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Assam assembly passes bill: 10 years jail and Rs 10 crore fine for malpractices in recruitment exams

February 27, 2024

On Monday, the Assam assembly approved a bill introducing severe penalties, including up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to Rs 10 crore, for those involved in unfair practices in recruitment exams. The Assam Public Examination (Measures for Prevention of Unfair Means in Recruitment) Bill, 2024, passed by a voice vote, grants immunity to government officers implementing the clauses in “good faith.”

The legislation authorizes the government to penalize anyone, including examinees, engaged in activities such as leaking, producing, selling, printing, or solving question papers to assist candidates. Offenders may face imprisonment for a minimum of five years, extendable up to 10 years, along with fines ranging from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 10 crore. Failure to pay the fine may result in an additional two years of imprisonment.

The bill also outlines penalties for examinees involved in unfair means, including up to three years in jail and a minimum fine of Rs 1 lakh. The legislation deems all offenses cognizable, non-bailable, and non-compoundable, with officers of Deputy Superintendent of Police level or higher authorized to investigate.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stated that the bill aims to prevent question paper leaks and unfair practices in recruitment tests for government positions. Additionally, the assembly passed the Assam State School Education Board Bill, 2024, establishing a new body for controlling education up to class 12 in the state. The Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) and the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC) have been merged to form the new entity — the Assam State School Education Board.

The assembly also approved bills to establish two state-run universities in Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts. The Swahid Kanaklata Barua State University Bill, 2024, outlines the creation of a teaching, residential, and affiliating university with open and distance learning facilities in Gohpur, Sonitpur district. The Kokrajhar University Bill, 2024, envisions upgrading Kokrajhar Government College to a teaching, research-oriented, affiliating, and semi-residential university, including an Open and Distance Learning Centre. The governor of Assam will serve as the chancellor for both universities.

Also read: Assam: Budget backs education for 10 lakh girls; no new taxes imposed

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