September 23, 2023

Jharkhand Assembly Passes Tough Anti-Cheating Bill to Safeguard Competitive Examinations

In a significant move to combat cheating and plagiarism in competitive examinations, the Jharkhand Assembly has recently passed the ‘Jharkhand Competitive Examination (Prevention and Redressal of Unfair Means in Recruitment) Bill, 2023.’ The new legislation aims to crack down on unfair practices that undermine the integrity of competitive exams and jeopardize the future of honest and hardworking students.

Introduced by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Alamgir Alam, the bill has ushered in strict measures to curb cheating during competitive examinations. Under this law, individuals found guilty of plagiarism or engaging in unfair means during such exams could face severe consequences, including a hefty fine of Rupees 10 crore and life imprisonment. It is important to note that these penalties will be non-bailable and non-compoundable, signaling the government’s determination to stamp out cheating entirely.

In an effort to ensure effective enforcement, the bill also grants police the authority to register First Information Reports (FIRs) without prior inquiry and make arrests without any need for prior permission. This measure seeks to expedite the process of bringing offenders to justice and sends a clear message that cheating will not be tolerated in Jharkhand.

However, the opposition, led by the BJP, has raised objections to the bill, labeling it draconian and suggesting that it be sent to a select committee for further examination. They argue that such stringent provisions may inadvertently impact students and deter them from participating in examinations out of fear of unfair consequences.

BJP MLAs Anant Ojha and Amar Bauri expressed concerns that the legislation could stifle freedom of expression and hinder student organizations and media from raising legitimate irregularities. They maintain that the primary source of malpractices lies with the examination conducting bodies, and the bill’s provisions might inadvertently shield them from accountability.

In response, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Alam emphasized the need for a robust law to combat the pervasive issue of cheating and unfair practices during examinations, such as paper leaks. The bill aims to serve as a deterrent, discouraging individuals from resorting to unfair means in pursuit of success.

Chief Minister Hemant Soren supported the bill, highlighting that several other states have enacted similar legislation to safeguard the sanctity of competitive exams. He defended the bill’s implementation as essential to maintaining the credibility and reliability of the examination process.

Despite the opposition’s protest and tearing up copies of the bill, the Assembly upheld its decision, and the legislation passed. The Chief Minister’s statement underscored the importance of implementing strict laws to ensure transparency and fairness during competitive examinations.

As the bill takes effect, its impact on the examination system and the efforts to curtail cheating will be closely observed. The Jharkhand government’s resolute stance on tackling this issue sends a powerful message about its commitment to protecting the interests of honest and diligent students and upholding the sanctity of competitive examinations in the state.