The Centre has introduced a new bill to punish those guilty of leaking exam question papers – whether for school exams, college entrance tests, or applications for government jobs.
The new bill will not target students who take exams in good faith. Under the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, only those who leaked exam papers, or tampered with answer sheets, by colluding with government officials will face up to 10 years in jail and fine of Rs 1 crore.
This is not the first time when a bill has been introduced to tackle the cheating menace. Over three decades ago, the Uttar Pradesh government-led by Kalyan Singh too had brought an anti-cheating ordinance in 1991.
The ordinance was proposed by Rajnath Singh – the then Education Minister in Kalyan Singh’s cabinet.
The Anti-Cheating Act (1992), which aimed to end mass cheating in school and university – made “use of unfair means in examinations” a non-bailable offence.
The stringent ordinance had a provision that any student found cheating would be jailed.
Only 14 per cent students of Class 12 and 30 per cent students of Class 10 had cleared the board exams after the law was implemented in 1992.
Some students – who were caught cheating – were also sent to jail triggering a massive row and giving the opposition a reason to target the ruling state government.
Experts say it was the overzealous implementation of the Anti-Copying Act (1992) that led to BJP’s defeat in the 1993 assembly elections.
The law was later withdrawn by the Mulayam Singh government.