Anti Paper Leak Law comes into effect amid NEET row: Upto 10 year jail term; Rs 1 crore fine imposed
Anti-Paper Leak Law - PC : MRP Graphics
Anti-Paper Leak Law: In response to the recent issues surrounding the NEET and UGC-NET exams, the Indian government has implemented new legislation to prevent paper leaks and cheating. The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, which came into effect on June 21, introduces strict penalties for those who will be found guilty of malpractice.

This law was passed in Parliament in February this year. After the implementation of this law, now there is a provision of imprisonment up to 10 years to a fine of Rs 1 crore if found guilty of leaking the paper. Nearly four months after President Droupadi Murmu gave assent to The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, the Personnel Ministry issued a notification, saying the provisions of the law will come into force from June 21.

According to the official notice, "In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 1 of the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024 (1 of 2024), the Central Government hereby appoints the 21st day of June 2024, as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force."

Addressing a press conference, Education Minister Pradhan described allegations of leaks as isolated incidents but acknowledged moral responsibility. The opposition has criticized the government over these issues, with the matter expected to be raised in the upcoming parliamentary session.

Punishments under the 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 organized crime for the proportionate recovery of the cost of the 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.