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Centre Notifies Anti-Paper Leak Law Amid NEET, NET Row

The Centre has introduced a stringent anti-paper leak law amid controversies surrounding the NEET and UGC-NET exams. The law, which came into force on June 21, 2024, imposes severe penalties, including up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1 crore, to curb malpractices in competitive examinations.

Details of the Law

The new law, named the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, aims to prevent cheating in public exams conducted by entities such as the UPSC, SSC, and NTA. It includes provisions for a minimum of three to five years of imprisonment for cheating, and five to ten years of imprisonment for organized cheating crimes, along with hefty fines.

Context and Immediate Reactions

The law’s enactment comes amidst allegations of paper leaks and subsequent cancellation of the UGC-NET 2024, affecting over 9 lakh candidates. The Opposition Congress has criticized the timing, calling it “damage control.” Congress leader Jairam Ramesh emphasized the need for proactive measures to prevent such leaks.

Exams Impacted by Paper Leaks

The NEET and UGC-NET exams have been at the center of the controversy, with the CSIR-UGC NET also facing similar allegations. The education ministry has postponed the CSIR-UGC NET scheduled for June 25-27, 2024, due to claims of a leak on the dark web. This scandal could delay the CUET-UG results, affecting undergraduate admissions in central universities.

Government and NTA Response

Following the allegations, the CBI has registered an FIR against unknown suspects for cheating and criminal conspiracy. The education ministry has instructed the NTA to take preventive measures to ensure the integrity of upcoming exams.


The implementation of this law marks the first major step towards addressing paper leaks in centrally-conducted public examinations. It highlights the government’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of the examination process, although it has sparked significant political debate and criticism.

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