Anti-Paper Leak Law Notified Amid Exam Mess: Jail Term, Fine Up To A Crore

Under the Act, senior officials also face jail terms and fines.

Taking an important step amid the controversies surrounding the NEET and UGC-NET exams, the Centre has notified a stringent law that was passed in February to prevent paper leaks and cheating.

The notification of the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, comes just a day after Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan was asked about when it would be implemented. The minister had said the law ministry was framing the rules.

Under the Act, which came into effect on Friday, any person or person found guilty of leaking a paper or tampering with answer sheets will receive a minimum jail term of three years. This can be extended to five years with a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh. All offences under the Act will be cognisable and non-bailable.

Service providers who have knowledge about a possible offence but do not report it can be fined up to Rs 1 crore.

During the investigation, if it is established that any senior official from the service provider had allowed or was involved in committing the offence, he will face imprisonment for a minimum of three years, which can go up to 10 years, and a fine of Rs 1 crore. 

If the examination authority or the service provider commits an organised crime, the jail term will be a minimum of five years and a maximum of 10 and the fine will remain Rs 1 crore.

The notification mentions the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita but adds that the provisions of the Indian Penal Code will remain in effect until then. The Sanhita and the other criminal laws are scheduled to come into effect on July 1.