Anti-paper Leak Law Enacted Amid NEET, UGC-NET Controversy 2024

Anti-paper Leak Law

Anti-paper Leak Law Enacted Amid NEET, UGC-NET Controversy

In February, the central government introduced the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024. It aimed to prevent cheating in national exams like NEET and UGC NET. This law proposes severe punishments to deter malpractices. It is to ensure the integrity of public examinations.

Key Highlights

• Purpose: Prevent paper leaks and cheating in public exams.

• Punishment: Up to 10 years in prison and a fine of Rs 1 crore.

• Context: The law comes amid controversies over NEET and UGC NET exams.

Details of the Anti-paper Leak Law

The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, was notified on June 21, 2024. This law addresses cheating in public exams and common entrance tests. It introduces stringent measures to curb malpractices.

Anti-paper Leak Law


• General Cheating: 3 to 5 years imprisonment.

• Organized Cheating: 5 to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of at least Rs 1 crore.

If a person or group commits organized cheating, they face harsher penalties. This includes examination authorities, service providers, or any involved institution.

Property Forfeiture

• The law allows the government to attach and forfeit any institution’s property involved in organized paper leaks.

• The examination cost can also be recovered from the guilty institution.

Protection for Candidates

• Candidates appearing for exams are protected under this Act.

• They will be governed by the existing unfair means policy of the examination authority.

Definition of Unfair Means

• Leaking question papers or answer keys.

• Assisting candidates through unauthorized communication.

• Tampering with computer networks or resources.

• Impersonating candidates.

• Conducting fake exams or issuing fake documents.

• Tampering with merit lists or ranks.

Investigation and Enforcement

• Offences under this Act are non-bailable.

• Officers below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police or Assistant Commissioner of Police can not investigate these offenses.

• The central government can refer any investigation to a central agency.

Covered Examinations

The Act applies to exams conducted by:

1. Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

2. Staff Selection Commission (SSC)

3. Railway Recruitment Boards

4. Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS)

5. National Testing Agency (NTA)

6. Other authorities as notified by the central government

Background and Need for the Law

The Act was proposed due to numerous issues with paper leaks and unfair practices in public exams. Thousands of aspirants faced disruptions, affecting their lives and careers.

Objectives of Anti-Paper Leak Law

    1. Introduce strict punishments to deter cheating.
    2. Provide a model for states to prevent and punish cheating.
    3. Fill the gap in existing laws about public exam malpractices.


Targets individuals, organized groups, or institutions involved in unfair practices.

Aims to protect the integrity of the public examination system.

Unfair Means

    • Leaking question papers or answer keys.
    • Assisting candidates during exams in unauthorized ways.
    • Tampering with computer systems.
    • Impersonating candidates.
    • Conducting or issuing fake exams/documents.
    • Tampering with documents for merit lists or rankings.


    • Offenses are cognizable, non-bailable, and non-compoundable.
    • Police can act without a warrant.
    • Accused individuals cannot get bail.
    • Offenses cannot be settled by compromise.


Individuals can avoid liability if they prove they committed the offense unknowingly and exercise due diligence to prevent it.


    • Unfair Means: 3 to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of up to ₹10 lakh.
    • Organized Crime: 5 to 10 years imprisonment and a minimum fine of ₹1 crore.

The law empowers agencies to attach and give up properties of institutions involved in organized crime. It also allows the recovery of examination costs.


    • Officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police or Assistant Commissioner of Police will investigate complaints.
    • The central government has the power to refer investigations to central agencies.

Importance of the Anti-paper Leak Law

The Anti-paper Leak Law aims to restore integrity in public examinations. By introducing severe punishments, it seeks to deter cheating and malpractices. This law is a crucial step in ensuring fair and transparent examination processes across India.

Implementation and Impact

The law was passed by Parliament in February 2024. It was necessary due to repeated incidents of paper leaks and cheating scandals. It addresses the loopholes in existing laws. The Anti-paper Leak Law also provides a robust framework to deal with such offenses.

The stringent penalties and the provision for property forfeiture act as strong deterrents against cheating. By protecting candidates and holding institutions accountable, the law aims to create a fairer examination environment.


The Anti-paper Leak Law is a comprehensive piece of legislation. It is designed to combat cheating in public examinations. It introduces severe punishments and stringent enforcement measures. It is to ensure the integrity of exams like NEET, UGC NET, and others.

It will address the key issues of paper leaks and organized cheating. This law seeks to protect the aspirations and futures of countless students. With the Anti-paper Leak Law in place, the government aims to uphold the sanctity of public examinations. It will provide the same level playing field to each candidate.

Key Points to Remember

    1. The Anti-paper Leak Law aims to curb cheating in exams.
    2. Severe punishments include up to 10 years in prison and fines up to Rs 1 crore.
    3. The law covers exams conducted by UPSC, SSC, NTA, and other central authorities.
    4. Offenses are non-bailable and non-compoundable, with stringent enforcement measures.

By addressing these key points, the Anti-paper Leak Law seeks to create a fair examination environment. It will ensure merit and integrity in the assessment process.


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