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10-Year jail, ₹ 10 Crore fine: Assam passes bill to prevent cheating in exams

Mangalore Today News Network/NDTV

Guwahati, Feb 27, 2024: The Assam assembly on Monday passed a bill that proposes a punishment of up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to ₹ 10 crore on anyone found indulging in unfair means in recruitment examinations.



The Assam Public Examination (Measures for Prevention of Unfair Means in Recruitment) Bill, 2024 was passed by a voice vote in the House on the last day of the Budget session.

The bill, moved by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, will give full immunity to any government officer implementing the clauses in "good faith".

It empowers the government to punish any person, including examinees, indulging in any attempt to leak, produce, sell, print or solve question papers directly or indirectly to assist a candidate and hold tests in undesignated centres.

"Such a person will be imprisoned for a minimum of five years, extendable up to 10 years, and shall also be liable to be fined at least ₹ 10 lakh, which can go up to ₹ 10 crore," the bill said.

" case of default of payment of fine, such person shall also be liable to be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term of two years," it added.

Besides, an examinee just indulging in unfair means is liable to be punished with imprisonment of up to three years and also liable to be fined a minimum of ₹ 1 lakh, and another nine months of jail in case of default in payment, the bill said.

The act has made all offences cognisable, non-bailable and non-compoundable, and authorised an officer of Deputy Superintendent of Police level or above to probe the crimes.

Sarma, in the Statement of Object and Reasons of the Bill, said that it aims to provide an effective measure to prevent and curb the leaking of question papers and the use of unfair means in recruitment tests to any post under the state government, including autonomous bodies, authorities, boards and corporations.

The House also passed the Assam State School Education Board Bill, 2024 for creating a new body to control the education system till class 12 in the state.

Education Minister Ranoj Pegu, replying to a discussion on the Bill, said the new body will only be responsible for conducting examinations and handing certificates.

It will not be involved in deciding the curriculum or evaluation of educational institutions, he added.

The Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) and the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC) have been merged to create the new body -- Assam State School Education Board, as per the new bill, passed with a voice vote.

The assembly also okayed bills to create two new state-run universities in Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts.

As per The Swahid Kanaklata Barua State University Bill, 2024, it will be a new institute for "teaching, residential and affiliating university" having open and distance learning facilities at Gohpur in Sonitpur district.

The Kokrajhar University Bill, 2024 said that it will be created by upgrading the existing Kokrajhar Government College. It will be a "teaching, research-oriented, affiliating and semi-residential University", besides establishing an Open and Distance Learning Centre under the varsity.

The Assam governor will be the chancellor of both universities.

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