjun Kharge questions PM Narendra Modi; how Opposition leaders reacted

In February, President Droupadi Murmu cleared the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, which became a law.

The Centre brought the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024 to curb leaks, malpractices as well as organised malpractices in recruitment examinations like UPSC, SSC, etc. and entrance tests such as NEET, JEE, and CUET.

Punishments under Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024

  • The Punishments under Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024 proposes that unfair means be punishable by imprisonment for three to five years with a fine of up to 10 lakh.
  • In case a person, group or persons commits an organised crime of this nature which includes the examination authority, service providers or any other institutions, they will be punished with imprisonment of five to 10 years with a minimum fine of 1 crore. 
  • The law empowers agencies to attach and forfeit the properties of institutions involved in committing organised crime for the proportionate recovery of the cost of examination.
  • The law also states that an officer of the rank of deputy superintendent of police or assistant commissioner of police will be responsible for investigating any complaints under the Act.

Need of the law

In the last few years, leaks of question papers and organised cheating had affected the interests of lakhs of students due to the cancellation of tests and examinations, said Union minister Jitendra Singh, elaborating on the need and significance of the bill.

“In the recent past, many states have had to cancel or were unable to declare results of their public examinations due to adverse impact of unfair practices and means adopted by antisocial, criminal elements. These unfair practices if not effectively prevented and deterred will continue to jeopardise the future and careers of millions of aspiring youths of this country. In many instances, it has been observed that organised groups and mafia elements are involved. They deploy solver gangs, impersonation methods and indulge in paper leaks. The Bill primarily aims to deter such kind of nefarious elements,” he had earlier said.

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