PUBLIC EXAMINATIONS ACT, 2024 (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Education)

News-CRUX-10     25th June 2024        

Context: The Centre has formally notified the operational rules for The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, which was passed by Parliament in February to combat cheating during public examinations.

Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024

  • About: The Act seeks to prevent use of unfair means in public examinations. Public examinations refer to examinations conducted by authorities specified under the Schedule to the Bill, or notified by the Central Government.

Objective of Act:

  • It aims to eliminate cheating practices and ensure fairness, transparency, and credibility in government recruitment exams.
  • Coverage of Examinations: Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Staff Selection Commission (SSC), Railway Recruitment Boards (RRB), Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (BPS), and Ministries or Departments of the Central Government are covered under this act.
  • Measures Against Unfair Practices: The Act targets specific unfair practices such as the leakage of question papers or answer keys. It also addresses issues like direct or indirect assistance to candidates and tampering with computer networks during examinations.
  • Responsibilities of service providers:  In the event of violation of provisions of the Bill, service providers must report to the police and the concerned examination authority.  A service provider is an organisation that provides computer resources or any other support to a public examination authority.
  • Punishments under the new law: Persons committing an organised crime will be punished with imprisonment between five years and 10 years, and a fine of at least one crore rupees.  

oIf an institution is held guilty of committing an organised crime, its property will be attached and forfeited, and a proportionate cost of the examination will also be recovered from it.

  • Nature of Offences: All offences under the Act are cognisable, non-bailable, and non-compoundable.

New Notified Rules

  • About: The Rules notified by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, provide a framework of actions to prevent the use of unfair means in public examinations, including appointing Centre Coordinators, venue in-charges, and Regional Officers.
  • Exams are covered by the law: Section 2(k) of The Public Examinations Act, 2024 defines a “public examination” as “any examination conducted by the public examination authority” listed in the Schedule of the Act, or any “such other authority as may be notified by the Central Government”.
  • Use of unfair means: Section 3 of the Act lists 15 actions that amount to using unfair means in public examinations “for monetary or wrongful gain”.
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