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New law targets exam leaks amid NEET chaos: Potential jail term and fines up to one crore

The decision was made in the midst of the controversy surrounding the National Testing Agency's NEET and UGC-NET tests.

Reported by:  PTC News Desk  Edited by:  Annesha Barua -- June 22nd 2024 08:02 AM -- Updated: June 22nd 2024 09:42 AM
New law targets exam leaks amid NEET chaos: Potential jail term and fines up to one crore

New law targets exam leaks amid NEET chaos: Potential jail term and fines up to one crore

PTC News Desk: In the midst of the controversy surrounding the NEET and UGC-NET exams, the Center has announced the passing of a strict law in February that aims to stop cheating and paper leaks.

Just one day after Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan was questioned about the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024's implementation schedule, the act was officially announced. The law ministry was drafting the regulations, according to the minister.

The Act went into effect on Friday, and anyone found guilty of leaking a document or altering an answer sheet faces a minimum three-year prison sentence. A fine of up to ₹ 10 lakh may be imposed in order to prolong this to five years. Under the Act, there would be no bail and all offenses will be cognisable.

Here are 10 points on the NEET and UGC-NET paper leak controversy:

  1. The National Testing Agency (NTA) faced criticism following the cancellation of the UGC-NET exam due to a paper leak detected online. Consequently, the CSIR-UGC-NET exam has been postponed citing logistical challenges. The revised schedule will be announced later.
  2. Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh criticized the BJP-led government, calling NTA "Narendra's Trauma Agency for youth" in light of repeated exam postponements.
  3. The CSIR-UGC-NET exam is conducted biannually in subjects like Chemical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Physical Sciences. It is crucial for admissions to PhD programs in prestigious institutions including IITs and IISERs. Over 2 lakh students were scheduled to appear.
  4. The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024 came into force on June 21, aimed at curbing cheating in exams conducted by bodies like UPSC, SSC, railways, banking recruitment, and NTA. It imposes severe penalties, including imprisonment and fines.
  5. The Act was approved by President Droupadi Murmu in February following passage in both houses of Parliament, reflecting a stringent response to exam malpractice.
  6. A CBI probe has been ordered by the BJP government into the UGC-NET paper leak. Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan attributed the cancellation to the discovery of the question paper on darknet and its circulation on platforms like Telegram.
  7. Pradhan acknowledged the institutional failure of NTA and announced the formation of an expert committee to propose reforms within the testing agency.
  8. Despite concerns, the Supreme Court declined to halt NEET counselling amidst allegations of irregularities, including an unusually high number of perfect scores and discontent over grace marks.
  9. Authorities in Bihar have arrested four individuals, including a medical aspirant, in connection with the alleged NEET-UG 2024 paper leak.
  10. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accused the BJP government of jeopardizing the future of youth through recurring paper leaks in competitive exams, highlighting what she described as a national crisis affecting millions of aspiring students.

Also Read: 'Under BJP rule, scams pushing country's future into darkness': Priyanka Gandhi comments on UGC-NET and NEET controversies

- With inputs from agencies

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