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Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024

6th February, 2024 POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024

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  • The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024, was introduced in Lok Sabha.

Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024

  • The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024, aims to address unfair means in public examinations to enhance transparency, fairness, and credibility in the examination system.

Understanding "Unfair Means"

  • Definition: Section 3 of the Bill outlines actions constituting unfair means, including question paper leakage, tampering with answer sheets, and conducting fake examinations for monetary gain.

Scope of "Public Examinations"

  • Definition: Under Section 2(k), a "public examination" includes exams conducted by designated public examination authorities listed in the Schedule or notified by the Central Government.
  • Designated Authorities: The Schedule includes bodies like UPSC, SSC, RRBs, IBPS, and NTA. Other Central Government ministries and departments for staff recruitment also fall under the purview of the law.

Penalties for Violations

  • Legal Consequences: Section 9 establishes offences as cognizable, non-bailable, and non-compoundable.
  • Punishment: Offenders face imprisonment of three to five years and fines up to Rs 10 lakh. Service providers can be fined up to Rs 1 crore.
  • Organised Crime: Harsher penalties are prescribed for organised paper leaks, with imprisonment ranging from five to ten years and fines not less than one crore rupees.

Rationale for the Bill

  • Need for Legislation: The prevalence of question paper leaks in recruitment exams necessitates a comprehensive legal framework.
  • Impact: Instances of leaks disrupt recruitment processes, affecting millions of applicants.
  • Objectives: The Bill aims to enhance transparency, fairness, and credibility in public examinations, ensuring that sincere efforts of candidates are duly rewarded.

Role and Implications of the Bill

  • Exemption: Candidates are exempted from liability under the Bill, remaining subject to existing administrative provisions of examination authorities.
  • Model Draft for States: The Bill serves as a model for states to adopt, aiding in preventing disruptions by criminal elements in state-level examinations.
  • By addressing unfair means and imposing stringent penalties, the Bill seeks to safeguard the integrity of public examinations and promote a fair and merit-based recruitment process.


Q. How do question paper leaks in recruitment exams impact the fairness and integrity of the examination process, and what steps can be taken to mitigate the occurrence of such leaks in the future?


·According to a report by The Indian Express, there have been at least 48 instances of paper leaks in 16 states over the last five years.

·These leaks have affected approximately 1.51 crore applicants for about 1.2 lakh posts, highlighting the widespread impact of the issue.

Impact of Question Paper Leaks:

·Question paper leaks compromise the fairness and integrity of recruitment exams.

·They provide unfair advantages to individuals with access to leaked papers.

·Leaks erode public trust and credibility in the examination system.

Mitigation Measures:

Strengthening Security Protocols:

·Implement advanced encryption methods for question papers.

·Ensure secure storage and distribution processes.

Enforcing Strict Penalties:

·Impose hefty fines and imprisonment for offenders.

·Establish a strong deterrent against future leaks.

Leveraging Technology:

·Utilize online examination platforms with randomized question banks.

·Introduce real-time monitoring systems to prevent leaks.

Promoting Ethical Conduct:

·Conduct regular training sessions for examination staff.

·Emphasize the importance of maintaining confidentiality.

·Encourage whistleblowing mechanisms to report any breaches.

Importance of Ethical Awareness:

·Cultivate a culture of integrity among all stakeholders.

·Ensure adherence to ethical principles throughout the examination process.

·Foster a sense of responsibility towards maintaining the sanctity of examinations.


·Addressing question paper leaks requires a comprehensive approach.

·By implementing stringent security measures, enforcing penalties, leveraging technology, and promoting ethical conduct, the integrity and credibility of recruitment exams can be safeguarded.

·These measures aim to ensure a fair and transparent selection process for all aspirants, restoring public trust in the examination system.