Facing flak over the Rajasthan Eligibility Examination for Teachers (REET) paper leak, the state government Thursday introduced a bill with strict provisions like up to 10 years in jail and Rs 10 crore fine to prevent cheating, paper leak and use of unfair means in competitive examinations.
Provisions of attachment and confiscation of properties have also been made in the bill introduced by the Higher Education Minister Rajendra Singh Yadav.
The Rajasthan Public Examination (measures for prevention of unfair means in recruitment) Bill, 2022 aims to provide for effective measures to prevent and curb the leakage of question papers and use of unfair means in public examinations for recruitment to any post under the state government including autonomous bodies, authorities, boards and corporations.
As per the provisions mentioned in the bill, any person taking unauthorised help in public examination from any person, group or from any material, may face a jail term of upto three years and a fine not less than Rs 1 lakh.
If any person impersonates or leak/ attempt to leak/conspires to leak question paper, procures/attempts to possess question paper in unauthorised manner, or solves/attempts to solve/seek assistance to solve question paper in unauthorised manner or assist the examinee in unauthorised manner, the punishment will be imprisonment from 5 years to 10 years, and fine from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 10 crore.
An examinee who has been convicted under the provisions shall be debarred from taking any public examination for a period of two years.
If investigating officer has reason to believe that any property represents proceeds of any offence under the proposed act can seize such movable or immovable property with prior approval of the state government, the bill proposes.
Where it is not practicable to seize such property, the IO can make an order of attachment directing that such property shall not be transferred, it proposes.
If the person of the management or institution has been found guilty of the offence, then they shall be liable to pay all cost and expenditure related to the examination, determined by the Designated Court and shall be banned forever.
All offences specified under the proposed act, shall be cognizable, non-bailable and non compoundable.
In matter of recruitment to the posts under the state government, the leakage of question papers not only betrays the trust of the general public but the state too suffers substantial administrative cost when examinations have to be called off.
A fair and reasonable process of selection to posts, subject to the norm of equality of opportunity under Article 16 (1) of the Constitution of India, is a constitutional requirement. A fair and reasonable recruitment process is a fundamental requirement of Article 14 as well, according to the statement of object and reasons said.
It said that the state government enacted the Rajasthan Public Examination (Prevention of Unfairmeans) Act, 1992 to curb irregularities and use of unfair means in public examinations.
As more than three decades have passed since the inception of the enactment, the issue has assumed dimension of organised crime and involves huge pecuniary advantages to nefarious persons.
Since the Act of 1992 is not serving the purpose of tackling this menace, the state government has decided to bring a new law to prevent use of unfair means in public examinations conducted for purpose of recruitment and to limit the scope of the Act of 1992 to public examinations conducted for the purpose of award degrees, certificates etc., the statement said.
It may be noted that earlier this month, the state government had cancelled the REET level two examination, held in September 2021, due to paper leak. Looking at the seriousness of the matter, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had also announced to bring a bill to curb cheating in examinations.
The opposition BJP has been demanding a CBI probe in the REET paper leak case which in present is being investigated by the Special Operation Group of Rajasthan Police.News, States